Red and Black: Bra Edition

In case you were wondering whether or not my bra obsession has subsided, it most definitely has NOT! I have several finished bras to share, and today you get two!

First up, I have another rendition of the Linda bra, a partial band design by Beverly Johnson. I had made this bra twice before with limited success – one was unwearable, and the other was good enough to wear but certainly not perfect. In this third version, I narrowed the bridge a tad, since it was too wide in my brown version, and also gave myself a little more length across the top of the cup.

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This is definitely my best version so far, but after comparing this bra to other finished versions of Beverly’s bras, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I’m making it a size too small in the first place. I’ve been sewing a 32A, since that most closely matches my measurements according to this pattern, but I usually make 32B (that’s the size I use for both the Watson and the Marlborough, and my usual RTW size). In fact, I was fitted for a bra recently, and they said I could even go up to a C (I’m highly skeptical). Since all of the other versions of this bra that I’ve seen have more breast coverage than mine, I’m wondering if I should approach the fit from the next size up. It may also be possible that partial bras just aren’t the best design for my chest structure.

The material I used were from a Bra Maker’s Supply kit, with additional lace from Britex. I decided give this bra a little more pizzaz, and even added some lace to the back closure:

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Because I can!

My next bra is another Watson bra, with undies to match. I continue to love this pattern, especially with the addition of foam padding. For this version, I used both foam padding and fold-over elastic for a very sleek, streamlined look. I’m really loving the result, and this has become my go-to “dark colors” bra.

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Adding the fold-over elastic required a few changes to the pattern – shaving off 1/4″ at the neck/underarm elastics and 1/2″ at the bottom band. I also used FOE for the straps, which required a little elastic gymnastics – I may end up trying to do a tutorial on this, if I can get myself organized enough!

For the foam padding, I used the same technique as last time, and this time added a little ribbon to the cross-cup seam for a nicer finish (it also feels smoother!).

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That’s all for now – more bras to come, though! Can’t stop a good addiction…

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Partial Band Bra with Partial Success

I know, I know, it’s been a million years since I last posted. I have no excuse. No, I take that back, I do: America’s Test Kitchen. All 15 seasons of the show. Bam. Hence the lack of blogging :P.

Ok, that’s not completely true; I’m also just not as jazzed about these latest bras as I have been with some of my others. I mentioned in my last post that the Marlborough bra is the best fitting underwire bra I’ve made, and today I have the other underwire bra to show you. I.e., the less successful one.

This is the Linda Bra by Beverly Johnson of Bra Makers Supply, her partial band pattern. Now, I should start out by saying that this bra was not less successful because this is a bad pattern – it’s a great pattern! I just had a harder time with fit because of my particular shape, and haven’t yet created a truly successful version.

I muslined it in two sizes, 32A and 32B, since that can vary from pattern to pattern, and neither fit perfectly. I decided to start with the 32A and alter from there. Initially, I took a bit out of the cup to alleviate the “bullet bra” effect and removed a bit of width from the top of the band. Here she is:

  

Now, I do really love this bra – the contrasting lace is so striking and lovely! But, alas, it’s unwearable. The cups are so tight across the top that they cut into the breast tissue and literally give me an extra set of boobs busting out the top. Not a good look. Sigh…

For version 2, I added about 1/2″ of length to the upper cup and also widened the bridge a bit. The cups fit much better this time, but now the bridge is too wide. Argh! But I’m definitely getting closer with this bra.

  
    

I do love lacey bras – they’re so gratifying to sew!

One thing I’ve realized in my bra making journey so far is that I have fairly wide-set breasts, so patterns with power bars tend to create a more flattering shape than those without. As a result, this bra still allows the breast tissue to “spread” a little more than I would like, while the power bar of the Marlborough gives a really nice shape. So now I’m toying with the idea of converting the Marlborough to a partial band using the method Beverly Johnson discusses in her mind-blowingly awesome second Craftsy class. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen this class and are at all interested in bra making, go watch it now) While I want to nail the fit with this bra, I’m wondering if it would save me some headaches to just alter a bra I already know works.  Any thoughts on that?

So, those are the latest bras! And I’ll give you a teaser about my next post (so you don’t stop reading my blog entirely out of boredom :P) – JEANS. Woot!