How to Plan a Lingerie Project in 6 STEPS

Do you also get overwhelmed sometimes when working on a new bra or other lingerie? All these tiny details … it can be hard at times to get a grip on it. That’s why I’ve developed a practical guide to STRUCTURE a DIY lingerie project in 6 STEPS and it is now available in the Merckwaerdigh  shop on platform Etsy!

But what is this new Lingerie Project Planner all about you might wonder?
It is a whole new concept specially set up for the lingerie hobby seamstress, just to make the sewing life a bit easier. You can use it to try out a new pattern you bought or when you like to make some changes to pattern you used before or even when you got tempted to work on an idea in your head; the planner will help to bring some structure in the whole process by breaking it down in several smaller steps.

The Lingerie Project Planner is divided into 6 steps :

  • Sketch
  • Measurements
  • Pattern
  • Materials
  • Sewing
  • Fitting

Each step in the planner comes with loads of information and tips and at the end of the planner are easy to use WORKSHEETS for every of the 6 steps. You can print them over and over again for each project you work on! Let’s have a closer look at each of the 6 steps.

Step 1 : Sketch
Any project starts with an idea you want to make. A sketch is the visualisation of your idea.
Basically there are 2 different types of sketches:

  • Impression sketch
    This is a colored impression of what you want to sew. It can be an existing photo or drawing you’ve seen somewhere that inspires you. Or you might sketch it yourself and with the worksheet you could make a few different color options to help you make a final choice in fabrics.
  • Technical sketch
    Here are all the technical details in black and white. Where are the seams located and how do they run, is there any boning or underwire, you could even add notes what kind of trimming and stitches to use. It’s almost a mini-version of the pattern!

If you draw the sketches yourself you can combine the impression and technical sketch because it just has to be clear only to you. In the industry the purpose of technical sketches is to communicate with third parties so the sketches have to be very  precise. But still, even for yourself a technical sketch helps to get a better understanding of what you’re getting into.
There is a sketch template for the skinny ones among us and a template for the fuller ones so you can relate to either one. It shows a woman at front, from the side and at the back. Only use the one from the side if there is an unusual detail in that area. The templates show dotted lines to help indicate important locations.

Beside the sketch templates the Lingerie Project Planner has another sketch worksheet :
the Details Description Worksheet. It’s a kind of multiple choice checklist to cover every element you should think about when you start your lingerie project. There is a list for lingerie in general and another list for a bra because a bra has even more details to consider. The example below was made to match the sketch of the green panty above.
All these details will also be a great help to define on forehand the level of difficulty in a design you see somewhere; can I do this or is it a bit out of my league?

Step 2 : Measurements
There’s all kind of lingerie and you would think to need a lot of different measurements for a right fit. This is true when you are able to draft your own pattern and the measurements worksheet shows illustrated lists for you to write these down.
The industry though made up standard ranges so if you use a ready-bought sewing pattern you would only need to take 4 measurements :

  1. full bust
  2. underbust
  3. waist
  4. hips

In the Lingerie Project Planner are lots of TIPS how to measure correctly and what you could do if you don’t exactly fit in the charts. Another consideration;
most charts are based on 168cm full body height.
Since most lingerie items don’t cover the full body this doesn’t have to be a problem. But just in case : the Lingerie Project Planner on Etsy includes a separate file for adjustments in height.
The measurements worksheet below is used for the green panty in the sketch chapter.

Step 3 : Pattern
Pattern parts for lingerie can sometimes be quite small and easily get lost. Beside storing them safely in a folder or grip bag you can make a list in the pattern worksheet of all the parts + the dimensions. This will be a great help when it comes to shopping for fabrics!
Don’t forget to double up what you’ve measured because patterns are usually drafted as half patterns!
In a second list on the pattern worksheet you can write down which pieces are from the same fabric and what the totall is of their dimensions. This makes shopping so much easier!
Whenever you want to reuse the same pattern in another fabric combination you can now easily make a new calculation for that idea.

Another very helpful step is to create a pattern overview. Just lay out all the pieces in the way they connect to each other beside the picture or sketch of your project and simply take a photo to add to the pattern worksheet. This will give you more grip of what you are making and easy to check of all the pieces you need are still there.

Step 4 : Materials
The materials worksheet is in fact your shopping list!
You can take it with you on your hunt and add a small swatch of what you bought. Usually you will not find it all in one trip so next time you have an overview of what is already there and the matching items you still need.

  • For fabrics you’ll use you’ve already figured out an amount for each fabric on the pattern worksheet. You should add a some extra for seam allowances and for large motives if there are any in your fabric. Write this new amount down on the materials worksheet.
  • For notions like elastics you have to measure along your pattern parts. Add some extra to make a test how the elastic works together with the fabric.
    Don’t forget to double up what you’ve measured because patterns are usually drafted as half patterns!
    Write down all the small things, there are often many different ones in lingerie. How frustrating if you can’t finish up because of just one tiny little component!

Step 5 : Sewing
Before you can start sewing make sure all you need is present. And when you will use the modern stretch fabrics test your scissors and pins because some metals are a bit sticky in combination with stretch fibers.
Ready-bought sewing patterns usually come with assembling instructions. It could still be worth it to write this sewing order in keywords on the worksheet. It’s quicker to consult when you get stuck somewhere in the process.
If you draft your own patterns you should make a list of the sewing order before you start sewing.

Step 6 : Fitting
Try to have some fitting sessions in between the sewing stages so you can detect any problems early in the process. Even when you use the same pattern again; with different material the lingerie might turn out too loose or too tight. There are several areas you should check carefully.
The areas for lingerie in general are indicated in the picture below. The fitting worksheet has a multiple choice list for them to get you on your way. You might spot something else during your fitting session which you can add to the worksheet.

The areas for a bra or lingerie with cups is not in the fitting worksheet because with the Lingerie Project Planner comes a separate file with the Bra Fitting Checklist! There are so many details to be aware of that adding a specialized checklist seemed the best way.

Well, as you can see lot to take in. Of course you don’t have to follow every step as thorough as I’ve made it up in this Lingerie Project Planner. There are 18 pages in the Planner + 4 pages in the Bra Fitting Checklist + 5 pages in the Height Adjustment file : 27 pages all together! That’s a lot to work through …
By the way, you only pay for the Planner and the 2 other files are for free!
You can check for every project what parts you want to use. Having this planner on hand during your project will help you to be aware what is involved!

For an overview of all the Merckwaerdigh internet activities and the button to subscribe to the Merckwaerdigh Newsletter take a look at www.merckwaerdigh.nl

One thought on “How to Plan a Lingerie Project in 6 STEPS

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