My second self-drafted set! This one is a bra with partial band, or hook-up bra as it is called in Kristina Shin’s ‘Patternmaking for Underwear Design’ book. The panties pattern is also self-drafted using the same book, the same pattern as the ones from my white set.
The fabric is mesh fabric with floral print in muted color, part of a Merckwaerdigh kit. The kit actually comes with stretch lace but I only used the mesh fabric. The cups are lined with tricot mesh while the band is lined with powernet. To keep the delicate look, I don’t use foam lining for this bra.
The bra pattern is drafted using the underwired bra that I drafted previously as a base. I couldn’t be happier with the fit! I’m very satisfied with all the things that I’ve drafted from this book so I want to draft everything!
As I delved more into pattern drafting, I also use this opportunity to learn to use computer software for pattern drafting. In the past I used CorelDraw to draw vectors, but this software is for Windows only. Nowadays I don’t use Windows, so I wanted to learn using Adobe Illustrator.
So far I’ve been having a great time learning Illustrator! I shared some of my learning experiences in my Instagram and everyone have been so kind offering their tips and tricks. Using computer for pattern drafting is so practical. I don’t have to use lots of space with long rulers and pencils around, everything is in the computer and I can do pattern drafting anywhere.
For now I’m only using the 30 days trial version and not thinking about subscribing. The subscription is about USD20/month -maybe not too expensive -, but I can’t justify subscribing since I will only be using it for my own needs.
There are some good and cheaper alternatives to Adobe products though. I’m using Pixelmator as a good Photoshop alternative and recently I found iDraw as an alternative for Illustrator. I’m still learning to use iDraw but so far it is quite promising. I’m about halfway through the Adobe trial period now, so 15 more days of fun!
Patterns are self-drafted.
I just found out that a bra is not called ‘a pair of bra’! My apology if I was being confusing by talking about ‘a pair of bra’ and ended up just posting one. Where’s the other?! There are a pair of shoes, a pair of pants, and bra has two identical things on it just like shoes and pants, so why isn’t it called a pair of bra?? English is confusing….
Anyway… I recently made a new bra and panties set. They may look plain without all the colorful fabric and lace like my previous ones, but I’m so happy with this set because I drafted the pattern myself. I feel like going a level up in lingerie making now!
I used the book ‘Patternmaking for Underwear Design’ by Kristina Shin to draft this pattern. Thank you to Melissa of Fehrtrade that have brought the book to my attention, you can also read her wonderful review of the book in her post. If you love pattern drafting you will love this book!
The book has drafting techniques for basic blocks for bodice, skirt, and T-shirt; 6 bra patterns, 4 corsetry patterns, 4 panty patterns, 5 sleepwear patterns, and the last chapter for camisole, bodysuit, and leggings patterns. All your needs are covered!
A note to remember though -and maybe the most important one-, the bra and corsetry patterns are drafted for size 34B. If you’re in size other than 34B and want to use this book, you have to be able to grade the pattern. I usually use size 28F or 30D which fortunately has the same cup size as 34B so I only have to grade (shorten) the band. The cups on size 34B has the same volume as the cups on size 36A, 32C, 30D, 28F, 26G.
The drafting techniques uses the underwire as a starting point. So basically you trace around the underwire and start drafting around it. I love this technique because it makes sure that my underwire wouldn’t be either too short or too long. For this set, I drafted the basic underwire bra and the brief patterns. The bra pattern will later be used as a base for the other bra patterns.
Here is a quick muslin that I made to test the fit of the bra. The foam lining of the bra is in 3 pieces while the outside layer is two pieces. After checking the fit, I narrowed the center bridge area, a common alteration for me. I notice mine are a close-set and bottom rounded pair.
I use foam lining from Makebra shop (my favorite foam lining!), and white lycra for the outer fabric. The band is power net and all other notions are from Merckwaerdigh store.
The inside seams on the foam cup are covered with strips of tricot binding. The outer layer has topstitching on either side of the seams. Initially I planned to make a plain white bra set but then I added a wide lace strips on the upper edge. Maybe plain white is too boring.
I love that the bra pattern creates a rounded shape that suits me, not as pointed as Pin-Up Girls patterns. But the beauty of drafting the pattern yourself is that you can create any shape that you want. Here is a washed out picture of the bra on me in case you’re wondering about the fit. Next time I will add some boning on the side seams.
The brief pattern creates a basic everyday panties that sits slighly below the waist and provides enough coverage around the back. Now I have two basic patterns that I can use as a base for the next ones!
Patterns are self-drafted.
Unfortunately I haven’t continued my adventure in making sports bra, but during my ‘research’ (googling) I came upon this blog post by Katherine. In the post, she has made various types of sports bra prototypes, and one of them was made with Merckwaerdigh BHS10 that I happen to have.
I followed Katherine’s lead and modified the pattern so the edges are finished with elastics rather than stretch lace. The fabric is grey jersey with green color on the wrong side, leftover from my Plantain top. The edges are finished with fuchsia plush elastic.
My version is not a sports bra though because it doesn’t offer enough support. I prefer sports bra with underwire like the Panache bra that I dissected the other day. This softbra is great for sleeping or lounging at home. They are very comfortable!
Pattern is Merckwaerdigh BHS10 size 30D.
Panache sports bra
I don’t usually do much sports but when I do, I wear a pair of Panache sports bra. This sports bra is quite wonderful. It is an encapsulated type, which means that each breast is supported individually. The bra is double layered so all the the seams are enclosed between the layers.
Since I only have one pair of sports bra, this pair deteriorated rather quickly although I only wear it for a short time about twice a week. I’ve ordered another one but I wonder if I can make myself a pair of decent sports bra.
I took apart my old Panache to see how it was constructed. So, what makes a bra a sports bra?
The outer layer has mesh fabric in the center front and stretchy wicking materials for the rest. This layer acts as a cover and attached to the inside layer along the outer edges.
All the seams are enclosed between the outer and inside layers. On the inside layer, the bridge and frame are made of absorbent jersey underlined with non stretch mesh. The back band is powernet, strengthened by the wicking material on the outer layer. The bra has foam cups, all the edges of the cups reinforced with a strip of interfacing. The underwires are enclosed in a wide casing that has silicone cushioning inside.
Panache sports bra, deconstructed
The bra has wide elastic (13 mm) on the bottom edges, the stitches that hold the elastic can only be seen from the inside. The upper edges are finished with foldover elastic. The straps are shaped and padded, connected to the 2 cm width back straps. The straps can also be hooked on the back to make it a racerback. The hook and eye parts are thicker with extra cushioning.
I think both layers are first constructed individually, then joined along the bottom edges with the wide elastic. The elastic then topstitched on the inside layer with zigzag stitches. The outer layer is folded up to cover the inside layer and basted along the top edges of the cups and band. The top edges of the front are finished with foldover elastic and the covered straps are then attached to the bra. Next, foldover elastics are applied along the padded straps and bra band.
In addition to the drafting, materials and construction techniques are very important in a sports bra. Some of these materials are somewhat difficult to find. I’ve never found the silicone cushioned underwire casing or the cushioned hook and eye parts. But I guess these can be eliminated or alternated by other materials. Otherwise I can reuse the parts of my Panache bra.
Making lines on foam muslin
The Panache bra has different drafting for the inside layer and the outer layer. The inside layer has cup seamlines and the outer layer is only a cover. I plan to make mine in the same way.
I started working on the outer layer by making a foam muslin with my Pin-Up Girls bra pattern. The Bra-makers Manual Volume 1 by Beverly Johnson has a chapter on drafting a sports bra using this manner.
After drawing my design lines on the foam muslin, I cut them up and traced the pieces to paper.
Cutting the lines
Tracing to paper, seam allowances added
This is my first muslin made with the paper pattern. The seam allowances are not trimmed yet, thus the cup wrinkles. I might move the straps a bit closer to the center front later but otherwise it looks quite good! In fact it can also work for a simple single layered sports bra without all the complicated things inside.
Sorry if this post has become quite lengthy and geeky! I really really love taking apart things to see how it looks inside. When I was little, I cut open my Barbie’s legs to see how the knee could bend like that (turned out it has metal hinge inside). Then I put away the body because I didnt want my mother to find the mutilated Barbie (-_-“)
Next I will continue perfecting the drafting and started to research some materials for the sports bra!
After my initial failure with my previous bra, I decided to make the pattern again with simpler design. The black ribbons of my intial design are interesting but I will use other pattern with them.
So here is makeBra #DL05 in colordul dotty lycra fabric! I also made more alterations to the cups because this pattern is one cup size smaller than what I usually wear. I raised the center front bridge of the previous bra, but I kept the original one on this one. The plunging neckline is quite attractive in my opinion. So instead of adding to the top of the cups, I made the lower cups deeper to fit me.
I love that #DL05 has the bridge and wing in the same pattern pieces as the cups. To emphasize this, I only stitched the underwire channels to the foam lining. The outer fabric layer has no stitchings on them. The bra can also be used strapless as I used detachable straps on them.
The panties pattern is Lola panties by Ohhh Lulu. These are boyshort style panties with center back seam. The pattern only require elastic on the waist, the legs are finished using three step zigzag stitch.
I’m quite happy with the final result! My husband said that they look like swimwear, especially the panties. I guess I can use them as swimwear if I’m confident enough to show my bum. Anyway, my favorite thing is the movement of the rows of dots around the cup seam!
Bra pattern is makeBra #DL05 (PDF) size 65C altered to 65D.
Panties pattern is Lola panties by Ohhh Lulu, size S
makeBra recently released a new downloadable pattern and I was quite excited about it. I’ve been wanting to try one of their patterns, but the sizes are too big for me. The newest pattern, makeBra #DL05 is drafted for smaller sizes, featuring foam lined two part cups and underwires.
For me, the most interesting part is that the bridge and wing is the same pieces as the cup. You can see the pattern piece in the makeBra sewing tutorial here. I think this design will also look great if you use fabric with stripes or other directional pattern.
I bought the size 65C as it is the closest to my size. Annele from makeBra actually has voiced concern that the cups might be too small. My size is usually around 65D so she has guessed correctly, so hopefully I was able to make some alterations to the pattern.
I recently won the ebay auction at Merckwaerdigh ebay store for a package of foam lining pieces. The quality is not as good as the ones from makeBra, but these would be great for making muslin as I don’t want to waste my makeBra lining.
Here’s my first muslin made exactly as the pattern. I then stitched some cheap lycra fabric for the back band and straps, the hooks and eye were cut from an old bra. The underwires are size 65D.
makeBra DL05 muslin
The original cups were a bit too revealing for me (maybe too small?) so I raised the center front bridge and added some more coverage to the upper cup. Here’s how it looks after alteration. The left cup is unaltered, the right one is altered. The single cup above the bra is the unaltered one.
makeBra DL05 muslin – altered
I think the alterations worked quite well so I began to construct my bra using another foam lining from Merckwaerdigh. The foam lining has pretty raised floral pattern, so it didn’t need cover fabric. Once I started stitching, I realized that this foam lining is quite stretchy and also moved a lot, so I put non-stretch lining on the inside. The seamlines are covered with velvet stretch ribbon to emphasize the details.
makeBra DL05 – in progress
I was quite happy with this project until I noticed the are around the center front. The sections on the left and right of the center front are unbalanced! My husband said that they are not too obvious but I had to disagree with him. Now, I can finish the bra half-heartedly but what’s the point of making your own clothes if you’re not happy with it? I guess I will discard this one and start another with better planning. The pattern is great so I don’t want to give up on it.
Things I learned: with this kind of design, it is important to mark the placement of the black ribbon. The space is not big so a slight mistake will be obvious!
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