Bra Restock {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra}

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There is really very little reason to blog these bras. I’ve made them and talked about them many, many times before. The Marlborough pattern is my favourite. It fit me almost straight out of the envelope (or off the PDF) and gives me the most lift and projection than any other bra I’ve ever worn. Including RTW.

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I automatically sift through my drawer for the Marlboroughs before anything else. It feels kind of like cheating to make the same pattern over and over, but hey – I love them, so why not?

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Actually the nude coloured one was sewn out of necessity. I have so many black and bright prints, but was seriously lacking anything to wear under semi sheer clothes. I found the peachy coloured lace in Spotlight and the matte spandex was from The Remnant Warehouse.

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The other two were sewn because I like sewing in threes.

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Matching knickers, because of course. All my supplies are from all over the place, so if you want to know something specific, just ask. As always, pretty much all of it comes from The Remnant Warehouse, Pitt Trading and Booby Traps.

webDSC_2740 You know what though? I still learn little tips and tricks every time I sew. This time I learned that you can put two wires in one casing. I know. Why? I bought some wires on sale and when they arrived, they were a bit flimsy for me. But I bought a pile of them because they were such a bargain. So two in each cup for extra support.

webDSC_2776 Look at those enclosed seams. They fill me with a ridiculous amount of satisfaction. All of my bras are lined with sheer cup lining. It’s light, but strong.

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I can’t decide which one is my new favourite child. That peacock lace or the printed silk gifted to me by a friend. The nude one is nanna-functional, but the other two are a bit more special.

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Welcome to the lingerie drawer, new friends….

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Bra-Bra-Bra, Bra-Bra-Bra-Anne {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra}

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Over the weekend I had a craving for some rock solid bra sewing. Can you have sewing cravings? I do. I love bra sewing for the same reason I love swimwear sewing. It’s very different to sewing a dress, it’s a bit challenging and it’s one of those things that really throws people when you tell them you made it. I always feel very accomplished when I have a bra that fits.

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Of course, the extra level in bras is the fit. Especially wired bras. I always say that sewing them isn’t the hard part – it’s the fit that can drive you nuts. Once you have that down though, you’re golden.

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Even though these aren’t my first Marlborough bras, I went the extra fitting mile this time and compared wire sizes to my breast root. This basically involves standing topless in front of a mirror and holding up a variety of wire sizes along the underside of your breast to check which size fits best. Then you make the bra to fit the wire, rather than buying wire to fit the bra you made. The theory is the fit is more accurate and I totally agree.

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So, turns out I had been making the correct Marlborough size all along (a 40D, although my measurements put me in a 40B according to the pattern), but using a slightly different wire size has really elevated the fit. They are so comfortable. I used to scoff when people would say that you don’t feel the wires in a correctly fitting bra, but it’s definitely true in this case.

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The floral print in the first bra is Cotton and Steel cotton spandex jersey. Not recommended for this particular pattern because it stretches, but I’ve lined it with bra lining to counteract that. The fabric for the second is a rigid lace from The Remnant Warehouse and the fabric for the third is some sort of mesh with velvety stripes (also from The Remnant Warehouse). I wasn’t even sure that fabric would work for a bra because it’s quite heavy, but it turned out really well. All are lined with bra lining and the seams are enclosed.

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All the side panels in the knickers are non stretch, which meant I compensated by cutting the front and back panels a bit bigger. The top pair use that lovely cotton lycra for the main part and I’ve used nice stretchy black spandex for the other two pairs. Bra hardware, strapping and elastic is all from Booby Traps.

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Is there anything that boosts your self esteem like well-fitting, comfortable lingerie?

 

 

Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra part two}

Once again, this is a post about underwear. I’m wearing some. Probably NSFW.

Part One can be seen here.

Meanwhile, look at all my new beauties! Woo hoo!

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From L-R: Romy bra, Romy bra, copy from RTW bra, Marlborough bra and Marlborough bra. All the knickers are the same pattern and are self drafted from this Craftsy class.

Where do you get stuff?

Romy bra by Ohhh Lulu.

Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie.

Most of the supplies are from Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

My wires are from Sew Squirrel. They also have beautiful kits if you’d prefer a one stop shop.

Here’s another Marlborough that I’m not going to say much about because it’s exactly the same as the one in the last post. Both the lace and velvet are stretch, so the bra is lined with nude bra lining. I wanted a bit of the scallop on the knickers, so didn’t take the picot elastic over the lace parts on the legs.

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This next Romy bra I did change a little bit. I moved the point where the back of the straps attach because they were a bit too wide for me (now they are more towards the centre of my back). I also widened the back strap and eliminated the closure, so it just pulls on over my head. It’s super comfortable. This time I didn’t line the side cups so the skin would be visible through the holes (oh how scandalous!). That also makes for a slightly more relaxed fit. I still find it quite a nice shape for a wireless bra, I think it’s the princess seams and the fact that I use mesh for the lining.

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Here’s the inside:

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And on. Sigh. The perfect weekend set.

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Bra vs Bralette {Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra Part One}

This post may or may not be safe for work, depending on who is looking over your shoulder. No nudity, but I’m wearing underwear.

Ok? ok.

This past weekend started with me digging through my underwear drawer and having a giant cull. Too big, too small, too low, too high, too worn, never worn, too grandma, too uncomfortable etc. You know the drill. Which left me with very little beyond the undies I’d made for myself. A sign, I think. What’s a girl to do? Sew four pairs of knickers on a Friday night. Party animal.

Of course, sewing four pairs of knickers can be done pretty easily in a few hours. But when one decides that she must now have bras to match, well – that takes a bit longer. I get asked about bra sewing more than anything else ever, so I thought I’d share some with you. Yeah I’m being brave and getting my clothes off. Because it’s all well and good to sew my bras, but you’re curious about fit too, right? I get it. I always was when I saw home sewn bras too. Because they are home sewn. How could they possibly compare to store bought?

Let’s talk about the patterns I used:

Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra (bralette).

Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra.

Knickers are self drafted using this class.

Materials are from all over the place, but mainly Booby Traps and The Remnant Warehouse.

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Lets talk about Romy first. I love Ohhh Lulu’s patterns and own several. I really love the mesh insert in the Romy and how you can use lace also. It’s pretty. When I bought it, I figured it would probably work as a bikini top, which it will (replace the picot with fold over elastic, the strapping with fabric straps and eliminate the back closure, or use a bikini closure instead). Not hard.

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Pros of a bralette:

  • It’s a much quicker sew than a wired bra.
  • Generally they use stretch fabric, which means it’s easy to match your bottoms.
  • You can line or not line, depending on the amount of support you like.

Cons ofย  bralette:

  • Less support than a wired bra for bigger busts.
  • I don’t feel the silhouette is as nice as a wired bra (on me – more mono boob).

This is the first time I’ve sewn Romy and yeah, I really should have waited and ordered some navy strapping, but I was keen to get it sewn and check the fit. Which is almost spot on, I just need to move the point where the straps attach at the back. They are too close to my shoulder blades, I need to move them towards the centre of my back. Other than that, I love it! It will definitely work as swimmers with a couple of tweaks. I lined the whole thing in powermesh for extra support. Even the back bands, which is different from the pattern. Actually using picot elastic instead of fold over is a bit of a departure too, but I made the knickers first and wanted them to match.

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I love how the Ohhh Lulu patterns teach you how to do enclosed seams. It looks so professional. What doesn’t look professional is that I totally forgot to trim back my seam allowance under the picot elastic at the underarm. Ooops.

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Now onto the Marlborough. This is quite a popular pattern and I can see why. It provides a tonne of lift. The powerbar (that piece of fabric that runs along the outside of the cups) is awesome at pushing everything front and centre. The pros and cons of the wired bras are pretty much the opposite of the bralettes – generally they require fabric with no stretch (I’ve used stretch mesh but lined with nude bra lining), they take much longer to sew but they are a lot more supportive for bigger busts. I prefer the silhouette on me.

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The Marlborough pattern directs you to use lace with clear elastic for those upper cups, but I’m a rule breaker and used the heart mesh (to match my already sewn undies, of course) and picot. I love using wide strapping too. Probably because I used to be an F cup and could never find the wide stuff on RTW bras. Unless they were, you know, beige, massive and boring as hell.

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I’ve already got another Marlborough and another Romy cut out to match the other pairs of knickers I sewed on Friday night. There’s nothing like a big old top up of a tired lingerie drawer to make you feel a million bucks.

Stayed tuned for part two…

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Sewing Bras Again {Orange Lingerie Esplanade Bra}

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The Esplanade bra – is it on your radar yet? I haven’t seen many out in the wild, so I think maybe for the first time ever, I’m sewing something pretty damn new. As opposed to checking out everyone elses versions before I commit, which is my usual MO.

Pattern: Esplanade Bra by Orange Lingerie

Main Fabric: Some poly goodness that I assume is vintage. John Kaldor on the selvedge. A little bit of stretch against the grain, none in the other direction. Got it from the op shop for the princely sum of $1.

Power Mesh: The Remnant Warehouse.

Wires, elastic, foam etc: Booby Traps.

This is the first time I’ve sewn with foam and to be honest, my machine didn’t love it. I used a new size 70 universal needle as per the instructions, but it was skipped stitch city and involved a few swears on my part. We got there in the end though.

I was a bit of a crap blogger and didn’t take any construction photos, mainly because I was sewing most of it last night and no one wants ugly night time images. However whenย  I make my next one, I’ll share more of that stuff.

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So as you’ve probably noticed by now, the Esplanade bra is a long line, strapless bra with foam cups and boning. It’s quite rad and pretty different to most of the bra patterns out there right now. I love sewing bras, I love the process and I love how it all comes together in the end.

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I’m probably more proud of the guts of the bra than the outside. So pretty.

Every time I sew a bra, I get asked really similar questions – so I’m going to do a bit of a FAQ here, followed by some fitting images and info.

 

– Is it hard to sew a bra?

This is tough to answer because it depends on what you’re used to sewing. I think the biggest difference to sewing clothing is the seam allowance. In bra sewing it’s generally 1/4 inch, which feels tiny at first, but you get used to it quite quickly. You’re also sewing with some fabric that behaves quite differently to the usual wovens.

– You included wires?!

Of all the parts of bra sewing, people seem to balk the most at the wire part. It’s not that hard. In fact, even if you want a wireless bra, a lot of patterns will still add the casing as it covers raw edges and provides a bit of structure. Wires aren’t the devil, they’re actually pretty cool.

– How did you learn?

From Beverley Johnson’s Craftsy Class (affiliate link). I wouldn’t be sewing bras if I hadn’t watched that class. It is bloody excellent. My first ever bra was a Pin Up Girl Classic, which is demonstrated in that class. It’s my tried and true bra pattern and I love it like a child.

– Where do you get your supplies from?

I always blog where everything is from, but in Australia try:

Booby Traps (fabric, elastic, hardware and pretty much anything else bra related)

The Remnant Warehouse (fabric)

Pitt Trading (fabric)

Sew Squirrel (kits and patterns)

Measure Twice Cut Once (kits and patterns)

Kits are a really good idea for your first bra, then you’ll learn your strap elastic from your underwire casing.

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Let’s talk fit. I don’t think sewing a bra is hard, but I do think fitting can be. Bras have far less room for error when compared to something like a dress. They have to be just right. And because we’re all individual little snowflakes with all sorts of boob sizes and shapes, this can be a bit tough. I honestly don’t know how RTW bras fit most of the population. I suspect they don’t and we settle for ‘good enough’. I’ve been pretty lucky with fitting, my bras have all been pretty spot on the first time, although I’ve always made slight tweaks to them all on the next round. Nothing has been so far off that it’s unwearable. I’ve watched some poor ladies in bra groups on Facebook make 6, 7 and 8 toiles. And the tough part about it is that you can’t try it on as you go, you have to make the WHOLE DAMN THING and out of the same fabric you intend to sew the final version in. Not for the faint hearted. But when you get it, angels descend from the heavens and you no longer find bras a torture device to be ripped off as soon as you get home. It’s worth it, I swear.

So this bra is probably my worst fit right off the bat. There’s gaping in the upper cups and the whole shebang is too long. The length is easily fixed next go, but the upper cup part will need a bit of extra tweaking. On the plus side, see how the bridge is flat against my chest wall? That’s sometimes a tough one to get right, so I scored there. Nevermind, it’s still wearable and I might even add straps to this version to eliminate a bit of that gape action.

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There’s that pesky gap. Not enough fullness at the top of my boobs. That’s age, gravity, babies and probably genetics. You’ll note at this stage I hadn’t closed off the casing. The wires are the last thing that goes in so you can test the fit before committing to wire size. You do not want to ever have to unpick bar tacks from underwire casing. NO. Different bras require different wire lengths. I tend to trial and error from my stash until I find the best fit.

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What about support? Strapless bras aren’t really known for it, are they? I think the support in this one is decent, would be better if that upper cup was the right size. Still, I’m not going jogging in this bad boy and I think expecting to is just unrealistic, because gravity, cup size and physics.

I’m very happy with this pattern though. It goes together really well, all my notches lined up and besides the foam troubles, there were minimal melt downs. Will make again and will also make a beach version from swim spandex. With straps though, because my sort of swimming involves waves.