Make it Match ~ Part One

Helen Cloke bra tulle embroidered tulle rigid fabric

The last two bras I’ve sewn have both been made from tulle, a non-stretch fabric, great for making bras but not so straight forward if you want to use it for briefs!

Black beauty bra and diamond bustier

Black Beauty Bra (pattern by Emerald Erin) and the Diamond Bustier (pattern found here)

How to use bra fabric for briefs was one thing that really stumped me when I first started sewing lingerie.  I really wanted matching sets but couldn’t quite figure out how to transfer the material over to a successful, and comfortable, pair of knickers.

Now that I have a bit more experience under my belt :) making a matching set comes a lot more easy.  I think the key was realising that the bottoms didn’t have to be completely identical as long as they were complimentary.  I tended to get caught up in taking every single fabric from the bra and trying to use it in the knickers, but it’s more important to match the mood of the bra, this helps tie everything together even if you are just reusing one fabric or colour.

I’ve started this wee blog series to gather together some ideas for using rigid materials when sewing briefs:

1. Appliqué 

If you are working with an embroidered tulle, quite often you can use the motifs as an appliqué over a stretch fabric.

Flat lay of Ivy briefs

Ivy Briefs pattern by House Morrighan (size 6-24) sewn to match my Diamond Bustier.

The main fabric, cotton rib in ‘crepe’ is a close colour match to the soft dusky pinks in the bra.  This fabric has a slightly higher stretch percentage than what the pattern calls for.

After cutting the front piece from the cotton rib, I placed the pattern piece back over one half so I could see where the vertical middle was. I then played around with the placement of the tulle leftovers and pinned it in place once I was happy with how it looked.  

Laying the embroidered tulle over the front piece

I then removed the pattern piece and lined up the mirrored tulle.

Placing the mirrored tulle to match

I first sewed down this vertical line, using a small zig zag and keeping to the edge of the tulle.  Once I had this secure I then cut away the plain tulle from the embroidered pieces.  Tulle doesn’t fray so it is quite secure to cut into it - just be careful not to cut into the stitching.  I used lots of pins to secure the tulle, making sure it was symmetrical and then stitched the edges of this with a narrow zig-zag.

I then followed the method of construction from the instructions, replacing the fabric bands with elastic.

Why it works: Because you are only using small pieces of the rigid tulle the stretch of the fabric underneath isn’t impeded too much. And in this case the rib of the knit fabric mimics the lines of the pin-tucked tulle so the style of the pieces work in harmony.

Lingerie set shown on mannequin

The matching set of Diamond Bustier and Ivy Briefs

2. Pattern Designed for Rigid Fabric

This was an easy one.  There are a few patterns that are designed for rigid fabrics, like the new Marie by Evie La Luve (sizes 84cm-123cm hip.)  I thought this one would also look really lovely with the Diamond Bustier style.

Flatlay of Marie briefs

I had some of the pin-tucked tulle left so used that for the front and the insert at the back.  The front edges needed finishing so this was a perfect place to bring in the satin binding that is featured on the bra.  I love how the embroidered tulle makes the back of the briefs the main feature.

Flatlay of the back of the Marie Briefs

The gusset lining is the Modal ‘Blossom’ knit.

Lingerie set shown on mannequin

Lingerie set, back, shown on mannequin

Why it works: The pattern is specifically made for rigid tulle which happened to be the main fabric from the bra.  However this is a versatile pattern and can be used with stretch lace as well.  For a simple pattern there are some lovely details that help to tie it in to the bustier, such as, the rose gold findings.

In the next part of the series I’ll be making matching briefs for the Bee Black Beauty Bra!

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