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.

 

Maya bra

September and October have been busy for me as I’ve finished off making some new clothes and starting some Christmas projects, tis very nearly the season after all- especially if they are to be finished by Christmas 2017. (Maybe this will be the year my Christmas jumper finally makes it off the knitting needles). That’s why finishing this bra and knickers set has actually taken a stupidly long time. 

The pattern is the Maya bra which is an awesome free pattern. It starts off having some beautifully detailed instructions, some of which now seem to be animated. It’s the third bra pattern I’ve tried, and the first time using foam cups so excuse a few mistakes where I considered this a trial go. 

Starting off the instructions are very detailed, the information on what fabrics and materials to use are brilliant. The notches are very well placed and everything matches up extremely well. I used scuba for the outer layer again, last time I used scuba it drove me nuts skipping stitches, this time however I used Gutterman thread and no problems, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. I couldn’t get the firmer type of power mesh so I used two layers on the wing to give it extra strength, it helped but the firmer power net would be better.

I decided to line my cups a different way to what is suggested, as for some reason with my very limited experience I felt I knew better- I didn’t want to have to cover up my zig zagged seams with ribbon/tape so I constructed the lining separately and then stitched it to my cup “in the ditch”. Pros:-no tape on the inside if the cup or raw edges, cons:- it looks a bit baggy inside the cup, because of the shape of the cup the lining could do with being a teeny bit smaller. Im not sure ultimately either method is right for me, I’ll keep experimenting. 

Sadly the super detailed tutorial instructions don’t make it all the way to the end – I’m not surprised it must have taken her hours so far. This was a bit of a problem for me, as although I’ve made a few bras now and know how to make the frame, I hadn’t used foam cups before and wasn’t exactly sure how to best attach all the layers together,  I had to find another online tutorial to finish it off.

After I finished the cups it was down hill from there, though retrospectively I noticed one cup is at a very slightly different angle. Oops. No-one would notice.

So most importantly, how does it fit?

Well I would call it a success as it keeps the girls safely in for a whole day without hurting. Result. In terms of finer points that need tweaking – the straps dont seem to join directly above the apex, but they are comfortable so I’m reluctant to move them too much, just a smidge in would be good.

The main problem I’ve had is that the upper cup piece needs about 2 cm taking out of the upper edge each side, but the bottom edge staying the same… I have a bit of a gaping upper cup. This is apparently a very common issue with this pattern. Beverley Johnson does a really good tutorial on how to fix this on her bra making class on Craftsy, which can cost between $15 and $40 depending on whether they currently have a sale. The moral of the story though is make a cut on the pattern, and over lap the two pieces and stick them back down like a dart, I’ll be trying it soon once I’ve finished my current bra. Other people have also made a redrafted top piece you can download. 

I also decided to make matching knickers for this bra and my long line bra, both times I’ve used the Montgomery brief pattern from Orange Lingerie. As the lace is so wide it looked very odd to use the whole width of lace across the front, so with both of these pairs I’ve experimented with cutting the lace down – I’m really happy with the result! 

Watson I & Sewcialists Inspiration Month

This August with the Sewcialists it has been Inspiration Month. For a long time I have had lots of Watson bras, designed by Amy from Cloth Habit, covering my Pinterest boards. It was this bra that inspired me to try bra making, as without underwires, and with the excellent sew-alongs that were available I felt it was something I could accomplish.

At this point can I just warn you that if you google ‘Watson Bra’ for inspiration you get rather a number of sleazy pap photos of Emma Watson. You have been warned.

The pattern was $15 dollars as an instant download, it has the bra and a bikini pattern. You can make two different versions, View A has a longline band which I particularly wanted for the look and the support I thought I would need being of a large cup size. There was a lot of information available about which size I should pick for various fabrics. I measured as a 36E but the advice was for quite a stretchy band fabric to size down, so I went for the sister size 34F. Then I looked at the cups, thought no chance and cut a 34 G. This is the biggest cup size for a 34 band and retrospectively I will need to increase it for the next one.

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The fabric I used was a fairly cheap knit as I always consider the first one a bit of a test case and expect it might need reworking somewhat. I’m saving the unicorn and rainbow fabric for best!

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I lined everything as I like neat insides, the cups and band with some power mesh, as I was concerned that the knit fabric wasn’t that supportive, and the band with tricot as suggested. Retrospectively this meant that I needn’t have sized down the band. You can see the horizontal lines where it has pulled round the band. The frame does seem to fit  around the cups nicely so for the next version I am just going to increase the wings a little.

As the knit is such fun colours I’ve enjoyed using mismatch elastics to add to the fun. I didn’t quite manage to get the elastics to touch perfectly at the front, I sewed a bow over it. Next time I also need to stretch the elastic a little more under the arm. 

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This toil is very wearable especially as the band and the band elastic will get softer with time. I wanted a soft bra as I have been in hospital a lot recently and lying down, and I find the wires were digging in. It was much softer to sleep in, and I felt much less rough getting dressed with a bra every day. it didn’t provide much support lying on my sides, but then I’m not sure I have any bras that do. Next to try the matching bikini pattern and see if I can get a comfy fit.