I have actually sewn 4 bras! 1 of them fits almost perfectly, 1 is slightly too big, 1 is.....well, the pattern is.....a disaster, and 1 is drying (haven't actually tried it on yet.) This was emergency sewing; last week I realized I had 1 working bra - and it was on it's last legs.
I went digging thru my patterns.....I have a.....um....few bra patterns. Most are for wired bras - I do NOT do wires. Nope - don't try to convince me, I have yet to find a wire that actually fits my bust. I've tried - back when I was working I spent a few months buying up bras from every vendor I could find that had my size, most of which had wires. Inevitably, the wires were removed within a month due to pain. :sigh: So. NO wires. I didn't feel like trying to convert these patterns to wireless, so I went shopping. (Before I go any further, I have sewn 2 bras before. I didn't finish them - 1 was obviously not going to fit, the other I misplaced the top elastic. Still, I have SOME experience.)
I found a source online who had pdf patterns. She had just released a new wire-free pattern....after a bunch of dithering, I plunked down my $17 and printed out the instructions. I spent a good 30 minutes measuring myself (every designer has her own system, and requires various measurements. No big deal, right?)....and then couldn't figure out WHICH file to print. I emailed her:
"So. I am a 40 F/G (let's go with G for now),with a bottom curve of 6.5". I go into Adobe to print.....and there is no 40 G. There are layers at 101, 133, etc......ALL of which have size 40. How do I KNOW what size to print?
I printed all of them, in color, and decided to cut just the 40. But...on the cradle, the colored lines do NOT match up - the bottom curve is no where near 6.5". I even cut the bottom curve out, laid it on top of the pattern...and it's off."
"Please follow the measuring directions on the Instructions. My patterns do not use standard Bra sizing for more accuracy.
The patten is based on a mix and match concept. You may need one size for the cups and another size for the cradle. So many of us do NOT have breast measurements that fit the RTW standard. Cradle size is based on your breast root trace - not ready to wear size.
You can be assured the patten has been thoroughly tested. Remember that the pattern has seam allowance included so the cut lines may not match but the sew lines will. Perhaps include a photo of the issue you are encountering? "
Not very helpful AT ALL. :bangs head: I finally figured out her...system: You have to take your HH (bottom curve) measurement, in CM, and remove the decimal. So, for me? I had to open the file named 165. That's not confusing, or anything, right??
:Sigh: It only got "better" from there. 1 of the pages in the pattern has to be printed landscape, the rest are portrait. I had to dig down into my printer options to find "Automatic page" so that I could just hit print.
Then I sewed it up. It......doesn't fit. The cups are loose and wrinkly, meaning they are TOO BIG. (And I went with what appears to be size F, not G, because I had feelings....) The band....oh my. The back band is 8" tall. The finished bra looks like something designed by NASA engineers on their days off - it's quite industrial.
It also damn near killed my beloved machine. It did NOT like sewing the elastic to the bottom of the cradle. AT ALL. It made all sorts of clunks..........and this is my beloved 1960's era Singer. The machine that laughs at 3 layers of denim. Granted, I am using what I have on hand, so this bra is 1 layer of lycra and 1 layer of light-to-medium weight power net......she has you double up the cradle, and enclose the seams of the back band - so at that point I am sewing thru 5 layers......of fabric that will NOT lay flat, even after being hit with a steam iron and clapper.
I went back to etsy and grabbed Merckwaerdigh's e-course on bra-making for $22. BEST $22 I ever spent. It's clear, it's concise, and when I emailed her to see if I could use it to make a wire-free bra, she quickly responded with "YES! Just make sure the cups go up far enough to contain all the tissue!".
I used the same fabric on #1 as I did on the disaster. The cups are a bit too big, so Mom gets to try it on. I then switched to a different knit (sort of a thin t-shirt type, I think), with powernet in the cups, sizing down 1 cup size. Wonder of wonders, it FITS. Almost perfectly - the bridge isn't flush with my sternum - but a quick web search informed me that on wireless bras that's not unusual. :happy dance:
This morning I made another - this one I used cotton lawn (woven) on the cups and cradle, and lined them with swimsuit lining (I know, but it's what I have on hand. I have about 1.5 yards of the powernet left, and I NEED that for the back and for lining the cradle.) A quick try-on showed it fits, but I didn't take the time to evaluate it - I had spray-basted the lining to the cups and it was too stiff to get a good fitting.) My goal is to perfect the fit, then knock out a few more. I have 4 more finding kits (I bought a bunch from BraBuilders.com at the beginning of the year - $7 for all the elastic, straps, sliders, rings, and hooks and eyes you need for 1 bra is NOT a bad price!), and 1 kit. I don't want to touch the kit, though, until I KNOW I have the perfect fit.
Next month I hope to have enough "spare" funds to hit Fabricdepot.com - they have the best prices on powernet and stabilized tricot I've found. I'll be able to whip up a few more bras, then in January I can pick up more finding kits and get them finished, THEN I can start on perfecting Herself's fit.
Bras are relatively easy sews, and fast - I can go from picking out fabric to dropping the finished bra in the washer in 3 hours - including waiting for the basting spray to dry a bit before sewing! A bit fiddly, but nothing too difficult. The hardest part - so far - is getting the fit right.
Sorry about no pictures....but I'm not really comfortable showing the entire world my underthings. :lol: