Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finished! And Wearable!

Voila! I present you with the fruits of my labor.  Not only is she pretty (for the most part; don't look too close!) but she's FUNCTIONAL!!! The fit is good; comfortable, supportive, and breastfeeding friendly!!!! I'm incredibly excited. I apologize for the less than stellar photos. Bras are incredibly hard to photograph, and as much as I tried, I couldn't bring myself to take worn pictures for all of the world to see. ;) You understand, I'm sure. This is the Bra Elite pattern and I used size 38DD, but altered the band to be a 32 (actually, I think it might have been 31.5)

You want to hear every. single. detail, right? Then read on (if you'd like a slightly more succinct version, you can check out my review on PR)!  I've got this thing about royal purple lately. To make my first "actual" bra I thought I'd kind of reward myself by having something really pretty to work with. The downside to bra making, is that the supplies can be difficult (and expensive) to source in colors. The upside is that it's all dyeable. I had ordered purple tricot for the cups from Sew Sassy, but I ended up dying them along with everything else so the shade would be closer. 

I put all the small pieces in mesh lingerie bag & submerged them in hot water (it's important to place your fabric in the dye bath already wet, to ensure a more even dye).  Everything dyed beautifully, except the strap hardware, but I didn't end up using them any way.  I soaked everything for about an hour; but much of it changed to it's vibrant color much sooner than that.  I used plain ol' Rit dye that I bought awhile ago from Joanns. Before I tried the Rit, though, I had placed an order from Dharma Trading Co. Oh well. To be honest I wasn't expecting the Rit to perform quite so well!

I had cut out all the pattern pieces prior to dying, and in hindsight, I should have just dyed a length of the tricot because after wetting, the tricot tends to curl at the cut edges. That made things slightly trickier, but I wouldn't say that it was overly stressful :)

I added almost an inch to the neckline to achieve more coverage.  I typically prefer more demi-style, but even with the extra width, I wouldn't call this "full coverage" but it does account for my cup size change through out the day (due to breastfeeding--engorged vs. having just fed)

I also added a nursing "sling". For those not familiar, there are 2 types of nursing bras. Full Sling & side sling. The full sling has a second layer basically a full cup that has a hole cut out of it for nursing access. A side sling has basically just a strap going from the strap to the bottom of the cup. I prefer the latter, and so I used my current bra to "draft" the sling. I use the term "draft" here loosly because it was much more...thrown together. Whenever I'm doing something I'm not sure of, I just rush through. It almost never works out...but this time it did, more or less. :)

In my rush, however, I did not really properly mark my pattern to indicate where the sling would begin on the side of the cup. In hindsight, it should have been attached only at the lower cup (about 1" below the upper/lower cup seam). When I was sewing, I accidentally caught the sling in the underarm elastic, so I just kind of "snipped" the sling to make it work. You'll also notice that I didn't "finish" the edges of the powernet.  Most RTW bras do finish it one way or another, but having stuffed a piece of powernet in my bra I found that it wasn't the least bit uncomfortable so I just left it. After having worn it, though, I think the edges are typically finished to help the sling keep its shape.

This bra took forever. I just had this huge "block" because I'd get overwhelmed thinking about the straps and nursing alterations. And there was just a bit of pressure, since when making my other bras, I knew they wouldn't necessarily be wearable...but this one, well, I was counting on it. One thing about bras is you can't try it on until the very last stages. The only thing left to do is add straps.

It does fit. And it is pretty comfortable.  The left cup is a little big after I've just fed and the right cup is a little small if I'm engorged, but, well, that's the name of the game, I guess. With RTW bras I'd just be stuck with that, but in making my own I can adjust that the next time around. And I've got more supplies on the way!


  1. Wow, that's impressive. Congrats on working through everything to get a pretty and useable bra!

  2. Great job - will you be sewing all your bras yourself now?

    1. Yes, for the foreseeable future. The only store I can find bras in my size at this point is Nordstroms, and they are an hour away (with 3 kids in tow!!). Add to that the fact that they don't carry any nursing bras with underwires or molded cups & your stuck spending $70 on what basically has the support of a sleep bra. And an ugly one at that. /rant LOL

      There really are some pretty & supportive nursing bras out there now, but it's so hard to find a good fit. In the past I've ordered 5 or 6 styles/sizes and ended up empty handed; had to return them all.

      At this point its just more feasible for me to go the DIY route.


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