Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Making underwired bras

First up is a balconette bra from a commercial pattern , made in June. I was very happy with the results and it was easier than I expected. The main idea behind buying a bra pattern was that I'd been struggling to make my own as I had no idea what they looked like.

Cue the pattern books. I have 'Patternmaking for Underwear Design' by Kristina Shin and 'Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear' by Ann Haggar. The first is really useful for style ideas and the shape of the individual pattern pieces but I found the method really confusing. The second is easy to get the basic shape but is quite vague about the actual pattern pieces, as they would be impractical for a finished bra. So my first attempt looked like this!

So no good at all. The cup was much too wide, as was the cradle. No point going any further with this one.

So by July I'd got here, not too bad. The main problem is the curved lower edge of the gore (or bridge).

And by August I'd made my first soft bra with cups, no underwires, no padding. It's not perfect, the straps at the front are too wide and without underwires it's not a brilliant shape, especially the bridge.

Hurrah! Proper success, I love this one. It's underwired but with no padding, made from jersey. It fits really well, the only small change needed is to make the band tighter. Note: it fits me better than the dress form.

Now I was getting too confident and made the fatal mistake of changing more than one detail at a time! I attempted to turn my pattern into a balconette style and add padding and use woven cotton instead of jersey. I think the last one was the biggest mistake, there was of course no give, which meant that the cups were much too close together. This made the top of the cup stick out. The next problem was the lower cups were very flat, just look at that last photo! I won't be trying non-stretch again for a while. I was quite disheartened by this attempt but my lovely followers on my facebook page were there to reassure and drive me on - thank you!

I am mostly happy with this one. Again, the band needs to be tighter. The gore was doing all kinds of strange sticking out things, so I just made a dart and covered it up with the line of buttons!

I'm a bit exhausted after all this bra-making and research (maybe I'll do a post just on my research). So I'm making a dress for myself and have a few items to make for other people.