Photos of newest bra making attempt

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I've finally got pictures available of the my latest attempt at
bramaking.  In some of the shots it's on my body, so I'll invite those
who've been discussing bra making to email me and I'll send 'em.

I made a deep salmon pink bra with the front frame and top cups in
stretch lace stabilized with tricot, bottom cups and back wings in
tricot-lined spandex.  The fabrics and findings came from a cami-pant
set so I was stuck reusing foldover elastic for finishing the upper
edges.  Had good matching 9/16" plush elastic for the bottom band.
Made straps from the spandex, non-stretch in front and covered strap
elastic in the back (pat myself on the back for that!).

In general my technique has improved, most noticeably in topstitching.
My stitches and distances are much more even and I'm doing better at
controlling tension and stitch length.  The lower cups are stretchy so
I had to do the seams in a narrow zig-zag and then topstitch them to
one side.  The original bra I'm copying does one line almost in the
ditch and another 3/16" away, so I tried to do the same.  I could get a
lot closer to the ditch in my next try.  I did the topstitching tension
a whole lot looser than before and it worked out much smoother.  It
also helps with the stretch in the seams.

Another victory is that I applied stretch lace to the underband.
Haven't done that before and it turned out prettier than I imagined.  I
hope to incorporate that whenever possible!  Had to take out half the
bottom elastic when I realized I didn't need any seam allowance folded
under it.  (Took me half the underband to figure out to apply the lace
first, then apply the elastic.  Dur.)

Another improvement is that I covered the cup seam allowances with real
tricot strips not the itchy fusible tricot stabilizer I tried the first
time.  It wasn't easy and the best results came when I glued wide
strips on with wash-away adhesive, topstitched from the front, then
trimmed the excess.  With the topstitching being so crucial I couldn't
just sew it straight to the inside of the cups.  It's a bit tricky with
the cups being stretchy too, because one is supposed to pull on the
strip to get it to curl around the SA.  I lost a good bit of stretch in
the seam doing that.  [From the look of all my RTW bras none of the
coverings are cut on the bias.  Does anyone know about this?  I bought
some Seam's Easy but it's white of course]

On the negative side, I misjudged the exact width of the SA.  (!)  The
pattern has 1 cm allowances and I did 3/8".  Extremely accurately, mind
you, but how a big a blunder is that?  The cups have some wrinkles from
the extra fabric and in the side view you can see that the apex of the
breast is below the transverse seam.  I don't think I can fix this
problem since the topstitching is all done, so I'll have to retire this
bra too.  I suppose I could reseat the cup in the frame, but I've lost
my momentum with this...

As usual my biggest frustration is with fabric selection.  The original
bra cups are made of something Brenda Solanki called tricot-fused
stretch poly net.  Although it has give, there's not much.  My
tricot-spandex fusion is too stretchy by far.  I'd really like to have
someone *quantify* how much stretch I need-- in percentages in both
directions-- so I can be accurate and confident in selection.  But it's
hard to perform the distance test on such small pieces in the cups.
Marci Pecot, bramaker in the Oakland area, and I have been trying to
meet for months.  I hope she can clear this up for me.  [Anybody else
wear a Fantasie Rimini and want to give it shot??]  Speaking of Brenda,
I think she did a fine job of patternmaking from the bra without
cutting it up.  The cups are more complicated than most and I believe
her work is accurate.  When I can do the right SA I'll be sure!

I told Phaedrine that I discovered the Fantasie wires are in metric,
which are available at   None of the U.S.
retailers had the right match, despite Beverly Johnsons' downloadable
wire files.  When I get the fabric stretch percentages figured out I'll
finally be able to get to the whole reason I'm doing this: a fabulously
structured bra in fun colors and prints!

So endeth this installment.


Re: Photos of newest bra making attempt
wurstergirl wrote:
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Pora, if the Seams Easy is nylon it'll dye easily. There's a simple
way to find out: put a strip of Seams Easy in a cup with some water, a
dash of vinegar and a couple of drops of food colouring. Heat it in
the microwave until it boils, then leave it to stand until it's cool.

If some or all of the colour has gone from the water and the fabric
has picked up a colour that doesn't wash out, you've got something
that can be dyed with acid dyes. Now you can have any colour you like!

Sally Holmes
Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England

Re: Photos of newest bra making attempt

Sally Holmes wrote:
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Oh, that's a great test!  Originally I was cannibalising elastics,
channeling, and back closures from colored clearance bras at the
discount store, but I'm considering the dyeing route now.  Gotta order
Dharma Trading's dye catalogue!  Thanks!


Re: Photos of newest bra making attempt

I give you a lot of credit for these efforts.  By the way, I did get my
Lily (Fantasie) and it's quite comfortable and the wires are just the
right height in the front.  I'm thinking that the balcony bras are
definitely for me.  It's slightly wide for me in the front but I'd
rather have that than too much cantilever.  The straps are wide enough
for once though they have stretch.  I will mitigate that with a length
of 1/4" twill tape as I usually do.  The blueberry Rimini is
back-ordered so we shall see.

I thought I would mention that in areas where you have stitching
problems (because some of these fabrics are so touchy to work with---
especially in such small pieces), you might want to use a non-permanent
stabilizer if you haven't already tried that.  Lately, I've been making
cotton/lycra gloves for myself because my hands (the palms) are just in
such horrible shape right now (I have an undiagnosed condition).  And I
use a tear-away/wash-away stabilizer in the process.  It's Ripstitch
Soft, TW 1.5 that I get from Allstitch, and it comes in really handy
sometimes when working with stretchy fabrics with tiny seams.


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I fear me you but warm the starved snake
Who, cherished in your breasts, will sting your hearts. (Henry VI,Shakespeare)

Re: Photos of newest bra making attempt

Phaedrine wrote:
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I didn't realize how much I've been doing until I wrote it all down!

  By the way, I did get my
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Phae, I'm so happy for you.  You found it!    I can't believe your wire
height problem is solved after all these years!

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That's *exactly* what I've been looking for.  Wow, making your own
gloves.  Sorry about your condition.


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