Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Steps to Seeking Perfection!

Happy New Year lingerie sewists!

I thought I'd post about my attempts at trying to copy a favourite RTW bra - perhaps it may help someone along the line.

Above is my last project and in some ways the most successful, and in others, not. Let me explain in further detail.

This little hot pink number is the bra in question that was up for copying. I had two of these - one also in apricot.  And they both were getting very raggedy, the apricot one more so.  They are both lace over foam, lace also covering the powernet band.

Step 1 - I traced around the outside of the bra onto tissue paper, trying to manipulate the pieces to lie flat enough to get a good trace off.  I just did one side and marked where the straps would be attached. See below.

NB - take a close look at the above photo and specifically, the cup pieces. Now, I've sewn a few bras by this stage, and NONE of them have had basically no opposing curves on the cup sections. I don't know what I was thinking!

Step 2 - Proceed to cut out my pieces - the foam inners I just cut off the seam allowance on the inside edges of the cup pieces.  Using my temporary spray adhesive I basted the lace pieces to the bridge and cradle/band sections, treating them as one piece of fabric.

Step 3 - Construct the bra, in the usual method, sewing foam by butting together the edges and zig zag over the top, sewing lace cup pieces together and top stitching, joining the bridge and cradle/band, inserting the cups to the cradle, sewing in the channelling, attaching straps, hook/eye closure and we're all done.

But wait!! Why are the cups so flat?!!
Remember the cup pieces above with no curved sections? That is why!

Step 4 - Remove underwires from old RTW bra and insert in newly finished bra - voila! 

Tried it on and regardless of the flat cups, which admittedly underwires helped with majorly, it fitted and I was very excited to say the least! So after wearing this a few times, and being pretty comfortable with it, I thought I'd have another go to tweak the cup curves and make it even better.

You can see here the comparison between the two bras.

I think my cup pieces on the black bra were slightly higher and the strap too far to the centre - also my bridge needed widening slightly.

So! Onto - Version No 2

I decided for this version, that since I'd already removed the underwires, I may as well cut up that tatty old bra to ensure I had the correct shape for my cup pieces. As per the above photos - see the curve between the two cup pieces - that is more like it! I envisioned way more success with this one.  This next photo shows the difference between the pattern pieces for both versions.

I also lengthened the band slightly and took away the curve I had put along the bottom of the first bra pattern.  In stock was some gorgeous soft pink lace, and all the findings to go with it, and rose gold rings/sliders - everyone's favourite.

Everything looks so pretty together!

So using the same construction method as above, proceeded with version 2, as below.

I used regular underwires which were 10mm higher in the centre front than the ones from the RTW apricot bra.  This bra does have more length under the cups, only because I wanted to use the scalloped edge of the lace - so instead of sewing the elastic twice in the usual manner, I just triple zig zagged it on the underneath side. This bra looks a lot better on, and on first try was a perfect fit! 

BUT, on wearing a few times, it does become a bit uncomfortable during the day, and it is all down to the underwires is my conclusion - they dig in at the centre and underarm and are too high in both areas.  I have photocopied the wire from the RTW bra and tried to find one to match, but to no avail - I will have to use the closest one I can find and cut the length down and seal the ends - this is what I'll do for my third attempt at getting the perfect fitting bra!

You can see here that my cups on the new pink one are a LOT higher, although the shape is pretty on, and so I think I'll leave them the way they are but will still widen the bridge a smidgen more.

Here is a comparison of the three:

So my conclusion so far, is that I still reach for the black bra (even with the flatter cups), over the pink one, just because the underwires of the pink one make it uncomfortable during the day.

So I leave you with this question - 
Do underwires make the difference between a well fitting, comfortable bra even if the cup shape is not perfect? Any suggestions for improvement welcome!