Marlborough, Harriet plus more

I had planned to sew 4 garments in August.  Quite realistic plans, or so I thought.  I got one made, and then the demands of life got in the way.  So back to sewing bras.  They are much easier to fit into small chunks of time.  

I always meant to re-visit the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie, after my first attempts were too small.  When I got the pattern out and started looking at the different sizes, I realised that my original print-out was not to scale.  Rookie mistake!  I remember that we were in temporary accommodation at the time, and I did not have a printer, so I must have got someone else to print the pattern out for me and then not checked.  Turns out my original size was the correct one, I just needed to print it properly.  I did make a few minor adjustments to the pattern after sewing a muslin.

I used a lingerie lycra for the cups and the band.  This lycra stretches horizontally, but not vertically.  The lace is cut from a pair of French knickers that I never wore.

I did make one modification to the pattern, and combined the side band and the back band pieces.  This makes the band a little stretchier than the original design, but I like my band a little looser, so this is okay.   I made this change because the side seams in bras often irritate me.  Removing the side seam has made this bra super comfy.

I didn't have great colour matching notions.  I dyed the underwire casing and hooks and eyes.  I used ivory straps, but I am annoyed that they don't match as well as I would like.

I used the same materials to make the Harriet bra by Cloth Habit, after ordering matching strapping.

The band sizing on this pattern was different to any other that I have seen, supposedly to match the British bra sizing.  This did not make sense to me, as I thought a UK 34B was also a US 34B.  I usually start with a 34B.  The Harriet sizing put me at a 30DD.

I have found a bra wire that I like and bought it in bulk.  It is an Australian 12B from an Australian manufacturer.  Apparently Australia sizing is a little different than other countries because they use different increments between sizes.  Anyway, this is the wire that I like.  However, when I use patterns for this wire, I have to remove a fair whack of volume from the cup.  I have tried just going down a cup size, but smaller wires dig into me.  Amy provided an image of the wire sizes used to draft her patterns, so I compared my wire to her chart and went with the pattern for her 36 wire.  36B = 34C = 32D = 30DD cup.  So I started with the 30DD.  After making a muslin, I had to make quite a few changes to the pattern, removing volume both vertically and horizontally.  I got there in the end though, and am happy with my final fit.

Again, I eliminated the side seam.

These two bras have quickly become my favourites, being both lightweight and comfy.  They are also the perfect nude colour for me - much better than beige.  This means I was able to wear this slightly sheer top, that I love, but has been hanging in the cupboard unworn because my other bras show through.   

When I ordered the champagne strapping for the above bra, I also ordered some champagne microfibre striped tricot, thinking it would be good for matching kickers.  I thought tricot was stretchy, but this stuff isn't.  I tried it out for bra cups instead.  This next bra is a surprising success.  I used the band from the Cloth Habit Watson bra, and than modified the cups from a self-drafted halter bikini pattern to fit into the Watson band.  In actual fact, the cups are a bit small, as I didn't change the pattern for non-stretchy fabric.  This is not a problem in a wireless bra.  It just means that the bridge does not sit flat against my chest.  The fit is more like wearing a bikini.  Next time I make this, I will increase the dart on the bra cup, which will make the cup a little bigger and probably provide a little more coverage as well.  In spite of the slightly small cups, I have worn this the last two weekends, and each time I forgot I was wearing it until I went to take it off at the end of the day, and really, that is what you want from a bra.  It is also more supportive and shapely than my stretch Watsons.  The powernet is not the same colour as the tricot, but it seems harmonious.  I dyed the frilly elastic used to edge the cups.


Georgia said...

It looks impeccably made! This is something I never tried and feels really scary! Maybe one day!

mokosha said...

they're all looking gorgeous! and also very inspiring! i'll have to find me some time to make bras finally

Summer Flies said...

Oh to have a bra that you don't remember you are wearing. The shape of the Harriet looks so lovely and so professional.

Rosie O'Grady said...

You are truly an inspiration ! I am going to get into making bras after I finish a certain project in December. I am thinking about your Harriet and wonder if you shouldn't enlarge the cup (if you are going to use non stretch). According to my tailoring prof at Texas Tech, we need extra length and width to go over a bump and then you can increase the dart. Just a thought. I will keep your address handy so I can ask you all kinds of questions when I jump off into this new branch of sewing that I know nothing about!

Unknown said...

Both of your bras are simply lovely. They rival anything RTW. I am wondering where you found lingerie Lycra?

Beata Khaidurova said...

So pretty! I love the soft colour.

Quick sizing question - I think I must be a similar size to you, as I also measured up to a 30DD in the Harriet, and also had to take some volume out of the cup, although the band and wires fit me well. I'm now looking at making the Marlborough and my measurements put me in a 34B. Is this the size you made for your Marlborough?