A cut and sew foam Angie

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This is my latest version of the Angie bra, designed by Bodils Wear.  This is my third version, this time I wanted to try some cut and sew foam cups.

For the foam I removed the seam allowance from between the cup segments and from across their top and butted the segments close together, zigzagging across the join. I then bound the top with fold over elastic with a 3 step zigzag to give them a nice finish.  I sewed the lace cup onto the top of it so I could use the pretty lace edge, Because of this I have not been able to apply the elastic to the cups as per the original instructions.

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I have also changed the bridge this time around, it was so narrow that sewing the bridge in two pieces was extremely fiddly. I’ve removed the seam allowance for the centre seam and cut it on the fold.

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I also have altered the bottom edge of the frame, to use a Gothic arch and thin frame as I find it more comfortable as it stops the band from twisting upwards. This is a change I always make and I have shared details of the tutorials used on my previous post.

The lace I have used is from Etsy from a shop called VintageToLiveBy, which has the most beautiful laces. It is not a symmetrical pattern so I have balanced the lace on my cups so that the pattern lies in the same place on both sides. I’ve been hoarding it for probably around a year waiting for the right project. You can see the beautiful colours better in this shot from their website.

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The knickers are an edited version of the Montgomery Brief from Orange Lingerie, which I have chosen in this case as it combines the non stretch lace and stretch powernet fabrics I have used for the bra together.

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Angie II

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Having sewn up a trial version of the Angie bra from Bodils Wear, and fallen in love I made another version but this time in black with laminated lace cups. The laminated lace is from the Sewing Chest. it looks gorgeous, it’s very sturdy and gives fantastic support, I think it would have made a great corset. I personally prefer my bras to feel a little bit softer though so I actually prefer my tester in that regard.

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It’s fully lined, and I’m happy with the sewing.

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I forgot to change the bridge to one piece! Doh, by the time I realised I wasn’t going to unpick everything – Next time! I have kept all the pattern adjustments from last time, including a gothic arch, thinner band, and taking in the upper cup.

I wanted to have thin straps with these gorgeous heart sliders but the straps just weren’t cutting the mustard, so I unpicked those and put wider straps on, they were much more comfortable and the bra felt more supportive. Moral of the story – I need bigger hearts!

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It’s a great bra, it’s a very good fit, very structured feeling so it provides great support! I feel some matching knickers coming.

Angie I – a tester

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It’s official all, I am in love. From the moment I saw some of the Angie Bra from Bodil’s wear I just knew it was one for me. The cup shape is very round, as are my boobs, so I felt sure it would be a good match. I’ve made a tester bra in the UK size 34G, from some scraps and bits of elastic I had at home, so excuse any slight hodgepodge effect. When I say tester, I mean completely wearable and the best bra I’ve made, and the best bra I own in terms of fit. Boom!

Cups

This time I spent the time basting it all together to see how it fitted. The bottom of the cups and across the widest part of my breasts the fit was awesome, but nearer the top the cup didn’t grade back in enough and it was a little large. As it was all basted I took in all the seams a little along the top edge of the lace and that worked wonders.

Angie is designed to have elastic along the top edge of the cup, however I wanted to use the edge of the lace and so I took off the elastic allowance of each cup piece and instead ran some elastic along the back of the lace. Excuse the fact that it doesn’t completely go but as I said, it was a tester so I wasn’t overly concerned with how much it matched.

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As you can see I also used two difference colours of wire casing, same thickness but that was what I had.

The frame

So whilst the frame fitted rather well there are a couple of adjustments that I like to make now which provide me with a much more comfortable fit. First I like to make a Gothic arch at the front, I have used this tutorial for this a number of times by the Fairy Bra Mother, Beverly Johnson, and I thoroughly recommend it, especially if like me you have a quite high stomach.

The second adaption is for similar reasons, and that is to narrow down the frame under the cups to stop the band elastic from twisting. Again by the Fairy bra mother this tutorial entitled Thin is in is absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly recommend it.

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I also discovered that this bra had a very narrow bridge, and this was the flattest fit across my chest yet. However, this pattern piece for the bridge is cut in two pieces, which makes it very fiddly, I notice that a number of other people have decided to re-draft it as a single piece and next time I will do the same.

Straps

The straps were placed well, and very comfortable, though I am not 100% keen on this method of attaching them at the front as it tends to pull the shape of the cup a little, some investigation into this is needed I think. I have seen some alternatives that I think I should employ.

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Fabrics

The cups are sewn from a lace I purchased from Etsy from The Bra shop here. It’s only £3.50 per metre, it’s soft feeling and non stretch. It wasn’t wide enough for some pattern pieces, and in the picture above you can see I had to join lace together, you can’t see when it is on. I recommend sewing the two fabrics together and then cutting out the pattern pieces. I got all the lace pieces out of 1 metre and have enough little bits that I’m planning on making matching knickers sometime.

The fabric from the band was off cuts when I made a Marlborough bra. The lining and elastics were all in my stash.

The pattern and instructions

The pattern is fab, it’s a great fit for me. The instructions have been translated from Swedish, and some of the clarity of them has been lost in translation. I would say maybe not the ideal choice of instructions for your first bra. However, Bodils Wear was very happy to answer my questions and help me. The tutorials from Beverley Johnson on Craftsy are amazing, and there is a lot of help out there if you need it, so on that note go for it.

If you have round boobs it’s a fantastic pattern!

Maya III – an experiment with a cage

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This bra is my third attempt at the free Maya Bra pattern (the previous two can be seen here and here). I have made several adjustments to the pattern after the upper cup of my second version still needed a pinch removing. To do this I took a dart out of the upper cup.

I also reduced the height of the upper cup, beforehand it was a little frumpy looking and I wanted it a little more sexy. I followed this through on the frame so the underarm was lower as before it dug in a little.

The band of the previous versions kept riding up at the front and so I used this fantastic tutorial from the fairy bra mother to change the frame to have a gothic arch at the centre front. This is a lot more comfortable and solved the problem.

The frame is a little too large under the arm still and I will be taking a pinch out of it next time round.

At this point it looked good but to try out different looks I experimented with making a cage and different bows. The straps on this bra are quite stretchy so they are very comfortable.

Here it is with matching grace panties. You can see more details on the grace panties here.

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Grace

I’ve been eyeing up the Grace pattern from Ohhh Lulu sews for a while. It uses a combination of non stretch and stretch fabrics together – which means it is perfect to pair with either the Marlborough bra or the Maya bra, which are both made with non stretch fabrics for the cups and bridge, and power net wings.

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The pattern (available here) cost me around £8 and was available for digital download, which is great if like me you are impatient. Measuring myself I came up as an XL – a little surprising as I’m a UK 12/14 – maybe I’m being a little vain here. However making  them up I felt that I could have probably sized down, the power net I’ve used at the sides is extremely stretchy. Still they fit nicely, but I think the size below would have done too!

The instructions were clear and good, though personally I would have liked a recommendation on stitch width and length on a regular sewing machine for application of elastics.

I actually made 2 pairs as my mother always taught me to buy two pairs of knickers with my bras.

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The main fabric I have used was an off-cut from a top I made, perfect to use up strange shaped remnants, I also made this matching, albeit heavily altered Maya bra. (I’ll be posting about that soon). I also used some left over weirdly shaped power mesh, and then bought some stretch lace to sew round the legs for 75p.

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Definitely a pattern that I will be using again, they are a good fit, very comfy, and ideal to go with some of my favourite bra patterns.

 

Watson II – Lace and Spots

This is my second version of the Watson Bra from Cloth Habit.

The first one was comfortable and surprisingly supportive for a non-wired bra. This time I decided to go for a slightly more elegant style rather than bright colours. I used a mixture of bits I had from my stash, including this dotty black mesh which I have been waiting to use. I had a little trouble deciding which straps to go for as I was tempted by this decorative cream version – but eventually went all black as I had black hooks and eyes and the right size rings and sliders.

I also decided to try out the Watson bikini brief as opposed to making the lady shorts, and see how they fit.

Having made the Watson before this one came together easily, this time I handled the centre front, where both cups meet, much better and I am happier with the result.

As I had more layers to handle this time I decided to baste the cream lace and black dots in place and that was very helpful.

I used a 2 hook closure and I wish I had used a 3 as it would have given me more support. My previous Watson felt a little loose under the arm; although this time I stretched the elastic more through the under arm and adjusted the pattern a smidge, it could still do with adjusting a little more.

There are two black stripes that run down the front, they don’t line up when flat but they do line up when they are on because the knickers stretch more than the bra band.

I nearly put dotty bows on too- should I change them?

Maya and the Unicorns

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This is my second go at the Maya bra, and I’ve been saving this fun unicorn fabric from LillyandMimistore on Etsy (and apparently comes in 3 colours). The Maya bra pattern is kindly available from here for free. Here was my first attempt.

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My previous Maya bra wasn’t a bad fit, but needed a pinch taken out of the upper cup. Here is how I went about changing the pattern.

I’ve taken the foam pattern piece, it has no seam allowance top and bottom, and made 3 cuts top to bottom leaving a tiny piece of paper as a hinge.

Then I’ve overlapped the two pieces at each cut and stuck them back down.

This has reduced the volume but left me with slightly funny shaped pieces that need adjusting. On the top edges I’ve reconnected the corners with straight lines.

On the bottom edge I was worried about changing the original shape so I traced the original shape edge back on.

And added some seam allowance to give the final piece below.

Not the most beautiful photos, apologies.

After that I constructed the bra as before, this time I tried using ribbon to cover the seams of the cut and sew foam rather than lining it. I think I preferred lining, but I like to try different techniques to see what I like best.

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I had a couple of issue, once again applying the elastic it stretched under the arm as my machine struggled to cope with the layers. This means I have a slightly gappy underarm section. I’ve decided to take a small pinch out of the wing next time so that if it stretches a little it won’t be a problem. I might lower the height of the under-arm too.

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The second issue is that I still need to take a little more from the upper cup. I erred on the side of caution, it’s a much better fit than before but a little more would be good. The bridge fits flat against my chest and the wires are in the correct place, less than a cm reduction should do it.

This little bow I made from two pieces of ribbon.

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Generally it just fills me with lots of happiness. It’s so beautiful and colourful. My entire reason for starting making bras was because I was fed up with the lack of fun bras bigger than a DD cup.

This week I’m going to purchase the scrundies pattern and make some matching knickers.

Bella II

This week I’ve sewn up my second pair of Bella knickers with this gorgeous kit I purchased from Evie La Luve. Read about my first here.

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The Bella pattern is designed to be ultra low rise, so I decided to adapt the pattern to lift the waist band a little. There may well be a different correct way of altering the pattern, but this is the way I altered it to get a little more coverage, without changing the size of the waist band or the cut round the legs and crotch as I was happy with that. Here is the shape of the original pattern piece, with the waist band drawn on in red.

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I lifted that line up without changing it’s shape by a couple of cm.

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Next I looked at each end of that new line, it needs to meet the front and back seam at right angles so that the waist band lies flat.

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And then using a french curve at the back, and a ruler at the front I drew in new front and back seams.

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Then I sewed them up as before, and here are my finished knickers.

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Here you can see the difference in size between my new and original pattern. The lace on the red pattern is a little softer and stretchier which is why they look a bit wider, but the waist is notably higher.

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Also after my first pair I switched from a regular zigzag (in green) to a 3 step zigzag (in purple), in my opinion the 3 step looked much nicer and I have used that since.

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I love this big bow included in the kit.

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I’m really happy with how the adapted pattern fit and feel, definitely a wardrobe staple and I have several other pairs in the pipeline. The only disadvantage is that I do need slightly wider lace to make the knickers from, alas, I will have to go lace shopping 🙂

 

Bella

This week I have finally gotten round to making my first pair of Bella knickers. As a Christmas present, to myself, I bought the printed pattern from Evie La Luve, along with a kit to make myself a pair.

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Everything in the kit is really nice quality, to the point that I decided to make a practice pair as it’s my very first go with fold over elastic. The materials for my practice pair were also from Evie La Luve.

I measured myself and traced the right size. The instructions were simple, I have an over-locker, so I used that for all the seams except the fold over elastic. I wasn’t sure which technique to use to apply the FOE, whether to sew it in one pass with either a zigzag or a 3 step zigzag, or to do it in 2 stages like you would biased binding. I went for applying it in one pass with a regular zigzag but I found it tricky to keep completely straight and to hold it in the right place, plus stretch the right amount.  Here is the result:

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You can see where the zigzag had a bit of a wobble in the top right. Good job it was a practice go, but actually you can’t notice the wobbly elastic when they are worn.

So the fit:

They are advertised as low rise, but they really are very low on the hips, this isn’t necessarily a problem if you like that fit, but I personally like my knickers a little higher rise. So next time I will add a little more length to the top, again I’m glad I had a practice go. They look good on, cut a little sexy but still mega comfortable.

The pattern:

It’s a good pattern, with clear instructions. It is quite expensive for a pattern for one pair of knickers, which is why I held off buying it for so long, but I can see how to hack it into some of her other options. I want to support small independent businesses, so I am willing to pay more for a pattern from someone who fits that criteria. Plus I think this will be a bit of a wardrobe staple for me so I think over time I’ll get my money’s worth.

Now onto the kit, I’ll change how I applied the elastic, and make the waist a little higher, I’ll show you the result soon.

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Marlborough IV – Blossom and Green

Greetings and a very Happy New Year to you, I finally have time to share some of my latest creations with you, that I actually finished last year.

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I found the fabric kit for this bra for sale on The Sewing Chest, who I use for a lot of my findings, if I’m honest I don’t necessarily find it the best website but they are UK based, very quick to deliver and usually have what I’m looking for or a viable alternative. It wasn’t a complete set but had the main fabric, some really good PowerNet, Tricot lining in a matching green, green elastics, and some red and green findings, all for less than £10, bargain. I supplemented it with some lace from TheBraShop on Etsy (actually two lots of lace as I couldn’t pick a colour… sssh… don’t tell), and a few bits from my stash.

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As the fabric is firm I decided to make yet another Marlborough bra, as this is my forth standard length one I was fairly certain how the fit would turn out, but took my favourite bits from version 2 and 3. Version 2 was the red and blue scuba bra, I liked the shape of the cups better on this version they were more round shaped and less pointy. However, version 3, the grey/black version has a lower underarm which was much more comfortable and didn’t dig in, so I used the frame pieces from that bra.

One of the issues I have with my previous versions was that the frame, under the cups kept rolling outwards, something that didn’t happen with my RTW bras. I asked on the Bra Making Forum and I was directed towards an article by Beverly Johnson called Thin is in. It seemed that the problem was the shape of my body was causing it to roll, and because I had been using thicker elastic on the frame for extra support and a longer frame than on my RTW bras the problem had become apparent. I followed Beverly’s instructions on how to fix this issue and now have a much thinner band and the problem has gone, thank you Beverley.

I used the flip and stitch method again to line my bra and hide all the inner workings and so the over all result is pretty neat on the inside.

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Overall the fit is pretty great, it’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t have any of the earlier flat spot problems. However, despite adding more and more to the volume, I still need to add a little more, my breast tissue doesn’t quite fill the bottom of the cup, and the bridge is still sitting a tiny bit away from my chest, not a lot. It’s the best fitting Marlborough so far, and it does look good, so just really small changes now to try and make it the perfect fit.

I have enough fabric left either for a pair of knickers, or for another bra, and I might make another this time with the green lace.