Free Lacey Thong Panty pattern!

I’m very excited to announce a special week here on FehrTrade – for the benefit of those of you reading this from RSS subscriptions and can’t see the site header…

It's Lingerie Week on FehrTrade

Yes, an entire week devoted to sewing lingerie, and we’re going to start the week off with something very special indeed – a free downloadable sewing pattern for a pair of thong-style panties, with lace over the hips and a special diamond-inset at the front and back.

The pattern is for sizes S-XL with seam allowances included, and for those of you who hate downloadable patterns – there’s only 4 pages of pattern to print, and only one join to tape together! I’ve written out step-by-step directions with a few diagrams, but there will also be some construction photos later this week to help out those of you who prefer them.

(If you’d like to spread the word about this pattern, please link to this post and not directly to the pdf file! thanks!)

Panty Party Part Duex

The Panty Party last week was more than a little awesome! I honestly don’t know where the time went, but one minute we were altering my Lacey Thong pattern to have full-cheek coverage, and the next minute the clock read 10pm!

I was joined by Michelle, Debbie, and Amy up at the Thriftystitcher studio in Stoke Newington (North London – an easy walk from Canonbury Overground) where they all got to pick through a huge pile of laces, fabric, and elastics, and learned how to best cut lace, deal with two different types of lingerie elastics, and how to do that cool “burrito method” of concealing seams.

They even got their first taste of the overlockers (sergers), and I could tell by their eyes that they’re hooked!

If you’re sad you missed out, then rejoice! Because the next Panty Party has been announced for Friday 28 March! Again, if you’re not into wearing thongs, that’s not a problem, we’ll have a couple of different styles of patterns to choose from and you’ll get to learn the techniques to make your own panties at home. All the ladies were amazed at how easy and fun it was!

Book tickets for the next Panty Party on 28 March HERE!

I will also be teaching teeshirt and leggings classes in the next few weeks so stay tuned for those dates! (hint: keep your Sundays free!)

PS: If you live too far away and want a mere taste of the “in person” me, have a watch of my latest #ExtraMile video for London Marathon, where I explain my reasons for running in less than 3 minutes!

Diary of an indie patternmaker, part one

Quite a few of you were interested in hearing about the process of launching my own line of exercise sewing patterns, and since I tried to keep everything very quiet until the launch day, I couldn’t really talk about the process at the time, either (I decided to keep it quiet to minimise the “Are they ready yet? Are they ready yet? How about now??”, etc pressure when people get excited!).

I’ve been thinking about the possibility of making some of my own patterns for a while now, testing the waters last year with my Lacey Thong pattern, of course, but a full time job, marathon training, boat work, and busy social schedule mean that it always seemed to be on the back burner and never at the top of my To Do List. But I was made redundant from my tech job in August (really, it’s ok!) so I had time to think about what I wanted to do while we were in Mexico, and I realised that I wanted to give sewing a shot as my main career, with patternmaking as a large part of that.

I had lots of ideas in my head (and in my sketchbook!) but I opted to specialise in exercisewear because that was something I a) was passionate about, b) had lots of practice sewing and designing for myself, and c) there wasn’t much on the market for already. I knew I wanted to release at least two patterns at the launch, but I developed these sequentially, starting with the XYT Workout Top.

The first step in the XYT development was to draft my own sloper and make a series of muslins for the different versions, chopping and redrafting the basic shapes until I was happy. Then I made a muslin which had a bra the same basic shape as the exterior with one layer of power mesh, but I found that even though I took the side seams in closer and closer, I still didn’t have the support I needed for running. It was only after talking to a friend that I was able to make the leap to the arrangement of the second mesh layer that made all the difference and stopped the bouncing! I then finished off this muslin version, wore it for a few runs, and only then did I start the process of transferring my hand-drafted pattern pieces into digital.

I started by scanning in the paper pieces and re-joining them digitally in Photoshop, and then came the laborious and tedious process of tracing around all the pieces with the Pen Tool (ie: vector paths) in Illustrator. I’ve used Photoshop for 10+ years, but I was a complete Illustrator novice when I started this patternmaking, and my god there’s a steep learning curve!

Londoners – Come sew with me! Panty Party 13th Feb!

Remember around this time last year when I released my free Lacey Thong pattern and had that big Lingerie Sewing Week extravaganza?! Well, in the intervening year I’ve of course sewed way more lingerie and released more patterns, but I still love my little ‘Thongs and wear mine all the time, so I thought I’d share the love and have a full-on PANTY PARTY!

It’s in the evening of Thursday 13 February, so you can de-stress after a long day at work by playing with frilly lace…

That’s right – come and sew with me and we’ll make Lacey Thongs til we run out of free tea and biscuits and/or start wearing panties on our heads. I’ll cover all the basics of lace placement, attaching lingerie elastic, that cool “burrito method” of enclosing the crotch seams, and you’ll get to go home with some saucy little panties just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or a Me Party, whatever floats your boat.

The panty party venue is at the Thrifty Stitcher’s studio up in Stoke Newington (a quick walk from Canonbury overground, or there’s plentiful buses), and all materials will be provided, including the aforementioned coffee, tea, and bickies.

Turquoise lingerie set – bra and Lacey Thong

I arrived home from Mexico and wasn’t particularly filled with sewing mojo, to be honest, but happily this was short-lived, because I saw that Pattern Review had announced a short, two week Lingerie Sewing Contest for the second half of October! This was just what I needed to kick me into action and remind me that I’d been meaning to alter the seaming on my bra cup pattern after I’d made the eyelash bra.

The cups on that one were fine, but I have some gorgeous turquoise lace in my stash from Danglez’ closing down sale (sniff!), and it was too narrow for my one-dart cup pattern. So before I could even start sewing, I had to do some pattern drafting manipulation first – introducing some seam lines to account for the narrow lace, split and rotate the dart around a bit, and voila! Now I’ve got a three part cup!

I was so happy with the fit of this bra that I made myself a matching pair of Lacey Thongs (my free downloadable pattern, if you’d forgotten!) to go with it.

Seriously though – I think this must be about the 8th or 9th bra I’ve sewn, but only about the second I’d wear out of the house. Sewing a bra is easy – getting the bra to fit properly, feel comfortable, and look flattering is beyond challenging. I think I understand other people’s frustrations with trouser fitting now, because this bra fitting journey has been character-building!

My real breakthrough came when I stopped using commercial patterns and just traced existing RTW bras instead. For me, they were a much, much closer starting point than the bizarre cup shapes provided in the KwikSew and Elan patterns I’d previously tried.

Check out your Lacey Thongs!

Wow, the response to my free Lacey Thong pattern I released last month has been immense! Since the beginning of February, it’s been downloaded a staggering 1400 times! That’s a LOT of potential underwear, my friends!

You all have been sewing like gangbusters, too, so I thought it was time to share all the gorgeous versions you all have made – it’s only fair since I showed you mine!

So in no particular order, let’s have a fumble through your underwear drawers…

Kathhhhhy’s liked the pattern so much she finished off her first pair with a pretty bow in the back, and then went and made a second pair to match her lacey bra!

Lauriana’s pale green/blue pair kickstarted a month-long lingerie sewing binge, with more panties, and bras galore!

Frances Hall sent me photos of her gorgeous red & white pair:

Free online lingerie sewing resources

So, how much fun was Lingerie Week last week, eh?? It may be Monday, but I thought I’d finish with a big list of free online patterns and tutorials for lingerie sewing, so you can carry on and make a bunch of pretty matching sets for yourself without breaking the bank!

Win a Lacey Thong kit!

Have you been inspired by all the activity this week during Lingerie Week and fancy sewing your own Lacey Thong now?

Would you like to win a kit with all the bits you need to make your very own? (Of course you do!)

In the spirit of lingerie and bra kits you can buy from stores online, I shopped my (cough, rather extensive) lingerie sewing stash to put together all the bits you’ll need to make a Lacey Thong pattern (suitable for any of the sizes).

Lacey Thong panty – construction tips & photos

Continuing on with Lingerie Week, I wanted to give you some extra construction tips on my Lacey Thong pattern that wouldn’t quite fit in the pattern itself (if you start adding in large photos, the Pdf filesize goes up really quickly!).

First of all, I wanted to start with two areas I’ve had some questions on:

“The 4cm ruler isn’t 4cm when I print it”. If the ruler on page 3 isn’t measuring exactly 4cm when you print it, then the print software you’re using is scaling the pattern! I use Preview on OSX, and I know it’s got its quirks – on this particular programme, if you enter in 100% and just click Print, it’ll still print at whatever the settings were before you changed them. You need to enter 100%, tap elsewhere in the print preview to watch the thumbnail resize, and then click Print. I’m sure other programmes have their quirks, too, but the bottom line is, if your ruler doesn’t measure 4cm, the pattern is not at the proper scale!

“Which size should I choose?” Sizing if difficult from a pattern creator’s perspective, because so many bodies wear a full range of sizes. I’m most confident of the Burda sizes recommended (much less so for the Big Four), so if you know your Burda size, go with that. The finished half-hip measurement is probably less helpful, but it’ll save some of you measuring it yourself.

If you’re unsure of your size, another approach to take it to “try on” the elastic before you start. Measure the waist elastic for the different sizes (pin or mark it, don’t cut!) and try it out by checking the feel around your half hip area (these panties sit over your hip bones, well below your belly button). The elastic should be snug and partially stretched, but not tight or loose.

During the construction of my black pair I took some photos of the trickier construction tips so those of you who prefer photos to diagrams can have a better look (though perhaps choosing a black fabric with similar-looking right and wrong sides wasn’t the best idea, sorry!).

I’ll use the numbers from the steps in the Pdf pattern’s Sewing Instructions below so you can easily refer back. As usual, click any of these to view the larger versions.

1. Join the Crotch to the Front

2. Join the Crotch to the Back

Purple lingerie set – camisole & lacey thong

Here’s the second of my recent lingerie sets I sewed while I’ve been ill, which I hope will inspire you! This purple set is again comprised of my (free!) Lacey Thong pattern and the (also free!) Ruby Slip pattern, shortened to camisole length.

I’m so pleased to finally break into the lace and materials I bought at Kantje Boord in Amsterdam when I was there running the marathon in October! I was very restrained in the shop, buying only this lace, the purple lycra remnant, and coordinating lime elastic and motif with this exact camisole in mind!

I’ve definitely got enough materials left (okay, I had to hit up* for some more coordinating bra supplies!) to make a matching bra in the next week or two, so I might whip up another pair of panties to make this set a foursome like the black lingerie set too.

The only real difference between this set and the black one you saw earlier this week is that the body fabric used here is a lycra rather than a woven. The lace bodices are strikingly similar, even though the laces themselves are so different!