I need your HELP

January 1, 2012

Hi all and happy new year! My resolution this year is to start making my own bras and matching underwear. I have no experience in this type of sewing at all and I am hoping some of you can recommend any patterns and sewing books/guides that you have found useful. I’m a huge 1950’s fan so I am interested in making my own full briefs and perhaps garter belts. I like long line bras but want to make something not too pointy. But anything that you can recommend would be useful – I’m sure if I can get the basics down pat first then I can progress to more retro styles.
Thanks in advance for your help!

  1. I’ve found a couple briefs patterns online (etsy) and also in local shops. If you search for “full brief” or “underwear” patterns, and weed through them, you’ll be sure to find a full brief pattern from at least the 1960s. Most of them are designed to be used with nylon tricot, so if you choose to go that way, spray starch the heck out of it. I find it rolls so much I can’t do anything with it unless it’s starched stiff! 🙂 Underwear is pretty easy to sew, even without a serger, so I’m sure you’ll do fine with that.

    As far as bras, though, I’m not sure. The only pattern I’ve seen is this , and I’m sure it would need a lot of fitting for anyone who’s not a B-cup with those exact measurements.

  2. I started experimenting with underwear sewing last year. I only tried one pattern for knickers – Kwik Sew 2100 is my perfect pattern. The leg openings are fairly low-cut and there are three options for how high you want the waist. Not a long line bra, but: I really like Kwik Sew 3594 with the cups made non-stretch and added underwire. It’s pointier than bras usually are now, but nothing like a bullet bra – for me it’s a happy medium.
    Both these patterns are made for nylon tricot, so if you use another fabric, you may need to change the size. I go down one or two sizes for softer material in the knickers, and up one cup size when I made the cup non-stretchy.

  3. Anna here, of Mrs. Depew Vintage. I have heard your call and I’m here to help! I thought of just such an event when I put together the Compendium of Lingerie Patterns on my blog A Few Threads Loose. It’s a collection of vintage lingerie patterns both digital and paper, where you can buy them, and for how much.

    Also, I have been working on a massive project to digitize my unbelievable personal collection of vintage lingerie patterns and many of them are available here:

    For lingerie sewing techniques, the best I can recommend is online. Bloggers (including myself) seem to have covered more online in tips and tricks than any one book I have found, (and I have read them them all).
    But here are a couple of suggested reads:
    Pretty Pretties- 1940’s lingerie sewing handbook in pdf:

    “Everything about Sewing Lingerie and Lounge-wear” by Vogue Patterns
    (try amazon for that one, it was published in the 70’s and covers your more modern lingerie fabrics)

    And of course, since this is my favorite sewing topic, please feel free to email me at with any questions, I would be happy to help! Good luck with your resolution (it will be fun!) and Happy new Year!

  4. If you want to learn to draft and make lingerie I recommend subcribing to Foundations Revealed. They have a great set of tutorials about it and it’s a fairly retro take on lingerie.

  5. Anne St Clair travels and teaches bra making classes. A friend of mine took a class and loved it.

  6. Also, I just picked up the latest edition of Burda Style magazine and it has a lovely looking pattern for a bustier type bra and high-waisted pantie.

  7. I made a resolution about 6 months ago to never buy undies again. This sent me on an epic pattern search. I found that Kwick Sew and Stretch and Sew both have excellent vintage pantie and girdle patterns. Easy to use and pretty easy to find poking around ebay or etsy.

  8. I’ve been sewing panties with Kwik Sew 2908. It’s in the current catalog, but previous versions of the pattern can be found for less on Etsy. The nice thing about the current version is it includes 4 styles: briefs, bikini, bikini w/lace insert and a thong. Kwik sew patterns also include all sizes so I can sew for my daughters with the same pattern. Just be sure to trace your size (wax paper & a tracing wheel work great) Fit is nearly guaranteed with Kwik Sew and my very first pair turned turned out perfect. No alterations necessary. No serger required just a standard zig zag stitch. Have fun and don’t be afraid to give it a whirl. You’ll love creating your new pantie wardrobe.

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