Soft bras

I have been sewing so long now, that I have plenty of clothes and mostly just sew where my whims take me.  Only now and then am I sewing something to fit a wardrobe need, but this was one of those projects.  For a couple of months now, I have been having issues with tension in my back muscles.  Some days, I can't wait to get home and rip my bra off.  I read other blogs where women are celebrating the freedoms and joys of going bra-less.  What I want to know is, don't these women sweat?  Because 5 minutes of skin on skin and I am back to putting a bra on.  So I decided to sew a couple of lounging bras.

Meanwhile, I sewed a bunch of undies a while back when I decided it was time to get a better fit.  I had sewed up Madalynne's Noelle, after seeing other people make it up, and I didn't like how it fit me, which set me on a path to getting a fuller brief to fit.  I ended up preferring a Sew Easy pattern, published in Australia in 1987, that I picked up in an op shop.  Then I decided that I don't like full briefs and cut them down to midi size.  At the same time, I tested the Watson brief in a few other sizes than then one I had been using.  I paired my lounging bras with some of these tester undies.

The first set is a Watson bra and brief, made up in a soft knit fabric.  The briefs are a size too big, but still wearable.  The straps are a grey strip.  I tried dipping them in a blue dye, but the dye didn't take.  I don't mind the grey with the blue.  I dyed the hook & eye and knicker / bra edge elastic to match.

The second set is the Noelle brief, cut down in height, and hack of Jalie 3671.  The fabric is a very soft and stretchy lingerie lycra.  It is so stretchy that I had to take in the Jalie pattern by inches (and usually I size up for Jalie).  I dyed the bra elastic months after I made the knickers and am really annoyed that I couldn't get a good match.   I have been having trouble dyeing my last few times, getting the dyes to take, especially if I mix dyes.  Sometimes only one colour will take and the other will stay in solution.  I don't know why.  Perhaps because the dyes are older now and going off?  Or maybe because I bought a new kettle and now am boiling my water in a metal kettle rather than a plastic one?  I'll have to go back to the old kettle for dyeing and see.

The third set  is the Sew Easy pattern and a bra pattern of my own draft.  Again, it is made up in a soft, stretchy lingerie lycra.  I dyed both the lace and the notions.  I adapted my demi cup bra pattern for the stretchy fabric and as a partial band bra, but I didn't realise how much the fabric stretched out as I sewed the wire channeling in, and the channel ended up quite a bit longer than my wires.  Being a partial band bra and not a full band bra means that i didn't have a stable base to sew the cups into. The stretching problem was one of those things that are obvious in hindsight!  Tricky.  I really like this bra though, so I will have to come up with a way to sew it so it works.  This set looks pretty on, and is my favourite of the three.

Wardrobe needs met...lucky I can sew, hey?


  1. Love your version of the Watson. I have smaller "girls" myself, and wonder: Did you line the cups of your Watson? Or simply double needle the center seam? And how much lycra do YOU recommend for the best performance in this particular pattern?

    1. Hi Bette, I didn't line the cups. I just top-stitched the seam allowance to one side.
      I don't like using double needles. I have made 4 Watsons now, and my fabric has typically has had a medium amount of stretch. I don't find this bra pattern to be particularly supportive...no uplift! That is why this pattern is more of an at-home bra pattern for me. I would like to make it up in a fabric that has horizontal stretch but no vertical stretch, as I think this would make for a better final shape.