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How to add Cut & Sew Foam Padding to the Jasmine Bra (and more!)

Sewing Patterns, Tutorial, Videos

Way back when, I wrote up a tutorial on padding the Jasmine Bra with balconette style pre-formed cups. Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with a new method, using cut and sew foam.

Cut and sew foam is available through most bra making suppliers. There are lots of options, but I recommend Bra Makers Supply in Canada or Arte Crafts in the US. Cut and sew foam is quite thin, maybe 1/8″ or so thick. It has some 2-way stretch. Adding foam to your soft bras will add a little bit of body and structure, as well as a little extra coverage if you are concerned about visible nipples. My personal preference is still for non-padded bras, but this is a nice option if the things above are of concern to you! Or, if you just want to try something new. I will say, I’ll be adding this to my bikini top sewing repertoire, but I’m still not sure padded bras are for me.

Aside from the foam, you won’t need any other special supplies – just what it outlines in the pattern for a lined bra.

Feeling cozy!

The method for assembling the bra with foam padding is essentially the same as a lined Jasmine. The main difference comes with how we will finish the interior seams.

Instructions:

Begin by cutting out your pieces. Cut the bra exactly as you normally would, but also cut out the cup pieces in cut and sew foam.

Place the Centre Front Self/Exterior pieces right side together, aligning the CF seam. Place a piece of foam over top of that, then the lining pieces with the right sides facing each other. Finish with the final piece of foam. Stitch together down the centre front seam.

Trim back both pieces of foam as close to the stitching line as possible.

Open the Front up, separating one half of the foam. With your fingers, press the seam allowance towards the foam.

Using a zig-zag stitch, top stitch the seam allowance to the foam. When your needle “zigs” to the left, it should just catch that little bit of foam left in your seam allowance. The idea here is to flatten the seam, and in addition, the zig-zag stitching almost acts as an understitch, helping the lining and exterior fabrics fall into place.

Trim back the seam allowance as close to the stitching line as possible and open the Centre Front pieces.

To assemble the rest of the cup, place the Side Front Self/Exterior against the Centre Front curved cup seam so that the right sides are facing. Place the Side Front foam against the wrong side of the Side Front Self. Flip the garment over, and then place the lining down the curved seam, sandwiching the Centre Front between the Side Front Self/Foam and Lining. Stitch together.

Once again, trim back both pieces of foam seam allowance as close to the stitching line as possible.

Fold the seam allowance towards the Side Front Foam, pushing the Side Front self and lining towards the centre front.

Just like you did with the centre front seam. Zig zag stitch the seam allowance to the Side Front foam.

Trim back the remaining seam allowance as close to the stitching line as possible and flip the Side Front self and lining over the foam.

Attach your Back Band pieces as indicated in the pattern instructions and sew on the band elastic.  It is very important that you trim any excess fabric beyond your  band stitching line back to allow the bra to fold under properly.

Top stitch the band elastic in place. Be careful here, it gets quite thick. Go slowly and take your time! Finish the upper edge with Fold Over Elastic as outlined in the instructions, and complete the bra with a back closure and straps.

I would say this is more of an “advanced” tutorial. It can be quite tricky to get all of the layers to line up properly. That is definitely the most challenging part.  Getting the fit just right is also a little more of a challenge because the foam will limit the vertical stretch of the bra, which tends to be more of an issue for the DD+ crowd.

If you prefer video format, I’ve uploaded a quick tutorial on how to add foam padding to the Romy Bra:


… And how to add padding the the Lace Jasmine Variation!

A free sleep mask project with Spoonflower!

Sewing Patterns, Tutorial

Spoonflower graciously sent me fabric in exchange for this tutorial.

Combining prints and colours is one of my favourite design decisions to make. I love mixing prints and combining unexpected colours – that’s why I love the Clara Sleep Mask Pattern. Not only does it let you use up all the small scraps you’ve been holding onto all of these years (yes, I’m talking to you!), but it also lets you experiment with different colour and pattern mixes!

I was so excited when Spoonflower approached me about working on a “Very DIY Wedding” tutorial. I love Spoonflower because their choice of prints is endless. And you know me, I love a good print. I wanted to create something that a bride could gift to her bridal party, and customize to each persons specific personality. I thought back to my wedding and how each of my bridesmaids were so different and unique – I loved the idea of creating a “set” of something that is also personalized to each bridal party member. I’m not sure about you, but prints speak to me, and in each of these I thought, “Oh, this one is definitely an Abbey (or Amanda, or Pam).”

You can head on over to the Spoonflower blog to view my step-by-step tutorial on how to make a Clara Sleep Mask. The template is available for download on Spoonflower, or Here on my site.

Just a quick note about printing, and this goes for all printable sewing patterns. Make sure you’ve selected “No Scaling” and “Auto Portrait/Landscape” To ensure your pattern prints right the first time.

For my project, I used Spoonflower’s Fill a Yard 2-yard cheater quilt in Cotton Sateen. Sateen is one of my favourite fabrics for sleep masks as it is easy to work with and has just a slight sheen. I paired each of the prints with scraps of silk charmeuse (backed with interfacing) from my own stash.

I wanted to select floral prints that incorporated some modern elements, and contained shades of blush, and grey-blue/green. I went through some of my favourite prints and created a collection, and from there filled up my cheater quilt with 8 different prints. You can see the prints I used here!

Even after making these with self lining (they are reversible!) I had a plenty of each print left over to make a little gift bag, and the rest is now at home in my quilt box.

Thanks again to Spoonflower for this fun project!

 

Anouk Swimsuit Add-On Tutorial

New Items, Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial

I’m in swimsuit mode this summer, despite the not-so-sunny weather. It’s been a pretty cool and really rainy summer so far, but I guess it’s still early!

I’ve just finished up a free add-on tutorial for my Anouk Bodysuit. This 25-page tutorial will show you how to sew the Anouk Bodysuit as a swimsuit! 

The tutorial includes instructions on how to sew a fully lined Anouk Swimsuit, with elastic stabilized bindings and straps.

This tutorial does not go over the ballet-wrap variation, but the technique is essentially the same – just instead of sewing a centre front seam, you finish the neckline edges with binding, then overlap down the centre front, just like directed in the Bodysuit Instructions.

There are also various ways you can tie the straps!

I really like the straps on this. I can’t wear halter straps – the weight of my boobs on my neck causes migraines. I know I’m not alone in this! This swimsuit eliminates that issue. You can criss-cross the straps in the back or front, or just do straight shoulder straps. They then connect at the centre back.

This swimsuit also has underbust elastic. I can’t wear a one piece without it, I just don’t find it comfortable. However, if you are more petite in the bust-area, you can omit that step!

This swimsuit utilizes similar techniques as my recent Cindy tutorial, so those videos make for a great reference, in addition to my tutorial.

You can download the tutorial Add-On HERE and you can purchase the Anouk Bodysuit Pattern HERE.

Video Tutorial: Ava Swimsuit Bottoms

Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial, Videos

The Ava Pattern is my favourite pattern to use for making bikini bottoms. I find the cut to be comfortable and flattering on my figure. Perfect for chasing toddlers around on the beach, or just a more retro vibe.

 

In this short video tutorial I’ll show you how to sew the Ava Pattern as a swimsuit bottom. It’s very simple, but I use some different techniques to finish the waist and legline so it looks less lingerie and more beach.

You’ll need a couple different supplies. First of all, you’ll need swim-appropriate fabric, so something like a nylon spandex/lycra blend is ideal. In my Cindy Bikini Post, I outline some places to buy swimsuit fabric. You’ll also need swimsuit lining, in the same yardage as your exterior fabric.

You’ll also need swim elastic, so something that is chlorine resistant, though really almost any plain elastic will do. Just looking for something 1/4″-3/8″ wide. The elastic is not visible on the finished garment, but I try to get something that coordinates with my exterior fabric – white for light coloured bathing suits and black for darker fabrics. I also use a twin needle. I’ve used the Ava Pattern for my swimsuit, but really any panty pattern you like should work!

Here’s the Tutorial! Subscribe to my channel to be the first to see new videos.

Share your makes with me on Instagram, use the hashtag #OLSBikini so I can see them!

Pattern Hack: Strappy Cindy Bikini Top with Underwire

Sewing Patterns, swimwear, Tutorial, Videos

Looking for a weekend summer sewing project? I’ve got just the thing for you!

I made one of these bikinis last summer and I wore it SO often to the beach with Isabel. We are lucky to have a nice sandy beach just down the road and we spend a lot of time down there (not so much this rainy summer though!).

I used my Cindy Pattern to make this bikini top. My Cindy Pattern is a fairly simple to sew underwire bra with full coverage through the cups and a long-line band. This bra is designed to be sewn with stretch fabric through the cups. It’s a personal preference of mine, I’m not a big fan of foam or rigid cups. I like a softer fit and look.

I altered the pattern just slightly by omitting the centre back pattern pieces and cutting off the “tabs” on the upper cups.

I love this pattern as a bikini top because it is supportive and offers coverage while still being stylish and a little sexy.

You’ll need the same basic materials as you would if you were sewing the top as a bra, but with a couple of substitutions. You’ll need swimsuit fabric – so a fabric that is normally a nylon / spandex / lycra blend. You’ll also need swimsuit lining – I use it to line the cups. The band is lined in power mesh.  Get a little bit of extra fabric to use as your binding and straps. I also use some rubber swim elastic, but pretty much any plain elastic will do! Look for something 3/8″ or narrower.

I’ve decided to offer this tutorial in a two part video series on my YouTube Channel. It’s quite long, with each part being about 30 minutes.

My local Fabricland sells an assortment of swimsuit fabric and some lining, but I find they tend to be pretty expensive. The Sport Lycra from Spoonflower (which I used here) is amazing and comes in endless prints. I’m pretty sure Fabric.com also has an assortment of swimwear fabrics. Spandex World is also a great resource, though if you’re in Canada, shipping can be expensive. I also always recommend supporting Etsy sellers!

Here is Part 1 of the tutorial:

And Part 2:

In this video series, I show you how to sew self-binding with encased elastic. I like this finish for swimwear as it provides some extra stability to your openings, and when top stitched with a twin needle, gives a professional finish. These finishes and techniques  can easily be applied to other sewing patterns too!

I was excited to take some of these pictures in my very lush back yard and newly decorated back porch.  The previous owner of our house did an amazing job landscaping. Other than maintenance, there’s not much to do with our yard. It’s a gardeners delight. Isabel loves to run around the paths and play explorer. Just last weekend Dan and I spent some time putting up some curtains, lights and other bits and bobs in the back porch. When I first saw this house it’s part of why I fell in love with it. It feels like my very own cottage.

Valentine’s Sew Along: A Garter Belt Two Ways

Tutorial, Valentine's Day Sew Along

This post is going to wrap up the construction of our three-piece set. I’m going to go through some tips on both the Mina and Cora garter belts. The Mina is my favourite garter belt pattern. It’s got simple, classic lines. The Cora is available as a free tutorial, and is very quick to put together. There is also a paid version which comes with a few different variations.

Which ever belt you choose, you’ll need to start by making 4 adjustable garter straps.

I’ve got a handy video on my youtube channel that will walk you through how to assemble these. It is basically the same as assembling a bra strap, except you use a garter clip instead of a ring.

For my Mina Garter Belt, I used satin strap elastic along the waist band in stead of band elastic. Because there is 1/2″ seam allowance included on the waistline, I began by trimming that back by 1/2″

From there, I used a twin needle to attach the elastic directly to the right side of the garment. You could also use a tight zig-zag stitch. I like the way this turned out – it really coordinated it with the rest of the set.

I have a video on YouTube about sewing band elastic. While the video is about bras, the same techniques can be applied to the garterbelt.

The assembly and finishing of this garter belt is quite easy. The lower curved edges get finished with fold over elastic. Don’t pull the elastic too tight here – it should basically just act as a binding.

The back closes with a standard hook and eye closure.

Attaching the garter straps is quite easy. Place the strap against the strap extension with the right sides together. Stitch in place using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to backtack since this is a point of stress.  Fold the seam allowance under, and top stitch using a tight zig-zag stitch, again being sure to back tack.

I find the Mina Garter Belt to be more flattering on my shape. I’m quite soft through the waist and hips, so this belt maintains a smoother line on me than the Cora does.

I’m not going to go into too much depth on the Cora Variation, since the tutorial for this style is available for Free Download.

There is no scientific method to determine how big the lace insert should be. Simply place the garter belt over the lace and see what works best!

My lace triangles ended up being about 3.5″ long/high. This length was too long to work on the back because of how close the closure/adjustable portion is to the centre back, so I only did the lace on the front. However, if you were to make these smaller and/or sew the belt without the adjustable back, you could do the lace detail on both the front and the back.

That’s it! Our three piece sets are complete!

If you’d like to share your make with me, please send me an email (sarah @ ohhhlulu.com) with your photos and any links, and I’ll share them in a round-up post!

Thanks for sewing a long with me.

 

Valentine’s Sew Along: Bra Straps & Closure

Tutorial, Valentine's Day Sew Along, Videos

Now that the bra is basically assembled, it’s a great opportunity to “try it on”. Pull it on around you, like you normally would. It should fit snug with a small gap at the centre back where the closure will get applied. If you find you have some overlapping fabric, trim it back a bit.

Make sure that both sides of your Centre Back are the same length. Cut a strip of hook and eye tape about the same length as your Centre Back edge. Cut it so that you have some space between the cut edge and the first and last hook/eye.

With the tape left open, baste the hook side of the tape onto the inside of the righthand side of the bra. The hooks should be facing towards the inside of the garment. You might want to use a zipper foot here. I find that my regular foot is sufficient. I just move my needle into the right-most position.

Once that is basted on, fold the tape so that it is encasing the raw Center Back Edge, and top stitch down.

You do a very similar process on the other side with the “eye” side of the tape. Baste it on to the lefthand side of the bra so that the “eyes” are facing up. Then, fold the tape back down to bind that Centre Back Edge and top stitch in place. I use a tight, narrow zig-zag stitch to “seal” the upper and lower edge of the tape.

There are instructions in the pattern on how to assemble bra straps, but if you’re having any trouble, here is a step by step video:

Here is how I attach my bra straps:

I pin the strap so that the plush side of the strap is facing the inside of the bra. The strap is facing down. I do a row of stitching to anchor the strap in place.

I then fold the strap up, and to another row of stitching, with lots of back tacking to anchor it securely in place. This method hides the raw edge nicely so the strap area is not scratchy. I have sensitive skin, so if there is any slightly scratchy bit, I end up with a nasty rash. I’ve found this is the best way for me to finish the front strap.

On the back, I do a tight row of zig-zag stitching PLUS a row of straight stitching as close to the upper edge of the lace as possible, then trim back any excess strap elastic. I make sure to stitch the strap onto the elastic edging as that is the most stable part.

That’s it! That’s the Jasmine Bra, sewn in lace with a sheer lining and long-line band. Was there any step that you had trouble with that you need any more clarification on?

The next steps are going to be the Garter Belt portion. Just a reminder that I’ll be showing you two different garter belts. There’s the FREE Cora garter belt pattern, or the Mina Pattern (my personal fav!).

Valentine’s Sew Along: Adding a Longline Band to the Jasmine Bra

Tutorial, Valentine's Day Sew Along, Videos

Now that we have assembled the body of our Jasmine Bra, we can add the longline lace band, and band elastic.

To do this, simply cut a length of lace just slightly less long than your bra. I then cut my lace so that it was only about 2-3″ high.

With the right sides together, sew the new lace band to the lower edge of the bra. I use a zig-zag stitch so the garment retains it’s stretch.

I’m using a 3/4″ band elastic here, but you can use any width you prefer.

Place the band elastic so the plush side is facing up and the decorative edge is running along side your stitching line. Use a zig-zag stitch to apply the elastic along the seam allowance of the bra band. Gently pull on the elastic as you stitch it in place. This creates a snug fit under the bust.

Trim back any excess fabric that extends beyond your stitching line.

Fold your band elastic up so that it is covering the seam allowance. Use a multi-step zig-zag stitch to top stitch in place. You’ll be stitching through your elastic, as well as the lined portion of the bra.

For those of you who prefer to follow along with a video, this one is for you!

Valentine’s Sew Along: Assembling the Jasmine Bra

Tutorial, Valentine's Day Sew Along, Videos

Once again, I planned on posting this yesterday then yesterday went by in a flash! But, this part of the sew along goes by fast, I promise!

I line my bras in one step so that the lining is anchored to the exterior fabric. I do it this way because it prevents slipping between the two layers, and once you get a hang of the technique, it makes lining a bra so fast!

In one of the first steps, I went over how to cut scalloped lace. Just a reminder that you need to trim your lining back by about 1/4″ along the neckline edge.

Begin by taking your Side Front Lace piece and place it so that the right side is facing up. Lay your Centre Front Lace piece on top so that the right sides are facing. You may want to baste these together along the curved cup seam at this point.

On top of that, place the Centre Front Lining on top of the Centre Front Lace piece (wrong sides are facing). Then, with the right sides of the lining facing each other, lay the Side Front Lining on top of that. Stitch together down the curved seam.

When you open up your layers, the cup is nicely lined in one action.

Pin the Band to the Side Front, and stitch in place.

If you are finding this  a bit confusing, this video will likely clear things up for you.

At this point, I take a length of plain old 3/8″ elastic, and use a multi-step zig-zag stitch to sew it to the wrong side each half of the bra along the upper edge. The elastic should run on top of the lining to anchor it to the bra. Make sure the elastic does not extend beyond the scalloped edge of the elastic. Gently pull on the elastic as you stitch it on to contour the upper edge.

Once the neckline elastic is applied to both halves of the bra, pin it together down the centre front and stitch in place.

If you’d like more insight on how to add elastic along the upper edge, this video will walk you through in even more detail.

Valentine’s Sew Along: Finishing the Waistline with Elastic

Tutorial, Valentine's Day Sew Along, Videos

Sorry it’s taken me a bit to post this next quick and easy step. I’ve been overloaded with Valentine’s orders! But here I am with the last step of the panties. After this, we will start on the bra.

This part is easy. We’re just going to finish the waist edge with fold over elastic. I’d recommend just trying them one one last time to make sure the fit is exactly how you want them.

The elastic here should not gather or pull in the waist line too much. It should just create a nice snug edge. The panties themselves are fitted, so the elastic edging just creates that extra bit of stability around the top.

Starting from the inside of the garment, find the approximate side-point of the waistline. This is where we will start applying the elastic. Use a zig-zag stitch to “baste” it on. The foldine of the elastic should run alongside the raw edge of the waist. I have a super easy way of joining my elastic into a continuous loop, which you can read about HERE. I don’t like to sew it into a loop first, then apply – I prefer to fold the raw edge under and cover it with a tight row of zig-zag stitches. This is just a personal preference! No one way is better than the other.

Once the elastic is “basted” on, trim back any excess fabric that extends beyond the stitching line. Fold the elastic along the fold line, so that the elastic is essentially binding the waist edge, and top stitch in place using a zig-zag stitch.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, please checkout this how-to video. Otherwise, there are lots of details in the pattern instructions!