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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Slight change of plans and one more Maya!

So yes, my last attempts for a great fit didn't go that well... So I decided to stop using Bella Hendriks' book "Maatwerk lingerie en badkleding", it just didn't want to work with my figure! πŸ’
 I do know that eventually, with the right adjustments, I would have gotten a good fit but what's the point of making 100 changes when you can use another method and have a good fit with much less effort and wasted materials?

Since here in the Netherlands, if you want a degree in bra making you have to first have one in lingerie (at least with the system my teacher uses),  I got a book that includes everything! And by lingerie I mean bodies, nightgowns, robes, pajamas, camisoles, slips, e.t.c.,e.t.c. The book is of course in Dutch and it's called "Patroontekenboek Dameskleding en lingerie" and it's from Danckaerts (Sorry non-Dutch speakers 😏!). What's also very nice about this book is that it also includes clothing, so it basically has everything!

To be honest, I don't expect to become an expert bra maker with this book but that's ok, I get to learn lots of other things and techniques and in the process also learn how to draft my own clothing! Fortunately there are a few good English language bra drafting books that I can also use! I'm already planning on ordering Beverly Johnson's books anyway!πŸ˜‹

Ok, enough about all that for now, you're probably here to see this beauty:

What do you do after being disappointed a bunch of times and just want something pretty? Yes, another Maya!πŸ˜‹ I've tried other patterns, most of them just didn't do it for me, the Maya is just my favorite so far, so I keep making them!

I have changed nothing to my pattern since these 2 ,no reason to touch my pattern anymore since it's perfect! 

I used this beautiful lace that I bought a while ago from Amsterdam, white background with yellow flowers and green leaves.

I used my 6mm (yes, 6mm!) beige foam padding and covered it with the lace. For the frame I used beige 2-way stretch polyester lycra which I doubled for the back wings. My cradle was lined with rigid tulle. And of course a bit more lace on the bridge for some extra cuteness!πŸ’›

The fit is, as expected, perfect!πŸ’š I'm very happy with it but I think I have enough Mayas now for a while πŸ˜‹!

Monday, October 15, 2018

An attempt to diagonal cups

Back from vacation and ready to continue my bra making adventures!

I couldn't wait to give the diagonal cup a try in the hope that it'd look better than the horizontal cup draftπŸ˜‹.

I followed my book again (which, to be honest,at times I find unnecessarily complicated), and altered my pattern. My knowledge is still limited when it comes to how patterns should look so I assumed it was ok.
Initially I started making a soft bra again but, if you've read my other posts, you know I'm not really a fun of them since, despite my bra size, I still got lemons!πŸ˜…
I had already cut my lace out and was about to start putting my bra together when I decided I'm gonna make it with padding! For the padding I added the same seam allowance at the wireline as for the lace ( and not +1cm that I normally add), I thought, this padding is quite thin, it should be fine.
I also moved the strap position 1cm outwards since above the apex didn't do it for me.

The result? Meh...😐 I mean... I like the color combination and the lace is beautiful but... The cups are a bit small, the straps are still too far inwards and the apex is too low... And now I have another sleeping bra...πŸ˜‚

In the last picture you can see where the apex is supposed to be and where my cross cup seam is, with as a result: downward pointing boobs!πŸ‘€
I thought the apex being too low was my mistake since I added less seam allowance than usual ( and less than the book suggests). The strap position...well, apparently the ''ideal'' strap placement is above the apex but that doesn't work for me, it just looks weird!

So I decided to try and fix one problem at a time, starting from the apex issue.
Since I f@cked up the seam allowance on the last one, I started again, making another bra but this time with the right seam allowance added. At that point I was sure that this was going to fix that problem and the fact that the previous one was a bit small.
I scored some push up underwires on my vacation and thought this would be fine to try with this bra as well since all I gotta do is lower my bridge and my upper cup a bit. (Spoiler alert: it didn't go that well!)
So I started all over again, cut my stuff, put it together and.... it's worse! πŸ˜•πŸ˜‘ It looks like a misformed triangle bra that got run over by a truckπŸ’©...

Again the dots show where the apex should be and where it is... Even lower than before somehow (?)
I find this so ugly that I don't even want to use it as a sleeping bra, to the bra graveyard it goes!πŸ‘Ž
The apex is still too low, the straps are too far towards the center and there's excess fabric/padding at the outer sides on the seam line.  I think I have to start from scratch, remeasuring and all and keep my cross cup seam lines a bit straighter.

So yea... that's how well that went, I need to take a break from this, make a couple of pretty things first and then start again!

I want to add as a footnote that this post was written a couple of months ago and after these 2 disasters, I decided to not continue with this book since nothing fit me properly (I also tried to make panties and a top) and, even with my limited knowledge, I disagree with the way some things are supposed to be cut/fit. Also, as I already mentioned, I find it unnecessarily complicated.
More about what I decided to do and how to continue on the next post 😊!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Diving into bra drafting!

It's been a while since my last post and there's a reason for that. For quite a while now I've been thinking that I'd like to do something more with my favorite hobby but the idea of making clothing for others didn't quite do it for me. Lately I've been so obsessed with making bras that I decided I wanted more! So I've been busy looking into courses in lingerie making and diplomas that are available in the Netherlands! 😁

Apparently there aren't that many and most of them are too far away for me to drive to every week. But I managed, I found a teacher half an hour drive away and didn't waste any time! I did a trial lesson and instantly signed my self up for more! I'm not sure yet which certificate/diploma I'm going for but there's time to figure that out.

The book that the lessons are based on is called "Maatwerk lingerie en badkleding'' written by Bella Hendriks (apologies to all non-Dutch and German speakers, this book is only available in these 2 languages) which loosely translates to ''Custom made lingerie and swimwear'' and it's 186 pages of information πŸ’ž!

  Every draft is based on the wearers measurements and that's exactly what I was looking for! If I wanted industry sized lingerie, I'd just go buy itπŸ˜› The bras are drafted based on the right underwire and a load of the person's measurements.

There are also different styles included such as wireless, push up, balcony etc. And of course a bunch of adjustments that can be made to perfect the shape of the bra!

We started by taking all my measurements and then I started drafting a bra for the first time! I ain't gonna lie, it isn't easy, it needs some getting used to, but that's also what makes it fun! It's a challenge and I find that exciting😏

The band and cradle were drafted with help from the teacher but the cups I had to draft at home. That didn't go greatπŸ˜… I knew something was off but I wasn't sure how to fix it. So I went on with making a first muslin, this beautyπŸ‘‡ πŸ˜‚

Surprisingly, it isn't as ill-fitting as I thought it would be but pretty it is not πŸ’©!
It turned out quite pointy and quite high at the strap extension. Unfortunately Roxanne isn't the best model for bras but yea... I hope you can get a good idea of the fit.

A week later, we looked at my masterpiece together and she showed me how to fix the top cup so as it's not so enormous! After some cutting, spreading and redrawing, I had a new pattern piece. And this is how it turned out!

Not that bad! Am I amazed? No but I can't expect it to be perfect already right?
It's somewhat flattening but it's quite comfortable! It has now become my sleeping bra!πŸ˜‹

My next attempt was making the same pattern with padding and see if the ''flatness'' was due to the lack of foam, since I'm used to wearing only padded bras. I used the exact same pattern with the only difference that I added 1 cm around the foam underwire seam. Well... Something somewhere went terribly wrong...!πŸ˜±πŸ˜•

See the little yellow pin? That's where the apex should be! πŸ˜‚
I really don't know what happened here but this ain't lookin' good at allπŸ‘ŽπŸ™

Apart from the obvious, the disproportionate cups, the side at the underarm area is huge. It comes up waay too high to the point where there are 3cm of empty casing πŸ‘€
I'm not even going to bother with this one, it's going directly in the bra graveyard basket and we shall never speak of it again😐

Because of the issue at the underarm area, I went back to my original draft and... it doesn't look right. Something somewhere went wrong...
So I started all over again, double-checked all my measurements and, what do you know, some of them were off by a few centimeters. Not sure what happened while measuring the first time but I at least know now where it all started going wrong.
The only reason the second bra fits, is because it's made out of stretch fabric and that covered up most of the mistakes.

So yea, I redrafted everything and put together another bra and this looks much better!

See the pretty circle I made in the picture above? That's the only problem area of this bra, no biggie, I just have to remove a few millimeters from the top cup at that spot and it should be good!😊 I somehow managed to add to much seam allowance at the underarm seam and neckline seam here, that's why it comes a bit high up. And of coarse keep in mind that Roxanne has no real boobies, just an old bra and some junk stuffed in the cups, so the fit on her isn't exactly perfect or totally representative of how it fits me!
I find this much better fitting than my previous attemptsπŸ‘.

I'll keep tweaking and playing with the pattern and of coarse try more things from the book!

Monday, April 16, 2018

THE perfect Maya & tips on thick foam padding

If you've read my previous posts, you know that I've been struggling with finding the right bra size and fit. Well, not anymore! After having made 7 Mayas, I finally have a perfect fit!😁

I started with my pattern and made the changes that I mentioned in my previous post. I made the bridge 0,5mm narrower and removed 2cm from the top of the cups and the bridge. I also lowered the underarm by 1cm starting at the cup side of the cradle to nothing at the side seam.
That's all the initial changes I made.

Now something had to be done about the underwire area. My underwires feel like they're floating around my breasts and they're not quite staying in place. I also noticed a little bit of flatness on the lower cup where it connects to the wireline.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I asked around a bit in the bra making groups and I got 2 very good suggestions. One of them was to increase the foam cup seam allowance by 5mm which basically makes the cup slightly bigger and gives the cup a bit more room. I do know that a flat lower cup is an indication of it not having enough room for the breasts to fill the space at the bottom of the cup. And since I'm using 6mm thick padding foam, it makes sense.
So I did that, I added 5mm extra on all the seam allowances on the wireline on all 3 cup pattern pieces.

The other suggestion I got was to trim away the seam allowance of the foam once it's attached to the cradle. This also made sense since all that thickness is sitting right under the wire and on my chest.

One more thing I changed was lining my whole cradle with bra tulle instead of just the bridge. Since my test bra was much more stable than the fuchsia bra and I liked that, I decided that, from now on, my cradles are going to be stabilized! 

Since I was quite confident that this was going to be a wearable bra, I looked for some inspiration on the styling of the cups and came across this:

Gossard braspiration

I liked the idea of the lace coming just above the cross cup seam giving it somewhat the look of preformed foam cups.
Black lace and beige seamed like a nice combination and I find the dotted fabric so cute!
For the lace on the cups I cut my lace 1-2 cm longer than the pattern. I cut all the cup pieces from my beige fabric, put the cup together as usual and then laid the lace on top of it. I pinned and stitched the (half) lace cup on top and voila!

And it fits perfectly!πŸ’•πŸ™Œ
The only thing I should have done differently is I should have changed the color thread I used for sewing the elastic on the upper cup😝
I'm so pleased with the result and fit! And if you think about it, if I had the right size from the start (well, more accurately, if I knew my right size from the start!), this would have been my second Maya, not including the test bra!
Pretty good, right?😊

And then I made another one!

I didn't think it was worth making a separate post for it since it's exactly the same as the one above(well, minus the lace!)!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Finallly the perfect fitting Maya?

I shall and will make Maya work! 😏

I believe I have by now discovered my right bra size and it's not the size I used to make my 4 previous Mayas...!
So let's try the right size this time. I was thinking of making the Maya in 75F, but since the band has been too loose for my liking on the previous ones, I thought instead of shortening the band, why not make a 70G instead? So that's the size I printed and started making my ''usual'' changes that I need to make. The bridge width and height I adjusted according to the previous Maya, shorter and narrower since I know it fit quite nicely before. For the rest I left the pattern as is, can't make any more changes if I don't yet know how it will fit.

Since I'd rather keep the decent materials for bras that I know will more or less fit properly, from now on I'm going to be making test bras with every new pattern/size or big changes in a pattern!

That's what I did here as well, unlined, no padding, let's see where the problems are with no foam covering up the problem areas!

And then I was speechless!
It fits almost perfectlyπŸ˜²πŸ˜…! The cups fit perfectly, no wrinkles, no bulges! They are too high but for the rest 😲 At this point I am surprised by the fact that another (theoretically) 75F fits me almost perfectly. I have been wearing 2 sizes too small bras for way too long without even realizing that this was the reason they were uncomfortable.
Further on the fit, as I said, the cups seem too high and so does the underarm area. The bridge probably needs to be maybe 5mm narrower and 1cm shorter. Minor changes really that are easy to do!

I decided to show you my test bra on Roxanne, she ain't shy like me! Of coarse she's not the ideal model but I think you can, for the most of it, get the idea. As you can probably notice from the pictures, I've already started using parts of this test bra, it has no wires anymore!

Even though I know I'd probably have to make all the above changes, I decided to go ahead and make it again as is but with padding this time, since I know that with padding the fit might somewhat change.

For this version I used bright fuchsia lycra, dark green lace and 6mm padding. I thought the contrast of the 2 colors would come out looking pretty. In the end I wasn't amazed by my color combination but, oh well!

As suspected before, I do have to make all the changes I mentioned above. The cup comes way too high and the strap and underarm areas are irritating! The bridge is also too high and wider than it should be and there's something weird going on with the underwire areaπŸ˜• but I'll come back to that later!

So, now I have a Maya that is finally the right size but it's kinda (quite) uncomfortable at the underarm area... The almost 15mm plush elastic I used didn't help eitherπŸ˜’
Note to self: don't use wide plush elastic on the underarm area!

What to do,what to do...? Oh, I know! Ima gonna chop a piece off!😁😝
Bye bye lace scallops - hello fold over elastic! I removed with precision (aka chopped off a piece ) about 2 cm off the top of the cup and the bridge and some out of the underarm area, now it's not gonna be poking me anymore since the strap position is now moved inwards and the underarm area lowered!
The only way to finish off the top of the bra now was fold over elastic, I had no perfectly matching color so this green was good enough!
And it workedπŸ˜‚! The bridge ended up slightly stretched out but now I have a bra that I can at least wear without being stabbed in the armpits!

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures before I cut the top part of the bra off, I tend to forget taking pictures while I'm busy with it!😬

Now about the underwire area, it all is not stable enough again...😑 On my test bra it was perfect.
 I asked around a bit in my favorite bra and lingerie making groups and I got a few ideas why this might be happening. A possible problem could be the thickness of the foam. One of the suggestions was to add 5mm extra seam allowance at the underwire side of the foam pattern pieces.
 There was also one more thing that was different between my test version and this bra: the cradle. The cradle on the test bra was made with a stable fabric whereas the fuchsia one only has the lycra. The bridge I of course lined with bra tulle but apparently that wasn't enough.

Now I have a good idea on what to try next to fix this problem. Stabilize the whole cradle and make some kind of  a change to the foam cups.

Oh yes, and of coarse matching undies for this bra as well! I only have that one pattern that I keep tweaking and changing the styling of, It actually fits quite nicely! 😊 (Don't judge my stitching, I didn't have matching thread and sometimes I ain't that neat, I just want to finish it πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜‹)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Merckwaerdigh Wings number 2, moving straps and rounder cups

So, let's give the Wings another try!

 By now I'm kind of fed up making (mostly) pretty bras only to figure out after they're finished that they don't fit properly!πŸ˜’ It's time to start making test bras. No foam, no fancy lace or fabrics, just junk and parts from the bra graveyard!

Since the previous Wings was too small and also needed a few adjustments, I'm obviously starting with that. Again with sister sizing, I am making the biggest cup size of the pattern. For me that's a 75F.

I started by addressing the pointiness of the cups. Some prefer a more 'natural' look and wouldn't mind the look of the cups as they are but I like my cups round or at least more rounded.
For the cup adjustments I used the foam cup pattern pieces I've made since they have no seam allowances added where I have to make the changes. I taped the 2 bottom cup pieces and top together at the seam lines and removed 1mm from the bottom and 3mm from the top curve.
Starting small was the idea here, I don't want to make my cup totally flat but a bit more rounded.

Here's what I removed from the bottom edge of the top cup

The next adjustment I made was to move the front strap position inwards. I taped the side and top cups together at the seam line and redrew the strap line inwards. I improvised a bit with the curves trying to make them as smooth and close to the original as possible.

Moving the straps towards the center (the red line is the new cups seam lines)

I also removed 6mm from the top of the bridge making it a little bit shorter and adjusted the top cup to fit the new bridge height. I did that by removing 6mm as well from the whole length of the top cup.
The cradle width and back band width were also adjusted a bit by removing 1cm from the top edge.

Now for the back strap position, even though I find the look beautiful, I don't really need a more open back bra so I decided to just move the wings to a more standard position. I measured on myself what I would find a comfortable position for my back straps, placed a point on my paper at the same height as the original wings and redrew the back wings almost at center back. I moved the wings 5cm from the original position towards center back. To do that, I first connected the back band and back wing and then sliced bellow the point were the wing started parallel to the DoGS line and then moved the top piece by my preferred amount and redrew the lines.

Again the red line is the new back wing placement

I ended up with a different look for the back but that didn't bother me since I bought the pattern because I really liked the look of the front.

(Ok, the closure wasn't a great choice and the stitching job there ain't great...)

I grabbed some random fabric with no stretch and some leftover lace and started cutting my test bra! I didn't bother much with the construction, used single layer fabric for the cups and temporarily attached the straps and back closure. I can later remove them and reuse them for another bra. I won't even bothering showing it to you, there's not much to see 😜!

And it's great!πŸ˜ƒ The straps aren't unbearable anymore and the shape is much more to my liking! It's definitely looking totally different than the Mayas I made before but I'm liking it! Of coarse this is only a test bra with unsuitable cup fabric but, for what it is, it's great!

Since I'm happy with the adjustments I've made ( I know right?!😊), it's time to make a proper bra with the pattern!

I scored not that long ago a few lace fabrics from Budgetstoffen in Hardewijk and also 3 pieces of galloon lace and decided to use some of them for this bra. This lace with little flowers...πŸ’œ So cute! I matched it up with the narrow galloon lace I got from there as well. I used 5mm foam and lined the whole cradle with bra tulle. I also lined the back band with some sort of powernet.
I love the way it turned out!😊
I also decided to make a pair of matching undies!

The fit: the cradle and bridge fit great! The cups fit good as well but on the next one, I'd add a little bit more coverage to the top (I did remove 6mm all the way because I lowered the bridge, I gotta do something different there next time!). There's no wiggling around and little to no movement when I lift my arms! That's because the band is a little bit loose but that's not a big problem.

For my next Wings, I would move the straps even further towards the center since the straps have the tendency of sliding off my shoulders at times and address the cup height issue. I would also make the band a bit smaller.

Great pattern that fits my shape so well!πŸ’œ I can't wait to try more patterns from Merckwaerdigh!

But first I gotta make the Maya work for me!πŸ˜¬πŸ˜…

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Merckwaerdigh Wings, trying a different pattern

After a few failed attempts trying to make a well fitting bra with the Maya, I decided to give another pattern a try. Maybe the Maya is just not meant for me or maybe I just can't figure out at the moment how to make it fit me.

More research was needed!
I came across this blog post from Venusian Glow (Warning: naked boobies!). And then it all started making sense to me! I've been thinking that I can't possibly be more than a D cup with my small breasts, I'm just doing something wrong with my construction or something, the D should fit! This post proved to me that you don't have to have large breasts to be a bigger cup size. Tissue distribution also plays a big role on determining the cup size. It doesn't matter what letter or size fits as long as it fits!

Another factor that plays a big role for a good fitting bra is the breast roots. This post from Bratabase describes all kinds of different breast roots and issues you might have with ill-fitting bras. And this post is me: Shallow breasts with wide roots.

Around this point I came across Novita's post from Verypurpleperson in the Bra making forum where she shared this comparison chart/picture:

What an eye opener this was! Not every bra is the same, why would every bra pattern be the same? As you can see above, the frame from the Maya is quite narrow in comparison with the Malborough and the Wings van Merckwaerdigh (she mentioned in the comments that she had used the Wings pattern for this comparison).

This got me looking at the Merckwaerdigh patterns and I found the Winds very pretty. The price was also very tempting! So I bought it!

As a starting point I made the same size as the Maya, 75E, maybe the wider wireline would solve all my problems. The instructions are different than what I've followed before, sometimes I had to read a few parts twice to get it but I found it clear enough at the end. I didn't follow all the suggestions and instructions. But that's a matter of preference I believe.
The sizes didn't exactly include my size but with some sister sizing, it all went well!

I again used somewhat inexpensive materials, striped dark gray-blue lycra allover, no lace this time! This was a test version and I didn't feel like putting too much effort into it! I used fold over elastic for the top of the cups, I thought I'd give it a try and see how I like it. It gives the finished bra a more every day look which I don't mind.

I changed nothing to the pattern since this was the first time making it. I'm not a fan of soft cups (or at this point I wasn't!😏) so I used 3mm foam for this one! The only thing did was to connect the bridge with the cradle and cut it as one piece. I did the same for the back, I connected the wings to the ehh... wings! No reason at putting in much effort on a test bra I thought, the less pieces the faster it's done!

This bra definitely has a different shape than the Maya. I really like the seam lines and how the back looks, imagining it with lace, it'd be beautiful! That said, I do find it too pointy for my liking. But apparently that is relatively easy to fix! (More about that on my next post!πŸ˜‰)

The wireline fits me much better, it sits almost perfectly on the sides. The straps I can't stand though... Mostly on the back, they actually hurt 😞. They're too far on the sides both on the front and the back. I do have to add here that my breasts sit quite high (problems, problems right?😜) so that might also be the reason why the strap position is so uncomfortable for me.Theoretically also not a major problem, that can also be altered, this is a test bra after all, although I had hoped it would be wearable. I guess that's usually the case trying a bra pattern for the first time and that's why it's suggested making a test bra first.

The bridge isn't laying flat on my chest and the cups are somewhat overflowing. If I press the bridge down flat, the quad-boob appears!
This is clearly at least a size too small for me.

 I'm overall pleased with this pattern. Although the size wasn't the right size, I now have a very good idea of how it looks and fits and what I have to alter on the next one to make it better fit me.

So next I'm going to be making the same pattern a cup size up!😬