Hello again! Its been a few crazy weeks with the Halloween coming up - which means significantly less time for bra sewing and more time costume sewing! At any rate, here is a bra I finished just before the rush began.
This is a free pattern from Bra Essentials (available in sizes 30A to 40F). I initially wanted to try this mostly because it was free (and given the good experience I had with the free Maya pattern) but noticed quite a few things were off. The bust point seemed to be dead center in the middle of the cup vs toward the center front, upper cup was too tight, wrinkles at the wire etc, etc. Seemed to be an excessively long list of things to correct. As I pondered some more (and inquired on the trusty Bra Making Group) it occurred to me that this pattern may be a Underwire Bra Block. Which makes perfect sense as this PDF pattern had zero instructions with it. Definitely NOT for beginners.
WHAT IS A BLOCK?
According to fashion-incubator.com, they define it as "A block is the pattern of a style" and "promising fit to key dimensions of the average sized consumer" according to the book Innovation and Technology of Women's Intimate Apparel By W Yu, J Fan, S-P Ng, S Harlock.
I was inspired by a gorgeous sheer bra with curved lace inset that
ended above the horizontal seams and center set straps (vs the ever popular wide straps). But before I can get to the fun design aspect, I needed to get a proper fit. Given the long list of alterations needed, I was surprised to do everything with the help of a only 5 muslins! Muslin #1 addressed the bust point - it thankfully also took care of a significant number of wrinkles in the cups which likely attributed to the small number of alterations. Muslin #2 and #3 addressed upper cup being too small. Muslin #4 changed the strap attachment shape to better mimic my inspiration bra and a small wrinkle at the wire typical to my body type. Muslin #5 adjusted the strap attachment a smidge more and tried the curved illusion technique using lycra instead of lace - then it was ready for the fashion fabric! Not included were my usual adjustments specific to my shape and preferences: narrow gore at the top and widen at the bottom, increased width of the back back for a smoother silhouette. I also added my very first Gothic Arch along the bottom band!
PROBLEMS ALONG THE WAY
The band sewed up easily along the way - including the gothic arch. I got to do a practice run with my last muslin which definitely helped! Issues began to arise as I was working with the lycra. I had ran out of lace (after my first attempt making this pattern with my good fabrics) and thought I'd give this piece of lycra a go in place of the lace. Well, the lycra behaved differently being sandwiched next to the bra cup netting than my cotton muslin fabric and the finished bra had extra wrinkles from the lycra layer. I was able to hand sew the excess in to the wireline with a bit of effort. Lastly, related to the fabric choice was the thread tension as I sewed the horizontal seam - the seam itself is too tight. Bra fits but seam is more noticeable than it should be.
So here it is with some matching panties! Completely wearable and pretty comfy if I do say so myself. Just don't look too closely. =)