Saturday, July 12, 2014

First time bramaking!

After ages of drooling over pretty bras handmade by Tasia, Caroline, and Novita, I couldn't take it any more and just had to give the whole thing a try myself! I bought a gloriously tacky bra and panty making kit from Merckwaerdigh, and a copy of their mix30 pattern. Usually I'm a demicup kind of lady, so the relatively low cut of this pattern made it stand out to me. Also, look at the cute colour blocking possibilities!

Because I'm the sort of person who refuses to do anything without extensive research, I read through all of the bra sew-along posts over at Cloth Habit before cutting out anything. I love Amy's way of explaining things, she's thorough but incredibly easy to understand. And by the time I was through, the whole prospect didn't seem so daunting any more, so I got started! In the end, it only took an afternoon to make, and I didn't do so shabbily, if I do say so myself :).

There is a little bit of bubbling on the bridge where the fashion fabric stretched and the lining didn't, and some rippling along the vertical cup seam for the same reason, but it's not super noticeable.

The band fits perfectly, but the cups need some work. Quad boob and underarm squish is not what I'm looking for in a bra! The sizing chart confused me a little, so I just cut the size that my rtw bras are (even though I knew they likely suffered from vanity sizing and wildly variable standards), but in this style/pattern/reality it seems that a 34C is not going to cut it. I was waffling between the 95 and 100 underwires too, and went in the end with the 95s. Next time I will try a 34D and the next size up of wires.


Speaking of wires, am I the only one annoyed at the way sizing can't manage to be globally standard for anything?! I need size 100 wires from Merckwaerdigh, but size 40 from North American sellers; I'm a shoe size 8 in North America, 6 in the UK, and 39 in Europe. And don't even get me started on the half-assed way Canada has converted to the Metric System! I use kilometres for speed and long distances but feet and inches for short distances, pounds for weight but litres for volume. I've finally managed to fully convert with temperature, but for a long time I thought of outside in Fahrenheit and inside in Celsius. I mean seriously, I know the USA is stubborn and influences a lot of what we do through imported media, but Metric is just plain superior to Imperial. Easier to manipulate mathematically, often more precise, actually based on logic instead of cobbled together from bits and pieces of outdated systems. Personally, I've just decided (earlier today, hahaha) to make an effort and try to start thinking in centimetres instead of inches, or at least as well as. The seam allowances I added to these patterns would drive a lot of people crazy, with 1/4" and 1/2" for the edges where the elastic attaches and a 1cm s/a for fabric to fabric joins (turns out 1cm is the exact width between my presser foot edge and my offset/zigzagging needle position), but it's a start :P.


At least the construction went smoothly! Perhaps it was due to previous experience with channels in corset making and elastic in the swimsuit I made a few weeks ago (to be blogged about shortly!), but nothing about this felt new, there was just an unusually large amount of stuff going on for such a small finished garment!

I've never had a non-foam bra before, mostly because the cheap rtw stuff I usually end up with offers very little in the way of alternatives. But fabric bras are amazing! Even with the fit problems of this one, I'm loving the way it lets my boobs actually look like, well, boobs, and not foam-dome Barbie chest. And I have to say, the sexy possibilities of a bra you can actually feel something through is intriguing ;).

Anyway, since there where lots of supplies left, I tried out the mix30 undies pattern as well, view C. And discovered that even in size L, they're just a tad too small to be comfortable. I guess the pattern could be graded up a bit, but the general bum shape feels like it will be constant wedgie town either way, so I'll probably just alter Zo's underwear pattern to make it a little more fancy if I want this style in the future.

If the Merckwaerdigh pattern wasn't going to cut if for a matching set, I thought I may as well try making my own. My favourite undies are usually soft thongs with wide lace as the waist, so I basically just traced around an existing pair to get a pattern. Unfortunately, I forgot to add a seam allowance along the sides to account for turning the elastic, and the first pair of these was also a too small failure *sigh*.

For the second try I added width for the elastic and height to account for using thin lace instead of thick as the waist. And of course by then I was out of picot elastic from the kit and was using the same lace elastic for the sides as for the waist, which I just top-stitched on instead of flipping, and therefor didn't need a s/a. Now they are a little wider than needed, but at least I can actually wear them! And once I make another, larger bra from the scads of leftover purple leopard print, I'll have an actual set of matching lingerie :). Funny story: I polled my Guy (and then all my male friends), and discovered that men seem to be indifferent when it comes to coordination of lingerie. Actually, mine half-jokingly says he can't support my bra making endeavours, in much the same way I insist a shirt and no pants is a good look for him :P.

Luckily, I dress entirely for my own enjoyment, and that means lots more pretty frilly things to come! I may have gone a little overboard with the bra making supplies, but once my five more packages show up I should be good for a while...