I arrived home from Mexico and wasn’t particularly filled with sewing mojo, to be honest, but happily this was short-lived, because I saw that Pattern Review had announced a short, two week Lingerie Sewing Contest for the second half of October! This was just what I needed to kick me into action and remind me that I’d been meaning to alter the seaming on my bra cup pattern after I’d made the eyelash bra.
The cups on that one were fine, but I have some gorgeous turquoise lace in my stash from Danglez’ closing down sale (sniff!), and it was too narrow for my one-dart cup pattern. So before I could even start sewing, I had to do some pattern drafting manipulation first – introducing some seam lines to account for the narrow lace, split and rotate the dart around a bit, and voila! Now I’ve got a three part cup!
I was so happy with the fit of this bra that I made myself a matching pair of Lacey Thongs (my free downloadable pattern, if you’d forgotten!) to go with it.
Seriously though – I think this must be about the 8th or 9th bra I’ve sewn, but only about the second I’d wear out of the house. Sewing a bra is easy – getting the bra to fit properly, feel comfortable, and look flattering is beyond challenging. I think I understand other people’s frustrations with trouser fitting now, because this bra fitting journey has been character-building!
My real breakthrough came when I stopped using commercial patterns and just traced existing RTW bras instead. For me, they were a much, much closer starting point than the bizarre cup shapes provided in the KwikSew and Elan patterns I’d previously tried.
In fact, my advice to anyone wanting to start sewing their own bras is to take a bra you already own, trace off the parts (a few times, and compare for accuracy), remove the underwire for tracing, and sew up some muslins. Again, Orange Lingerie’s ebook is absolutely indispensable for bra sewing. Skip buying a bra pattern and buy her ebook instead.
In fact, I’m so pleased with the fit and comfort of this bra that I’ve actually taken some photos of me modelling it (tastefully!). However, you may see more of me than you’d like, so I feel this should be opt-in rather than accidentally skimming your eyeballs over it in a post. So if you’d like to see how the bra and panties fit me, you can see some photos here (opens in a new window).
What can I say about my Lacey Thongs that isn’t just going to sound like marketing? Seriously, I love these panties, and I can’t have too many in my lingerie drawer! The turquoise lace here was only slightly stretchy, so I erred on the larger size with my pattern, and I’m glad I did because they fit great.
When I pulled the lace out of my lingerie sewing stash, I saw I also had bought pale turquoise (nearly white!) elastic, straps, underwire casings, and bra hooks at the same time. However, the elastic was wider than I was anticipating – this is fine for the bra and the waistband on the panties, but would be really uncomfortable around the crotch, especially in a thong!
So I required an emergency run to MacCulloch & Wallis last week, where I was very pleased to buy some narrow picot-edge elastic in the exact shade of turquoise I needed! It looks so professional next to the turquoise cotton crotch lining I’d also thought ahead to buy at Danglez!
I’ll be entering this set into the Lingerie Contest at PR, so I’ll put up a link when voting begins in early November. This was just what I needed to kickstart my post-holiday sewing mojo, and I’m so pleased about having a well-fitting bra pattern that I’m actually making another set in different lace (seen on the left above)!