I watched everyone in blogosphere flaunting their bras over the last couple of years – I was seriously impressed at the skills and wanted to try my hand at this handmade lingerie thing too. However I was either pregnant, breastfeeding or too fucking tired to attempt anything so complicated.
Once the baby started sleeping at night I began to be intimidated by the whole bra thing and kept making excuses why I wasn’t joining the handmade bra party.
Then Mr King (the lovely man) got me the Madalynne Simplicity Bra sewing pattern for Christmas- 8229.
Running out of excuses!
And yet it’s still taken me to April to attempt making a bra!
Shopping for bra bits
Reading the list of notions on the back of the pattern is scary. I could have gone to a bricks and mortar shop but I had a feeling there wouldn’t be much choice in Edinburgh. Instead I went looking for a kit – I got a champagne lace kit from a lovely Canadian etsy seller which was surprisingly reasonable. I think I paid about £16 which I’d consider a relatively modest price for a bra.
Sizing and Sister sizes
In UK shops I’m a 34F – I got measured in Bravissimo a few years ago and the sales lady did her best not to snicker at the bra I was wearing. Apparently I was one of those people who had been wearing completely the wrong size – I think I was wearing a 38DD that day and she all but twanged my bra straps to demonstrate how stupidly loose the back band was on me.
(If you think you might be wearing the wrong size have a look on Mumsnet for the bra intervention thread – it’s flipping awesome)
So 8229 only goes up to a DD fitting but she does have a tutorial on how to use sister sizes to grade up or down. Using this sister sizing chart I was going to use the 38DD pattern. Apparently I’d just have to reduce the back band a bit.
Sewing the bra
This is the bit I was massively intimidated about but was hopeful it would be OK since there is a Sewalong tutorial on YouTube as well as clear simplicity instructions. It turns out though that the video does things in a different order than the pattern instructions- so you either need to follow one or the other and not just jump between the 2 when you need a little extra help (aaaaaaaaaa – internal scream of frustration!!!).
Despite this I appear to have made a totally badass amazing looking bra.
I felt like Harry Potter when he discovers he’s a wizard! I totally made a bra on my first attempt ever and it looks great!!
Until I tried it on.
It doesn’t fit.
In fact it fits so badly I get 4-boobs syndrome when I wear it. The cups cut so tightly across my boobs there is massive overspill over the top. Also weirdly the space between the cups is massive so I had to do weird scooping to push my boobs to the side to try and fit it. Turns out I’d done the channelling on the inside of the cup rather than the outside. It wouldn’t have fixed the cup size issue (4mm more fabric would not solve this!) but might have addressed the giant gap between my boobs.
I’m afraid I went in the huff at this point and stopped speaking to anyone. It was that or make a primordial scream-like noise when I opened my mouth. I really wish I had wine at this point because every fuck up is more manageable with wine.
But a new day dawned and I woke up determined. It turns out the sewing aspect of a bra is pretty straight forward and enjoyable. It’s the fitting thing I need to get right.
So I’ve used my seam ripper and attempted to salvage some of the materials from my Harry Potter Bra. I’ve also printed out the Maya bra pattern that is recommended on the Curvy sewing collective review here.
Next stop is another attempt at a bra. This time I’m going prepared with wine!