Sewing Lingerie with Alison Smith

meandalisonsmith schoolofsewingashbysewlingeriealisonsmith A few weeks back I had the pleasure to take an one-day lingerie class with Alison Smith. I packed my suitcase full of ideas a few days before and made my way to the Midlands. The class was held in a typical english village called Ashby de la Zouch. The school of sewing is just above the fabric shop. A huge temptation so needless to say I acquired a handful of specialist fabrics for my next lingerie project.

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The sun was shinning & I just had the most lovely few days. I took the opportunity to hang out with one of my closest friend, Kiran. Yes the same one I keep taking to sewing events. I tell-ya I am still going to make a sewist out of her. We talked so much till the early hours plus the excitement of the class meant less than desirable sleep. Since I was feeling a bit tired by mid-afternoon I concentrated only on making the bra. I haven’t got a chance to practice my new knowledge but I doesn’t mean I am not looking forward to stretch my lingerie making skills. Making a bra is so much easier than it looks.


Alison, as you expect, was lovely and very knowledgeable. Call me teacher’s pet but I like sitting on the front row (closest to the teacher) and ask a zillion questions. I am high level energy person and Alison was impress by my sewing & tweeting skills. She even got involved sharing class snaps. Check out her IG.


The class had just the right amount of people so you can get loads of attention. We were encouraged to pick our own individual projects. Multiple projects classes offer an opportunity to cross-learn from one another. Eva (@Cocoaandflora) and Rosie (@rosie-wilko) decided to make the same project as I and we immediately bonded over pattern tracing, picking fabrics and tea.


When you visit a fabric shop all your careful planning goes out of the window. You swoon over lace and embellishments. I love how the navy and burgundy worked together. Very elegant, may I add. Alison’s expertise made the most out of my lace placement.

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The pattern used is from The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie: Make your own divine knickers, bras & camisoles*. The name of the bralet is “Head over Heels”.

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There is an errata on the pattern advised by the Authors: “there was a tiny (5mm) ‘step’ in the alignment of the overbust notches in that pattern, it’s overcome by aligning the CF seam and underarm seam and pinning the overbust seam from there.” They have already amended the notches to align perfectly in the reprint of the book now available.


Picking the size was the most confusing part. The finished bra fits me well considering is a soft Bra. Soft bras are beautiful and romantic but let’s be honest a girl need the right engineering when blessed with DD cups. Sizing range of the book is limited. That said, I recommend the book wholeheartedly as it’s information dense, has clear explanations and interesting projects. All the set patterns are beautiful. Want a taster? Check this free tutorial. 

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The ration between lace and fabric changes based on cup sizes. Eva and I ( C/ D pattern cups retrospectively) felt that the position of the fabric on our pattern gave an illusion of a flatter chest when looking from the front. Rosie’s (A cup) was just perfect. I miss having the wire definition. The Orange Lingerie Boyltson looks like a nice shape. Kiran, being very english, tip-toe questions around the fit. Me, being Brazilian just pointed to where my nipples were (very exposed under the lace) while taking pros and cons of soft bras like I was just talking about the weather. The pattern was lovely to sew. To make it more convenient to wear Alison suggested moving the side opening to the classic back finish. Having Alison around guiding us made the process seamless. If you have an opportunity, do take a class with her.

Fellow stitchers Projects. Swoon right?


Eva’s bra


Rosie’s set : the briefs are called: sugar darling sweetheart. Same book.

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Are you tempted to sew Bras? When people say it’s addictive they aren’t joking. It’s truly fun so I recommend having a go at least once. Just for kicks! I’m off to stalk pretty & expensive bras designs for inspiration.

  • Orange-Lingerie

    I love this post! You all made such beautiful lingerie!

  • I hadn’t really thought about making lingerie… Glad to hear it’s easier than it looks! You all made beautiful sets.

  • stevie

    Brilliant post Rachel and that bra is stunning, off to look up classes now as I can’t seem to get myself started on bra making!

  • I love Alison’s classed (signed up for few on craftsy). Bra making is very tempting and maybe I’ll give it a try if you say it is not so complicated after all. You’re results are a very good recommendation 🙂 Still need to finish several other sewing project before I can think about it.

  • I reaaallly want to try a bra and thought the Watson bra might be good introduction- what do you think? X

    • houseofpinheiro

      Hi Emma, as I don’t own this pattern I cannot comment. I would just go for it or maybe a free/ cheaper pattern just to get going before investing?

  • Itziar

    I love that bra. It’s great to know it is much easier that we thought.

  • Amazing! One day I will try it! I love lace lingerie as much as I love shoes haha


  • What a great post! I dated an Englishman for 6 years so I know what you mean about the stereotypical “tip-toe-ing” around the subject. Your Brazilian vs English conversation made me laugh out 🙂

    Your bra looks great. I took a bra making class where we made half a bra in 3 hours. We all made the same size so it wasn’t about fit, just how to construct it. It seems pretty straightforward to sew, the time is in the fitting process, and from what I’ve read, you really don’t know if it fits til you’re almost at the very end. With love from an American A cup.

  • I’m a massive Alison Smith fan and am very jealous!

  • Myra

    Very pretty lingerie! I just took a Craftsy class for bra making and can’t wait to get started… You’re version of lingerie are truly inspiring to me!

  • What a great experience! I love Alison Smith Craftsy classes – I’ve taken all of them 🙂

  • Welcome to the addictive world of bra making

  • Eva

    I took Alison’s classes on Craftsy. What an amazing teacher!! Hope to take one of her couture classes in person one day 🙂 All the lingerie you girls made looks gorgeous!