Friday, July 6, 2012

Smalls

Hehe, I was thinking of calling this post "My First Bra", but apart from making it sound like the breathless diary entry of a sweet young teen  (ahem) I have actually made two bras before; both years and years (and years) ago, neither of which are around any more for me to post about.  But this is the first in my blogging life; so , er, yeah...
I've kept to my Wardrobe Refashion pledge of 3? years ago to make all my own clothes, but always exempted myself from underwear; reasoning that I was doing enough in the handmade department already and that I could allow myself a small break here and there.  Also, up until a few years ago Bonds were still manufacturing undies in Australia, and I was OK with supporting a local business by buying them.  But then they went to the dark side, and started moving all their manufacturing to China.  When the last Bonds factory in Australia closed down a few years ago I knew my days as a Bond girl were numbered (wipes a sentimental tear from the old eye)  I liked being able to say I was a Bond girl!  And now my current smalls collection is... well, lets just say it is an absolute wonder my husband still finds me attractive.
One of my favourite bloggers Novita makes the most exquisite lingerie sets you have ever seen, each more lovely than the last; and her latest Red Lace Set finally tipped me over the edge and I decided that I just had to start making my own too.  I rushed out to Fabulous Fabrics for some pretty lace and bra bits...
The knickers pattern is Tanga, a free downloadable pattern from Burdastyle.  I had seen this on their site before, but the wonky mis-matched lace scallops in the blue sample pictured with the pattern were so distressing I never took it any further.  Novita's set is beautifully constructed and so perfectly pretty, I woke up to the fact that this is actually a darn cute little pattern after all!
They are super-easy, and take all of about ten minutes to make from go to whoa; even if you do take an extra few seconds to match all the lace motifs...  ;)  which of course I did.
Because I am a woman of a certain age and my lace is partially see through; I extended the panty liner piece up to make more of a full lining at the front of the knickers.
My bra pattern is self-drafted, with the help of an old bra.  This was, ahem, not super-easy  :D  I looked at a commercial pattern but decided in my usual foolishly gung-ho, can-do manner; how hard could it be?  Well, it turns out, it is quite hard to put together a self-drafted, well-fitting bra after all!
My bra looks pretty from the outside, but the insides are far from perfect.  It would not bear up to close inspection!  Unlike the first two bras I made years ago which were fairly basic, I tried to get all fancy with this one, lining and underlining it, with moulded cups and underwires in their own separate channels.  Putting it all together was a jigsaw puzzle!  So I have decided to buy a pattern for any future efforts, if anything just for the instructions on the correct and proper assembly!!
One "easy" feature I incorporated: it doesn't have adjustable straps, because honestly; I feel like that feature is only on RTW bras because they have to fit the different over-the-shoulder lengths of many different sized women.  Since the bra has to fit only me, I decided that to have self-lace covered elastic straps would be fine.  And it is.  I did this for my first two bras too, and they were always perfectly fine.  When the elastic does eventually stretch out a bit through wear, I just unpicked the straps at the back, shortened them a tad, and re-sewed them back into position, easy peasy.
The bra also has a purchased hook and eye closure at the back.
So; after struggling through fitting and assembling this thing and half expecting it to turn out hideous; I was pleasantly surprised when I had the final try-on and discovered it to be beautifully easy to wear, soft and yet still supportive, fits perfectly; the most comfortable bra I own.  A very unexpected win!
Seriously; I have no idea how that happened.
So I will definitely be getting a proper pattern for next time.

37 comments:

  1. Oh, this is a too inspiring post, Carolyn! You and Novita are guilty, because of your beautiful handmade lingerie sets, and now I have to try my one in the end... thank you, Carolyn.

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  2. I'm a bit like you were in the 'making lingerie' department: I have made a bra before (I even drafted the pattern...) but I've never felt the need to continue with it.
    In my case, it's a case of practicality and economics: good-fitting small size bras can be quite cheap while bra-making notions cost the same, whatever the size and the small ones can be really hard to find.

    It's always nice to see the pretty things other people sew... maybe I should try again.
    Your set looks very nice, even with your story about the insides of the bra. I know those are fiddly, even if some of the more experienced lingerie making ladies don't seem to think so, like Sigrid, on her blog: http://sigridsewingprojects.blogspot.nl/

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  3. Very pretty set. How lovely to have a comfortable fit with a beautiful fabric.

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  4. How pretty! You really are multitalented. I wouldn't bother with adjustable straps either. You are right, it only has to fit you. I am impressed you managed to make the bra with no pattern at all.

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  5. If you want rain then you need to come to Melbourne - I can hardly remember what the sun looks like.

    Your smalls are so beautiful. The lace is just lovely. I downloaded that pattern after seeing the red set too :)

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  6. Beautiful lace! I can't even imagine trying to make a bra, with or without a pattern! It is a testament to your skill that you were able to make it work and it still looks pretty (on the outside, at least). :)

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  7. Absolutely beautiful and thanks for the download link! I love them and are very jealous!!

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  8. How pretty! I was going to recommend Sigrid's blog for some tips for the less than co-operative insides, should you want them, but I see that Lauriana has already linked to her blog. She is a lingerie genius.

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  9. Your set looks beautiful! Very pretty. I tried downloading that undies pattern after seeing Novita's set as I have lots of lace from a closing shop many years ago and would love to use it up, but when I hit download it does nothing. I have downloaded the Coffee Date Dress a while ago but can't remember if there was a trick.. maybe I have to sign in??

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  10. So so pretty. And I can see why you were a bit dubious about it from the original photo of the pattern... but they have turned out so great. You really are an amazing sewer.

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  11. Very pretty! I'm completely in awe! I honestly think lingerwear (as we called it in a shop I worked in years ago) is way beyond me and very difficult, so I'm definitely impressed!

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  12. Beautiful. I'm really impressed!

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  14. So, so pretty! I have yet to venture down this road.

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  15. Classy and sexy at the same time! The video tutorial is in youtube and it is great.

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  16. So lovely! I've always wanted to atleast make my own panties (though the bra-making scares me!) - this is very inspiring!

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  17. What a pretty set! I‘m in awe: from raincoat to underwear. You are so talented. I‘m trying to make my first bikini and it‘s being awful! The lycra+elastic go all wavy after they are sewn together...Any tips? Even from my little phone screen your creations look stunning!

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  18. Very inspirational! I can't even imagine trying to make my own bra from scratch. So happy it turned out beautifully for you. I love the lace you chose too.

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  19. More lingerie is definitely on my radar. I have made a bra years ago...pre children, when I had more time but what has really stopped me this time is the cost of notions. Your set looks lovely, I might just have to bump it up my list of must haves.

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  20. One day you sew to cope with the rain, next day, to face gravity ! And you win both challenges. Is there still a garment that intimidates you ?
    Thank you for inspiring us !

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  21. These are so pretty, definitely to be worn as a set! Are they made from narrow lace?

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  22. Simply amazing! And what does the man of the house have to say about this?

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  23. Such a pretty set! Very inspiring indeed! Love the lace you used!

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  25. Gorgeous set and this a road I haven't tempted as I have tried to make swimmers and the elastic and I don't have much fun together.

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  26. Carolyn, this set is so lovely! I can't believe you have self-drafted the bra! I also love your idea of non-adjustable straps. Of course! Why didn't I think of that before? And I don't have to look for strap adjusters each time. Thank you for the idea!

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  27. Carolyn, I am completely inspired by your beautiful sewing projects and the AMOUNT of sewing you seem to be able to squeeze into your life. I'd love if you would post a typical week schedule of how you get so much done. I think many of us could learn from you!

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  28. You just keep amazing me, wow, it looks good

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  29. I wanted to say what a lovely set but it sounds a little Benny Hill. Great work!

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  30. That's a really lovely set os smalls. You are talented.

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  31. Beautiful smalls - looks very French :)

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  32. Hi Carolyn,
    I tried making bras a long time ago also and failed but in reading Aust. Stitches Magazine there was an ad. featuring a company called Boobie Traps they sell kits reasonable prices and you get a pattern.

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  33. Every girl needs a pretty lingerie set - brave to show them off !

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  34. I've exempted myself from making underthings...until some time in the future. Your set is absolutely lovely. I like how you have used the fabric.

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  35. Practical and pretty ...what a perfect pair! (COULDI be anothera Benny Hill quote!)i Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I wanted to say what a lovely set but it sounds a little Benny Hill. Great work!

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