Patterns

After working on drafting a bra from measurements, my work wasn’t done with the draft. The next step is to use that draft and make a pattern. Let me show you a little of the progression so far.

Drafting

Here’s the draft. It doesn’t look anything like the pieces I’ve seen in bra patterns.

Horizontal Seam

Then, a few more steps and things start to look more familiar. Beverly takes you through it all in her manual. Take a look at these pieces. These actually look like bra pattern pieces.

I’m not the biggest fan of a horizontal seams. I used one when I made my Heather bra.

Common Bra Seams

Here are some different seams shown in bras (photos are from Bra-Makers Supply and Sewy):

Vertical Seam

I’ve also tried the vertical seam when I made KS 3300. Once I started making my own patterns from the draft, I had to try each pattern. This part of the process was definitely fun for me. The photo of the vertical seam is from the Sewy website. It’s their Linda bra pattern.

Diagonal Seam

My favorite seam in bra-making so far has been the diagonal seam. That’s the bottom left in the photo collage above. A diagonal seam is what we find in the Classic pattern or the Shelley pattern from Pin-Up Girls patterns.

I also love the power bar and split lower cup on the Shelley. Here are a few of my favorites from that pattern.

I love this pattern, and know I will make it using my drafted pattern!

Curved Seam

The one I really wanted to try was the curved seam. All the gorgeous Cloth Habit Harriet bras I’m seeing were making me want to buy that pattern too. I had to be very strict with myself not to buy yet another pattern I have. The photo in the first collage is from Sewy again. It’s their Isabell pattern, which I have. I also have a clone of a Fantasie bra that is a curved seam too. I didn’t need one more pattern, but I was tempted! However, I did want to make one when I was making the patterns.

Patterns I Made 

Here are all my new patterns. I just need to add seam allowances to some of them, and make little changes like adjusting for a flat spot, thinning the band under the cradle, and lowering the bridge.

I also drafted my a new cradle and band.

Happy Creating!

P.S. You may also be interested in Sewing Bras: Foam Lace & Beyond.

Here’s some exciting news.

Merckwaerdigh

The news is from Merckwaerdigh’s Etsy shop. Here’s what Margreet said in her post on Facebook: “SPRING … a perfect time for a major change! As of today all listings in the Merckwaerdigh shop at Etsy are FREE SHIPPING!!!

She is raising her cost a bit, but what she is adding to the costs will still be lower than shipping costs! Yay!

Attempting a Draft

If you were trying to reach my blog yesterday, I’m very sorry. It was down for the better part of day. Thankfully, I’m back.

I was going to make a Valentine’s bra for myself. I had everything set out and was getting ready to cut it out. I even knew the one alteration I wanted to make.

Still using my Pin-Up Girls Shelley pattern, I was going to add a little bit of width to the bottom of the bridge.

Right there. I want it just a touch wider, but everything else fits really well. In fact, it’s my current favorite.

However, much like making my Personal Croquis (which I’m still really enjoying), I’ve had another project on my list of things to do for a while now – draft my own bra pattern.

Resources

I have Bra Design & Draft from Beverly Johnson’s Bra-making Manuals.

In fact, I’ve drafted part of my pattern already. The only part of the drafting process that is new to me is the cup. Because of the alterations I’ve needed for my cradle and bridge, I’ve been drafting my own cradle/bridge for a few years now using information from the Manuals.

Even though only part of this process is new, it still felt daunting. I figured the worst case scenario was it wouldn’t turn out, and I’d go back and use my Shelley pattern making that one little adjustment. The best case scenario would be I’d have a self-drafted pattern. I took a deep breath, and started.

Beginnings

 I was geared up to start. I had my paper, pencil and eraser and thought I was all ready. I drew two lines, and then searched the house for a compass. Even my hubby got in on the search. Nope. We didn’t have a compass anymore. Our kiddos are done school, and we didn’t keep any of those school goodies. (I love to declutter!) So, it’s a quick trip to Staples, and now I’m ready again.

 From here, I did what I usually do. I decided it wasn’t just right, so I crumpled it up and started again. I did this when making my bodice sloper too. My sloper was fine, and so was this. But I like things just so, and I don’t mind making sure.

The next step felt like going back to the beginning. I hadn’t drawn out the cradle and band this time. But I needed those before I could say the cup fit. So, re-drew my cradle.

Third Time’s a Charm

 I was happily getting started on my band and cradle, and realized I didn’t have all my measurements! I was drafting away thinking I was doing better than I anticipated, and everything came to a stop. I needed measurements which I couldn’t do on my own. I’d never drafted the band part, so didn’t have those back measurements. My hubby to the rescue.

Sigh

There was one more bump in the road. I got to a point with the drafting and mine didn’t look like what Beverly had in the Manual. It really didn’t look the same, but I knew all my measurements were correct. I was stuck. You can see how I was feeling even. No sparkly stars shining perfection on my draft!

I am so fortunate to have worked on a blog tour with The Fairy Bra Mother and Mrs. Weaver. In fact, I’ve worked on a few projects with Mrs. Weaver. I’d mentioned to Mrs. Weaver that I was attempting a draft. She very kindly offered to help if I got stuck. I took her up on that.

It turns out I was on the right track; it’s just much easier to see what the next step was rather than read it. Thank you so much, Karin!

Next Steps (Finally!)

Here’s my newly drafted pattern from my measurements. I won’t sew this up as it is. I’ll change the lines – add a power bar, split the lower cup – add a few of the pretty details I like in a pattern. Once I make it more a style I want, I’ll make a test bra to see how it all fits.

Happy creating!

Navy Panties

I made some panties to go with my new bra. I used my self-drafted panty pattern from Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Panties: Construction & Fit class.

I have to say, the only thing I like better than making my own panties, and making matching panties, is making them from a pattern I drafted myself. That is the best panty-making experience. Ever.

These are indigo cotton Lycra from Bra-Makers Supply and navy stretch lace trim from Frog Feathers on Etsy. I had hoped to use the same lace I used on for the bra for the whole front panel of the panties, but this lace isn’t a stretch lace. No stretch, no front lace panel. So, I’ll save my lace for future bras and just use little bits of the left over lace to embellish my panties. Like this partial rosette on the hip  shown below.

Here is my set together:

I’m really happy with this. The navy may become my new ‘black’, or at least they will until I make myself a new black set.

Do you remember I mentioned a nasty little sharp spot on the hooks and eyes? Linda Crawford, a profession bra-maker in Ontario, Canada (Linda was part of our Canada Cups tour) shared this tidbit with me on how to fix that problem:

What I do to help with those sharp edges on the hook and eye is I put a piece of cut and sew foam under the eyes, and tiny zigzag all round the edges, then trim it so there is 1/8″ – 1/4″ left. It helps stop that scratch and it is comfy too!”

Thanks, Linda! That’s a great idea.

Back to my panties. These panties are very similar to an old favorite of mine – a pair of La Vie En Rose panties that were discontinued. I loved those. They are also similar to another favorite. Kwik Sew 2286.

After I drafted my panty pattern, I started looking for more panty-making resources. One can’t have too many resources! It wasn’t long after I took Beverly’s class that Margreet, the owner of Merckwaerdigh on Etsy, brought out her own Mini Panty course to design your own panties. One of the things I love in this mini course is how Margreet shows the original master pattern in her sketches and then the altered one. I really like seeing both images together. It’s helps me understand the changes. A comment I recently read on one of the bra-making forums on Facebook had this to say about Margreet’s designs: “The brains behind Merckwaerdigh has a talent for making the female form look exceptional.” I agree!

Here’s a video glimpse into her course from the Merckwaerdigh Facebook page (used with permission):

It’s a great mini course, and Margreet’s designs really are lovely!

As much as I wanted to make a second pair of panties to go with my new bra, I’ve had to work on some sewing for gifts. That second pair will have to wait.

Happy creating!

A Navy Shelley

Fall/Winter Lingerie Wardrobe.

I’m finally working on my Fall/Winter lingerie Wardrobe. First up is a lovely navy Shelley.

Here’s the lace.

stretch-laces-6-inch-15-cm-six-inch-navy-blue-rose-stretch-lace-ls-60-68-from-bra-makers-supply

I saw this lace and fell in love right away. You can find it at Bra-Makers Supply (BMS) here.

Here’s my Shelley.

front

I really love how the mirrored lace has a bit of a butterfly effect because of  where the roses are.

Adjustments.

I’m so happy with this bra. It fits really well. However, I did have some changes in my size and needed to give my TNT pattern a major overhaul.

To make this fit me, I adjusted the pattern for my shape – a less pronounced Omega shape. As well I made adjustments for a flat spot, I lowered the bridge, used one size smaller cradle and adjusted the cup to fit into it. I also thinned the cradle area under the bust, and for comfort, I added a Gothic arch.

Gothic Arch.

In the past, I have nailed the Gothic arch and I’ve not quite nailed it. On this one, I was so careful, and I was checking and turning things to make sure it all looked perfect as I was going along, and it did! Then I finished the sewing and … it’s not quite perfect. Of course, no one will know but you and me. Do you see how nice and thin it is under the cups?

gothic-arch-nqp

Aesthetics.

I love this lace. However, I need to add sheer cup lining behind my lace to add support. I looked at it with black behind the lace and it lost a lot of the sheer look it has. I put white behind the lace too. Too white. I’m so thankful I have a little bit of this blush left from when I made my Heather bra. This looks perfect – like there’s nothing behind it, especially when it’s on. In this photo the cup has a black foam cup behind it, which doesn’t show up at all.

cup-lining

A few more images.

Here’s the bra from the side.

side

Here’s the bra from the back.

back

Something I will have to fix on this bra before I can wear it is a sharp spot on the hook and eye closure. When I tried it on, I got a scratch that went all along my side. Nasty. I’ll trim that off and do a satin stitch over the raw edge. No more scratches.

Next time.

The band is a touch loose on this bra. That’s odd though, because I used the band from my TNT pattern. It’s also not a big deal. I’ll just wear it on the second hook and eye setting rather than the first one. That’s something I can look at fixing for my next bra in my Winter Wardrobe.

Other colors I’m thinking about for my wardrobe are Black (a basic), Black Cherry, Brown, Red, and Fuchsia. I have a Brown kit all picked out and saved in my Wish List on BMS, but I’m thinking I should use a few of the kits I have already.

Pretty touches.

The kit I ordered from BMS only came with one bow. I never seem to remember to order more bows when I place an order. However, I love to cover the seams where the straps meet the cup too. I found this lovely navy ribbon and made a few bows for my bra. They turned out so nicely.

strap-bow

One other thing I did on this bra that I haven’t done before is leave the trim off the straps. I usually add neckline trim, but I decided to try the straps the way they’re outlined in the Shelley instructions. I like the change!

I’ve decided to treat myself and use the Jewelry Quality Metal Rings and Sliders – for this pretty navy bra I’m using Silver.

bling

Next up.

To go with my lovely new bra, I’m going to make some matching panties. I have some indigo cotton Lycra and navy lace for the waistband and leg openings. As well, I’ve left things very late, but it’s time to work on some Christmas sewing.

Happy creating!

A Visual Comparison of Two Patterns

Every since my hubby’s business trip to Germany when I placed an order with Sewy, I’ve been thinking about the Sewy Rebecca pattern.

sr

I’ve been wondering exactly how it differs from the Pin-up Girls Shelley because both patterns are very similar – power bar, lace upper cup, full band…

il_570xn-435956745_35r4

When you have a question like this, it’s just the kind of question to ask your very own Fairy Bra Mother. So I did. I asked her, “What is the difference between a bra that fits more shallowly (from my experience) and one that doesn’t?”

Beverly Johnson, (aka The Fairy Bra Mother), said she thought it all came down to bottom cup depth. Hmm. That gives me something to check into.

Now, let’s take a look together to see how much of a difference there is between the two patterns. I’ve compared them by wearing them, but not pattern piece to pattern piece. Well, there was one day when I measured all kinds of things on both patterns… but I didn’t trace them both out and compare.

Anyway. I’ve had a cold, felt terrible and didn’t want to do anything, but still wanted to get something done… so I pulled out my patterns and traced them off.

Before I could even begin, I had to work on some sister sizing because the Rebecca doesn’t come in my size.

The Results

Here are the upper cups one on top of the other. The Shelley is traced onto  purple paper, and the Rebecca, yellow. Since the Sewy patterns don’t have a seam allowance, the Shelley has been trimmed of its seam allowances. I also made the split lower cup into one pattern piece.

no-really-upper-cups

The Shelley pattern piece barely peeks out from under the bottom of the Rebecca pattern piece, so to help us all out visually, I traced the Shelley onto the Rebecca with the dotted line. You can see the Rebecca is also straighter along the lower edge of the upper cup and is longer too.

You know how I said I had a cold? I had a little trouble naming these photos when I was saving them. I kept calling them all ‘Upper Cups’, so this one has the creative name of ‘No Really Upper Cups’.

Here are the lower cups of both (which were saved under the file name ‘Upper Cups’) Sigh. upper-cupsThe Shelley definitely has more bottom cup depth. The Rebecca is longer along the lower edge. Again, The Shelley pattern is on the purple paper in behind.

Lastly, here are the power bars, which I caught before I saved and changed their file name from Upper Cups.

power-bars

I am not as wise or experienced as The Fairy Bra Mother, or a professional bra-maker even, but there are some differences here. Hmm, now I’m wondering how much being an Omega shape has to do with how each bra fits.

I hope this helps anyone else wondering about the differences between the two patterns.

Happy creating!