The Moriarty of Bralettes

So I used to blog about sewing in my wild youth, but quit because I never really felt like I had enough to say or my photos never came out nice enough. It seemed to take loads of energy to set up for a medium quality photoshoot in my then-flat where I had to move furniture to get a clean backdrop wall and my black clothes looked boring and it was all wrong.

But! I’m currently trying to get back to making lingerie -due to various fit issues in rtw- and I kind of feel like I have more to say than is fair to dump in a few instagram posts with random photos. You know, it’s not fair to expect that anyone would have the stamina to read and possibly comment on my issues of a C cup combined to an E cup cradle with a 65 cm band and some body image stuff dating back to the 90’s, right?

To give you some background, like everyone and their grandmother I was super excited about Cloth Habit’s Watson when it first came out. I mostly wear light bralettes anyway, so it seemed like the perfect semi-supporting little thing I could make myself. Also, almost no-one was reporting any fit issues and if someone did, it was fixed by “going up one cup size” / “going down one band size”, just like that. And because I (still) don’t think I’m a special snowflake unicorn when it cames to boobs, I figured Watson would be like, the perfect starting point. Because you know, stretch and negative ease fix all fitting issues!

Except that they don’t. I ordered a bra kit from Sweden. I muslined in some basic lycra based on my measurements, which pointed to 32C. Nope. Band too big, hard to say anything about cups, maybe too big. Went down one band size and one cup size. Band ok, cups felt horribly small. It actually felt like my underwire bras in the past when I persisted on wearing 70A way past my 70A days. Went up one cup size, and I just seemed to run into more and more issues. Like the ease in the cups was in totally wrong place. They didn’t cover enough, yet there was extra fabric in the middle. The cradle still felt like an underwire.

At that point I had already ripped and re-used so much of my kit materials that I had to walk away and never look back. It was just sad and horrible to fail in something that everyone else said they nailed on first trial. And you know, I went to look for Watson fitting stories again a few days ago, and it’s still the same: it continues to fit everyone, and only few people hint at “small adjustments”. Funny, because you can find detailed tales of failure of almost every other bra pattern under the sun, but not Watson.

Anyways! I’ve decided to run into this concrete wall of bras again after a couple of lightbulb moments while sewing the Sophie swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns. Moment one being that 30E really isn’t as big a cup as it sounds, and I actually might need it in some bras. And moment two being the one when I cut out the smaller underwires from my first draft and inserted my optional bigger ones. Pre moving on to cup 5 and pinching out some fabric from the upper cup.

I think it was really helpful to work on a more structured cup first before moving -slowly and hesitantly- back to a bralette with less specific shaping. Because Sophie is some much more precice, you really see what you need to do to fix the issues. Fabric will clearly pool here, and clearly digs into my skin there. This success resulted in a usable swimsuit, and me knowing approximately what to do with possible future bra sewing: find band size, then find a cradle that fits and then muslin to fix the cups. Which usually need to be more shallow. That’s already quite a lot of boob knowledge, right?

So far I’m at a point where I’ve muslined Watson twice with potential success. My starting point is 30E cradle with cups shaved approximately to 30C towards the upper part of the cup, and at least in lycra without any elastics it looks like it might work. I’ve been trying to take that elastic pulling into account and also not to pinch the cups too far, because I’d like to end up with a pattern that will mostly work with a variety of stretchy fabrics. My kit is currently hanging out in customs somewhere in Vantaa, so hopefully next time I’ll have something more to show.

At any case it’s always good to kick off a blog by writing 807 words about your boobs, yes?

 

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