My Third Bra: Something Completely Different

After making both my first bra and the second with the same pattern (the Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie), and making them both mostly out of silk, I’ve started to feel the urge to try something different. Completely different.

Here’s what I have in mind:

1. Instead of making the bra first, then trying to find stretch panty materials to coordinate, I’m going to pick my panty fabric first, then use that for the bra as well. This will mean using (gasp!) a stretch fabric for the bra, rather than woven.

Coral jersey fabric
Here’s the main fabric I’ve chosen for my new bra: a slinky, stretchy poly/Spandex jersey in a beautiful shade of deep coral pink. At left is narrow satin tubing destined for a bra strap idea I have, and at right is embroidered tulle I’d like to use, well, somewhere. These 3 materials form the starting point for my tonal color palette of coral, fuchsia, magenta, and rose-red.

2. I’m going to use a different pattern. Exhibit A:

Kwik-Sew 3594 bra pattern
I’m going to try Kwik-Sew 3594, a new-to-me bra pattern. (Click the picture for more pattern information and to purchase it.)

3. I’ve now made 2 high-waist panties, and 1 lace-trimmed thong, so I’m going to make a bikini-style panty this time. (This is one of 4 panty styles included in Kwik-Sew 3881, which I also used for my thong.)

Wondering what’s wrong with using a stretch fabric for a bra? Me too. After all, using the panty fabric for the bra means instant coordinated set, right? Is there a reason why so many bra patterns specify non-stretch fabrics, when most ready-to-wear bras seem to be made of stretchy materials?

Yes, apparently. From what I’ve read so far, unless you’re going for a soft bra (or bralette, as they’re now being called) look, in general, you don’t want to use stretch fabrics for a bra. Why not? Because, especially for well-endowed women, they just won’t provide any support. Think about it: a fabric that’s stretching to accommodate your body is probably not doing anything to mold, shape, or even contain your body; it’s just going to go wherever the flesh goes. (Hint: gravity.)

So what I’m going to do is stabilize the stretchy jersey fabric for making the cups of my new bra. (This pattern specifies using powernet for the entire band, so the jersey is only going into the cups, including their linings.)

To coordinate with the 3 materials in the photo above, and fill out my color palette, I dyed the rest of my materials. Believe it or not, everything was dyed in the same color bath (Fuchsia liquid dye from Rit); the varying fiber contents resulted in shades ranging from palest pink (the rings and sliders for the straps) to deep rose-red (panty and bra elastic trims).

New bra & panty materials
Black numbers = panty materials. 1. 1 3/8″-wide foldover elastic (waistband). 2. Cotton knit fabric for crotch lining. 3. 5/8″-wide foldover elastic (legs). Clear numbers = bra materials. 1. Embellishment (1 for panty). 2. Rings & sliders for bra straps. 3. Satin tubing for front of bra straps. 4. Strap elastic. 5. Underwire channeling. 6. Powernet fabric for bra band. 7. Satin-stitch elastic trim for bra. 8. Embroidered mesh trim for bra cup overlay. 9. Bra back closure. 10. Main jersey fabric for bra & panty.

Of these, I dyed everything but clear numbers 3, 8, & 10. I personally love the unexpected range of colors that came out of that single dye bath— it gave me a fantastic tonal palette with minimal effort!

The only additional material I need is something with which to stabilize the jersey for the bra cups. I decided to go with a sheer fusible tricot, partly because I thought it wouldn’t fight with the stretch of the fabric, and mostly because I had some on hand.

Stabilizing bra cups
Here, I’ve cut and fused my sheer tricot to the upper cup pieces. (The lower cups get the same treatment.) These bra cups are lined; note “cut 4” on the pattern piece. A nice thing about this pattern is that it indicates not only the grain line, but also the stretch line, or direction of greatest stretch, a very important concept in bra-making.

Tip: For this project, since I was going to be working with a very flexible fabric, I decided it would be easier to stabilize the whole fabric piece before pinning and cutting the cup pieces.


Before I sew the upper and lower cup pieces together, I need to decide what to do with my lace trim.

Placing the lace
With my upper and lower cup pieces pinned together, I’m trying out different ways of placing my lace trim to see what I like best. I’m not sure…

Aha! I thought of a third possibility!

Placing the lace 3
We have a winner! Orienting the lace scallop-edge down means I won’t need to even stitch down that lower edge. (Another glorious example of my laziness efficiency.)
Cutting the lace pieces
Here, I’ve placed my lower cup pattern on the lace. The lace has been folded (since I need 2 pieces) and the scallops matched, so they’ll be symmetrical on the cups. Also, I’ve lined up the center of the piece with the center of a scallop.
After cutting lace
Here’s one of the lower cups with the lace overlay; I’ll baste the lace on before stitching this piece to the upper cup.
Pinned cups
One last check to make sure my lace pieces are mirror images of each other before I sew the cups together. Looks good!
Sewing the band
This pattern calls for cutting the entire band out of powernet material; the 2 pieces are seamed together at center front. Here, I’ve stitched my cups together and basted them to their linings. Don’t you love when it finally starts looking like an actual bra?
Cup details
Let’s take a closer look at this cup. (Not too close— my stitching is all crooked!) Note the topstitching on the cup seam. The stabilized cups and their linings have been basted together.
Embellishing
Now that my cups have been sewn into the band, I’m trying my little daisy embellishments to see if I like them (I do).

So far, I’ve pretty much followed this pattern as written; stabilizing the cups is the only variation. Now I’m going to go a little further off the beaten path, with the following changes:

1. I’m going to put underwires in (the pattern doesn’t call for them). This means I will also have to add channeling (the pattern specifies covering the cup/band seams with tricot strips). This may also complicate the order of things, e.g. do I sew on the elastic trim before or after putting the wires into the channeling?

2. The pattern actually shows fabric straps in front, with elastic attached in the back. I’m not cutting fabric straps; instead, I’m using a combination of strap elastic and my fuchsia satin tubing to try something new.

I’m going to take a little break, and I’ll show you how I finished this bra in my next post. Stay tuned, bra-lovers!

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5 thoughts on “My Third Bra: Something Completely Different

    • Since this pattern is meant to be made without underwires (I added them to mine), my guess would be that this bra would actually work better for smaller cup sizes. And the band could easily be extended to make it more of a longline style, which would be very attractive.

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