Thursday, April 12, 2012

Boning the Bra

After having tested the bra and worn it for a day I noticed tension pains in the left trapezius muscle (from the neck down towards the shoulder), and I think the weight of the bra is the culprit. I have therefore decided to bone the cups and see if this helps. I have looked at boned bras from the era, and they have bones at the sides of the cups, as well as two bones in a reversed v placed in the cup, like this one from Etsy:
I'm still not sure what kind of boning would be best. I'm leaning towards spiral boning, as plastic tends to loose its shape. I still have a few coils of spiral boning left from my corset making days, as well as artificial whalebone, and I think I'll probably try the whalebone first, as it's easier to change if it doesn't work. Spiral boning is a pain to remove. Has anyone else tried this? What did you use, and did it work well?

Update November 14th:
I ended up using artificial whalebone (sturdy plastic), and it worked very well. I lined the bottom of the bra front with a velvet ribbon to protect the skin from poking. This is rather important as the bone ends will dig in pretty bed without the velvet ribbon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

1940's bra

I finished the 1940's bra late last night. I was unsure of how to get the balance right between sturdy cups and band, and comfort, and after having done a bit of research found that using elastic at the back, between the closure and the band seems to have been rather common, and one would have to assume that it worked well. So yesterday I went shopping for elastic and bra closure. I found both, but the first bra closure I found was both expensive and unattractive. I then found a 3 pack of bra extenders, which is easy enough to convert to a closure. But in black, white and nude. I don't wear white and nude, so I decided to make the closure myself, using scraps of the cotton satin I used for the bra. If anyone is interested in knowing how I put the closure together please leave a comment, and I will do a quick tutorial.

I used black cotton satin for the outer shell, a corset twill for lining, the straps are non elastic, and made of the cotton satin. I also placed the straps towards the front of the bra, not angling towards the back, apparently this should help keep the straps on the shoulders. And what I found when trying the bra on, is that it seems to be kinder to the shoulders. Somehow the weight carried by the straps gets distributed to the back of the shoulders. Also it will not pull the back of the bra upwards, as sometimes happens when the straps are placed towards the back.

Lo and behold, my first ever home made bra:

Friday, April 06, 2012

Beach Bra Frustrations

It seems no matter how I tweak the pattern I cannot seem to get it right. It gets baggy at the sides where the fabric is gathered, and although it holds the bust it cannot be said to be flattering. I am trying to find a way to get the back to carry the weight of the bust, but alas, no luck. I think I'll have to give the beach bra pattern a rest and come back to it later. For now I'll see if I can turn the bra pattern from the sew along into a beach bra. I think I have some iron on interfacing I can use to stiffen the cups in the stash, and I am thinking perhaps a shirred back panel. It should keep the bra in place and hopefully also look good.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Beach Bra and Knickers

Sorry about the long silence, guys. Now I'm back and I'll try to blog on a more regular basis.

At the moment I am working on a beach bra I bought from PamoolaVintage. The pattern is quite straightforward, and it was easy enough to enlarge to fit my 40-inch bust. Unfortunately the fitting was not quite as easy. I have made 2 mock ups already, and I believe I will have to make one more. The pattern calls for one dart. For a 32G UK sizing bust, this will just not do. So I have added 2 more. I also found that cutting it on the bias might work for small busted ladies who doesn't need much support, but as I do, I cut the second mock up on the straight of the grain. In the next mock up I will add a curve at the centre front. A bra pattern I'm also working on from Mrs Depew has a curved centre front, and it fits very well (Please check out her sew along, it's full of useful information on lingerie sewing).

Here's a picture of the beach bra:

Once I've finished the (hopefully) final mock up of this beauty, I will start working on the matching knickers. The pattern for the knickers weren't supplied, so I'll have to wing it. I think the knickers will be easier than the bra though, as I can adapt a pattern I made for a 1930's-40's style pair of trousers for them.