Bra Quest Update: I Made One! It Works!

Pattern: very modified Pin-Up Girls' Classic Full-Band Bra #1200
Material: ponte and lace
Cost: $5


When we last left our adventure (about 9 months ago!), I had pledged to try out bra making by sewing my way through four different bra patterns in the hopes of one day making my dream bra. So far, I had sewed up a vintage pattern, a RTW knock-off, and at least ten versions of Kwik Sew #3300.

After my frustration with KwikSew #3300, I knew I needed to do some serious research into what alterations to make on my next bra, Pin-Up Girls 1230. I started with Cloth Habit's post on cup alterations, and read Madalynne's useful technique for us 'small girls,' for starters.

And while I did a bit of light reading, I also knew I had to get a sense of just what I was working with - my own body. So, I referred to HerRoom's Classify Your Breasts pages (link contains illustrated nudity), which has a variety of pages on different breast shapes that affect bra fitting. From their articles and the fitting issues I've been having, I believe I have 'reduced projection', meaning that I have a C-cup breast base (underwires) but only enough breast tissue to fill out an A or a B cup (*sigh*). This not only explains my bra-fitting issues, but also the reason I stopped wearing RTW bras in the first place: wires that are too small dig into my breasts and hurt!

I was already beginning to understand these issues (along with my narrow shoulders and wide-set breasts) as a result of the bra-fitting process, but HerRoom's guide was a helpful way to classify these changes. I ordered up larger underwires, and they helped a lot!



So, around that time I worked and worked and worked on Pin-Up Girls' #1200, and finally I had a breakthrough - a soft cup underwire bra that actually supports, fits and is comfy! And my secret - I've been wearing it all this time without blogging about it at all. Sorry!

Luckily for you, it was finally getting tired being my one and only favorite bra, so this past week I made up another, using ponte remnants from a dress and some lace I found to match. And it worked!


And below is a look at the inside. I know it's a bit unconventional to make a bra out of ponte, but it really gets at the soft-cup I was looking for, with lots of fabric options. The underwires are a must for a bra like this, as it helps keep everything in place. They aren't uncomfortable one bit (unless you get the wrong size...).


Of course, I still have some practice to do with my overall technique. That is not a very beautiful closure... I would also like to try Merckwaerdigh BHS10 out, but I'm not sure I have the energy just yet for another round of muslins.


As a final word, I have to say that this project is really getting me well-acquainted with my body! While magazines and some mass culture often present us with images that make us critique our bodies, this experience has me instead looking at things objectively rather than condescendingly, learning every curve and shape. It's been a pretty cool, body positive experience.

26 comments:

  1. ah this looks so comfy. i am jealous. clever to make it out of pointe. i have not thought of that!! i just saw this one on etsy...and i am very drawn to it because it wil no doubt be comfy! but perhaps i should give this one a go sometime :) https://www.etsy.com/listing/175086627/bralette-sewing-pattern-ohh-lulu-1310

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    1. Yes, I have an Ohh Lulu pattern I want to try as well!! I do like underwires though for the shape and support. I have a bralette I bought from Madewell that is similar to Ohh Lulu's bras, but it's just not the same.

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  2. Oooh, it looks lovely. My favourite RTW bras are in a ponte type material so this totally makes sense. You've inspired me to have a go some time!

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  3. Meg, you did a great job! There is such a learning curve with sewing lingerie and I still have hard time making them as well. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks Maddie! It has been inspiring to watch your bra adventures as well - and know that it takes a lot of work! Maybe us smaller girls have more problems finding the right bra, but I do bet everyone struggles with it...

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  4. I love the ponte idea! It seems like it would be a good "comfy bra" option for lounging around the house. I am still struggling to fit this pattern to my body and think I may just move on to the Merckwaerdigh pattern! I have it and the drawings are so enticing. Plus, I generally prefer balconette-style bras. Congrats on making a bra that works!!

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    1. Yes, please make it up and let me know how it goes!!

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  5. Actually this bra looks beautifully made! And the ponte is a fabulous idea...my teens daughters have wanted "more" thickness w out padding and I haven't been able to figure it out...so thanks! About your closure...if you just use regular zigzag it's easier to keep straight. Yours looks perfect except the left side got a lil kattywhampus. A few more and you'll have it down...I'm so pleased you are happy w your make!!!!

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    1. Yes, I sewed most of it pretty patiently, and did a last minuted adjustment on the back at about midnight... so I should probably fix that! Good luck on your daughters'!

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  6. Wow, beautiful work! It's gorgeous. Thanks for sharing about the fitting issues--very interesting. Boobs must be the curviest most difficult thing to learn to fit!

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    1. Aren't they? Someone once put it that sewing is the art of making flat fabric fit curvy shapes! (Or something like that)

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  7. Nice! I was just thinking of making my own and was going to look for your older post for help. Thanks for the new tips!

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    1. I'm glad to get back on the bra-making wagon! Hope I get to see yours soon.

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  8. Thank you SO much for this post! Bra making is something I really want to try, and all your notes and links are so helpful. Your bra is beautiful. And ponte! What a great idea - I would never have thought of that :) I'll be referring back to this post frequently, I'm sure.

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    1. I'm finding such an amazing community of people interested in bra-making on here. Thank you!

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  9. So cute! Love the fabric - it looks so soft and the color is perfect :)

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  10. I ought to admit that your blog is truly interesting. I have spent a lot of my free time reading your content. Thank you a lot!

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  11. This is amazing! Bras are difficult to make and a lot of time and knowledge goes into them in fitting as well as sewing. You did a fantastic job!

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  12. i love that you used ponte, sounds like a good idea!

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  13. Wow, terrific job! It looks so neat, the colour is really interesting and ponte - what a great idea!

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  14. Oh that website is brilliant! I think I have the same issue as you, so underwires almost always dig in OR the top of the bra is wrinkly. I've been looking at making myself pure soft-shell bras (like Ohhh Lulu's ones) but would love to try this sort of thing one day.. just need to build the courage/get the time and supplies to try! This looks fantastic, and amazing that you found the ponte and lace to match (I had assumed you'd dyed it)

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    1. Particularly as the website says I should avoid bras without support, as "all of these bra styles will allow your breasts to wonder east/west."!!

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  15. Wow! I'm super impressed. I've never tried making lingerie or swimwear. Great job!

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  16. Hi,
    Please forgive my leaving this in a comment, I couldn’t find an e-mail address for you. I recently made a list of bloggers who sew bras, in order to make them easier to find. You can find it at http://iammsfrizzle.blogspot.com/2014/10/bra-sewing-bloggers-by-size.html I hope you don’t mind being on it, please let me know if you want to be removed. Thank you!

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