With my lovely floral esplanade bra tantalisingly close to being finished, I thought I would share my sewing triumph from last weekend: The Leverett Hook and Eye.
My first attempt at the leverett hook and eye was on my esplanade toile, and while it went fairly well, there was definitely a lot of room for improvement.
The main problem I encountered with the pattern was (as ever!) my fabric choices. It is suggested that a fabric with no stretch is used for this hook and eye, but I was attempting to use the same fabric as on my main bra, which was a stretch scuba knit. For my toile, I stabilised this fabric with a thin calico. This led to the hook and eye being quite bulky. I also found that the stretch fabric was shifting away from the non stretch base as I was sewing, resulting in small gathers and ripples on the fabric.
The other issue I had was with the hook and eyes themselves. As it was the first time I had ever attempted this, I hadn’t quite got the hang of how to secure the hook and eye pieces into place, and so as you can see on the picture above a lot of my hooks were nearly pulled out of place when I tried the bra on.
The third issue I had was that hook and eye ended up being smaller then the band of my bra and so I had to gather my bra slightly to get it to fit in place, once again creating ripples, this time in the band fabric.
There was so much bulk at the edges of the hook and eye piece because of the combo of scuba and calico, I also found attaching it a huge effort because it was so thick at the edges that I struggled to get it through my sewing machine. This meant that the whole finish was a little rough around the edges, and generally just not at neat as I was hoping for.
I was still determined to try and make my own hook and eye for the final version of this bra despite being left a little deflated after my first attempt, if for no other reason just so I could say I had tried it out once. Therefore I set about making a few changes on the final version in the hopes things would go a little more smoothly.
I couldn’t change the fact that I was using a fairly thick, stretch fabric for the outer of my hook and eye, but I could change what it was backed onto. So for this version, rather then using a calico I used a very thin, non stretch bridge lining (A super thin tricot, I believe!). This added almost no bulk to the hook and eye, but hugely decreased the amount of stretch in the pieces.
I also took extra care to really securely sew my hook and eyes into place this time, having learnt from the toile that in this case ‘good enough’ was not quite good enough.
I also left the ends of my hook and eye pieces open this time around, rather then sewing them up before attaching them onto the bra band.
This meant that, unlike the first time, I didn’t have to gather the band of my bra into a set length for my hook and eye. It was also much easier – and neater! – to sew into place without having the bulky seams on either end. Once it was secured into place on the front of the band, I then sewed the top and bottom edges so that all of the seams sat at the back of the bra. This once again reduced bulk at the front, leading to a neater finished over all.
I then pressed all of the seams into the hook and eye and secured into place with a row of stitching, leaving me with a really neat hook side, front and back.
I then sewed the hook side in exactly the same way, taking extra care to press all of the seams into my hook piece properly before sewing in the hooks. To finish off the hook side, I ran a line of top stitching around the outside edge. This stopped the fabric from shifting around so much and kept it secured into place. It also further helped to reduce some of the bulk around the edges that I had on my toile bu keeping all of the seam allowances inside the hook pieces flattened down.
It is by no means perfect, but I was pretty impressed with the difference between my first and second hook and eye and how much flatter I had managed to get it to sit the second time round! The hooks and eyes themselves were also really nice and secure – no more risk of them pinging out while I’m wearing the bra!
Does anyone else enjoy making their own hook and eye closures to match their bras? Would love to hear if you have any great tips!
Leverett Hook and Eye pattern by Orange Lingerie
Esplanade Bra Pattern by Orange Lingerie