New Week, New Knickers

 

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.

  

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Review: Mish Bandelettes

  

I haven’t been able to go bare legged under skirts since my teens. It’s one of the reasons I don’t necessarily look forward to summer. So, when I saw this post by Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust I was really quite excited. I’ve never subscribed to the idea of wearing shorts under skirts to prevent thigh rub so in recent years have resigned myself to wearing leggings under skirts or sweltering in jeans. 

Last Saturday then I ordered 2 pairs of Mish’s anti-chafing bands – charmingly called ‘Bandelettes’ – 1 plain and 1 lacy pair. They do a range of sizes, all you need to do is measure your thigh and pick the corresponding size from their list. These arrived yesterday, so I have been road testing them since.

They have a thin silicon band at the top and bottom and are made using a stretchy fabric. I found the lacy ones a bit too scratchy for me (I struggle with most lace top stockings for this reason though, so not unexpected). The unisex version however were great – really comfortable, no problems staying up and I think they look pretty good too. I definitely intend to buy more of these before the summer. 

It is really exciting to think that this year I might be able to keep cool and my poor, pale, pasty legs stand a chance of finally seeing some daylight! 

  Photos from http://www.mish-online.co.uk

New Week, New Knickers

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!

Sunday Stockings: M&S Fishnet Hold Ups

 
Marks and Spencer’s might seem like an unlikely venue for fishnet stockings but believe me – these are the holy grail of fishnet hold ups. Over the years I have tried brand after brand in search of a pair which not only look good but which actually fit my chunky thighs and are comfortable to wear all day. Since trying these in desperation I have never looked back. I’ve even been known to sleep in them they are so comfy.

So to put things in context I am currently a UK size 18 but I have worn these up to a size 22. I am just under 6 foot and my thighs are really bigger than usual for my dress size so I really struggle with hosiery. Being tall, a lot of the stretch goes into the length which causes the fabric to be too thin round my thighs which can cause painful chaffing. That is assuming I can get the legs all the way up at all, but I digress.

These hold ups have a really wide silicon band at the top which has fantastic staying power – I can wear these all day without worrying about them rolling down and they have a reinforced toe so they don’t dig into your feet. The band also prevents chaffing and looks really good!

Basically these are the perfect fishnets for me and I buy a pack every time I see them. They can be difficult to find in extra large in the shops though so I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for other options. If you have a favourite brand please do share in the comments!

Key Facts: 

Brand: M&S Collection

Name: Ultimate Comfort Fishnet Hold-Ups

Cost:  £6

Available Colours: Black

Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large

The First Knickers…

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!

Plus Sized Lingerie

  
I have been thinking a lot about underwear recently – in particular about the difficulty I have as a plus sized woman in finding truly beautiful underthings. 

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.