While preparing the digital verson of the Balcony bra in my shop at the Etsy platform I realised it had a quite interesting challenge in the sewing procedure. At midfront the band is made of plain lycra while the rest of the band is made of scalloped lace. How to add elastic at the bottom when each fabric needs another technique? To clearify this in the pattern instructions I made step-by-step illustrations,but of course these can be used for other comparable occasions as well. So I’ll share this with you all here too!
In this designer sample of the Balcony bra the lace scallops at the bottom are not so clearly visible but I’m sure you’ll understand the meaning. The bra was sewn years ago when I was developing the design, just to make sure the pattern would be exactly as required. At the time I had no idea it would be used here, surely I would have choosen lace with more defined scallops. Although I do love the lace, both colors and design …
Maybe the detail in the illustration for the Balcony bra is more clear? Anyway, let’s return to the technical challenge how to add elastic in these totally different materials. The scalloped lace is selvedged at the scallops where the elastic will be. The lycra however needs a seam allowance to fix the elastic. When they are sewn together to complete the band (right under the cups in the picture) this lycra seam allowance will stick out compared to the the scalloped selvedge. How and in what order must the elastic be sewn?
First step is to make the bottom edges even. Spread out the band with the right side up. Measure the elastic about 10% short off the length of the band. Find the middle of the elastic and pin this on the midfront of the lycra bridge on the seam allowance. Those lovely picots must be pointing towards the fabric. Under the bust the elastic must be pretty tight to keep the cups in place. So firmly stretch the elastic and pin the elastic at both ends of the bridge. Stitch along the picots with a zigzag stitch and flip the band with the wrong side up.
NOTE; when using this technique at onther spot you don’t need to stretch so firmly, that’s only needed at the bottom of the band!
Turn the seam allowance + elastic to the wrong side and pin this on the bridge to keep all in place. The zigzag stitching will be invisible at the right side. Now both lace and lycra at the bottom of the band are leveled, Stitch the elastic behind the scallops with the same zigzag stitch while stretching the elastic firmly. Double up the stitching beside the bridge to secure it. Make sure you do NOT stitch through the bridge as well because this will show at the right side.
Last step is to stitch along the other length of the elastic while stretching the elastic flat. The best way is to use the ‘one stitch in – one stitch out’ method, meaning one side of the stitching is just beside the elastic and the other side is in the elastic itself. With this method you can hardly feel the transition from elastic to fabric which might irritate the skin when the stitching is less carefull, specially when the elastic is this tight.
Unfortunately this last stitching will not be invisible at the right side of the lycra like the first stitching did. Usually any stitchings are hardly visible on lace, one of the reasons this material is so popular in lingerie where a lot of stitching is required.
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