My interviewee for May is Laura and talk about life as a creative! Laura turns her hands to everything from gardening and pottery to knitting and sewing - plus she is amazingly talented at figurative drawing. Laura had a chat to me about one of her creative outlets, lingerie sewing...
1. Name and a bit about where you live:
My name is Laura and I live in the Kaipara, Northland, New Zealand
2. What first sparked your interest in lingerie/swimwear sewing?
A YouTube tutorial for a lace bralette.....it was such a quick and satisfying project that I started to think about stretching my sewing skills and entering into the world of lingerie sewing, plus I love a challenge. Soon after making the lace bralette's, I won a giveaway from Nellie Joan's for the Sophie Hines Euler Bralette Kit, and thus began my journey of making bras for myself.
3. How would you describe your lingerie/swimwear sewing?
My lingerie making skills have definitely come a long way from my first garment. I have learnt a lot of new skills and I continue to do so, my latest bra was my first experience with fold over elastic, the quick unpick was within reach at all times, but thankfully I got there in the end.
4. How has it enriched your life?
Just like all my crafty endeavours there is a huge amount of satisfaction for me when I sew a garment for myself or for others. Sewing my own underwear has been no different, I have especially loved the ability to use up small scraps that otherwise would be far too small for much else, this to me is a huge benefit in learning these skills, reducing what is sent to landfill and upcycling fabrics for a new purpose is always at the forefront of my mind when creating. Since starting this journey into lingerie sewing I have replaced RTW bra straps, used many sewing scraps and harvested bra findings for new bras, it truly is very rewarding.
5. Please describe your best 'Ah-hah! Wahoo! Ye-haw! Tah-dah' moment.
By pulling on both the bottom and top thread when you start sewing elastic etc on, it helps prevent the needle getting stuck and stitching in the same place.....sounds pretty simple, but with my modern machine that cuts the thread for me, I have to purposely pull the bobbin thread up in order to pull both threads together unlike other sewing machines, I had a lot of trouble with the tangle of thread at the start as I would sew on without this step....this made such a huge difference! Also always checking you have the right needle for the fabric.....recently I had quite a lot of problems with skipped stitches while sewing the foam fabric on my recent bra.....turned out I just needed a ball point needle!! For a longtime sewer it was a bit of a duh!!! moment.
6. How do you deal with sewing setbacks?
Hide it in a corner! Well depending on my mood really, if I'm patient enough, I will persevere, research and try again. But there are the odd unfinished projects that wait in a corner for a one day fix, or for their parts to be rescued for a new project.
7. What is your top tip to share with other lingerie/swimwear sewists?
If you're ever in doubt of a new technique, baste baste baste.....so much easier to rip the stitches out if it doesn't work.
Bonus Random question - Reading - do you use a bookmark to keep your page or do you...fold the corner of the page down?
If I have a bookmark handy I'll use that, otherwise I usually just leave it opened on the page I'm currently reading.
Thank you so much Laura, I love that you highlighted how sustainable sewing lingerie can be. Most often we think of using scrap fabric for little details such as pockets or facings but when you know how to sew underwear, small pieces of fabric can become fabulous garments in their own right! And it solves some of the problem of how to re-use (dispose) of textiles in a thoughtful manner.
Check out all of Laura's talented makes on Instagram: @giveahootnz