Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bra making: The Journey Continues

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Okay, so bra-making's hard. The photo above is my second bra, and while there is an improvement in both the sewing and fitting I'm still not there. I'm not giving up, though, because I find the process interesting, and I believe that I will eventually get a good fit. Or at least I will have a better understanding of what I need when I shop RTW.

Also, photographing bras with large cup sizes is kinda hard, too. For the top photo I stuffed sweater tights inside the cups to give an idea of shape. Below is another photo in all its deflated glory.

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I have a confession to make: I'm in my forties and I have never had a well-fitting bra. In my teens I was too embarrassed - since I was often teased and described by friends and strangers alike (in a multitude of ways) as overdeveloped and generally made to feel freakish. BTW, what is it with people making body comments? How do people not know that it's rude? I find it so gratifying now when I see young women shutting down body snark and only wish that I had spoken up in such a way when I was their age instead of pretending to laugh while being quietly mortified.

So I guess this attitude towards my perceived body flaws carried over into my adult life. I would shop quickly to find something that somewhat fit, or order a bunch of different sizes online. But one of the nice things about getting older is that you eventually stop caring so much about what other people think. Now I want a bra that fits me really well - that's comfortable and supportive, but also pretty. And I want one in every color. It's time.

My second bra is another Pin-Up Girls Classic bra. The first one was too large in the upper cup and too tight in the band. So I went up to the next band size and down a cup size. The band feels better and I can fit two fingers, but it's still a little tight. (ETA: I forgot to add an important detail! I doubled up on the power net, so maybe that's why the band feels so tight!) The cup encases my entire breast, but there is no extra room whatsoever. I know that the fit isn't right, but I'm not quite sure what to do next...

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I've been reading Demystifying Bra Fitting & Construction, by Norma Loehr, and one of the things she mentions is that multi-piece cups are better for round breasts. So now I'm thinking I should focus on a different pattern. Initially, I thought of the Pin-Up girls Shelley pattern (and I may still try it), but I just learned via Sew Pretty in Pink about the free Maya bra pattern from AFI. It's in the beta testing stage, but I think it might be worth a try because the other challenge with bra-making is that it can get pretty expensive. I've already spent $$ on a pattern, two kits, a book, and a Craftsy class, and I'm still struggling with getting the fit right.

Speaking of kits, I'm not super crazy about the feel of the duoplex fabric in the Bra-makers supply kits, so I'm looking at other fabrics now. I'm worried that changing the fabric will mean starting over with the whole fitting process, but maybe since I'm trying a new pattern it would be a good time to try a different fabric. At any rate, I've ordered a hand-dyed kit from BravoBella that includes tricot (she recommends two layers for stability). I like the paired down look of the kits, and they're $10 cheaper. Also, she offers a variety of different nude shades, which is pretty awesome. Of course, if I really wanted to save money I could've sourced the supplies separately....Ah well, live and learn... and I am indeed learning!
Thanks so much for reading. Would love to know your thoughts on bra making, the best fabric types, etc. There really is a lot to learn.


11 comments:

  1. I love your bra. It's such a great colour. It was probably around bra 5 that I started getting the right fit for me. I'm still tweaking here and there, but the bra I am wearing right now is near perfect. Once you figure out what works for you, then the fun part starts with all sorts of great mixing and matching of fabrics.

    With the Bravo Bella kit, instead of doubling up the tricot, I recommend using a non-stretch nylon cup lining. It's a thinner layer. Doubling tricot can a get a bit difficult to manage on your sewing machine. Just a recommendation. I use the non-stretch cup lining from Arte Crafts, but there are several sources out there.

    The Maya bra has such a nice shape and I think you will love it! Instructions aren't quite all there yet, but feel free to message me on IG for help at any point. I really hope it works for you. The upper cup is a bit wide, though. You may want to compare the width there to your Classic bra pattern and alter it before your first one.

    There's a lot to learn in bra making, but it's so rewarding. :D

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    1. Thanks, Andie! I'll check out the fabric you recommend. Fortunately, I have some leftover power net from my previous bras, so I can make a muslin. I know you really can't make a muslin, but maybe this will give me an idea with the Maya since I seem to be having trouble finding my correct size.

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    2. Also, how did I not know about Arte Crafts? They're even in California. Yay! Thanks!

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    3. No problem! I love their products. The sheer cup lining they have is amazing.

      Megan (green violet) and I have put together a materials post for the CSC lingerie month. Keep an eye out for it. ;)

      Good luck with the Maya bra! I'm making my second one this weekend. :D

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  2. This looks great! I agree with Andie that the first few bras are really all about learning the technique, then improving the fit come later. I still don't have a perfect fit on any patterns, but they are perfectly wearable and that is good enough for me. I am always resistant to change materials because I hate refitting my pattern, but if you are changing patterns, then now is definitely the time to go for it! I just wanted to point out one thing, I have found my bands stretch out a small but significant amount very quickly after the first maybe 3 wears. The bra I just finished was very tight on the loosest hook when I first completed it, but now I'm wearing it on the tightest hook comfortably! All that to say, if you can manage to wear it a few day (or even hours) the materials may relax a bit.

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    1. Thanks, Megan! I was wondering about the band relaxing after a few wears. Especially since it does most of the work and needs to be snug. I'm looking forward to the CSC lingerie posts!

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  3. I've made two so far and have yet to get a good fit. Changing sizes & materials for the second definitely didn't help! But I feel like I'm learning a lot with each attempt. Now that I'm pregnant I will probably hold off for a while before I try again, but will be watching and cheering you on instead!

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    1. Thank you, Noelle! It's reassuring to know that getting the fit right is difficult for a lot of people. I think the process is ultimately rewarding.

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  4. I just ordered this pattern and kit, it will be here any day. I've never made a bra so I'm so excited I caught you at the beginning of your bra making journey. I know it will be a big time and money investment to get a perfectly fitting bra, but I'm really determined. Wanna be bra buddies?! Lol

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    1. I've always wanted a bra buddy! LOL. I wish that they sold bra kits for beginners with enough supplies for three bras at a discount. Good luck on your first bra!

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