Friday, December 20, 2013

Detour

I wasn't going to board the bra-making bandwagon.  But for the last few months, all the bras I wear around the house on a daily basis (i.e. not the fancy ones, but the sports bras and t-shirt bras) have been feeling more and more uncomfortable, because honestly, they all should have been tossed long ago.

It occurred to me the other day that my leftover scraps of knit fabrics would make mighty fine, comfy bras.  So I downloaded the Ohhh Lulu Jasmine Bra pattern the other day, and today - instead of making the sequin top I'd planned to work on - I made myself a bra.


I do believe this is the last project I can squeeze out of that two yards of this linen/cotton jersey I love so much!

I headed over to Vogue this morning to pick up the various elastics required.  I'm not crazy about the elastic I ended up with for the straps; it's softer and stretchier than normal strap elastic, so it doesn't lift "the girls" up very strongly.  But it is super comfy, which is what I was going for.  I used some really soft cotton/lycra jersey as a lining.


I was able to use the smallest size from the pattern without making any adjustments to the princess seams.  After my first try-on (which happens before you add the elastic at the top and bottom) it seemed like the band was too long, so I lopped off an inch from each side.  That turned out to be too much for me.  I think next time I will add elastic all the way around the bottom and then see how much I need to remove.

I felt like a bit of a dunce while sewing this up.  All the blog posts I've read about this pattern say how it's so easy and a great entry into bra-making.  But I had a few head-scratching moments.  I really felt like the instructions could have been more clear, especially where it came to attaching the straps.  The pattern has very few pictures and no illustrations, and the photos showing how to do the straps are not only very small, but the elastic is black, so you can't really see the details.  I eventually figured it out, but the less thorough instructions meant that I spent about 4 hours on a project that probably should have taken 2.  (In fairness though, I did do 4 loads of laundry concurrently, so I guess some of the time went to that!)  However, it is listed on the shop page as an Intermediate pattern, so I guess t assumes that you know some of these things already.

The pattern also doesn't address the difference between foldover and regular elastic for the top edge.  I used foldover - my first time - and that made my center back edge a little too long for the hook and eye set I'd bought.  So I had to get creative and add in a "decorative" tuck:


I sewed this bra entirely on my sewing machine, using a mix of stitches and my walking foot.  Rather than baste the outer and lining layers together at the top and bottom edges, I topstitched the seams down with a straight stitch.  It holds the layers together and also gives a little more support to the seams.  It almost feels like very light boning.


For a lot of the places where I had to sew down the elastic, I used the tricot stitch while stretching the elastic:



I was able to give myself the extra room at the back again because my hook and eye set had a long piece of elastic attached to the eye side.  I bought two sets of these this morning at Vogue, and when I got home, I discovered that one of them was missing the hook piece!  Grrrr.  I'd hoped to make a couple bras, so I guess I'll have to go back.  I may try JoAnn's instead.


My Janome has a "locking stitch" so I used that at the beginning and end of all the construction seams.  I think it made for a much neater finish than backstitching.

Even though I don't think the directions are as good as they could be, I still think this is a great pattern.  This bra is so comfy on me, and I love that I have another way to use up small scraps of my knit fabric leftovers.  Gotta keep that stuff out of the landfills!  Now that I've done it once, I will be able to make more of these without the head scratching.   And I will be making more - I went though my scrap box and pulled out all the fabrics I thought would work.

The range of sizes isn't large:  there are only four.  The pattern states that it works for B - D cups, but doesn't give any information about how to adjust for the cup except to "adjust the princess seam."  I got lucky:  I made the smallest size (33" - 34") and didn't have to do any cup adjustments, so I'm guessing that the pieces are drafted for a B cup, which is what I normally buy.  The linen/cotton floral jersey I used doesn't have a whole lot of stretch, so I'm interested to see how it will work with a stretchier fabric.

OK, that laundry won't fold itself.  I was just so excited to show you my bra :-) 


Have any of you tried this pattern?  What did you think?  Am I being overly critical?  I do love the finished product, so it all worked out alright.

25 comments:

  1. It came out sooo lovely. Hearing that it is comfy encourages me to give it a go.

    I initially was going to make a bunch of maternity bras (and the matching undies) with this pattern but got turned off a bit by the lack of instructions. I need a lot of hand-holding when sewing something out of my usual for the first time.

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    1. Thanks, Mela. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks the instructions are sparse. I am thinking that next time I make one, I might do a step-by-step, if that would be helpful. Also, there are some things I would do differently next time.

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  2. Super cute, Gail (and that fabric IS pretty sweet). I'm so glad this worked for you and that it can be the basis of more bras handmade in the future.

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! It's Hubby-approved, too! LOL! He said, "You should make a lot more of those!"

      I wish they would get this fabric again - I love it SO much!

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  3. Very cute!

    I came across some sew-on bra straps on ebay and I like them (I bought them for a slip). They may work if you want to try this bra again: http://r.ebay.com/YWfJoo

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    1. Thanks, Neemie! Love the link - the colors are great! I'll probably end up ordering from there too!

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  4. this turned out so cute! thanks for the review of the pattern, i may try this out sometime. i think i saw by the yard bra straps at joanns the other day, if you're looking for more support strap-wise.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! You know I'm always trying to find a way to use those leftovers of the knits from GC! This one was made with the smallest scraps, so I'd have to make a LOT of bras to go through it all.

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    2. Oh, and I'll be going to JoAnn's today!

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  5. They are sooo cute. I'm not exactly tempted into making a bra but they do look so so nice.

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! I think this is probably as far as I want to delve into bra-making myself. These are good for hanging around the house in my t-shirt and jeans, but I probably wouldn't wear them with a fancy outfit.

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    1. Definitely not in your league though! Of course, neither are my boobs, LOL!

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  7. Oh, that gorgeous fabric again! I'm glad you were able to use it down to the last little pieces! I think this turned out beautifully!

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    1. Yes, that fabric again! I only have enough left now to add a pocket or two onto something else. Keeping every last scrap!

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  8. Oh well done! I tried this pattern once but used woven cotton which lacked any stretch and I never actually finished the bra. It felt like a lot of work for something nobody would see!

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    1. Oooh, that sounds very uncomfortable! I generally agree with you - I don't go in for fancy underthings because no one really sees them. But I do love to use up my scraps, and I've got to say, in the soft knit, this is the most comfortable bra I own.

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  9. How pretty. I never really thought about being able to sew a bra, what a fantastic idea. You are so talented!

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    1. This is entry-level bra-making, LOL! It can get a lot more difficult than this! But this one is just what I wanted. And I always think to myself: someone has to sew all that stuff we buy and think looks so professional. If they can do it, so can I! (eventually!)

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  10. I purchased this pattern ages ago, but have been intimidated by it. I'm so excited to read you sewed it entirely on your machine! I don't have a serger, and knits scare me.

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    1. Two words, Michelle: walking foot! It took me a long time to get used to it, but it really does make a huge difference!

      The pattern itself isn't really too difficult, just a little skimpy on details from time to time. It states that you can make this bra on the serger if you don't line it, but that sounds mighty uncomfortable to me!

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  11. Ooh, this is cute! I have this pattern, but I'm not sure why I bought it as I don't really wear "day" bras. They seem like a great way to use up fabric scraps, though!

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    1. It is - I cut out a bunch more the other day and was able to completely use up some of my more-loved scraps! I'm hoping to use these as light sport bras, e.g. for yoga and such.

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