Fun with Soft Bras

As promised, here is a post with actual finished projects! Huzzah! Here I have two more soft bras to share with you – another Watson Bra and a new pattern, the Colette Florence from the February edition of Seamwork. Both used fun laces I purchased at Britex, and both were super fun and easy!

First off, the Florence. I think it’s important to note at the outset that this is a lounge bra, not a regular bra, so it’s not really something I would wear out of the house. It’s not designed to provide the support of a normal bra, and is meant to provide comfort with light support rather than a lot of shaping or lift. However, for days when I can prance around my living room in my skivvies, it’s perfect!

I made a straight size XS with basically no fit alterations aside from taking about an inch or so total out at the center back seam. This bra is made with stretch lace and stretch fabrics, so the fit is pretty forgiving. Since this is intended as a quick beginner pattern, it doesn’t take into account varying cup/band sizes, and instead just goes XS, S, M, etc (and not 32A, 32B, etc). Also, it is designed like a typical knit sewing pattern rather than like a bra pattern, meaning that it has 3/8″ seam allowances instead of 1/4″, and uses a different order of construction. I tried to get fancy and use my “special bra making skillz” (such applying the elastic flat, etc), but learned the hard way that you really should just follow the instructions! So, to all you seasoned bra-makers out there, this pattern is sort of a hybrid bra/regular sewing pattern, and not a “true bra.”

Here she is!

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Isn’t she a beauty? I even managed to match up the lace pattern at the center back seam without even trying – I love it when that happens!!

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The one construction change I made was to add clear elastic to stabilize the neck edge of the lace. I also added channeling, but not underwires. The pattern didn’t seem to have enough room at the center front for proper channeling treatment, so be warned. Or maybe I did it wrong – quite possible! I tried adding a mesh lining, but found that it interfered with the lace pattern, and since this isn’t intended to be a supportive bra anyhow, I decided to just leave it out. So, this bra is definitely “skimpier” than I’d normally like, but as I said, for lazy days around the house, it’s quite luxurious!

A few guts shots: IMG_2503 IMG_2505

And now for a bra I am extremely proud of – my padded Watson bra!! Adding padding completely solved the “show-through” issue I had discussed in my last two bra posts, and also provided a nice amount of shaping. I definitely plan on padding all of my Watsons from here on out!

So, how did I accomplish this seemingly mysterious feat? Well, it turns out it’s actually not that difficult! Amy from Cloth Habit and designer of the Watson Bra had actually done a series of posts about a year ago on adding foam cups to a bra, which I found extremely helpful. I also found an intrepid blogger that had already tried adding foam to the Watson, which I found quite helpful.

Basically, what I did was remove the seam allowances from the foam, except for where the cup meets the cradle, zig-zag the pieces of foam, and then make up the bra as usual. There were a few other minor construction details I had to change, but Amy talks in depth about those in her blog series, so I would highly recommend reading her posts if you’re interested in trying this.

I got the foam from Bra Makers Supply, which is definitely a new favorite resource! The current exchange rate with the Canadian dollar means that shopping there from the US is a really good deal!! Good thing a lot of my favorite pattern companies are Canadian :).

Oh, and here’s what it looks like:

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I really love the texture on this stretch lace – it has an almost 3-D effect:

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And since I’m sure you’re dying to see the guts:

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You can see that I added some fold-over elastic to the edge of the foam – I thought it provided a cleaner finish, and hopefully will also elongate the life of the foam cups.

So there you have it! Two new bras! And just wait – there’s more! But I’ll save those for another day :).

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