Yay! My order from Bra Makers Supply came in! In addition to their very popular Classic Bra Pattern, I also picked up the Bra-makers Manual volume 1 and 2.
Feeling brave after reading the thorough instructions and hearing about all the great reviews about this pattern, I decided to sew it up without making a toile first! It's SOO nice to read sewing instructions that are not only well written, but geared toward beginners. Although I've sewed a half dozen bras already, the methods I used were gathered haphazardly - a few sew-alongs, an online video, random Google searches on specific techniques. I can definitely see why so many people recommend this pattern as their first foray into sewing underwire bras - makes wonder why I didn't choose it myself. There is something to be said about paying for a well made sewing pattern and the accompanying instructions. Nevertheless, the tidbits helped improve my sewing - creating neater stitches and more refined workflow.
I did a bit of research to see how others chose their size as the size recommended using the instructions yielded 32A... It gave me chuckle as I haven't been a true A cup since high school. After stalking her (Beverly Johnson's) blog, I found this
. She discusses the 4 common ways to measure for bra size, as well as their pro/cons. While she uses the underbust/overbust method most frequently, she freely admits it doesn't work well for petite women. She did mention that the Bottom Cup Depth method is the most accurate and I agree with this. Luckily, the BCD measurement yielded the same bra size as the ABTF calculator in my case - now a 32E (post weaning).
CONSTRUCTION AND ALTERATIONS
The bra sewed up pretty quickly - no linings or lace to fiddle with - and true to unlined bras, easily showed you where adjustments needed to be made. Initially, it looked like there was too much projection the cups as the apex wrinkled but seemed to fit everywhere else. I had started pinning to reduce the projection when I remembered something from Beverly's Manual about taking in just the bottom cup depth. A few pins later, the cups fit! I think this particular method only works with my particular body type though. The only other alternation I had to make was taking a wedge out of the bridge under the arms. I found this change to harder to transfer to my pattern than the others but
the Manual had instructions for that too.
Picture of my super quick ALL BASTE STITCH tester in Simplex
It fits pretty well! The center gore is a hair too narrow - my fault as I just eyeballed the amount I needed to take in since it's pretty much need to take it in for all bras. Cups are pretty spot on after taking in the the lower cups only. Still scratching my head on that one a bit - I've been TOO projected for many RTW unlined bras so this is a change. The dart I inserted in the bridge could stand to be taken in a smidge more as well. Band is stretchier than I would like - the 32 fit more like a 34 as I have them on the tightest hooks. But that's an easy fix. I may double up on the medium powernet or just shorten the band next time. Straps are pretty comfy and STAY on despite my sloped shoulders.
The Pin-up Girls Classic Bra Pattern is an excellent first (or second, third or sixth) underwire bra pattern. Instructions are thorough with pictures and the patterns themselves are organized in a way that is easy to find. While the full coverage style itself isn't earth shattering, it does make fitting easier and a well-fitting bra will beat a cute ill-fitting one any day. I forsee this pattern translating well into a nursing bra, demi cup and foam cup versions and for the intrepid, a sport bra (with the help of the Bra Makers Manual).