There must be something in the air these days, it seems like bra making posts are popping up all over the place. And eventually, my interest was piqued. The combination of the Watson pattern from Cloth Habit and the fabric kits from Blackbird Fabrics was too powerful to resist.
First let's talk about the Watson in general. I'm an underwire girl all the way, but in all my sewing adventures I had yet to make a bra (well, with the exception of the Pneuma), so this looked like a good project to get my feet wet. I struggled with the sizing at first, measuring my rib cage at 31", upper bust at 36" and full bust at 39". This led me to choose the 34C. (For reference, I generally wear a 34D). I merrily cut everything out, and followed the excellent sew along start to finish over the course of an afternoon.
At the end, I had made a very pretty bra for a someone who is much smaller than I.
I could just barely get the band fastened, but it was far too tight and I was squeezed out everywhere. One issue that I had overlooked is that the pattern comes in from the top of the band to the bottom, and I am pretty much straight down through my torso. Also, it was just too small.
As for the cups, lets just say they runneth over. There was just nowhere for me to go!
|The side view really shows the difference in size. 36E is on the left.|
But I was undeterred, and jumped right back into things with version 2. This time I opted for the shorter band, and after comparing pattern pieces to some of my existing bras, cut the 36E. And it fits! This is definitely a lounging around the house eating bon bons bralette, but it is totally wearable.
|The winner! Not sure what's going on with the lighting here though.|
I found the kit from Blackbird had everything that I needed, although the fabric is shinier than I had thought - gives me a bit more of an American Apparel feeling than I was looking for. The elastics are great, and the back closure is a real winner. It feels nice and soft, and was easy to attach. And they are now available for purchase individually! I had enough elastic for both bras, but I did need to get more strapping for #2, along with rings, sliders & closure of course. The lycra from Blackbird is a bit on the lightweight side for me, if I'd had more of the power mesh left, I would have experimented with lining the cups with it. But there's always next time.
There's one other thing I noticed during this journey - I used a different machine for #2, and the feed dogs are a bit wider set. This made for some frustrating moments when the fabric just would not feed evenly, or the seam allowances got stuck in the plate. Changing the presser foot pressure didn't really help, but by that time, I just wanted to see how I was doing size-wise. It's given me something to look for if I ever do replace my current machine, which gave me no trouble for #1. Here's a peek inside so you can see what I mean:
|See, not so nice. Lots of dragging and catching.|
Even though it took a second try to get a wearable result, I'm hooked. I haven't had this much fun sewing something in ages. I mean, it's usually enjoyable, but this was truly fun!