Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bra Making 101

Having finished corset #4 a long time ago, I decided that a corset that garish needed to be a whole out fit. But, I usually make things into sets anyway. What's the use of something if you have nothing to wear it with right? I have been wanting to learn to make bras for quite some time and this was of course the perfect excuse for it. I cracked open my bra making book, it's called Bare Essentials by Jennifer Lynne, and got to work. 

At one point I lived next to an amazing fabric market. I knew I would eventually try bra making so I stocked up on molded cups that I assumed were my size. This is the problem with ready mades, we never know what our true size is. I thought I'd be able to use them, unfortunately they were too small, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Drafting the band was easy, it's just your under bust measurement, but then the back band has to be shrunk down to accommodate the stretch of the fabric that will be used.

The under wire area was a snap as well. I just traced the foam form where it needed to go. I cut it out for the mock up wondering why so many people say bra making is difficult.

Well, the back band looks good, I'm happy.

 The front was way too big and had to be taken in. No big deal.

Hmmmmm? Why couldn't I get these cups to lay right? 

Well it turns out my breast tissue starts further back into my arm pit, so getting it to fill this tiny cup would be impossible. It pinched too. There's no reason to make something uncomfortable when you can buy that at the store. 

I needed another 3/4 of an inch to house the twins. 

Molded cups won't work, back to the drawing board, and I'm beginning to understand that a perfected bra might take just a little bit more time.

I turned back to my book and was determined not to let all the equations and decimal points confuse me. (I have a jumbled number problem in my brain). Math doesn't come easy for me, but pictures do, so I tried to follow the pictures and use common sense when I couldn't figure something out. 

I took what I knew from contouring for clothing and applied it to this process.

This is what I ended up with, it was a good enough starting point. 

Ha! Wow they were pointy and squished at the top. If I were going for a bullet bra this would have been a good mock up.

I let out the top and pinned in some extra fabric. Those of you with more fitting experience can probably see all kinds of problems with this.

My bust was also not fitting into the under wire. The cups needed to be smaller.

The next mock up gave me too much at the top. I didn't want to address the cup size issue until I got the top right.

A little pinch took it right out.

And now I had something that looked closer to what I wanted.

I cut the neckline down to my desired style.

 Lastly, I focused on the cup size. I drew a line where my under bust actually was and adjusted the cradle to fit the under wire and the smaller cup size.

I did one more mock up to see what the finished pattern would look like and decided I need to take some of the ease out of the bottom section of the cup to get a smooth out come.

You can see that the cups eased in  kind of smooth on my first fashion fabric try, There's still some little wrinkles in the under cup area. I tweaked it just a little bit more and re-did it again.

The finished bra ended up more pointy then I wanted, but the ruffles covered it up so it's not so noticeable.  

I tweaked the pattern once again in the hope of the next one being a little softer silhouette. It's all the same construction method as the first one. I stiffened the cradle and cups with a canvas interlining and a fused interfacing. The back band is the stretchy fashion fabric and an equally stretchy spandex lining.

With everything on the front piece put together, I toyed with the straps. You can't see it in the pictures, but these are actually put on differently.

I'm really happy with the end result. I had some pressing ( ironing) problems with the cups. The material melts if heat is applied. Fortunately adding a ruffle to it solved the problem again.

It's comfy to wear and I don't fall out of it. 

I didn't have a black back closure, but it's hidden under the corset anyway. The fit makes me so happy, did I say that already? 

The smaller ruffle means there's less to hide.

Here's the two sets completed. 

The next step is a photo be continued.