Today while I was out I decided to pop into the local Farmers store and check out the sale lingerie. They had Dita Von Teese’s Von Follies line at 50% off but tragically I did not have the funds to get any. So I slunk to the back of the store to the clearance section and 😯 there was a Dita Von Teese Savoir Faire Fitted Chemise in the Black/Red colourway. It’s no secret that those are my two favourite and most worn colours. But alas it was a size 32B and I am a 32D/30DD, but seeing as how it was $25 reduced from $150 I thought it would be criminal to let it go (but I also feel bad for taking it from someone else). I have been wanting a new girdle and instead of making one I decided that I’d just cut the top off this, that was when I realised one of my best friends was a 32B so I could give her the bra top half.
(I couldn’t find a picture of it on a mannequin so I had to settle with a model)
So here it is! My first tutorial post, I will be showing how to alter something like a fitted chemise into two separate pieces. This will be convenient for someone who was in the same situation as me, where either the top or the bottom don’t fit and you don’t want to leave/throw away the item. Or even someone who just prefers the convenience of two pieces, I know I do and would be tempted to do this again if I find a well fitting item.
This is the first part which covers the separation of the garments and finishing the bra. The second part should be out tomorrow detailing the girdle.
Here’s the chemise.
Although this looks like picot edge elastic on the chemise it’s actually a thin lace sandwiched between the powermesh and some flat elastic. For the bra all I need is some elastic and I will be using 10mm picot edge elastic as it kind of matches what is already in the bra.
This has hooks and eyes all the way up the back which makes it really convenient to alter and measure. This same process can be done on without back fastening though, just turn it inside out when you mark it up.
I wanted the elastic to hit under the underwire but not so that it will cause me trouble when sewing it. The elastic is 10mm wide, so I decided to cut 20mm under the underwire. Without the picoting the elastic is only about 7-8mm wide, so I will have plenty of space.
Next I laid my meter ruler down along the waist as this is the smallest part of the garment and won’t have any bunching, and made sure it was square/parallel within the garment. Then I measured up from the waist to where my under underwire markings were. Then I used this measurement to mark up from the waist on every seam so that it would be finished as a straight line on both the bra and girdle.
Also a little disclaimer, I am a terrible person and use both metric and imperial measurement systems when I work. I would suggest just choosing one and converting my other measurements into your preferred. As a reminder mm or millimeters are metric, ” and or inches are imperial.
I cut along the chalked lines all along the garment until I got to the hook fastening. My chalk line ran along them so I had to take them out before cutting. Even if it wasn’t I had to take out the lower hooks and eye so that I could sew on my elastic.
To take out the hooks first unpick the two securing stitches. Next, as I have indicated with an arrow unpick the little stitch which is securing the hook. Then all you need to do is pull it out through the hole and you’re done! Do it to the lower hooks and eyes, but only on the half which will become the bra.
Also remove the tags. They can be left out but I prefer to sew them back in at the end.
After I separated the pieces I put the girdle half to the side for. I measured the bottom length of the bra to calculate how much elastic I needed. My elastic was very stretchy, with over 100% stretch, so I decided to cut the length to only 80% of the actual bottom of the bra. The length was 24¼” so:
24.25 x 80%(0.8) = 19.4” which I rounded to 20” which is around 82%
Next I pinned the elastic to the bra, I halved the elastic and bra and marked both. Then I pinned the ends of the elastic to the bra (both right sides up) and then at the halved marks. I then stretched it out and put pins in the middle of my previous ones. I sewed it using a narrow zigzag stitch along the picoted edge. But make sure not to catch the picots as these are the bits which need to stick out (for the technical term) at the end
I folded this elastic under, then from the right side sewed along the seam, close to the lower edge of the elastic. I used a 3 step zigzag stitch and sewed it from the right side.
Now for the fastening, then it’s done! First I checked to see how much of the hook tape would have to be removed, then cut it to size.
I used a narrow zigzag stitch to attach first the hook tape to the wing, and then to finish the edge of the tape. As you can see the top half of the attachment was not done by me, and although it seems like a very simplistic finishing method, it is what is used in lingerie when there aren’t pre-made hook and eye tape pieces. Also this is when the tags should be inserted back in.
(I forgot to put the tags back in and had to unpick the stitching and insert them) Anyway the final part was finishing of the ‘hook’ side of the hook and eye closure. I suggest working from the wrong side, unfortunately the hooks stick up quite far and the best thing to do is put the presserfoot straight on them, rather than trying to maneuver the bumps from the other side. Also it needs to be trimmed to match the other side before finishing.
And there we have it!
The first part of my Chemise alteration is done! Hope this helps anyone who wants to give it a go. It’s a great way to buy things in sales which don’t fit all over and then make new things out of them. My hips are fairly big proportionally so I could see myself buying longer things in the future and just converting them into bras. Also this is a great way to shorten longline bras if you find a style you adore but aren’t comfortable with the length.
Thanks! And part 2 will be uploaded tomorrow. I will link it here when it’s complete.