Thursday, February 1, 2018

Sewing Bras - Lace Shelley Bra - aka Bra Seam Manipulation


Its been a while since I've sewn up a regular underwire bra (2+ months!) while I've been focusing on the Strapless debacle - which lead to learning to draft a bra from scratch (multiple times!). [Check out my strapless bra adventures HERE].
Now that that major project has finished, I wanted something a bit simpler to work on.  Utilizing my new skills, I decided to turn my PUG Classic into the PUG Shelley Bra!  The drafting should be pretty simple - create a power bar out of the upper and lower cup pieces and then split the remaining lower cup.  Creating the power bar has the same steps as creating the internal power bar I talked about in a previous post.  [see HERE]  And splitting the lower cup is a fairly common alteration with a number of tutorials on the interwebs. [like HERE and HERE].  What will be new is making this bra almost entirely of lace!
I really like the delicate look of this bra.  It is such a nice contrast to the VERY structured strapless bra I spent the last few months on.  Working with lace came with its own trials and tribulations but sooo very worth it in the end.
ALTERATIONS TO PATTERN
  • Manipulated seam lines on the Pin Up Girls Classic bra to mimic the Pin Up Girls Shelley bra
  • Raised the side wings roughly 1/2" and tapered down towards back band.
  • Used alternate straps that calls for fabric to be folded down the center.
  • Manipulated the cradle to accomodate the lace
  • Inserted Gothic Arch
FOR NEXT ROUND
  • Widen the powerbar near the lower cup a bit.  Roughly 3/4 - 1".  Repeat for internal powerbar.
  • Lengthen the folded straps and remove the seam allowance along the neckline.  If using heavy duty upholstery interfacing again next time, use only a SINGLE layer.  The strap ended up quite thick at the attachment point.  Or perhaps try padded straps again.
  • Take a TINY 1/8" sliver off along the wireline for the inner lower cup pattern piece.
The fit is wonderful.  The cups are slightly more rounded (due to the extra seams) than the original.  It's my best fitting PUG Classic/Shelley bra yet!  This mostly stems from me *actually* applying my (newly acquired) knowledge of bra fitting to myself than the lace or construction.  Although according to the wire chart, I should be using the bridge from TWO sizes up from what I had been using.  I compromised by only going up ONE size (which also happens to coincide with my RTW size). The only thing I will add is that changing the cradle, while more comfortable, gave me a more natural look where the girls are not set as close together.  So neither pushed together, or facing East/West but perfectly parallell.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sewing Bras - Custom Drafting a Strapless Bra Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my custom draft strapless bra!  [Check out Parts 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE]

IT IS DONE!


Feels sooo good to have finally finished it.  Well, mostly finished - I'm still waiting on some more black hook and eye tape but the white I put in temporarily will suffice for now.


The color combo didn't quite turn out as I had hoped but is fine for a serviceable strapless bra.


Check out that lace!  I wanted some continuity between the front purple section and the back black powernet.  Stretch lace placed on the diagonal did the trick!

This bra was definitely a labor of love.  There were challenges and quite a few firsts all around.  This bra features 4 bones in the band and 4 bones in the cups.  I added self made cookie inserts and sewed them to the cup in a free floating fashion.  The cups themselves had dual layers of foam - to ensure a smooth exterior despite all the boning.  I also had to shorten the U shaped or Strapless underwires a smidge (1/4") at center front to make it fit.  Band feels a bit loose to me and more secure on the tightest set of hooks.  Silicone elastic across the top of the back band would have helped immensely (I had 3/4" regular plush elastic or 1/2" silicon - I erred on the 3/4").



LESSONS LEARNED
- If adding cookie inserts, make them removable next time.   If for no other reason than to avoid sewing through 4-5 layers of bra foam.
- If adding inserts for more push up, lower the height of the upper cup (even more).  Possibly curving it a bit higher towards the arm pit. Current cups + 4 layers of foam (4 for the inserts and 2 for the cup) = slight quadding. Zero quadding without the inserts.
- Consider adding another set of boning in the back band over the powernet.  This will likely need to use channeling to allow the bones some movement.  Previous experience sewing boning on powenet was less than spectacular.
- Consider reinforcing the top edge of foam cup with tricot or similar non-stretch material - hopefully this will help resolve the rolled edge issue.
- Use higher quality plush elastic or just FIRM plush elastic as quite a bit of the support comes from the band.

POSSIBLE EXPERIMENTS FOR NEXT ROUND
- Shorten the u-shaped wires even more (evenly on both ends AND/OR shorter in center front). Maybe another 1/4" off each end?
- 1/2" Silicon backed plush elastic.  The concern with this one is the difference in elasticity.  I've found I need a fairly firm elastic for the upper band elastic to spring the wires correctly.
- Possibly shorten the back band 1/2" to account for the extra stretchy plush elastic (I bought 50 yards of this stuff that stretches almost 100%!!)



Overall, I'm very pleased with how this turned out!  Fit is pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  My issues at this point are all very minor.  Hooray!





Sewing Bras - Lace Shelley Bra - aka Bra Seam Manipulation

Its been a while since I've sewn up a regular underwire bra (2+ months!) while I've been focusing on the Strapless d...