Fun with Sewing Lingerie> DIY Sexy Things

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Saturday mornings I like to wake up and lazily lie in bed looking through Instagram (I know I’m not the only one who does this!) Ending up in a rabbit-trail of awesome retro-inspired and creative lingerie posts, I was inspired to set out and create my own sexy DIY lingerie. Not only because I rarely have the budget to purchase lingerie, or because I’m hard-to-fit due to my curvy endowment, but because I thought making my own creation would be so much more fun!

Using some sheer, stretchy polyester I had on hand combined with small bits and pieces of scraps from other projects – a little cotton, black satin ribbon, elastic & lace elastic, fuzzy leopard print, black and white striped t-shirt material, and a vintage rhinestone button to top it all off with – all the makings for an awesome girly, one-of-a-kind lingerie were hanging out in my sewing box. The sheer polyester I’d nabbed from the LA fabric district when on the hunt to recreate a favorite ’60s vintage babydoll. I’ve had a bit of a challenge finding the right fabric to fit the bill, and even this sheer aqua isnt’ quite right (it snags easily and is lacking body) but it’s good enough for some trial-run projects.

In the process of creating this DIY babydoll I had tons of fun! I loved how much imagination and creativity I could use because 1.) The garment isn’t very big and 2.) It will only be worn in the bedroom. Follow along on my fun, creative process…

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Setting out on creating something sexy, whimsical, fun, and frouncy I kind of just combined elements I had on hand until I found something I liked. For the top part I used a bra of mine to rough-out a three-piece pattern for the boob cups (I don’t know any better way to put it… but “boob cups” sound kind of fun!) I decided the lower part of the cups should be cotton to provide stability and a hopeful lift to the gals. I was a little afraid that the white cotton would be too “innocent”, but in the end product I’m really glad I used it.

Pairing the lower white cotton boob cups with a sheer fabric for the top – cutting it lower then my bra, as this is after all for sexy time! I used a small ruffle made from 1″ strips of the sheer aqua fabric to finish the top of the cups off. Then next, I’ve been lusting after the new Dita Von Teese lingerie line, particularly the ones with the strappy parts, and thought I’d try adding my own take on that by using some black ribbon I had lying around.

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For the lower skirt part I wanted plenty of frounce – oftentimes the “one size fits all” lingerie that I can afford is at it’s most-stretched version for my body – so having tons of extra fabric just seems like a luxury to me. I measured out what I thought would provide enough material for fullness… then I doubled it. Since this sheer fabric doesn’t hem well, I thought finishing off the bottom with a ruffle was the best idea. Again, using some knit material I had on hand and cutting along it’s stripes – I gathered the t-shirt knit on one side before sewing onto the sheer skirt.

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This step took awhile, due to the lengths of fabric I was using, and it actually made this project more than just the few hour one I had been planning on. Instead of having something ready to wear that evening I had to wait until the next day… but it was SO worth it. I can be sort of an impulsive sewer, always wanting projects done quickly in time to wear to something that I didn’t plan enough ahead for. I’ve been trying to learn to take my time and invest more in my projects, stepping up my skills a notch – choosing to stick with the massive length of fabric for the skirt was a small lesson in that.

After the lower ruffle was on, the skirt needed to be gathered before attaching it to the elastic which would land at the top of my ribcage. Since I was sewing directly onto the elastic, rather than making a casing, I had to lay out and pin to ensure the fabric bulk was getting distributed evenly.

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Once the skirt part was elasticized, I attached the boob cups I’d made right onto it at the inner edge. Next I had to decide exactly how I wanted to do the straps. Some fuzzy leopard print was peeking out of my fabric stack and calling to me. With the black polka dots, sheer aqua, white cotton, striped ruffle… wouldn’t adding leopard print be a bit too much? After debating it in my head for a moment I asked myself, “What would Betsey Johnson do?” Add leopard print was the answer!

Spagetti straps may be good for less-curvy gals… but my boob cups require something with a little more sustenance! The leopard print material ended up having a great stretch to it, as well as it’s fuzzy softness, for making straps out of. I sewed one on and tried it on for size. The strap ended up being way too long and the gals up front weren’t feeling supported at all. So I shortened the straps by crossing them over in the back instead. Once that was done the cup part needed to be tacked to the black ribbon bit a couple inches up from the middle – this provided the extra support I was looking for.

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Last, but not least, my opinion is a bow belongs on just about anything so I certainly needed one on my sexy little babydoll. At this point I was loving the leopard print so much I wanted to include more of it… perfect solution! On went the leopard print bow and to flourish it all off I had a fabulous vintage rhinestone button that went smack dab in the middle. It’s all in the details, right?!

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The only thing I needed now was a matching pair of undies. Forgoing the idea of a home-made thong, I turned to my vintage panties pattern from a previous project. The ones I’d made for Valentine’s Day had ended up being a tad big – but I was pretty sure I had a simple solution to fix it. Using inspiration from Bullets and Bees (her Etsy shop is great!) I deleted the side-seam of my panty pattern and overlapped the too-big pattern I used last time, taking up about 2″ out of both the front and back pattern pieces. Next I just eyeballed how much of a coordinating fabric I wanted in front, using the black/white strip t-shirt fabric coordinating with the ruffle. Then the back was the sheer aqua and it all came together with black lace elastic.

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In previous attempts I haven’t stretched the elastic enough while sewing, fearing the ever-dreaded butt cheek underwear dig-in, so this time I stretched the elastic to near full-stretch when sewing it on my undies. I was pleasently surprised when I slipped these on, they couldn’t fit better! More reinforcement that sometimes you’ve just got to stick with something long enough if you want to get it right. In making my own panty pattern, each of the now five pairs I’ve made has just been a little bit better each time – and I think with these I finally struck gold!

All-in-all this lingerie sewing project was super fun! I loved that I got to put my own personality and craftiness into making my sexy things! Not saying that I still wouldn’t LOVE buying some items from my favorite retro-y lingerie places like LucyB or Secrets in Lace… but I think I’ll be taking this victory and finally trying to draft my own bra pattern. Now just to find supplies…

Happy Trails,

Kristin

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