I've been a bit of a lingerie making machine around here lately, thanks to a series of fortunate events.
1. After several months of being put off of dying lingerie supplies because I didn't have the "right" dye, I said screw it and decided to give it a go using regular old Dylon dye that's available at just about every big box craft store. It's probably not the cheapest option for someone trying to dye a lot of fabric, but for a newbie like me, it worked perfectly. As an aside, from my extensive (read: five minute) internet research, apparently the secret to dying nylon is using acid, so I added a cup of vinegar to my dye bath to make it acidic. It seemed to work just fine although some elastics did take up the dye more than others - most likely due to their different fabric contents.
2. After fretting about not being able to find any lingerie supplies locally, I found that the Pacific Fabrics in Bellevue offers several fabrics that can be used for bra making. In fact, they have quite a large supply of miliskin and stretch mesh that works perfectly for bra making. The stretch mesh has reduced stretch in one direction so I used that direction to support the cradle and I used the other direction to make the bands. I did, however, have to purchase notions off of the internet (I purchased a bunch of them in bulk about a year ago). The elastics, bra strapping, and hook and eye fabric are all from Sew Sassy while the metal rings and slides are from Bra Essentials (I bought them all in gold so I wouldn't have to worry about matching them to certain fabrics and I'm really happy with this decision).
3. After spending the last several months in scrubs for school, I realized that I didn't need a structured bra and a soft, comfy one is an awesome choice for everyday wear.
I should note that since my last bra making bonanza, I've had some failed attempts and I've learned a couple things from them. Like the fact that using a super stretchy spandex (like miliskin) for the entire bra is a bad idea (it ended up huge and with no structure). I then tried to make an entire bra out of power mesh and that ended up on the opposite end of the spectrum (like a bullet-proof bra). Trial and error, people.
Okay, now on to the bras (all of them Watson bras)! I made the same size as last time with no modifications. Instead, this time I tried to focus on using the right fabrics and improving my lingerie sewing skills. They're definitely getting better, but to be honest, they leave a lot to be desired. Oddly enough, the part that I have the hardest time with is sewing the tops of the cups to the rings. On almost every bra I made it looks like a severely inebriated person completed this step. And there's no picking those stitches out once you double stitch them in! I know that because I tried and I ended up ripping a small hole in the fabric. You can just imagine the sounds that came out of my mouth as I did that.
As for the undies, I used the free So Zo undies pattern that I've used for years. I altered the pattern to use with lingerie fabric rather than fold over elastic. I've heard good things about the Watson undies pattern and someday I may get around to trying them out, but for the time being I'm really happy with the So Zo pattern. The undies are made with either all miliskin (with some cotton for the crotch lining) or miliskin for the front with mesh on the back (you know, for all those times I really want people to be able to see my butt).