Tag Archives: watson bra

Coral Lace Watson Bra (+ upcoming workshops!)

15 Jan

Coming back after a hiatus – even if it’s a mere 2 weeks – always feels a little awkward writing that first sentence. I have missed you guys, though! Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments + general encouragement on my last post – I appreciate every single one of you! ♥

Before I bring in the fun underwear portion of this post, I want to address a few orders of business first. Promise I’ll be quick!

Peach Lace Watson Bra
But first, a bra to tempt you to stick around. Ooh la la! Enjoy that butt view in the mirror, too.

ONE I am having a difficult time contacting one of the winners from our Shutters & Shuttles giveaway in December, Shesewsswell. Both Allison & I have sent emails and we haven’t heard a peep back 😦 Neither of us are terribly keen on the idea of passing the prize on to someone else just yet (I would feel absolutely rotten if it turned out those emails went to a spam filter or something), but we will need to if we don’t get a response from the original winner. SO, Shesewsswell, pleaseeeee contact me at lladybirdlauren at gmail to claim your prize! There is a beautiful piece of handwoven, Nashville-made fabric waiting for you 🙂 UPDATE: Found her! Yay! 😀

TWO Upcoming workshops! First one is in March in Brooklyn, NY! I’ll be coming into town to teach the Weekend Pants Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL, which, if you’ve heard me talk about this class before – you know I’m pumped about it! This is a fun, 2 day class (3/19 & 3/20) at WORKROOM SOCIAL studios in Brooklyn, where we will cover all the basics of making a fine pair of pants – from basic fitting, to following the pattern, to all the little details that make pants look, well, like pants 🙂 This is a really popular class and it always sells out pretty fast, so if you want a spot you better act fast! We also have an afternoon of fabric shopping in the Garment District the Friday before, for those who need some guidance with selecting their pants fabric – or just want to take advantage of a Garment District tour and all the discounts! All the info for the class + shopping trip are on the WORKROOM SOCIAL website, as well as where to sign up! If you want to learn more about the class from my perspective, here’s a post I wrote about the first one I did (wow, that was a long time ago!).

THREE Other workshop! In April, I’ll be in Portland, ME, to teach another open-sewing weekend at A Gathering of Stitches! I had SOOO much fun teaching this open workshop last year, and I’m super delighted to come back for a second round! The workshop is in Portland, ME, and starts Wednesday, April 13 for a pizza + booze get to know you night, then four days (4/14 – 4/17) of awesome fun sewing times! What I love most about this workshop is that it isn’t specific project-based – you get to pick whatever project you want to bring, and sew away in the beautiful shared space, use the cool equipment (like the gravity feed iron), and hang out and socialize with everyone else. And, of course, I’ll be on hand to provide assistance and ~expertise~, as well as comic relief and general cheerleading 🙂 Whether you want to make a pair of jeans, tailor a coat, whip up a bra, get some help with fitting and making muslins, or just want to take a solo sewing hobby and make it social for a weekend – this is the class for you! Plus, Maine is SUPER beautiful (truth, if it weren’t for the winters, my southern ass would figure out a way to move there in a heartbeat. I already have my house picked out and everything haha) and full of such delicious food. For more info on the class, visit A Gathering of Stitches. Official registration isn’t live until February 8th at 12PM EST, fyi, but this gives some time to plan and save before worrying that it will sell out 🙂 (it sold out last time. Actually, we oversold! Whoops! I loved all 11 of y’all though! ♥). If you want to read a brief write-up of my experience with the class last year, you can find that here.

Ok, that’s enough housekeeping! Onwards to the undies 😀

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Actually, I don’t have too much to say about this project so I’ll keep this (relatively) short! This is another Watson Bra, which is a non-underwired soft bra pattern. Perfect for a first bra project, I think! The fabric + notions are a kit from Tailor Made Shop, which is one of my favorite sources for bra kits and supplies. Everything is sooo nice and the kits are just beautiful! The particular kit I used is for coral and light pink, which doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but this one is pretty similar. And this yellow one is awesome. Ok, enough, Lauren!

Peach Lace Watson Bra

I love the effect of the scalloped lace, and I wanted to use that to my advantage with this bra. This makes for some finicky cutting – not only do you have to be sure that you’re cutting the right edge along the scallops, but it’s also nice to mirror them so everything is balanced. Having made this pattern before with scalloped navy lace, I used that knowledge to make the coral lace. The elastics along the scallops are sewn flat and not turned back (such as what you’d do with a picot edged elastic), so the lace retains the scallops. Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I underlined the entire bra with the included powermesh. There was plenty of fabric in the kit for all this – I even have some left over 🙂 I guess I could make some matching undies, but realistically, I probably won’t. I have realized that I don’t like sewing underwear. It’s just… meh.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

Peach Lace Watson Bra

For the pattern, I used my normal size 30D and made the version with the normal band (i.e., not the long-line). Sewing the bottom elastic was a little tricky since there’s not much real estate to work with there – I used the included picot that came with the kit, since it was narrower than the 1″ stuff I used on my navy lace version, and that helped a little. I had originally requested the kit with the 3 row hook and eye, thinking that I’d make a longline – but changed my mind and thus had to change the hook and eye. I noticed that RTW bras just zigzag along the top of the hook and eye, so that’s what I did with this one after I trimmed it down. Then I melted the edges with a lighter to really smooth them out (it’s poly, so it works). I don’t think you can even tell there was a surgery on that thing. Go me.

Fit-wise, this one is ok. It’s not nearly as awesome and supportive as the longline versions – which I had suspected would be the case, especially since there’s no underwire to bear the brunt of the support. If I tighten to the tightest hook, it does help some. I reckon this short style is just better suited for smaller cup sizes. If you’re rocking a D or larger (or maybe even a really full C), you probably want to stick with the longline so you can take advantage of that support. It really makes a difference!

This is mostly a bra for lounging around and being all fancy in-house, because it’s PRETTY comfy. And it’s really beautiful on! I think lace bras with scalloped edges are just beautiful regardless, but this one is a lovely shape and the colors are just fantastic. I really love that the kits have different colored elastics that all match the lace, and that the hardware (rings + sliders + hooks + eyes) are metal. Even the strap elastic is fancy. LOVE ALL OF IT.

Peach Lace Watson Bra

So anyway, there’s that. Happy first post of 2016! 😀 😀 😀 Who’s got bra making on their reSEWlution list this year (I am so sorry about that awful word haha)? Who’s coming to NY or Portland? Shesewsswell, where areeeee you? Let’s talk!

Note: the supplies (bra kit) for this project were given to me by the Tailor Made Shop. The Watson bra pattern, however, was purchased by me! And all gushing is 100% my opinion 😉

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Completed: Blue Lace Watson Bra

15 Sep

I’ve almost got my lingerie drawer in it’s happy place. Almost. Just a couple more bras on my list and then we are good!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front

I REALLY like these Watson soft bras! I think they are so pretty, and also oh-so-comfy. I’m not the sort of person who really finds bras uncomfortable – even underwired bras – as I like the feeling of support above all else. However, you can’t deny how comfy this soft bra is! It’s a good bra for lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday (which is exactly what I do most weekends) or even sick days (which is exactly the case today. Wah!). And while I have a few comfy Watson bras already in my bra drawer, I certainly don’t have one that is this pretty!

This is definitely the prettiest bra I’ve ever made. Just look at it!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - close up

Always up for learning new finishing techniques, I wanted to try a few things with this lace bra. For one, I wanted to try an all-over lace band that incorporates the beautiful scallops at the bottom edge, instead of a picot elastic edge. All the bra patterns I’ve sewn thus far have been drafted for the elastic edge, but I see so many pretty RTW lace bras that use the scalloped edge and I was determined to try it out for myself. I also used the scallops on the edge of the cups, and experimented with a different way of finishing the scalloped edge of the cups. More on that in a second, though, because I want to talk about the lace that I used first.

I mean, the lace definitely makes the bra. I received this lace from the Tailor Made Shop on Etsy, right when Ying first opened up her shop back in June. It’s taken me this long to sew it up because I really wasn’t sure what to do with it – even the flat yardage is really really pretty. It took me a couple of months to decide how to cut the lace and use the scallops, and figure out how to finish everything so that the bra wouldn’t be too flimsy and would wear well. I’m glad I took my time with this, because I’m super happy with how it turned out.

Tailor Made has a lot of beautiful laces that are all suitable for bra making, as well as a selection of elastics, rings and sliders, underwire channeling – pretty much anything you need to make a bra. There are also kits, which I haven’t tried yet, but I’m really loving the color combinations that Ying has come up with. A lot of new stuff has been added since I first looked at the shop, and it’s all pretty awesome! I can confidently say that the quality of the stuff I received is really nice, and the prices are super reasonable. BTW, there’s a discount code at this bottom of this post – so either read on, or scroll to the bottom if you’re feeling antsy 🙂

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back

Anyway, back to my lace (and bra in general)! I used the Navy & Silver stretch lace for the entire bra – cups, cradle, band – and cut it so that the scallops ran along the bottom of the band and cradle, and the inside of the cups (as drafted, the pattern piece for the cups is a bit too curved for lace scallops, but there is a tutorial on the Cloth Habit site about modifying your pattern piece to have a straight edge). The lace is pretty flimsy on it’s own, so I underlined every single piece with soft navy powermesh (I bought this when I was in Philly at the beginning of the year. It’s a bit less firm than I like for my bands, but it’s great for underlining to add some stability! And the color match is perfect for this lace). The cradle is lined with two layers of powermesh, going in opposite directions (the pattern calls for that areas to be first with no stretch, which I usually use tricot lining for that, but I didn’t have any in navy, so I tried the powermesh. Works pretty well! There’s a small amount of give, but it’s still pretty firm). The straps are made with this lovely floral picot edge elastic (didn’t get a good picture of them, but it has a faint embroidered floral design in the center and a picot edge on both long sides. It’s really pretty!), and I have white matte enamel rings and sliders as well. The rest of the supplies came out of my personal stash. Rather than try to match the navy lace, I just used white findings for everything and I think it looks really nice.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - front flat close up

One thing that I really like about this lace is that the topstitching I did just sinks right in. You can’t even really see it, which makes the whole bra look really clean. And I love those tiny scallops! They’re so pretty. Cutting the lace to accommodate the scallops about did my head in, but it was totally worth it.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - sewn elastic trim for scallops

So, here’s a little how-to on how I got the bottom scallop to work. With most bra patterns, they have you sew the elastic to the right side of the bra, then trim the fabric and turn the elastic to the inside, and topstitch (this is why you would use a picot edge; one side peeks out). This is a great finish, obviously, but turning back the elastic would mean turning back the scallops, so I lurked on some RTW bras at Victoria’s Secret and realized that they just sew the elastic directly the inside of the bra with two lines of zigzag stitching. Because my lace is underlined with powermesh, I cut the pieces to go all the way past the scallops, as shown, and then sewed the elastic to the inside of the bra with two lines of parallel zigzag stitching. I positioned the elastic so that the edge lined up with the innermost point of the scallop.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - removing powernet from scallops

Then I used my applique scissors to trim the powermesh up to the elastic, leaving the scallops intact.

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - finished bottom elastic trim for scallops

Ta da! Here it is from the inside. Really easy! As a side note, my wide non-picot elastic is from, I think, Sew Sassy. I ordered a bunch of stuff from the site a few months ago, and was a bit underwhelmed with the quality of the majority of it. I don’t remember what this particular elastic was labeled as (either strapping or band elastic, I reckon), but it’s really ugly and I figured I’d never use it. However, it is perfect for this use here that I have discovered. Yay for stash hoarding! Haha!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - back flat

For the cups, the scallop edge needs to be stabilized so that it doesn’t stretch out of shape over time. Also, since I underlined the cup with the powermesh, I needed something there anyway to keep the two edges together. I’ve used clear elastic in the past, which works okay, but it doesn’t look that great from the inside and it tends to bunch up a little. So I tried something new – I used the selvage edge from my powermesh as a replacement for the clear elastic. It’s really soft – way softer than clear elastic – and it still has a good amount of stretch. It’s also a perfect color match for the mesh, obviously, so it’s almost unnoticeable. It gives stability, but it doesn’t pull or bunch at all. I LOVE how it turned out. Don’t care if this is the wrong way to make a bra – I’m doing this with all my cup scallop edges!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - inside flat

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - super artsy inside

Here are some more inside shots. I serged all my raw edges with a 3 thread overlock, so the inside is super clean.

If you want to see what this bra looks like on a real person, click here for a somewhat unflattering picture angle. Again, please don’t pin this image or anything! Posting this strictly for science purposes.

Now! If you love my Watson and want to try out Tailor Made Shop, you can use the code LLADYBIRD for 10% off! This code is good through 9/30/15, so get it while you can! Yay for discounts!

Navy Lace Watson soft bra - side front

One a completely unrelated note – WORKROOM SOCIAL is officially moving to a bigger space next month! Besides being exciting in itself, this also means that my Weekend Pants Making Intensive has a couple more spaces open! If you missed the chance to register when it was last announced, you still have an opportunity now. The class is November 7-8 and includes the pattern, use of machines and tools (you bring your own fabric and notions), and snacks, a catered lunch and cocktails on both days. You can read more about it on the registration page, or in this blog post. This class sells out pretty fast, so act now or forever hold your peace 🙂 There are also some spots left for our Garment District shopping trip the day before (11/6), which is a nice addition to the pants class where you can check out the Garment District, learn about fabrics that are suitable for pants, and even buy the fabric that you will use in class.

Note: The blue stretch lace, white strapping, and rings and sliders were provided to me free of charge from Tailor Made Shop, in exchange for a blog post mention. All other supplies were purchased by me, and all opinions are all mineeee!

Completed: Starwatch Watson Lingerie Set

24 Jun

I pretty much never name my makes (if I did that, I would have looooong run out of clever names at the rate I sew haha), but every now and then, I get a hankerin’ to christen something with a silly name. Which is why this new lingerie set is called Starwatch.

Because, like, I’m gonna watch the stars and shit while I wear this. Don’t call it Stargaze, that makes way too much sense.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch is made using the Watson & Bikini brief pattern from Cloth Habit. Every time I make or wear this pattern, I immediately start thinking of more versions to create. I know some people like a little (or a lot) of variety in their lingerie, but I feel pretty content with the two patterns I’m churning out these days – Watson for comfy happy lounge days (or starwatching lololol) and Marlborough for slightly-nicer-rack-but-still-pretty-comfy days. Actually, I’d love to throw a (non foam cup) strapless bra pattern in that arsenal. Any suggestions, my wise lingerie readers?

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

This is my third iteration of this pattern, so no changes to the sizing or fit. This was also my FIRST time making Watson where I didn’t have the hand-holding to comes with buying a pre-cut kit. Eep! I love those damn kits (the two I’ve used – both with great success – are from Blackbird Fabrics and Grey’s Fabrics) and I highly recommend them if you are just getting into lingerie sewing and don’t know where to start with sourcing your fabric or supplies. It’s really nice to have someone else take the guesswork out of all that, so you can focus on the actual sewing part. I also just really love having something packaged up in a box, it just makes me so happy! That being said, you are paying a finder’s fee for someone to source those supplies – and while I don’t think the kits are necessarily expensive (depending on where you buy your bras, the kits might be cheaper. They are for me, anyway!), I also have a huuuuge ol’ stash of lingerie notions that I’ve been hoarding collecting for a few months now, and it was time to woman up and start actually using it.

Starwatch Watson & Bikini

Obviously the fabric is the ~star~ of this ensemble (u see what I did there?). That amazing sparkly goodness was a gift from my beautiful and sassy girl Lola, who brought it from me all the way from the Garment District when she was with me in Philly for Maddie’s Bra-Making class. It’s a gorgeous stretch mesh with glittery stars all over it – and yes, in case you were wondering, I have washed this thing several times and I still get glitter everywhere when I wear it. Yay, party in my pants! It has a fantastic 2 way stretch – which was a bit of a gamble with Watson, as that requires a 4 way stretch, but it thankfully worked out ok.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Since the fabric is pretty sheer, I underlined all the pieces with a soft black power mesh, to give a little extra support and a layer of opacity. The cradle is also lined with tricot lining fabric (left over from my Blackbird kit, woohoo!). The back band is 2 layers of power mesh running in opposite directions (normally, I like one layer of power mesh – but this stuff is really lightweight and SUPER stretchy and I was concerned about the fit, so I doubled up). Everything was sewn on my regular sewing machine and the seams were finished with a 3 thread overlock.

All the notions are from my stash – I didn’t have to buy anything new to finish this bra. Yay! I honestly couldn’t tell you where any of this stuff came from – I look for lingerie elastics every time I go fabric shopping, especially in the Garment District, so there’s a good chance that most of this is from NY. I really love the tiny scalloped elastic around the bra cups, I wish I could remember where that came from because I’d totally buy more!

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

To complete my Starwatch set, I also made matching panties. Not much to say about these – I underlined the star mesh at the front (again, with power net) and used a single layer of power net for the back. The cotton crotch lining came from my stash.

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Really happy with this set, and glad I was able to put that beautiful glittery star mesh to AWESOME use! (and I still have loooots more, so maybe more glittery underwear is in my future 😉 heh)

Starwatch Watson Bra & Bikini

Completed: The Watson Bikini

11 May

I don’t know about where y’all are, but swimsuit season is BASICALLY upon us over here. Sure, they haven’t opened the pools – yet (that always happens on Memorial Day weekend, coincidentally right around my birthday as well. Pool parties every year for this kid!) – but it’s only a matter of time. Plus, I want to be ready when the water is warm – and not be scrambling to finish something the night before I hit the pool. Last-minute sewing is for people who work well under pressure. Which is not me.

Watson Bikini

So, anyway, I made a bikini! Yeah!!!

Watson Bikini

If this pattern looks familiar, it’s because I’ve made it before (not to mention it’s made some ROUNDS ’round the internet). It’s not a swimsuit pattern, per se – it’s actually a lingerie pattern. This here is the Watson Bra & Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit, modified into the swimsuit you see here. And yes, I realize that these pictures basically mean y’all are seeing me in lingerie. Whatever.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

I have made this pattern before a couple of times (see one and two), so I knew I was good with the fit and I had strong feelings that this pattern would work equally well as swimwear with a few modifications. It was just a matter of finding a good swimwear lycra and figuring out how to stabilize that cradle in a way that wouldn’t deteriorate in chlorine and salt water.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Since I’ve gone into detail about the making of this pattern before, I won’t talk too much about the sizing or construction outside of making it into swimwear. I sewed my regular size – the 30D – and the fit was good except a did have a bit of gaping right between the side of the cup and the underarm. I think it has more to do with my elastic application – it might not have been stretched enough – but it was on both sides so I dunno. It may have been due to the stretch of my fabric, but the rest of the top fits great and the 4 way stretch is similar to the millskin I used for my first Watson. Anyway, I fixed it by taking in a dart and topstitching it down (at this point, the swimsuit was complete so there was nooo way I was unpicking all that shit haha). Not the most elegant solution, but the print is super busy so you can’t really see it, plus it’s right at my armpit. If anyone is looking and notices that shit, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.

Other than that, the fit was good! I add a little bit of extra to the bottoms – about 1/2″ extended out from the back for more butt coverage, and about 1/2″ extended at the top to make them slightly higher. They’re still a little cheeky, but I think it’s pretty cute 🙂

Watson Bikini

Like I said, there were a couple of things that needed to be addressed in order to convert this into proper swimwear. For one, I knew it needed lining (maybe you wear unlined swimsuits, but I don’t!). I cut an extra of every piece out of swimsuit lining, and was able to origami it so that there aren’t any raw edges, except where the cups meet the band. Couldn’t figure that one out, so I just serged the seam. I also needed to change out aaaall that elastic to be swimsuit elastic- the picot and lace edges elastics that you use in lingerie are beautiful, but they aren’t made to hold up to salt water and chlorine (not to mention, they totally make that shit look like a bra). This was easy – I used braided swimsuit elastic and attached it opposite of how you attach lingerie elastic. Meaning, you sew the first swipe on the inside of the garment (I used my serger, but you can zigzag this), and then fold it one more time and zigzag topstitch. I did this everywhere except at the top of the cups, where I sewed it as you normally would for a bra (hadn’t thought that far ahead, whoops).

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

The strapping at the back band also totally stumped me for about a month. In the pattern, the top of the back band is finished with strapping that extends to go over your shoulders. It’s beautiful, but it’s not really good for swimwear (again, can’t stand up to the elements/chemicals, and – again, looks like lingerie). Of course, you can just finish the top edge with elastic the same way you finish all the other edges – but I liked the look of the strapping, plus, I have a feeling it’s sewn that way to help with the fit. After a bit of thought, I decided to do elastic covered straps and apply them the same way that the strapping is done on a regular bra. I used Ada Spragg’s tutorial on making elastic swimsuit straps (GIRL THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SHIT), and they turned out pretty nice! I left off the adjustable sliders since the elastic was so thick, but I did keep the little O-rings at the top.

The only downside is that I wasn’t quite precise with my seam allowances, so one strap has a tendency to twist (I’m pretty sure that’s from the elastic inside trying to roll up). It’s annoying, but not enough to make me unpick and start over. We’ll see how I feel after I get back from the beach 😛

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Another thing that needed to be addressed was changing out the hook and eye for something that looks, you know, not like a bra. I used a swimsuit hook and eye – I know it doesn’t match, but it’s all I had on hand and anyway, you can’t really see it when it’s on – and just adjusted the back to fit the hook. I did this after the swimsuit was assembled, but before I attached the straps. There’s a tutorial on how to do this over at Cloth Habit, it’s for a bra, but same concept. For the opposite side, I just folded over the edge and sewed it down to make a tunnel for the hook to go through. Easy!

Watson Bikini

Finally, I had to figure out a way to stabilize the cradle while still making this thing hold up in water. For most lingerie patterns, this might not be a problem – but with this particular pattern, the cradle (the part of the band that attaches to the cups) needs to be stabilized so it does not stretch. The pattern has you use lightweight tricot, but I wasn’t sure if that would deteriorate over time. Instead, I cut two pieces of heavy powermesh running in opposite directions, and stacked them on top of each other with the swimsuit lycra on top and the lining on the bottom. Powermesh is water-friendly (well, so I’ve been told!) and it does a pretty good job of keeping everything stable.

Watson Bikini

The rest of the bikini was as straightforward as making lingerie. All pieces are cut from swimsuit lyrcra and swimsuit lining (other than the powermesh to stablize the cradle), and I included lots of zigzag topstitching to give it a sporty look.

In case you were wondering, my swimsuit lycra is from Spandex House in NYC. I bought it while I was in the Garment District in March. My lining is also from Spandex House, and the elastics I used are from Joann’s. I think the bra rings came off an old bra, and I don’t remember where the swimsuit hook is from. Other than using the serger to attach the elastic, I sewed everything on my sewing machine. Even with me stopping and researching and scratching my head, this shit only took a couple of hours to make. And just like that – I’m ready for the beach! Yay!

Oh, and how ’bout that AWESOME necklace I’m wearing?? I can’t take credit for choosing that – its from Rocksbox, which is a new online service where you rent 3 pieces of jewelry every month, chosen for you by a stylist. You can swap out the jewelry as much as you like during the month, and any pieces you buy are discounted. I’ve been trying it for about a month and it’s really fun – and definitely got me wearing jewelry that I otherwise neverrrr would have picked up. I was given a couple of months free by the company to try it out, but I’m seriously thinking of maintaining the account afterwards because I like this shit waaaay more than I thought I would! It’s only $19 a month, the shipping is free both ways, and I’ve received (and bought :I) some really cool pieces! So there’s that. Anyway, bringing this up now because you can use the code lladybirdxoxo and try your first month of Rocksbox for freeeeee. Who doesn’t like free, amirite? Also, SHINY.

Watson Bikini

Can’t wait to try this bad boy out in the water when we go to the beach in a couple of weeks! Also bonus for having a suit that no one else will be wearing (I used to buy aaaall my suits at Target. Do you know how many Target swimsuits run up and down Santa Rosa Beach? Do you know how many of those said swimsuits look better on the other person than they do on me? The shame.). I have tons more of this lycra – the minimum cut was 1 yard and you really only need like 1/4 yard to make a bikini – so I’m already trying to justify having a fleet of geometric swimsuits. We’ll see!

Completed: More Bras!

23 Feb

You may have heard that the south was hit with a particularly bad ice storm last week. Nashville was coated with a few inches of solid ice, that kept melting in the sun and refreezing overnight, turning all our roads and interstates into some scary-ass ice rinks for the majority of the week. Since we’re not really equipped to deal with that kind of weather (the last time we had an ice storm anything like this was over 20 years ago – it normally just melts the next day and it’s not an issue), that means that most people spent the week stuck inside their house. And by “most people,” I’m specifically talking about myself. I gotta say – it was pretty nice to have nearly a whole snow week! I wasted the first day by being sick (wah), and the remainder of the days it was really hard to get my ass off the couch because our house is REALLY freaking cold (I’m wearing a fleece robe over my clothes and sitting by a space heater as I type this. I love my old house, but man, they are drafty!). I did want to take advantage of all the free time I had from being home for most of the week, so I made a couple of bras. Bra making is great for cold weather sewing, mostly because you don’t have to strip down often for fitting. Really, just once, and that’s when the bra is finished.

I made 2 bras, but I actually have 3 to show y’all. The first one is one that I finished at the end of 2014 (yay!); I’ve had the photos for ages but I never bothered to post it because it seemed like a pretty boring post on it’s own. For each of these bras, I used a fabric+findings kit to assemble them – so hopefully this will help those of y’all who are still trying to figure out what kit works best for which pattern.

Red Marlborough Bra

Bra #1 is this sexy little red lace number. This is the Marlborough bra, and the fabric is from a kit from Bra Maker’s Supply (the lace is something I picked up in London; Bra Maker’s Supply doesn’t include lace with their kits). This is the second bra I have ever made, and while I did have a few learning curves with this one, I really learned a LOT.

Red Marlborough Bra

Red Marlborough Bra

I really love the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply – they are a good price (less than $30 USD) and the materials are pretty nice quality. I’m not super crazy about the fabric, but it looks nice when it’s sewn up (I like to use the side that isn’t shiny, so it looks less costume-y). The only thing I’ve had a problem with is that they don’t indicate what elastic is for what part of the bra – it’s kind of assumed that you already know. For this bra, I mixed up the lace edge elastic with the underarm elastic, whoops. So now the underarms are lacy, and the top of the lace… isn’t. I doubt any of y’all would have even noticed that if I hadn’t pointed it out, but, it is what it is. It’s not uncomfortable or itchy, at least.

I made this bra exactly the same way as I sewed my black Marlborough, except I left off the clear elastic and lining on the lace (I used the underarm elastic at the top of the lace, to stabilize it). I only made a couple minor fitting changes to the pattern, based on what Norma and I talked about while I was in Paris (scooping about 1/4″ off the bottom of the bridge and adding about 1/4″ to the edge of the upper cup, also moving the straps out about 1/2″). When I finished the bra, I put it on – and it was COMPLETELY unwearable. The back straps were so far apart, they were riding up the back of my armpits. Really really uncomfortable. So I threw the bra in the corner and ignored it for about 3 weeks while I debated what to do. The bra was already finished at this point – underwires inserted, hook and eye sewn in, everything – and I didn’t want to trash it after putting all that work and money into it. This here is the downside of bra making. You can’t really fit-as-you-go.

Spoiler alert: I fixed it and it’s now wearable. I had to unpick the entire back, but I made it work. What I ended up doing was unpicking all the stitching and elastic from the back band, all the way to the frame, and then removed the back band. I measured the pattern band against the band of my favorite bra, and redrew the back curve to match the RTW one. This ended up making the back band bigger as well – so I’m not sure the bra size anymore, since it’s bigger than the 30D I originally cut. Doesn’t matter, though, because whatever the size it is – it fits ME. Anyway, I recut the back pieces in power net and reattached them to the frame, pieced the elastic (since what was attached to the bra was now too short for the band – fortunately, the kits give you more than enough elastic so this was not an issue), and reattached the hook and eye. The bra now fits really well. The band is big enough – it was a smidge too tight before – and the straps are in the right spot. I’m really glad that I took the extra 2+ hours out to rip out and fix the bra, because now I have a wearable red bra!

Red Marlborough Bra

Here it is on me. This the only floaty ghost bra picture you get in this post, fyi. And only because I did this one agessss ago, ha. You actually see a bit more nipple in real life, but I was feeling modest so I pushed them out of the way. You’re welcome, I guess.

This is the bra that I showed Maddie when I was in Philly for the bra making class. I wanted her to see my fitting changes and tell me if there was anything else I need to tweak. Thankfully, the bra looks pretty good – so I’ve got the go-ahead to keep cutting this size, with my new back band piece and all that.

Soooo, here’s the next Marlborough that I made over the snow week!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

No fitting changes to this bra, just fabric changes (and a different kit). I really like that red bra, but I REALLY LOVE this one! I think it turned out sooo pretty! And, while I’m not the kind of person to sit here and wax poetic about my boobs or anything (I mean, they’re boobs, there’s nothing any more special about mine than, say, yours), this bra makes them look really really good. Gives them a nice lift and shape. I’m so happy with it!

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I used one of the kits from Grey’s Fabric to make this one up (I don’t see it on the stock page anymore, but it was black and nude). These have the same duoplex fabric as the kits from Bra Maker’s Supply, but unlike BMS – they also include the lace, underwires, and enough strap elastic (you don’t get enough with Bra Maker’s Supply, fyi! Make sure you buy extra if you order from them). I did change out the ribbon decoration to a black one – and sewed a little rhinestone button in the middle, BECAUSE IT’S ADORABLE – but everything came with the kit. I like that.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

The major difference between this bra and the red one is the lace – the red lace is very stable, so it doesn’t stretch. The black lace here is a stretch lace that I did not stabilize. That alone made the biggest difference in the fit.

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m just including this picture because Amelia looks like a deer caught in headlights hahaha

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

I’m really happy that this lace had a scalloped edge, so I could use that in the bra. I think it’s really pretty! I stabilized the scalloped edge with a piece of clear elastic – this wasn’t included in the kit, but I have tons of it on hand, so not a big deal. All the findings are the same nude color; the only black is the lace and the power net (and the bow I made – I thought it looked better than the nude bow).

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Black and nude Marlborough Bra

Now that I’m feeling pretty good about the fit, I’ve started experimenting with finishing the seams. I used a 3 thread overlock for this one – at the advice of all my favorite bra makers, basically. You just have to be careful with 1/4″ seams; you don’t want to accidentally cut too much off (I know you can disable the knife blade, but me, I like to live on the edge). Oh, and you can see the little nude bow that I didn’t use! Maybe for my next bra.

Finally, I also made another Watson bra!

Green and White Watson Bra

I LOVE this one so much! I talked myself into buying that kit one day (I don’t know why, but I was convinced that I needed a green bra – like, who doesn’t need a green bra?); the nude/black kit was actually bought at the same time so I could get free shipping, ha. I used one of the lace Watson kits (the one I bought appears to be sold out, but this one is similar).

Green and White Watson Bra

I admit – when I first received the kit, I was completely confused. The lace only has a minor amount of mechanical stretch – i.e., no spandex – and there was a TON of powermesh. I wasn’t sure if the bra would even fit, considering the blue Watson I made used a very stretchy material. I sat on this one for awhile because I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I think I nailed it.

The cups and bridge are obviously cut from lace, with what little stretch there is going in the direction it’s supposed to. The bridge is also stabilized with the included lining from the kit. All the lace is lined with powermesh, and the back band is only power mesh (so it gets the stretch it needs). I’m really pleased to report that it fits very very well. The rigidity of the lace gives it quite a bit more support than the stretchier bra has, so that’s nice. Plus, it almost looks like a real piece of clothing now (I mean, not lingerie haha), with all the lace and shit. Now I’m wondering if this pattern would work with a bias-cut woven fabric for the cups and frame – that’s about the amount of stretch you get with this lace+mesh. Might be something to experiment with later!

Green and White Watson Bra

All the trim is white; pretty much the only green is the mesh. You can see that I used the picot lace elastic for the upper cups on this one, as well as the underarms. This kit only came with one trim, instead of two. I finished all the seams with the 3 thread overlock, same size and everything as with my last one.

Green and White Watson Bra

Green and White Watson Bra

I took a tip from Maddie’s bra making class and used a new method to cut this sucker out. First I used Sulky Temporary Spray Adhesive (that links to the exact one I use; but any temporary spray adhesive suitable for crafting/sewing should work), then I used a teeny tiny rotary cutter to cut all the pieces (this isn’t the exact one I used, but it’s close enough – 28mm Olfa Rotary Cutter. I got it in the bra making class I took). The spray adhesive held everything together while I sewed it, which was extremely helpful – especially when basting the lining to the cradle fabric. No wrinkles there, yay!

Green and White Watson Bra

Then I made the matching undies with the leftover! Didn’t realize the lace was supposed to be used for the front part (it’s in the project description now, but it wasn’t there when I bought it), so I just made the whole thing from powermesh. I used the wider elastic for the waist, and the decorative for the legs. These are okay; I need to practice more pulling the elastic because it’s not quite stretched enough. But it works well enough.

Anyway, that’s it! I love all these kit options for bras, because it saves me the headache of trying to source all the matching supplies myself (plus, I’m such a sucker for a good kit. Especially when it comes in it’s own box and everything is individually bagged; makes me so happy!). Now that I’ve used a few of the kits and gotten a general idea of what elastic to use in which part (and what it looks like, etc), I feel a lot more confident to buy all the supplies myself and not have to rely on a kit. That being said, I love the kits and I am looking forward to some new color options for sure!

Out of all the kits, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. I love the Bra Maker’s Supply ones because they’re really good and basic – everything is dyed the same color and it matches perfectly. The Grey’s Fabric kits are nice because they have a nice range of colors and they’re not just one solid color, plus, I like the pretty strap elastic and picot edged stuff too. I really love the hardware that comes with the kits from Blackbird fabrics, however, I think I prefer the more rigid lace + powermesh for a Watson, as opposed to the super stretchy millskin. Just a personal preference! The millskin almost feels like a swimsuit. If you’re trying to decide which kit to buy from where, I think it really boils down to your color preferences and how much the shipping will cost. There are lots of options, and they’re all really great!

Ok, I think I’ve done enough bra and boob talking for today! What’s your favorite bra out of these 3? Are you ready to start making your own now? Is there another kit option I should be looking into? I want to try the Merckwaerdigh kits next, I really love the color and pattern options!

Completed: The Watson Bra & Bikini Set

19 Jan

Hey look! I made another bra! And matching undies!!

Watson Bra

I’m loving my Marlborough bras so so much (yes, plural. I actually have two now, but I’ll save #2 for another post – this post is all about Watson), but I was really intrigued by the new Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit. Instead of a low movement fabric, this baby is sewn up in a fabric with lots of stretch. The cups are higher and more modest and there is no underwire. What really got my attention was the longline option, as well as the included bikini bottom pattern. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Watson Bra

Since I’m still pretty new to this whole new world of lingerie, I let the pattern hold my hand when choosing a size and following the instructions. I measured to a 30D (to recap, in case there is anyone new here, I usually wear a 28DD), which fits pretty spot-on. Which is good, because other than hold the little cups up to my boobs while I was sewing them – I wasn’t able to actually try the thing on until I was completely finished with it. Talk about a bummer if that hadn’t worked out! Thankfully, the fit is pretty good. One cup has a tiny bit of sideboob action going on – but that breast is also slightly bigger, so I’m at the point now where I’m trying to decide if it’s worth tweaking the fit for a really custom bra. I’m pretty happy with the fit of the band – it’s nice and tight, like I like it, but it’s also very comfortable.

Watson Bra

The pattern has you cut the cups and cradle in a stretch fabric, the band in power mesh, and then the cradle is lined with a non-stretch to stabilize. Lining that section was obviously a little difficult for me – and I ended up getting quite a few folds as a result. Wah. For my next make, I am going to try fusing my stabilizer to see if that helps. It’s not the end of the world with these folds – but of course I’m always looking to improve.

Watson Bra

The bra includes standard bra hardware – hooks and eyes, adjustable straps, and decorative elastic. I do like that about the pattern, because it makes it look a lot less like some kind of soft training bra that a pre-teen would wear, and more like… a cute bra without underwires, I guess.

Watson Bra

Because of the needed stretch fabric, this bra doesn’t require the same sort of fitting that a structured bra would command (such as the Marlborough). It’s very soft and forgiving. The pattern is rated as being pretty easy and a great way to introduce beginners to bra-making. That being said – while I didn’t find the bra necessarily difficult to make, I do think that the Marlborough was easier to sew! Mostly because that lycra was stretching and sliding all over the place, and getting the cups in just so required quite a bit of precision. Still, it only took me a couple of hours to make, so that should count for something.

The instructions are pretty good! I might be biased – because I’ve already made two bras, I have my copy of Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction on stand-by, and I’ve had enough bra-making conversations to know at least a little of what I’m talking about – but I found them very easy to follow along with. One part that was missing was determining strap length, but it’s my understanding that the pattern was updated with directions on how to do this (I personally just cut two 18″ straps. Worked perfectly! They are adjustable, after all). There were a few minor parts of the pattern that I changed based on preference – such as trimming the excess fabric before topstitching the elastic to the wrong side – but what’s included with the pattern is great as-is. There’s a lot of helpful info for choosing fabrics and trims, and tips for stitch settings when choosing your zigzag stitch. Also, there is currently an entire Watson Bra sewalong happening at Cloth Habit right now, so there’s that if you need even MORE hand-holding!

Watson Bra

Here’s an inside shot. As you can see, I did not finish my seams – just left ’em raw. It seems to work fine for my other bras, anyway. In the future, I’d love to learn how to properly finish my seams – or even line the whole thing – but I really want to nail down fit and technique before I start going too far down the deep end.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Rather than try to source all the materials and notions myself, I decided to splurge on a Watson kit from Blackbird Fabrics. The kit includes everything you need – 4 way stretch lycra, matching powermesh, elastics and trims, metal strap rings and sliders (stupidly, that was my favorite part haha. THEY LOOK SO GOOD), even the aforementioned cradle stabilizer and cotton knit for the crotch lining (for the undies, obviously). There’s enough in the kit to make both the bra and the matching bikini, and you can choose if you want a kit for the standard band or the longline. Since my boobs run on the small side, I’d reckon I could probably make 2 or even 3 bras with how much fabric I have left over (and maybe even a little bit of trim!). This color set is sapphire blue with black trims – and it’s soo beautiful! I can’t wait to see what other color combos Caroline comes up with.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Here’s the matching underwear – sorry it looks so unimpressive haha. I cut the XS based on my hip measurement (I was very apprehensive about this, as I normally wear a small), and the fit is pretty good. I think the butt area needs… something. Maybe I didn’t stretch the elastic enough. I feel like it makes my butt look flat, but Landon tells me I’m being ridiculous. Either way, they’re pretty comfy. I wore them all day yesterday and didn’t get a wedgie, which is awesome haha.

Since these posts are somewhat useless to me without a live model wearing the goods (if you want THAT, go holler at Heather Lou), here’s another floating bra photo for your consideration:

Watson Bra

For a non-underwired bra, it’s surprisingly supportive! I also wore this all day yesterday (with the matching bikini, bc, duh), and it’s really really comfortable. Way more comfortable than those Bambi bras I made. And it’s REALLY cute on – I am thinking that with a couple minor tweaks to the strapping and back hook, this would make a fabulous bathing suit pattern. I just need to figure out how to stabilize that cradle – it has to stay rigid, and I think the stuff I’m using isn’t really water-friendly (and definitely wouldn’t hold up in chlorine or salt water). Any suggestions or ideas?

Also, it’s not lost on me that I would consider making a bathing suit from this pattern, but can’t bear to show my skin with the bra in this blog post. Oh well.

Watson Bra

Watson Bra

Bra making is SO MUCH FUN, you guys! Good thing that happens to be a hole in my wardrobe, because I really love making them and I definitely want to do more! I’m really looking forward to the Bra Making Workshop in Philly next weekend – I have sooo much to learn, and I know Maddie is going to be an amazing teacher!