Back when I started organising July’s Lingerie month on the Sewcialist blog, I put out a call asking for anyone who’d like to guest post. I accepted everyone who offered, as I always do, and we had really fabulous posts. It wasn’t until July was half over though, that I realised one of our guest writers had literally written the book on lingerie sewing! I had a little fan-girl moment, and of course when she offered me a copy, I said yes!
The book is The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie, which I’m sure you’ve seen reviewed around the blogosphere.It’s written by Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford, and it’s a beaut.
The patterns are definitely on the fanciful side of lingerie – only one set is made with knit fabric. Lots of lace, satin, silk and sexy little nothings! As well as light bras and knickers, there are patterns for camisoles, suspenders, and giftable items like an eye mask or lingerie bag. What the book does really well though is describe techniques for finishing and adding detail. For example, here’s a peek at the pages on hems and seams, and making bows…
…and an excellent variety of options for straps! This is the kind of information I find really helpful and inspiring. For my first project, I picked something easy – I went straight for a pattern made in sturdy woven cotton! What can I say, I just don’t have scraps of silk satin lying around. I think to properly explore the range of patterns, you’d need a little stash of lux fabrics to use. (Oh no, not an excuse to buy fabric! :P)
I decided to make these “Summer Snoozies”, a cute pair of French knickers. I dug out some summery seersucker, traced the pattern, and really enjoyed sewing them up. I did my first ever French seams, people! I’m normally all about speed when I sew, but I enjoyed slow and careful sewing much more than I expected!
Here’s the problem though – I made them huge. I knew I was just outside the size chart, but I ddin’t bother to measure myself in cm and figure out exactly how much to add. So when I traced the pattern, I just added in inch here, and an inch there… and unfortunately ended up with giant diaper shorts! No way to pretend that’s sexy. Totally my own fault though – and not helped when I tried to take some of the extra width from the centre seam instead of the outer edges because I didn’t want to redo my nice split seam! Oops. Live and learn – learn to measure!
Overall, the book is a change from my usual sewing style, but I like it! I’ve heard lots of people complain that too many sewing books these days are for beginners – well, this one isn’t! The instructions don’t hold your hand but are clear and concise. All the techniques are well explained in the information sections, which makes it a great reference and resource for learning.
I don’t buy books often, but I do think that a good book offers a better depth of information than can be found on the web. Have you bought any sewing books or magazines lately?
12 thoughts on “The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Book Review”
I love that fabric you made your shorts from! Is there any way to save it??
Book-wise, I was really impressed by Bridal Couture. I doubt I’ll sew another wedding dress again, but I know I’ll go back to that book for dress construction tips! The book I’m going to give away is Vogue Sewing. For whatever reason, the way they describe techniques always leaves me with more questions.
I have the Vogue Sewing book! Everyone recommended it, but not once have I ever looked something up in it. Maybe if I was making something fancy? I dunno.
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if I commented on your final wedding dress post – so I’ll say it here! WOW! The nice thing is that I have a feeling your sister appreciates all your hard work, which makes the endless hours worth it.
Although I have no plans to sew bras…this book looks beautiful and would probably one I would enjoy just for the read. I love reading through sewing books and pattern directions even when I don’t plan to sew what is in the book.
Do you ever sew from books? I have to say, I don’t reach for them… but I do like the idea that if I ever need a classic pencil skirt or a basic blouse I’ve got those patterns covered! This books is really pretty to flip through, and if you are the type for flirty lingerie, the patterns look good!
I am getting through my local library sewing section a few books at a time… I took out “Dressmaking for real women” and decided to buy it! It is a fitting book that explains the WHY of how to fix fit issues… It is marketed to fuller figures but I think it covers so many fit issues that anybody type could find good info in it! I know I need the why, else I usually just do as I think best if I do not understand why the step is needed…
Now I just realized today that I retook the book “Pattern Making Primer” several times since January, so I will buy it too! It is very visual and shows how to draft pattern and move darts around, etc! I really like how it is lay out with concise explanation but every step with a figure.
I took the lingerie one too when I did my underpants experiments and I liked it but decided not to buy it because it is more realistic for me to sew knit underwear…
But my local library is small… I should go visit the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec, downtown Monréal, more often!
Dressmaking for real women sounds like a great one! I’m going to look it up online. I’ve never taken a sewing book out from my local library, but I”m feeling silly for that – you’ve found a wealth of resources that all sound great!
I have my eye on this book. It looks beautiful. I’d love to make some really indulgent undies like a silk cami that I would never pay rtw prices for!
THat’s a great way to look at it! Luxury for less!
This book has been at the top of my must have list for a couple of months now. Your review just confirms that I REALLY, REALLY NEED it. 😀
Thank you for such a lovely review Gillian! And I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book, although I am sorry to hear your first make from it didn’t quite turn out as intended…a little extra in lingerie patterns can mean a lot in fit can’t it!! I hope your next make fits like a dream. Thanks again ☺️ KS x
Sounds like a great book! I really need to catch this sewing lingerie bug!
Oh really nice it is! I think this book is perfect those who wanna work on lingerie and those who are related with lingerie production. Though I haven’t bought anything about sewing lingerie book but this one seems to me better and will look to buy this.