Ordering from Sewy

Sewy is a German lingerie supply shop and pattern maker. (Both the website and patterns are written entirely in German.) With the help of Google Translate I was able to navigate and place an order on their website. If you are comfortable doing this – and at the point in you bra making journey where you are not overly price sensitive – the Sewy website is an excellent resource for high quality lingerie supplies. The quality and selection are comparable to what Elingeria offered, though the prices are a little higher. All of the elastics and fabrics that arrived in my order had great recovery, and a lot of the channeling they offer is that super-plush, slightly elastic kind with the woven backing that is very common in RTW but difficult for individual bra makers to find.

I recommend placing one large order if you can, rather than several smaller orders, since otherwise shipping outside the EU is quite a large percentage of the order total:

  • Orders under €10 have a €7.50 shipping charge. (With the exception of the Isabell and Schalencup most of their patterns are under €10.)
  • Between €10 and €20 shipping is €11
  • Between €20 and €50 shipping is €20
  • Above €50 it is a flat rate of €35

Here’s the translation guide I created for myself. If you speak German and have a better translation than what I’ve offered here, please post it in the comments.

  • Schnittmuster Dessous: sewing patterns
    • Schnittmuster Dessous: lingerie patterns
      • Schnittmuster BH: bra patterns
      • Schnittmuster slip: panty patterns
      • Schnittmuster top: camisole/tank patterns
      • Schnittmuster body: bodysuit patterns
    • Schnittmuster Bademode: swimwear patterns
      • Schnittmuster Badeanzug: one-piece swimwear
      • Schnittmuster Badeeinzeloberteil: bikini/swimwear tops
      • Schnittmuster Badeeinzelunterteil: bikini/swim bottoms
    • Schnittmuster Patterncompany: regular garment patterns
  • Stoffe Spitzen Nähpakete: 
    • Stoffe: fabrics
      • Badedrucke: swimwear prints
      • Badeunis: swimwear solids
      • Mikrofaserband elastisch: stretchy microfiber fabrics suitable for lingerie, but in narrower widths (similar to galloon lace)
        • BW: cotton
        • EL: lycra/spandex
        • PA: polyamide (nylon)
      • Naturstoffe: natural fiber fabrics
        • Baumwolle: cotton
        • Viskos: viscose/rayon
        • Viskosestrick: viscose/rayon
        • Elasthan: spandex/lycra
      • Pareostoffe unelastisch: non-stretch fabrics, suitable for pares and beach cover-ups
      • Strukturstoffe: stretchy lingerie fabrics which have subtle patterns (mostly things like stripes, dots, and flowers) and appear to be mostly analogous color schemes.
      • Wäsche Mikrofaser Cups gemoldet: washable microfiber seamless bra cups (they are not foam)
      • Wäschedrucke: prints
      • Wäschetülle: mesh/powermesh fabrics
      • Wäscheunis: Solid color fabrics, most of which look to be nylon milliskin.
        • Wäscheuni glänzend: shiny finish
        • Wäscheuni matt: matte finish
      • Wäschestoffe schwer: looks to be the stronger, beefier fabrics more suited for larger sizes
      • Leibweiten: translates as “body widths.” These are fabrics for making seamless camis and panties.
      • unelastische Stoffe: woven fabrics
      • Stoffe (auch) für Herren: menswear fabrics
        • Stoffe (auch) für Herren elastisch: stretchy/knit menswear fabrics
        • Stoffe (auch) für Herren unelastisch: woven menswear fabrics
    • Spitzen: lace
      • Spitze Breitware: wide all-over stretch lace (not galloon, which is narrower and has scallops on at least one side). Use this for tops, camis, panties, etc.
      • Spitzenband elastisch breit: wide stretch lace trim (galloon style). Use for bra cups and bands.
      • Spitzenband elastisch/unelastisch schmal: narrow lace trim (stretch and non-stretch). Use for finishing the edges of bras, panties, and other lingerie items.
      • Spitzenband unelastisch: non-stretch lace
  • Trendpakete und Klassiker: bra/panty kits
    • Nähgarn: thread
      • mit Nähgarn linke Farbe: spool of thread matching the left color
      • mit Nähgarn rechte Farbe: spool of thread matching the right color
    • Größe: notion size. You need to check the PDF attachment in the image section to verify the width for each size.
      • In general bra straps (Trägerband) seem to be:
        • XS = 1/4″-3/8″
        • S = 3/8″-1/2″
        • M=1/2″-5/8″
        • L=3/4″-1″
        • XL=3/4″-1″+.
      • I believe Zierlitze refers to the type of bra strapping. XS-M are elastic and stretchier, and ML-XL are usually more stable and/or non-stretch.
      • The back closures (Verschlüsse) seem to be 2 hooks for XS-M, 3 hooks for L, and 4 hooks for XL.
      • Unterbrustgummi: underbust elastic
      • Einziehgummi: finishing elastic for the armholes/upper band
      • Bügelband: channeling
    • Trendpakete: the more creative, colorful style kits for matching bra and panty. Very similar to what Merckwaerdigh offers.
    • Klassiker:  more basic kits. Most look to be for panties (usually 2 pairs) and camisoles
    • Kreativpakete Bademode: swimwear kits
  • Alle Dessous – Nähkurse: I think these are in-person classes.
  • Gutscheine: gift cards
  • Praktische Helfer: various sewing notions (things like needles, rulers, rotary cutters)
  • Bücher zum Thema Dessous: books about lingerie sewing
  • Nähkursangebot bei unseren Partnern: information about classes offered by people that have partnered up with Sewy
  • Die Materialien aus dem Buch “Süße Dessous”: materials used in their lingerie book (offered under Bücher zum Thema Dessous)
  • Zutaten und Kurzwarenpakete: notions; basically anything that isn’t a fashion fabric or lace, like elastics, channeling, linings, etc
    • Badegummi: rubber elastic
    • Badeverschlüsse u.Ä.: Plastic/metal closures for swimwear
    • BH-Bügel: underwires
    • Bundgummi: looks to be wider elastic, for things like mens’ underwear
    • Bügelband: underwire channeling
    • Einziehgummi: plain elastic (like for stabilizing edge of upper cups). Doesn’t have a picot edge.
    • doppelseitig klebendes Volumenvlies: double-sided fusible padding
    • Futterstoff: bra linings
    • Futterstoff unelastisch: non-stretch linings
    • Klebeeinlage: some sort of fusible bonding web
    • Füttertüll: lighter-weight sheer cup lining. Most of the ones listed in this category are non-stretch.
    • längselastisch: stretches horizontally
    • Badefutter: swimsuit lining
    • Tüll elastisch leicht: lightweight stretch mesh/lightweight power net. Good for underlining stretch lace when you want to strengthen but not eliminate the stretch.
    • Maschen: bows and other decorations
    • Paspelband: fold-over elastic
    • Ringe + Schieber: rings and sliders
    • Schaumstoff/Cups/Abstandsgewirke: foam/cups/spacer. Anything to do with padding and pre-formed molded cups.
    • Trägerband: strap elastic
    • Strumpfhalter: garter fasteners
    • Unterbrustgummi: bottom band elastic
    • Verschlussband: hook and eye closure (tape style; for corsets and longline bras)
    • Verschlüsse: hook and eye closure (individual; most in this category look to be heat sealed)
    • Zierband: non-elastic decorations (like appliqués and non-stretch laces)
    • Zierlitze: picot edge/finishing elastic

A few more notes about ordering from Sewy:

  • While the order shipped quickly (I think the day after I placed it), it took about two weeks to arrive on my doorstep. Everything was very neatly packaged.
  • I didn’t see a tracking number included with the shipping notification. Not sure if this is something not included to keep down costs, or if it is something provided upon request.
  • I have heard that the owner speaks English, but I have not confirmed this myself.
  • The prices on the website include VAT. But if you are a foreigner and create an account and login, it will deduct the VAT from the item price.
  • I highly recommend getting a CapitalOne credit card if you order online internationally on a somewhat regular basis. It is one of the few credit cards I know of that doesn’t charge a fee when dealing with foreign currency.

Sewy Isabell

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Sewy, they are a German lingerie pattern designer and lingerie shop. (I’m publishing a post shortly about navigating their website since there’s no English language option, and some of the offerings are translated very badly by Google.) The patterns do not include seam allowances. While I found the shape of the cups much more modern than most other patterns, I do not recommend them to most people just starting out in bramaking because like the website, the instructions are written entirely in German.

The Sewy Isabell is a three-section cup bra with a diagonal seam and split lower cup. The upper cup is unlined stretch lace, and the instructions appear to call for the lower cups to be lined with powernet.

isabell2kopie_z1
sewy.de

Screen shot 2015-04-20 at 11.21.04 AM isabell_z3

I found the style and shaping of this bra was very similar to the Panache Andorra 5676 plunge bra. The appearance is lifted yet natural, the stretch lace upper cup gives a very smooth fit. As I mentioned in my introductory paragraph I find the shape more modern than most other cut-and-sew bra patterns. While some people like a very projected, pointy look, I am not a fan because it looks old-fashioned, doesn’t do much for my smaller bust, and it makes clothes drafted to modern standards fit very oddly.

While I am a smaller size, I still have a lot of trouble buying a well-fitting RTW bra. I need the lower cup depth and wire of a 32C/D but the upper cup depth of a 32B/C. (So far the Panache Andorra is the best-fitting RTW option I’ve found.)  So when trying out this pattern I went with a 70D and underlined with non-stretch cup lining. Instead of the band included with the pattern I used my TNT Make Bra DL01 band. While I was very pleased with how my first version was out-of-the-envelope, that did not mean that I didn’t make changes for subsequent versions!

Here’s my first version. The band/bridge were actually from another project where I experimented with some cup shaping tweaks. I was unhappy with how they came out, so I ripped out the cups and reused the band for this project, just setting the new Sewy Isabell cups into the band and re-attaching the channeling and foldover elastic. (Good thing I saved the extra fabric/stretch lace left over from the Merckwaerdigh kit!)

As I noted in my Instagram caption, the shaping was very good, as was the overall volume. I could have left it as-is, but I wanted to reposition things to make it fully customized to my figure. (I’ve noticed that if the cup depth is too shallow, even by as little as 1/4″, it makes the bra ride up during the day.) After making three more wearable muslins I finally settled on my alterations enough to make this one:

  All-lace Sewy Isabell #bramaking   A photo posted by @clothingengineer on

Few more views, since this lace is gorgeous…

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SI5nY9ZvpGbC5jOcqO3YYYDzsuhdNUeTnsliLi8fr0BY-AAWwOKWlraS_FRd2X06xaJS7TLVw7F0bgtXmAF2ionQxaL4j4aBEHG2cBF70Nvylbuq0gfxP4XnCOnCq6pJhqM8hLWgfmAE51CigXRPn44ByrZK_fwRZLlmMbogiKGAzpCYmnaQM-ct_QPVwI2jTI0w_GZSvOWJJC_78-rbDtI9VYjJn

I used the extra channeling left over to make boning casings. For the boning I used 7 3/8″ white cable ties from Harbor Freight. They’re thinner and more flexible than the plastic boning from Joann’s. Not to mention really cheap – about $2 for a package of 100, which is enough for 50 bra bands! (I think I picked up this tip from Kenneth King.)

For this bra I used a Merckwaerdigh kit. After getting a couple of kits lately that included elastics with poor recovery, I was pleased to see that the stretch lace and elastics in this particular kit were top-notch. (Too bad Kantje Boord is in Europe. Normally I love the convenience and selection of buying fabric online, but elastics are the one thing I would LOVE to be able to handle in person before buying.)

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Because the lining included in the kit was nylon sheer (which has mechanical two-way stretch) rather than non-stretch cup lining, I used some non-stretch sheer cup lining from Bramaker’s Supply instead for the cups and bridge. (I did not line the upper cup.) I used the heavyweight nude powernet from Spandex World for the band underlining.

Here’s a side profile shot of it worn under a thin, drapey rayon/lycra tee. You can see how the upper cup is extremely smooth.

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With my changes to the upper cup depth, the neckline is also low enough to wear under my Marfy 2733 dress. The shape of the cup also works really well with this dress, and pretty much all of my woven garments with darts and princess seams.

These were my final alterations:

  • Repositioned the vertical seam of the lower cups 1/2″ inward. This is a very, very common alteration for me, with both bras and tops/dresses with darts and princess seams. (I think the typical apex-to-apex width is 8″ and mine is more like 7″.) I had to make the same alteration to the Cloth Habit Watson.
  • Raised the cup depth 1/4″ by curving the apex of the seam upward. I need a lot of lower cup depth, and this alteration put it more on par with the Panache Andorra.
  • After moving the seam and raising the cup depth, I removed 3/8″-1/2″ of depth from the upper cup. I took out most of it from the apex outward, tapering to nothing where the strap starts to curve upward. (I didn’t make any changes to the depth at the center front.) This makes the upper cup proportionally smaller than the lower cup, which is just what I need.
  • Omitted the elastic stabilizing the upper edge. I know elastic is supposed to work as a stabilizer, but the Panache Andorra bras don’t stabilize the upper edge and they have such an incredibly smooth look to the upper edge – no quad-boob or gaping at all. I am quite shallow and not very rounded at all above the apex so maybe that’s why this works for me.
  • Decreased the bridge width from 3/4″ to 1/2″ for my final version.
  • For this particular lace version I shortened the strap extension 1/2″, making the neckline slightly less of a V-shaped plunge. I did not make this a permanent pattern change though.

Bra Closures from Merckwaerdigh

Merckwaerdigh just listed a bunch of bra closures, in various color palettes, in her Etsy shop. With shipping to the United States a bundle of 10 works out to just over $1/closure. Most are two hooks wide, but there’s also a listing for three hook closures. A good deal if you want something other than white or black and aren’t up to dyeing your own yet!