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Make Your Own Lingerie: Where To Start?

Sewing Materials

Most of us addicts work on a budget, and even though we’d love to devote entire pay checks to our lingerie collections, spending that much money is not a practical decision. So how can you help cut that cost while still adding beautiful and unique pieces to your wardrobe? Make your own! Not only will you be saving money by avoiding overhead costs that are factored in for retail sales, your garments will have a customized fit.

In this monthly column, we will go over an array of topics that will help spice up your wardrobe. These articles will include making lingerie from store bought patterns, altering patterns, drafting patterns, revamping old lingerie and proper lingerie sewing techniques. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by this idea, don’t be. You do not need any sewing experience to start these projects. We will start with very simple patterns and work our way up to more complex projects. There will be pictures detailing every step of the way.

If you would like to join in, here is a list of supplies that I would recommend having on hand.

1)     Pack of sewing needles

2)     Thread

3)     Tracing Paper

4)     Tracing Wheel

5)     Shears

6)     Snips

7)     Pin Cushion

8)     Pins

9)     Seam Ripper

10)  Tailors Chalk

11) A few Packages of Bias Tape

12)  2-4 Yards Woven Fabric

13)  2-4 Yards Knit Fabric

14)  1-2 Yards Lace

15)  1-2 Yards Stretch Lace

16)  2-5 Yards Satin Ribbon

17)  2-5 Yards Lace Trim

17)  2-5 Yards Elastic

18)  2-5 Yards Lingerie Elastic

You can find fabric and trims at the following online stores:

1)     NY Fashion Center – Beautiful collections of silk, cotton, and polyester in a wide variety of colors.

2)     Mood Fabric – Designer fabrics, a wide variety of print, color and fiber

3)     Spoonflower – Custom patterns from various indie designers. Can be printed on a variety of cotton and silk fabrics.

If you are at the beginner level, I highly recommend purchasing The Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. This book has very easy to read and understand information and directions. I recommend reading up to page 91, and practicing the seams.

Next Month we will start working on some basic loungewear using Simplicity Pattern 1561, focusing on patterns D (top), E (chemise) and H (shorts). Use the chart on the back to determine how much fabric you will need for each of the patterns. You will also need to purchase 1/4" wide Elastic and 1" wide Bias Tape.

Tulip Noire

Philadelphia based. Lover of Fashion, Lingerie, Comic Books, and Fairy Tales. Instagram: @tulip.noire

23 Comments on this post

  1. Tia says:

    This is wonderful! I’m currently a sophomore in college on a budget in the process of learning how to sew. Thank you for writing this. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own lingerie pieces! I’m so excited!

  2. sierra says:

    Thank yu so much for this ! Finally I can have affordable ethically made underhings ! Looking forward to the lounge ware article

    • Tulip Noire says:

      Mass manufacturing can be a huge problem and not one that simply resides in garment industry. One of the biggest perks of making your own items is that you can control all of the elements going into what you wear. If your looking for an ethical fabric company has many fair trade and organic options!

  3. Kelly says:

    This is great! But waiting a whole month, that is sad. Oh the anticipation!
    I would also be interested in learning to make nice high waisted knickers, with cutouts. And slips that have some support for larger busts (so darts?). Oh and tap pants, of course.

  4. Been wanting to make my own line of lingerie for years and am totally thrilled to come across this post. Heaven sent!

    • Tulip Noire says:

      This will be a good place to start, so that you can learn the basics, but if you want to start your own line I would look into DeMontfort University’s short courses. DMU is a leader in training individuals to enter the lingerie industry and their short courses are accessibly priced.

  5. Emma says:

    This is so fabulously exciting! I’ve been looking for a good place to start with learning to sew, and lingerie seems perfect for me, since if I make something that doesn’t look quite perfect, I can still wear it under my clothes and get a ton of use out of it. I can’t wait for this column!!!

    • Tulip Noire says:

      I hadn’t actually thought about the fact that if your undergarments don’t come out quite as expected you can still get some use out of them. That’s a wonderful outlook!

  6. Megan says:

    Thank you so much for taking on this project. I’m very new to sewing and would love to be able to make my own clothes – especially lovely lingerie and sleep ware! I like the pattern you chose for the first project. I’d also be interested in learning to make panties, kimono style robes, silk chemises, and garters. And maybe someday corsets!
    I’d also be interested in learning how to alter existing lingerie to make it fit better.

    • Tulip Noire says:

      The next “Make Your Own” installment will include a chemise. If you would like to use silk i would recommend a non-stretch charmeuse. I will make sure to incorporate the other topics you are interested in as well!

  7. Roxann says:

    Hi great sew along! Are you doing corsets too?

    • Tulip Noire says:

      In this column we will be starting with basics and moving our way up to more complex undergarments. So yes, I will be going over making your own corset, but it may not be for sometime. If your interested in diving into the world of corsetry right away I would highly recommend looking at Foundations Revealed or Sew Curvy.

  8. Trish says:

    Oh, I’m so excited! I have been trying to teach myself to sew and I want to make my own lingerie. I have a kit from Charm & Laundry for panties, it has everything you need in it. The directions were a little confusing for a complete beginner but I figured it out. I’m still working on the final product. I look forward to your future posts.

    • Tulip Noire says:

      Directions can be a bit confusing if your just starting out. Most kits assume that you at least have a base knowledge of the terminology used in sewing. I highly recommend reading The Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (or something similar), just so that you can familiarize yourself with the terminology. There are other books out there that are specific to lingerie such as Sewing Lingerie by Singer. This book is currently out of print but you can find very inexpensive used copies on Amazon. I purchased this book when I first started making my own lingerie, and while the styles are out of date the techniques are still relevant.

      • Rachel says:

        Thanks for the recommendation. I just bought Sewing Lingerie by Singer from Amazon for $6. There’s a bunch more copies available for <$10.

  9. Shannon says:

    This is perfect, I’m really looking forward to this column. I’ve been thinking more and more recently about learning to sew specifically so that I can start making lingerie for myself. How serendipitous!

  10. Rachel says:

    ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! I started taking sewing lessons last year FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE of one day sewing my own lingerie! So far, I’ve made a few skirts and dresses and whatnot, and I’m already planning to focus on something simple like camisoles or panties once I finish my current project. AND HERE YOU ARE SPECIFICALLY BLOGGING ABOUT THIS VERY TOPIC?! I could not be more thrilled if I tried!

    • Tulip Noire says:

      Yes, I will be blogging exclusively about making your own lingerie! If there is anything specific that you would like try feel free to leave a request in the comments.

      • April says:

        I can’t seem to find any more posts by you about sewing your own lingerie….am I missing something? I’m so excited to learn!

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