Strappy Simplicity 8229 & Bella Panty

Because not all lingerie in intended for daily wear.

You can thank Madalynne for inspiring this project. The minute I saw her take on the $675 Agent Provocateur set, I knew I needed to make my own version.


My loveliest lingerie set.

It is a super-strappy variation of Simplicity 8229 (previous versions here) paired with a modified Evie La Luve Bella panty.  That is five yards of strapping!


This set took me a long time to make as a result of lots of tinkering with straps and fittings coupled with my usual inability to sew for long stretches without constantly stepping away to refresh my tea cup. But it was worth it. I think it is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever made. And it makes me smile every time I look at it; in part because I know how hard I worked to get it just right.




The four straps are attached at both the top and the bottom of the band for added strength.


The Bella panty is sort of a boy-short in front…


… and a cheeky tanga in back.


Just look at that symmetry in the lace!

If you are interested in making a version of this set for yourself, here are some notes that may be helpful:

My Simplicity 8229 modifications:

  • If you want the scalloped edge of the lace to run around the entire bottom band, then the band elastic is not turned under for finishing. You simply attach the 1/2″ or 3/4″ picot elastic with two rows of zigzag stitch on the inside.
  • Adjust the band height at center back to accommodate a 2-row hook and eye (it is drafted for a 3-row).
  • I used cut and sew foam as the under-layer for added stability for the straps and overall boost.  Since the foam is sewn with abutting edges rather than overlapping with a 1/4″ seam allowance, be sure to trim those edges by 1/4″ before sewing together with a zigzag.
  • Since I added the straps by eye as I went, I did not mark the pattern ahead of time for the placement of the innermost strap.  But I believe it landed about 3″ down from the top of that seam line at center front.
  • The middle strap covers the seam between the inner and outer cup pieces and is tacked at the apex with a few small machine stitches.
  • Per Maddie’s recommendation, I shaved just over 1/2″ from the top of each cup where it would normally attach to the shoulder straps (which are not used in this design).  This made that outer strap angle properly toward the metal center front ring. I attached that strap along the top edge of the bra starting at the underwire along the underarm.
  • All straps are tacked down with a few small machine stitches at the upper edge of lace along the top of the cups.
  • Each strap is attached separately at the center top ring, rather than running through the ring and then back to the cup or up over the shoulder.  And I did not use rings and sliders on the straps.  As a result, the straps have no ease beyond their elasticity so fit is crucial. Take your time.
  • The physics of my initial version – an almost exact duplicate of Maddie’s – did not work perfectly. I found that adding the second upper strap at the center front ring gave me the lift I was looking for. Plus I like the look of the extra straps in back.
  • The upper straps will peak out from under just about every item of clothing I have.  If that bothers you, you will need to plan accordingly and maybe add a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress to your sewing queue.

My Evie La Luve Bella panty modifications:

  • Simply add 3/4″ metal rings at center front and back. I hand stitched them.
  • Run 1/4″ satin elastic strapping from center front to center back on each side.
  • Getting the right strap lengths requires a few try-ons.  There is a fine line between sitting perfectly snug on the top of your hip and cutting in so tightly that a bulge is created in this spot where I, at least, want to avoid any bulge.

And maybe just one more photo of those lovely straps:


PatternsSimplicity 8229 and Evie La Luve’s Bella panty, both modified
Fabrics: Gorgeous black galloon stretch lace and most other supplies are from my favorite, Tailor Made Shop; 1/4″ satin elastic strapping from MarySupplies; 3/4″ metal rings from Porcelynne
Modifications: Five yards of 1/4″ satin elastic strapping and a few 3/4″ metal rings
Photo Locations: Visual Arts Center of Richmond Fibre Studio
Thank you to Madalynne for providing the inspiration and some guidance on the modifications.
Soundtrack: Sigur Ros radio on Pandora

Planning can make all the difference

I sewed quite a bit last year.  36 pieces, in fact.  Many of those get worn and I’m proud of having made them (Jeans! I made my own jeans! This still amazes me).  However, toward the end of the year, in early November actually, I became listless. I stopped picking projects because they were something I really wanted to make or wear, and started making projects simply to keep making and stay busy.  I started choosing patterns I thought would be quick and easy and rarely spent enough time making necessary adjustments or pairing those patterns with the right fabric, instead just pulling a decent option from my fabric stash. I cut corners and got sloppy, two things I rarely do in any facet of my life.  As a result, and not surprisingly, many of those projects ended up in the donation box.  So my wardrobe was no more interesting than before and my fabric stash, while a bit smaller, is still embarrassingly large.

I’m approaching this year differently. Rather than focusing on volume and decreasing my fabric “collection”, I made a list of clothing items I actually want to add to my wardrobe. It all started with my #2017makenine list on Instagram:


StyleArc Lorie jacket | Closet Case Ginger jeans (pairs 4&5) | Vogue 8633 in navy wool | Closet Case Kelly Anorak – hopefully in red | Gertie’s Butterick 6413 | Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse to Dress hack | Vogue 1316 – in old denim just like Handmade by Carolyn’s | Closet Case Sophie bikini | more bras

That list has already changed a wee bit…  I’ve added a few pieces:

  • A Mondrian dress to wear to the ‘Yves Saint Laurent – The Perfection of Style’ exhibit coming to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond this May.
Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress (1965) in cream & navy

Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian Dress (1965) in cream & navy.  My plan to draft the pattern for this dress involves duct tape.

  • A Grainline Archer to wear out running errands when I am too lazy to change out of my yoga pants but want to cover my behind.
Grain line Archer shirt

Grain line Archer shirt – I’m not sure if mine will be plaid

  • And possibly a Chanel-esque suit using a couple Style Arc pieces I just discovered.


I’ve also removed/substituted an item:

  • After further thought, I think it is unlikely I’ll make the Gertie/Butterick dress.  While I love that dress on Gertie, I highly doubt I’d feel comfortable wearing it out.  Instead I’m going to make a different party-appropriate dress, like the By Hand London Elisalex dress or maybe even my own version of Roland Mouret’s “Galaxy” dress.
Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress

Roland Mouret’s original “Galaxy” dress

If/when I go back to work full time, I may need to adjust my plans further, depending on how much sewing time I have and a possible office dress code.  And let’s be honest, I can pretty much guarantee a new pattern will be released this year that I will need to make immediately (Closet Case has a new pattern coming out next week…). But that is one of the best parts of having a plan: just because you have it, doesn’t mean it is not flexible. It’s just a place to start.

And you want to know the best part?  I own almost all of these patterns and most of the fabrics.

I just recently completed my first item from the list – the Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse hacked into a dress in a beautifully drapey black and grey checked wool blend.  I’ll hopefully get some pics of me wearing that posted here shortly. But here’s a quick snap on Violet.

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse pattern hacked into a dress with straight hem and shortened sleeves

Megan Nielsen Dove Blouse pattern hacked into a dress with straight hem and shortened sleeves

Given that I am a planner by nature, it’s a bit odd that I’ve never approached my sewing like this before.  Even just three weeks into the year I’m already finding it much more enjoyable and less haphazard.  And having this process in place just may help me cut back on pattern and fabric purchases (well, maybe).

Now to decide which piece I’ll make next…


Me and Julia, the woman who taught me everything I know about sewing. If you ever want to learn how, find her, trust me. 

Plus, two of my recent makes – my McCall’s 7279 and vintage Vogue 2934 out & about.


So blogging just may not be my thing

… and looking at the very grey photos in my earlier post, photography may not be either.  But I’ve been thinking about my little space on the web a lot lately, and I want a place to keep track of what I make, so I’ll keep trying.  To get around my hatred of having my picture taken, one of the biggest hurdles to my posting updates, we’ll settle for pictures on my dressform, Violet, for now.

A very high-level view of what I’ve made since my last post:

I finished my “Winkelman”.  It isn’t perfect – in fact, all I seem to notice are the parts I wish I’d done differently – but I made my first coat and my first project that required major pattern changes.  As you can see, it looks very different than the inspiration coat, largely because I: (1) didn’t want to use real fur (duh) or fake fur (long story) so I replaced the fur collar with an oversized wool one and skipped the cuffs, and (2) chose to use a vintage brass buckle and buttons that I found in a shop in Latvia via Etsy rather than using fabric covered.   Overall, I am very happy with how it turned out.  Of course, as soon as I finished the four-month project I simultaneously thought of how I never ever want to sew a coat again and what I’ll do differently next time.  Hrm.


I spent the rest of 2014 focusing on projects that take less than four months for me to make: dresses (mostly vintage, two of which are pictured below), a couple fleece items for my adorable niece (pictured below), some super-simple home decor items, a bathing suit bottom, beach hat and cover up.

Vogue 5645, View B, no pockets

Vogue 5645, View A , different belt and no pockets

McCalls 6782

Elke Dress

My first finished project of 2015 is a modified vintage Simplicity 5996 – my very favorite dress pattern.  The modifications are mostly on the bodice:  I merged the bust and waist darts into one long princess seam in front, and merged the shoulder and waist darts into princess seams in the back.  Both of these changes give me more flexibility with fitting since I find it varies with each make.  I also, as usual, chopped at least two inches off the skirt length and graded up a size for the hips/butt.  It’s made out a cotton fabric with just a bit of stretch that had me scratching my head as to why I bought it — it’s not pretty — but I really like the way this dress turned out.

My third Simplicity 5996

Up next: maybe I’ll finish the vintage Butterick 7514 (a combination of views A & C) that I muslined, adjusted, and then tossed due to a bad fabric choice, or the Simplicity 1254 Leanne Marshall jacket that’s in progress…

More soon, I hope.

Dreaming of the Winkelman

After at least one night lying in bed thinking about it rather than sleeping, I’ve picked my next project, and it is a big one. I’m going to try to replicate this incredible coat, without the fur collar and cuffs.

Grey Winkelman Winter Coat

I found this beauty in the Mill Street Vintage shop on Etsy a year ago.  It’s from the 60’s and is by Winkelman.  I thought about it constantly for days, maybe even weeks.  I would have happily bought it, despite the hefty price tag, if it would have fit around my hips and backside.    So despite not having a pattern and having never made a jacket or coat before, I’m going to try to make it.

I scoured Etsy and eBay and found two patterns that could get my going: Vogue 1939 – but the only copy I can find costs $95, so um, no – and this one, which I found uncut in my size for $9 shipped.

This is not my size - it's just the best picture I can find.

This is not my size – it’s just the best picture I can find.

It arrived on Monday and I started my first muslin last night.

I had planned to make the coat in grey, just like the picture (yes, I seem to be on a grey kick right now), but when I got to Winmil I found a coat-weight wool in brick red for $12.98/yard.  It’ll be tough to find a belt buckle and buttons to match, but that is a challenge I’m willing to accept even if it may require another trip to NYC — because yeah, twist my arm.  I’m not sure what I’ll use for lining just yet, but chances are this will take more than one muslin, so I think I have some time.  If you  have any suggestions, please let me know.

Work in progress

9.18.13 In process

Work in progress describes a few things happening right now:  finally starting the blog that I’ve been day dreaming about for months, opening an Etsy shop for vintage patterns, and the purpose of this post, my latest Simplicity 5996.  My first attempt at this pattern is my all-time favorite handmade dress so far.  I made it in April in Ralph Lauren red denim with some stretch that I picked up at Winmil Fabrics.  Despite making a muslin, I needed to alter the bodice of the final product due to excess fabric in front – maybe due to a narrow torso and/or possibly just the stretch in the fabric?  This time around, I’ve altered the bodice pieces of the pattern a few times and finally have a muslin that I think fits well.  I cut the bodice in light grey mid-weight wool that I picked up at a fabric swap earlier this year and the skirt in dark grey mid-weight wool (leftovers from my NewLook 6000 that I finished in February.)  I plan to incorporate the two buttons, probably on a belt. I’ll hopefully start sewing tonight.  Happy sewing…