And For My Fourth Trick…

Bra! I meant my fourth bra! For my third, I know I said that was something completely different, and it was, especially compared to my first and second, which were both made from the same pattern. But for this one, I went even further afield. I didn’t just try a new pattern, I made a foam-lined bra!

Blue ombré foam-lined bra
My first attempt at a foam-lined bra! I used pattern DL02  from MakeBra.com, a beautiful ombré matte jersey and some unusual elastic trim, and I dyed straps and channeling to match. (Click the photo to check out the pattern.)

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Dyeing Nylon Rings and Sliders

Helpful tips on dyeing rings and sliders, from Natasha of ArteCrafts, one of my favorite suppliers!

CRW_1717

I wrote about nylon vs polyester sliders a few months ago and how polyester slides are impossible to dye. For this reason I have switched to stocking nylon sliders so my customers can dye to match their other notions. Plastic findings can be the most difficult to dye and sometimes you might give up on them too soon. Here’s a few tips on how I dyed the slides in this picture. I used RIT Lemon dye and they came out fairly true to shade. But they took longer to take up the dye and a little bit of special handling.

I’ve done a lot of testing with dying these sliders with acid and RIT dyes. The secret to getting the color that you want is acidity and time. I recommend dying all your notions as usual but once you’ve taken out your fabric, elastics, channeling and hook and eyes out…

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My Third Bra, Part 2: Finishing Up

Now that I’ve got my cups sewn into my third bra project, it’s time for one of the main things I’m doing differently than the pattern (Kwik-Sew 3594): adding underwires. That is, at this phase, I’ll be adding channeling to house the underwires, which will get inserted a little later. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Ready to sew in channeling
With my cups sewn into the band, I’m ready to tackle the underwire channeling. (Note: The embellishments won’t get sewn in place until the very end; they’re just here right now for inspirational purposes.)

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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.

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My Second Bra/Panty Project: Thoughts & Observations

Now that my second bra is finished, along with its coordinating high-waisted panty, I thought this would be a good time to collect my thoughts about this whole lingerie-making experience, and share a few things that have occurred to me along the way.

2nd bra & panty set
Yes— Why did it even occur to me to try making my own bras? Good question.

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My Second Bra, Part 4: Finishing!

In Part 3 of my second bra project, we ended after adding the back bands. Now all we have to do is add the finishing touches: elastic trim, straps, and the back closure. Then we’ll slip the underwires into place, and finish off the ends of the channeling. And I just may add a little embellishment to the center front (we’ll see).

I’ll start by adding my elastic trim to the underarm/back band edge. This technique, which you’ll see on virtually any ready-to-wear bra or panty, is done in 2 separate steps. The first is to attach the elastic, wrong side facing up (very important) to the right side of the bra, using a small zig-zag stitch, and sewing very close to the inside edge— the edge closest to the picot loops.

This piece of elastic will go from the top edge of the back band (not including the scooped-out area near center back) to the end of the outside edge of the power bar.


 Tip: You don’t want to stretch the elastic much while attaching it; a slight stretch going around the curve of the underarm helps to smooth that curve, but don’t stretch the elastic on the back band portion.


Elastic trim: sewing the first pass
After making sure your elastic side is placed with the wrong side facing up, you’ll want to align the non-picot edge of your elastic with the fabric edge. Then zig-zag-stitch as close as possible to the inside edge of the elastic. (Since I’m sewing here with black thread, it’s nearly impossible to see my stitches, so I’m representing them with the small white vees by the green arrow.)

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All the Pretty Pieces, Postscript: Dyed to Match

Yesterday, I dyed some bra notions (plus possible panty fabrics) in various shades of blue and green, to coordinate with the printed silk I’d chosen for my second bra project. Personally, I think that using this related-but-not-necessarily-matching approach really helps all the colors blend with the sort of watercolor-y abstractness of the print:

Dyed pieces with print fabric
Using several shades of blue and green helps all these parts blend with the print of my silk fabric (1). 2. Stretch lace fabric. 3. Bra straps. 4. Channeling. 5. Back closure. 6. Panty Spandex.

If I’d chosen just one solid color for the coordinating bits, I would have had to work harder at making that color “match” one color in the print.

And then I got to thinking…Read More »

All the Pretty Pieces: Dyeing to Match (or Not)

At this point in my second bra project, I’ve chosen my pattern and assembled fabrics from my scrap stash, incidentally creating a color palette in the process.

Materials for my second bra
The main elements going into my second bra: 1. Sheer silk print, to be layered over 2. Silk snakeskin print (the same fabric I used for my first bra!). 3. Black stretch lace fabric, to be layered over 4. Bamboo/spandex for coordinating panty. 5. Black picot-edge elastic trim for both bra and panty.

Now I just need to add the remaining bits and pieces that go into making a bra: channeling (this is what houses the underwires), strap material, elastic trim (for both bra and panty), powernet fabric (for the back band), and the back closure for the bra.

And here is where I come crashing right up against the dreaded, frustrating, tear-my-hair-out question:Read More »

My Second Bra, Part 2: Materials from the Scrap Stash

Now I’ve chosen my pattern, made a few minor alterations to it, and organized the pattern elements. With the goal of making as much of this bra as possible with materials I already have on hand, I’m anxious to pick my main fabrics. Off to my scrap stash!


 

Tip: Be sure to read through your bra pattern’s instructions before even thinking about fabrics. In my case, my pattern specifies fabrics with no stretch for every part except the back bands, which use powernet. But some of the patterns I’ve looked at, especially the bralette and some foam-lined styles, call for fabrics with stretch. My pattern also calls for non-stretch lace for the upper part of the cups.


My scrap stash
Quite an impressive pile, isn’t it? Out of my total stash, I pulled just silk and lace fabrics; the silks range from chiffon and georgette to crepe de chine, charmeuse, twill, and brocade. Some of these will hopefully become the main ingredients in my new lingerie wardrobe!

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My Second Bra, Part 1: Choosing a Pattern

I’m now in the planning phase for my second bra! And since I started this blog only after the first one was completed, this time I can show you my process, from beginning to end. I’m starting today with choosing my pattern.

For me, this part is easy. I’m going to use the same pattern as for my first bra: The Marlborough Bra pattern from Orange Lingerie. I’m choosing this because, although my first one really fits amazingly well, there’s a bit of fine-tuning I’d like to make to the pattern this time around.


 Tip: According to bra-fitting experts, if you’re smaller-busted, styles with rounder cups will help enhance your shape. Larger girls tend to benefit from the structure provided by cups with 2 to 3 pieces, rather than seamless cups. I generally wear a DD/E cup, so I’ve started with the Marlborough’s 3-part cup.


In this photo, you can see the some of the original pattern pieces (on regular printer paper), and a piece I traced from the original onto tissue paper. The red line is the cutting line, and the dashed green line is the seamline.

My pattern: The Marlborough Bra
The Marlborough Bra pattern is the one I used for my first bra. Now I’m going to tweak some of the pattern pieces for an even better fit. (The book, Demystifying Bra Fitting & Construction, is by Norma Loehr, the designer of this pattern and owner of Orange Lingerie. It’s incredibly thorough, and has given me a lot more confidence about making changes to my pattern, and bra-making in general.)

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