Some ladies like jewellery, others handbags or shoes…..others lovely, matching lingerie. Well, my necklaces and earrings mostly lie forgotten in my drawer and my 5 year old, one and only handbag will tell you it doesn’t get much love. I do adore shoes but my tastes run considerably more expensive than the money that can be found in my bank account. But..OH,..DO..I..LOVE..PRETTY UNDERTHINGS!!??
Making my own lingerie came on my radar about 4 years ago thanks to Very Purple Person’s gorgeous sets. My birthday wish that year was for a pattern and two kits from an overseas supplier but it just seemed soooooo complicated and also expensive, especially factoring in postage. So I kind of let it go for a few years until Amy from Cloth Habit put out her pattern for the Watson Bra. A pattern that ruled out some of the hard to find fabric and findings! Simple construction! I was hooked 🙂
Based on my measurements = 34C, I made a muslin (‘muslin’ even though I used my final fabric and took care sewing it together. Hey, precision practice can only be a good thing.) The bra turned out much too small, with about 5cm extra length required in the band and the cups too tight.
Re-measureing I decided to try a 36C and this fits really quite well. This is the size pictured in these photos and after wearing it for half a day I’m pleased with the shape and comfort level.
I think there are a few tweaks required. I get a few horizontal fold lines at the base of each cup. This could possibly be that the cup is slightly too shallow, as in, tightness through the middle of the cup stops my breast from fully sitting into the base of the cup. I think I’ll try splitting the lower cup, I dunno though!? It’s all a bit of an experiment.
Yikes! This is quite an expensive pattern (in my opinion) but what finally persuaded me to purchase it, is that it’s extremely close to a favourite pair of Elle McPhearson RTW knickers that I own (and are well overdue for retirement) I’d love to be able to make knickers to replace these as they are great for comfort without having any VPL’s.
These ones have come pretty darn close to fitting the bill but I seem to have a ‘V’ shaped fold at the back just below my tailbone. Like, perfect, if I had a little stumpy tail to fill it in with 🙂
I might try making the next size up, comparing the shape to my RTW ones and/or making it out of a stretch mesh instead of power net to see if a softer fabric will make a difference.
But again, I’ve worn them half a day and they are incredibly comfortable. So yay!
So going forth, I’m very keen to keep making my own under-garments if they can meet this criteria!:
- Cheap! I have to be able to use up pieces of pretty fabric that I have in my scrap box. This may involve some trial, error and failures but thats part of the fun. Isn’t it? When Bendon are having a ‘nothing over $25 sale’ I don’t want to be spending thrice that and waiting for the specialist fabric to come from an overseas specialist store.
- HAVE to be able to make matching sets because what is a fancy bra without co-ordinating knickers? Sad and lonely, thats what.
- Be able to use just a few patterns and then customise the designs for different looking bras. I’ll work my way up to this one.
I’m still really just a beginner in this. Here are some things that have helped me out:
- Read all of Amys lingerie posts on her blog. These are chock-full of information
- Join up with a bra-making specific Facebook group, such as, Bra Making Forum. Here you can post about fitting issues and get some great, experienced sewists providing feedback and solutions. Also a lot of inspiration to be found here.
- If you live in New Zealand then it can be hard to find all the materials you require. This problem lead to the solution of Elle-Joan’s lingerie findings, a South Island based mail order shop.
- Don’t worry about the ‘fancy’ or ‘pretty’ with making your first bras. Make ’em plain, get the fit right and then you can make the subsequent ones look stunningly gorgeous.
The main ivory fabric is some satin with a slight stretch that I already owned. The green stretch lace I found in a cheap store that sells everything so it’ll be interesting to see how durable it is. Powernet and findings came from Elle-Joan’s. The underwires came out of an old bra but they matched up to the regular wire chart from Bra Makers Supply so now I know what size I’ll need to order for the next one.