Custom Bra attempt #3 (or bra #5 in the grand scheme of things)!
After my last round of attempting to copy and merge various elements from two RTW bras with some minor adjustments, I (surprise, surprise) discovered I needed more adjustments!
Adjustment #1 - My bright idea of moving in the straps 2 cm seemed to flatten me out. I believe it has to do with the combination of the style and possibly the materials. The material I used for the foam lining is notably "softer" than the original thus slightly less structure? In a different style that is more "natural" and/or unlined, moving the straps 2 cm shouldn't make that much of a difference. Oh well. Lesson learned.
Adjustment #2 - In order to better mimic the RTW bra, I decided to try an "external" power bar. Incidentally, the RTW bra had both padded "internal" (inside the cups) and "external" (outside the cups) power bar! I had assumed the exterior power bar was for visual appeal only. How wrong I was! The power bar helps brings the girls up and center better than the bra alone. Even with higher side wings (more on that below). I lined up two of the outer cup pattern pieces to draft the power bar pattern as a starting point. Since the power bar was going to be made of stretchy material, it didn't have to be exact. I took my lightweight powernet (only type of powernet I had at the time) and folded it over so it was double layered and cut while lining up the fold on the straight edge. Then I cut a matching set in the last bit of matching lace I had. Zigzagged the three layers together with a bit of lingerie elastic and it was ready to attach to the main bra. The main portion of the bra was already complete at the point and I was feeling lazy, sooo... I just sewed it on to the cradle of the bra following the stitches from the wire casing. Same with the portion of the cups to the straps. It made it kinda bulky but did the job!
Adjustment #3 - By far the easiest adjustment with minimal issues, I went ahead and raised the height of the side wings a full inch. Its still not quite as high as the RTW bra I have, but a bit more comfortable while still keeping a smooth silhouette. [If you're wondering why in the world I would want to raise the side wings, check out my review on
Adjustment #4 - I decided to try my hand and adding lace detail that didn't have finished edges. It requires lots of zig zaging in different angles but thankfully, I have some free hand embroidery experience.
Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the end result! The bra lifts and "shapes" as I had hoped. It creates a rounder profile, which I prefer, and brings the girls closer together. My boobs have never felt better. No more settling for ill fitting RTW bras where the center gore is too wide [so its sitting on breast tissue], too tall [so its jabbing me in the chest], narrow back bands [causing back rolls, ugh], and my arms rubbing against my boobs when driving [I'm narrow set but they point wide]. I felt good enough about the bra to make a pair of matching panties late into the night. The pattern is based off the highly rated Merckenwaerdigh Mix 30.
I highly recommend trying to sew your own bra if you tend to have issues with most RTW bras. You can purchase bra making kits for less than cost of a full price bra at Nordstroms. Try out the FREE
from AFI Atelier (check out my review on them
) and/or take a look at the instructions. If you have ANY experience sewing, try it out. If you have zero experience with sewing but NEED pricey bras (cuz small band + large cups = $$$$), it may be worth your time and effort to learn to sew! With bra making kits at the same price as a new bra, what do you have to lose?