The first time I made my first pair of strapless bra, I made my own foam lining because I couldn’t find it locally. This time I want to use the proper ones so I ordered them from Makebra. Their foam lining is 4 mm thick and sold in 20x145cm (8″x57″) pieces. I bought two pieces, white and black.
The pattern is the same one that I’ve used before, Merckwaerdigh Strap4. From the description in Merckwaerdigh’s store: “a lovely mix of strapless lingerie : a bra and a bustier – body – thongbody where the underwires are invisible at the outside. These designs can be worn as outer garments as well.”
The fabric is this wonderful red lycra with capsule-shaped dots that I bought in Okadaya, Shinjuku. Other notions are from Merckwaerdigh ebay store.
As usual I started with size 30D and shortened the band slightly to make it size 28E. The band is widened a bit so I can use 3 rows of hook and eye instead of 2. I also made my own detachable straps by wrapping an elastic strap with the lycra fabric.
The panties are made with the lower part of bodysuit pattern. I eliminated the side seam by connecting the side front pieces are connected to the back pieces. This alteration creates an interesting pattern direction on the side front.
I still have lots of foam lining left! It turned out that each piece of foam lining can make 5-6 pairs of bra for me, it would be different for other sizes though. The foam lining has one fuzzy side to be used against the skin, and charmeuse-covered side which acts as a base for the cover fabric. The wonderful thing about them is that it doesn’t increase the breast volume, so it is not bra padding. The puffiness will fade away after being worn several times. I can see more foam-lined bra in the future!
Strapless bra and panties patterns are Merckwaerdigh Strap4 size 30D, altered to 28E.
When you came across a roll of lycra fabric with feline faces all over it, there’s two things that you can do: dismissed it immediately as tacky and moved on to another fabric; or mesmerized by those little eyes staring at you and suddenly found yourself paying for the fabric. I was the latter.
Then I turned it into a bra and panty set. An awesome bra and panty set, that is.
The bra pattern is my usual Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 size 30D altered to 26F. You can see that the shape of the cups is a bit different because I’ve changed them into demi-cups style.
It was quite an easy alteration where I took out some of the height from the upper cups. My usual wires were too long for this style of cups, so I chopped them off a bit at the center part, sanded them smooth and wrapped them with plumber’s tape to prevent the sharp bits from cutting the fabric.
For further reading, I suggest to read Amy’s post: Hack Your Bra #1 that explains how to do several types of alterations including making demi-cups style.
The cups were lined to reduce the stretchiness of the lycra and the side seams are reinforced with plastic boning. Instead of lycra, I used black powernet for the bra band. I followed Amy’s tutorial on adjusting the length of bra band for different fabrics with great result. Amy, what would I do without you?!! Thank you so much!
The panties pattern is actually the bottom part of bodysuit from Merckwaerdigh Strap4. I cut them on the waist mark and lowered it 5 cm further. The back part is shiny black mesh fabric. I still have a lot lycra leftover that I planned to make into a longline bra, unfortunately I ran out of black elastics! I have never found plush elastic here in Japan and usually order them from Merckwaerdigh or eLingeria, so my cats have to wait for several weeks now. Bummer.
Anyway I’m happy with this set. They are quite ridiculous and maybe a bit creepy with all those little eyes staring, but I love them! Expect the kitties to come back to this blog once I get hold of another batch of black elastics!
Bra pattern is Pin-up Girls Classic Bra #1230 from eLingeria, size 30D altered to 26F.
Panties patttern is lower part of bodysuit from Merckwaerdigh Strap4.
I’ve often heard that flesh colored underwear is a staple in every women’s wardrobe, which unfortunately I didn’t have any. So this time I stayed clear of my colorful lycra stash and made a couple of basic stuff.
The first one was made with Merckwaerdigh PBH30. From the description in Merckwaerdigh’s store: “a lovely mix of an underwired bra, bustier, body and thong body, all with a deep cleavage and pushing the bust up. This pattern requires some experience in handmade lingerie.”
I was inspired by Amy’s beautiful longline bra and modified this pattern to be a longline too. But instead of widening the band, I used the bustier pattern and shortened it. The lower cup is lined with lycra, it also has a pocket for inserting additional padding if needed. The upper cup is stretch lace finished with picot edge elastic.
The bridge is also lined with non-stretch lining to completely stabilize it and the back band is strong powernet. All the seams are enclosed inside by sandwiching them between layers when sewing. The side seams have rigilene boning between the double topstitch. Initially I also added boning to the short seams under the cups but they made the bra too rigid and uncomfortable so I took them out.
Actually I was going to make a matching panties for the bra when I came across this Merckwaerdigh pattern that I’ve never made yet, Merckwaerdigh Strap4. From the description in Merckwaerdigh’s store: “a lovely mix of strapless lingerie : a bra and a bustier – body – thongbody where the underwires are invisible at the outside. These designs can be worn as outer garments as well.” Well I didn’t have a strapless bra so it is time to make one!
The construction of this bra needed padding which I didn’t have. I have tried looking for bra padding locally but never found it. Not to be discouraged, I tried making the padding myself using cotton batting lined with cotton jersey. The padding pieces were cut without seam allowance and basted to the cotton jersey before sewing. The pieces were then butted against each other and stitched together with 3 step zigzag stitch. I covered the seam using tulle strips and again stitched it down with 3 step zigzag stitch. I don’t think I should buy padding anymore!
The construction of the bridge and band are similar to the push-up bra above. The side seams also has rigilene boning between double topstitch. I didn’t have strapless underwires that are longer than regular ones so I lowered the center front for the shorter underwires. I found out that my DIY padding were a bit too thick so next time I should use thinner batting. Lesson learned!
Frankenbra. Muslin testing.
I usually have to shorten the band and narrow the bridge on Pin-Up Girls pattern, but I didn’t have to do them for both of these Merckwaerdigh patterns. Here’s my muslin for the push-up bra. I initially narrowed down the center front, thinking that I would need it. It turned out to be too narrow so I slashed down the center and added back the amount that I have taken. It fits perfectly! So I’m happy to say that I didn’t have to make too many fitting adjustments to both patterns.
I wish I can post a picture of me wearing these bras but you’ve just got to trust my husband who said that I looked spectacular in them! (I think he meant the push-up bra)
I was lucky to have an early preview of a book by Norma Loehr of Orange Lingerie that will be covering the basic of bra fitting and construction. She has also kindly sent me a bra making kit that I have made into these two bras. A lot of bra patterns are made with the assumption that the customer already has a bit of experience in lingerie making so the instructions are quite brief. A book who can cover the basic steps of bra making will be really helpful. I still can’t talk much about this upcoming book, so you will have to wait until Norma releases it, hopefully soon!
Push-up bra pattern is Merckwaerdigh PBH30 size 30D, altered to longline bra.
Strapless bra is Merckwaerdigh Strap4 size 30D, altered to longline bra.