Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Research in my pattern collection

I have joined Sigrid's lin gerie sew a long, as I would like to make a bra. I have been thinking intermittently about this project for quite some time, but I didn't realize quite how long this has been on my list.
Last night I got out my copy of Lee-Ann Burgess's book "Making Beautiful Bras". In the plastic sleeve with the book was the receipt ($39.95 from Lindcraft)with the date - December 1996, reminding me that I originally bought the book because I could not find any nursing bras that I liked. Also in the sleeve were rather a lot of little round rings and sliders - all debri from chopping up old underpinnings. I am sure these will come in handy.
1996 must have been a good year for underpinning patterns. I looked through all my patterns and magazines and found some promising items, the best one being a BWOF sewing lesson on sewing a bodysuit/swim costume with built in underwire bra from stretch fabric(June 1996) and the same issue also has a pattern and a full page of instructions for a corset with underwires from woven fabric. I bought this magazine last year at a second hand bookstall - for a t shirt pattern.
I turned up 2 Vogue patterns - non underwired crop tops, panties, and a Knitwit pattern I have used for panties that also has a non-underwire "lace bra camisole". I found also a 1970's Kwik Sew bikini pattern that includes an underwired top. I guess I don't really need to rush out and buy a bra pattern. However, none of these patterns are quite what I was looking for. I will have to work out fitting issues and fabric issues.
Finally I revisited Stuart Anderson's extremely interesting site Pattern School. I had visited this site previously, and wanted to download one of his free stretch pattern blocks, which once upon a time you could print out to your measurements. However, on entering my measurements, I ran up against a new feature, which does not allow you to enter measurements such as shoulder width, waist to knee height etc that fall more than 4 standard deviations away from the average measurements from his records of other persons with the same hip, waist and bust measurements. It was amusing to me to find that I am one of the 66 in 28,000 persons who apparently cannot use his standard - no wonder I cannot find RTW that fits! He kindly recommends that people with this issue should draft their own blocks. I would much rather be a lazy person on his site.

At this point, I am undecided whether to make a stretch fabric bra, which is what I own in RTW, or to make a woven fabric bra, which is the pattern for which pattern school and Lee Ann Burgess describe the drafting process. I am also not sure if it is worth searching out power net. All of my non-sport RTW bras use a firm cotton lycra or poly lycra knit in the back band, and this seems to work for me. I spend a lot of money on my under things, and figure if it is good enough for Bereli, it may well work for me.

6 comments:

Tina said...

I tried non-stretch cotton fabric after being disappointed with my stretch fabric bra made from the Sewy Rebecca pattern, and the result was unwearable. Puckers all over the place and the support wasn't any better, worse actually because it gave me an awful shape. Definitely would advise against it. Stretch lycra and stretch lace seem to be the easiest fabrics for a new bramaker to use. Depending on your size, you don't need powernet for the back band. Many makers use a single or double layer of stretch fabric instead. I haven't myself yet tried cotton lycra, but I'm sure that will work too. You'll probably get excellent advice on this issue (and which patterns to use) from the Sew-along group!

Sew4Fun said...

LOL! I'm also another of the 66 people who can't use his drafts. Strange thing is though I don't have a lot of trouble finding RTW, as long as I don't shop in the Misses stores with their itsy-bitsy tweeny-weeny bikinis, that cover and support no one. :)

gwensews said...

Surely after 13 years of waiting, that bra wants desperately to be sewn!

ejvc said...

Karen, I'm absolutely SURE you need a pattern. We always do. Now that you have at last sewn enough Marlene's to last you, you are free to sew frivolous items such as underpinnings and to purchase patterns for them as well. :-) I have heard that the KwikSew book "sew beautiful lingerie" (or something like that) is good value, and includes patterns. I've been considering this also since bras are so expensive considering the amount of fabric they use! But first I am off to get properly fitted. Sometime...

katherine h said...

My little tip...(I am also one of the 66, I guess this is why we sew)...if you are not making a one-piece, change either your bust or hip measurements to fall into the size distribution and get a lazy pattern that way. Even if you get 2 patterns and merge the top and bottom halves together, it is still pretty quick. My biggest problem is printing from his site, but hopefully you will have a better printer than me. My second tip...if you are making bras, I have had excellent service from Booby Traps. They make bra kits, so you only buy as much fabric as you need and not the whole bolt width...good if you don't want 5 bras the same colour or if you just want to make one or two before deciding if you really want to make all of your own underwear! http://www.boobytraps.com.au/

Carol said...

Are you OK? I've been flooded in for two days, but I'm at least high and dry. When I drove out this morning, my valley looks like a war zone. Hope you're all safe and well.