Sharing the Pinterest love…. Here are my favourites this week.
Sparkle Pants by Miss Crofton £20
Black Dahlia by Voila le Velo £24:
(by now my preoccupation with polka dots should be starting to become apparent!)
I am soooo in love with these! I have a long way to go in terms of lingerie knowledge and sewing but I am so happy with these.
After adjusting the pattern I used for last week’s knickers, these are far more flattering and comfortable for my size. I have used a pale champagne tulle and hand embroidered black polka dots all over, finishing off with spotty black tulle bows to the side. Half way through I really was debating the wisdom of sewing so many dots (I can’t believe how long it took) but, now it’s finished I am really glad I did. Somehow they make them feel more special.
I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have made these. It feels like a big step towards what I want to make – comfortable, flattering plus size lingerie which also feels luxurious and gorgeous. I appreciate that I have got a huge way to go in skill and knowledge and I definitely need to source some better quality material but somehow these knickers make me feel like it is possible. I think somehow, I had a little voice saying that I can’t find lingerie like this in my size because it is impossible that it would look good. But these do look good, the bows at the side make me look curvier (in a good way which makes my waist seem smaller), the frills on the edges soften the edges which helps my tummy and although transparent the overall look is feminine rather than trashy.
You might be able to tell… I’ve been doing happy knicker dances all weekend.
Two weeks ago I would have said that ‘knicker elastic’ was surely a basic thing which would be easy to buy. I naively went shopping with the vague ambition of buying some ‘fabric and stuff’ to make a pair of pants, without really researching what I might need. I think I assumed I would reach the store and there would be packs labelled specifically ‘knicker elastic’. As is blatantly obvious, I was wrong.
The first store I visited (a general craft store to be fair) did have elastic, but only white bands. Not being sure what type I would really need to make my knickers and being unwilling to go check my current pair in the loos, I hedged my bets and bought elastic shim (still no idea what this is for or why I thought it would be a good option) and also bought this white band.
On returning home I used this elastic to make my first disastrous pair which you can see in an earlier post. Upon inspecting my knicker drawer I realised most used a fancier elastic with a frilly edge. Ok, I thought, maybe this is proper knicker elastic. I probably need a proper sewing shop.
So I dutifully went to my local specialist shop to be faced with the same wall of boring plain white and black elastics. I asked the assistant for help and although she seemed a bit confused by my request, we did eventually find a solitary metre of what I was looking for on a roll at the back.
Enter my old friend eBay. Searching knicker elastic did not illicit many results but decorative and lingerie elastic gave me enough results to realise that I was actually looking for ‘picot’ elastic. And then I went on an elastic shopping spree.
In my quest to figure out how to make beautiful underwear for plus size ladies I realised I need some help! I have bought the book ‘The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie’ by Katherine Sheers & Laura Stanford. I am now working through some of the projects. The patterns go up to a UK size 18 (although judging by the measurements also provided these are small sizes) so I’m making the biggest and then going to work on adjusting the patterns to be more comfortable for me.
These are from the ‘Forget me Knot’ pattern using tulle.
Most of the sizing has worked out ok, but to be more comfortable for a larger size I need to adjust the pattern to widen and lengthen the gusset and also the sides are far too narrow, too skimpy to look good.
Look out for the improved plus size version next week!
My foray into designing and making lingerie has officially begun. I’ve decided to start with knickers partly because I feel better catered for in the bra department by retailers and partly because I think knickers are too often overlooked and are less intimidating for me to approach as a notice sewer.
My plan is first to figure out how to make a basic, presentable pair and then develop the design from there. I cut up an old pair of knickers which fit well to use as a pattern. I must admit my first attempt is not encouraging….
As you can see I didn’t even bother finishing them – I got to this point and broke into hysterical laughter at how terrible they are. The gap between my start point and where I want to go really couldn’t be further apart!
However, it did make me realise that (apart from my terrible sewing) the fabric I used was completely different to my pattern pair, being non-stretch and the size was therefore all wrong. So I traced a larger pattern on paper, went to my local sewing shop and bought some Jersey cotton and the only bit of decorative elastic they had to try again.
These look far more presentable. There wasn’t enough elastic to do the legs so I used a rigid trim and the pattern needs a little adjustment but a definite improvement. I am particularly (ludicrously) pleased with the gusset. Loving a patterned gusset!
I need to properly look at how sewing machine settings work. I don’t have things set right since although the stitching is fine on the top, underneath is a total mess. I’ve never really been shown how to use a machine so it is all a bit of a mystery to me. If anyone (probably everyone) knows what I’m doing wrong, please tell me!
I realised that somehow, not only are they difficult to find but also I feel an inexplicable twinge of shame in even looking for them. I have no problem shopping for well fitting and attractive clothes but faced with rows and rows of tiny briefs I do the quickest scan I can, trying to peer down at the racks nearest the ground without looking like I’m looking for the biggest pants available.
Even looking online is a challenge. Plus sized underwear is either tacked on as an extra section with what appears to be little thought – the implication being we should be grateful it is there at all, or else is just plain tacky/seedy masquerading as ‘sexy’.
I want what the skinny girls want. I want special underwear. Lingerie which feels pretty and fun and feminine. Knickers for me, not necessarily for the other person in my life. I want lingerie which is comfortable and flattering to me as a larger woman but still feels like gorgeous scraps of silk and lace.
So, I am on a mission. I have a creative background as a jewellery designer. I can’t buy the underwear my heart desires so I am going to make it. This will be a challenge since I have next to no idea how to use my sewing machine and fabric is oh so different to metal but I cannot be alone in wanting this and I will use this blog to record my progress.