Shopping for Lingerie Supplies: The English Couture Company

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Some weeks ago I received some sad news: my go-to store for bra-making supplies in Barcelona stopped carrying several things, like cut-and-sew foam, many types of elastic and almost all underwire sizes. Oh, THE drama!! There isn’t any other place for buying those things in Barcelona (at least, not that I know!) and I decided to order them online.

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As I live in Spain and there are huge taxes upon imported goods from outside the EU, I looked for online shops that are in the UK, Germany or the Netherlands. Finally, I narrowed down my search to two places: Sewing Chest and the English Couture Company. Then I asked for the invaluable help of the ladies at two Bra Making groups on Facebook (the Bra Making Forum and Bra Makers – Beginners to Intermediate), who said that both were reliable stores. The prices were mostly the same, although Sewing Chest had more variety of some items, but they also charged higher shipping costs. So, I went to the English Couture Company in the end!

The first thing that surprised me about that shop was the incredibly fast shipping: I placed my order on a Thursday night, on Friday I received the confirmation, and… the next Tuesday it had already arrived! Seriously, I’ve waited much longer for parcels sent within my own country. I couldn’t believe it!

Now, let’s take a look on my order:

  • Underwires: I bought a pair of underwires to compare them to the ones that I already use, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the only difference was that the English Couture wires are about 4mm longer. The shape and diameter of the wires is virtually the same. Yay! They’re standard flat metal wires with plastic coated tips to prevent them from poking.

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  • Elastic: I ordered some 12mm plush back elastic in black, some 8mm white elastic and some 13mm ivory strap elastic. The quality is quite good, specially the strap elastic. The satin finish on the front side really looks high-end! (In fact, I used this elastic to make the straps of a custom bodysuit I made for a bride-to-be, and she was really pleased with the result!)
  • Rings and sliders: The strap elastic was 13mm, but the 13mm rings and sliders seemed a bit big. So, I ordered two rings and sliders sets, one of 13mm and the other of 10mm. In the end, the smaller one suited the elastic best. I’d describe the quality as average: they are made of metal and look pretty solid and durable. Also, I believe they’re good value for money, as you can make 4 straps out of each ring and slider packs.

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  • Cut-and-sew foam: it’s really difficult to find foam in Barcelona, and the one that I used to buy wasn’t of a particular high quality. So, when I saw the English Couture Company foam (or, as they call it, “bra padding”) I couldn’t be happier. The padding is 3mm deep in the two colours I ordered (black and pale pink), although they offer a thinner, 2mm deep, foam in some sort of beige colour. It doesn’t really add a lot of volume to bra cups, but it adds enough structure and it’s much more comfortable than the thicker 5mm foam that I used to buy. The padding is covered in both sides by a knit fabric that is so soft to the touch. Definitely RTW quality!

So, that’s all! In general, I’m really satisfied with my order to the English Couture Company and I’m already thinking about repeating the experience 😉 I did miss more colour variety to choose from in some items (eg. The rings and sliders packs are only available in very limited colours) but the fast shipping and the reasonable price make it so worth it. Now, I can’t wait to use all my new lingerie supplies! 😛

Did you know about the English Couture Company? Can you recommend me other good shopping destinations for lingerie supplies? I’d love to hear!

SILVER LINING

21 comments

  1. Merckwaerdigh – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/merckwaerdigh – ships from the Netherlands and usually has lots of good supplies as well as kits. She is also very good if you email and ask for extra bits or different colours, highly recommended. Also in the UK Elise Patterns stocks some nice things, and I like her strap elastic, which is very good quality. Bra Makers supply, although more expensive, has a great range and is very good quality, I love their powernet and their remnants section is always worth a look.

    1. Thank you Liz!! I knew about Merckwaerdigh, but I’ve never tried it! Elise patterns seems really good, as well as Bra Makers supply, but the shipping is quite expensive at Bra Makers! Nevertheless, it’s good to know that there are more options out there 🙂

      1. I would definitely recommend Merckwaerdigh, although a note of caution – most of her bra fabrics are stretchy, often lycra, so I’ve had interesting times stabilising them! To be honest I mostly use her for stretch lace, which is quite hard to get hold of in the UK (Elise patterns do galloons but they are very narrow) and notions, which she seems to have in every colour under the sun! Worth emailing her if you want specifics as she will do custom listings on Etsy, and the Netherlands seems to have great lingerie fabric shops… Cut and sew foam I have bought from Bra Makers previously but on your recommendation I’m going to get it from ECC next time, thank you!

        1. Liz, you may well be aware of them but http://gypsylace.co.uk do various laces including stretch ones (all over stretch and stretch trims); some of the lace trims are narrow some are wider. They will send a swatch and I would suggest if anybody were to use them they did perhaps take advantage of their offer to send a sample or samples. I’ve mostly used them for stretch lace trims when making knicks rather than bras (I find attaching elastic can be a bit fiddly-faddly sometimes). I did by some stretch allover lace from them once and although it’s a very pretty colour it was a bit more lightweight and less dense than I thought it waslooking at it online. Having said that I managed to make some underwear (pants, camisole, waist slip) from it but I did need to get a co-ordinating jersey fabric to line it.

          To the lady who runs this blog – I greatly admire your ability to draft your own patterns.

          1. Thanks for your contribution, Patricia! I’ll take a look too on gypsylace.co.uk, they seem to have some lovely laces! And thank you for your kind words about my patterns 🙂

  2. I’ve ordered from bwear.se a few times, they are based in Sweden so no import fees within the EU. I believe they are the european distributor of bra makers supply products. Quality is wonderful, although nothing is particularly cheap. I was also going to suggest merckwaerdigh, they have some nice kits and their patterns have some unique design features. Sometimes the chanelling or elastics in the kits are not the greatest, but they are relatively inexpensive and have great colour combinations. I might try one of the UK shops next!

    1. Thank you Vera! Bwear’s shipping to Spain is a bit expensive, but it’s a really good option if I want something in a particular colour! They seem to have everything under the sun 🙂

  3. Did you try Wien2002 in Austria. It is cheaper than the average in the Netherlands, it has good stuff (wider straps, good elastic) and even Simplex. It is in the EU and the shippingcosts are reasonable. The elastic is beter and cheaper than a Dutch company lingeriestoffen.nl. I think they ship to Spain.

  4. Sorry, I see that the shipping for Spain is not so cheap. >> Versandkosten für Spanien (nur Festland):
    bis 1kg 21,40 inkl. MwSt
    bis 3kg 22,80 (euro)<<
    For the Netherlands it starts with 9 euro. You have to see if it is worth (price plus shipping).

    1. Thank you Sewingzoe! I haven’t tried Wien2002, and it’s a shame that the shipping to Spain is so expensive! Maybe for some special materials that are difficult to find anywhere else is a good choice 🙂

    1. Hi Joël!! I find Wien2002 really interesting, they have lots of things! But sadly the shipping to Spain is quite expensive 🙁 It’s so difficult to find good lingerie supplies in Europe! Oh, and I’ve seen your lingerie in Wien 2002 website and it’s amazing! The garter belt is just stunning! 🙂

      1. Sofia, you should try to order together with a friend. Since we do not pay custom taxes in the EU you have only the shipping costs to deal with. Mostly I order as much as I need to curb down the shiping costs. 9 euro will be plus 4,5 for 2 ordered things, but 3 euro to add to the price of each of the 3 ordered things. You can compare the cost for what you order in Austria (stuff plus proportional shipping cost) to what ou pay in the UK, just to see where it is cheaper to order. Brexit may make UK more interesting as long as they stay officially in the EU (cheaper British pound).

        1. Thank you for the advice, SewingZoe!! I’ll try to convince a friend to get involved in bra-making so we can share the shipping costs 😛 And I’ll need to brush up my maths every time I make a new order. Lol!

    1. I am not so found on lingeriestoffen.nl. I bought elastic which was not the best qualit. Their special offer 20 m casing for wires and their lycra are of poor quality as well or anyhow not the best you wish. Not much diversity on their webshop. It seams that they advertise only a small part of what they sell in the real shop. They have mostly only narrow plush elastic and straps. Maybe their non stretch lace is still interesting or swimming wear lining. I live in the Netherlands, they would be cheaper for me than Wien2002, but … No thanks. Lijfgood is OK but more expensive.

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