I'm going to be totally honest: I get sent quite a few books to review. I almost always say yes when someone asks because it's hard to gauge the contents by the cover (I subscribe to old school adages), but these days I rarely blog about them because I'm frequently yawning too hard to type. So many boring patterns, I can't even. For every 5 snooze-worthy books I receive (currently giving me doleful side eye from my bookshelf), I'm lucky if I stumble on one winner.
And today, I have a winner. The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie is written by Katherine Sheer and Laura Stanford, two lingerie designers who have worked for companies like Victoria's Secret and Agent Provocateur; basically, these two know what they're doing. When I started sewing lingerie, I looked around for relevant books but not much has been published in the last 10 or 15 years. Most of the ones I found were out of print or terribly dated. Not this beauty.
The book includes a heap of beautiful, vintage inspired lingerie patterns. There is no legend or key but I count eight panty patterns (including knickers and tap pants), three bra patterns, three garter belt patterns, three camisole patterns, two wedding garters, a lingerie bag and an eye mask. That is A LOT of bang for your buck. Let's take a look.
You can definitely feel the vintage vibe right? So charming. My only criticism is that a lot of these patterns are more "looky here, lover" and less "comfy all day undies". I imagine you could make an amazing lingerie trousseau for your honeymoon to Paris, as long as you didn't leave the hotel room. There are a handful of patterns that calls for knits, but otherwise everything is sewn with silky woven fabric, tulle and non-stretch lace. None of the bras are wired and hence not great for bigger busts, but that sort of lingerie making requires a whole book, so I don't blame them for skipping it (for bra making help, see Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction by Norma Loehr). I have a giant butt that doesn't respond well to non-stretch fabric, but maybe some of you perky bummed ladies could pull off wearing cotton voile knickers all day.
The strength of this book is in the instructions. There are some really specialized lingerie sewing techniques in here I've never seen before. I think it's worth buying for this information alone.
Great stuff! And such pretty illustrations. The patterns are nested and printed on a heavy paperstock, but tracing off isn't really an issue when the pieces are so small. There are 6 sizes ranging from 81cm-106cm at the bust and 81cm-106cm at the hip, whatever that means in imperial, pfft.
Alas, since this book was published in England, the book is only available directly from Amazon in the UK, but I did find some for sale from independent sellers on the US Amazon site. Truly a lovely, helpful resource to add to your sewing collection! Has anyone else picked up a copy yet?