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.