And then there's the fitting slump, where I finally realise that that there's no point in sewing this stuff unless I can actually do better either in style or fit than what's available in the shops. And actually fitting is pretty hard.
I'm happy to say that I think I'm through the slump on bra making, and I'm still feeling fairly enthusiastic, I wonder what the next stage is?
My last bra attempt was about 45% successful.
The cups fit me, but that's about all that was working. The underwires were poking me in a way that would make for a pretty good torture device and the band was too tight. I needed help with the band, so I bought this book:
If I could go back in time, and do the bra making obsession again, I would have bought this book much sooner, and skipped the Kwik Sew bra's altogether. The KS bra's instructions are fantastic, and they really show how easy the construction is, but I think the pattern in this book is a better starting point. Just what I was looking for, a full coverage, full band bra. On top of that, the instructions probably rival Kwik-Sew for clarity, and that's saying something. In the later chapters J.L M-F describes how to change the pattern in to one with more seams in the cup, partial band, and a whole lot more. It really holds you by the hand at first, and gets all the way in to drafting from measurements and grading. I don't plan on embarking on either of those adventures, but it's cool to know it's there.
Bare Essentials has it's own variation for measuring for size, and the bra pattern is drafted to fit those measurements. I normally wear a 34D or 34DD but I came out to be a 32E on one side and F on the other according to the formula
I could see from the pattern piece that the bridge would be too wide, but I thought I'd give the pattern a go with no alterations first, and adjust then.
This was the first comfortable bra I've made. Whoo hoo!!! The bridge was too wide, it prevented the underwires from sitting all the way on to my skin in the CF, but that didn't effect comfort, and it was so comfy that I wore it all day, and all night. Even with the dodgy construction.
Bra-making notions are annoying to source, so for tester bras, I've got a couple of strategies to help. I got some pre-made straps in Fabric Planet downtown. I think they were 5 for a dollar or something. I just rip them back off when I'm done.
I've used self-made casing from fabric before, this is actually what Kwik-Sew has in their instructions, but this time I used cotton twill tape. It worked surprisingly well.
One part that's a total pain to rip back out is the elastic.
Luckily I live near the L.A. Garment district and I found whole rolls of picot edge plush elastic a while ago. It's my birthday week, and I just got a whole pile of presents, so I'm feeling generous. If you want some of the white plush elastic you can see on this latest bra, leave me a comment and I'll pick one or more winners next week some time.