Harriet vs. Romy

This spring I’ve been making all the things, but haven’t really blogged anything. Just no time, no energy. But now that I have a weekend of no other obligations than recovering from Friday’s massage*, I figured I’d write down some bra making notes.

At first there was Harriet from Cloth Habit. Even though I’m not a huge fan of underwires, I thought I’d give them a chance. I was kind of thinking that it might be nice to have some kind of structure on a bra for a change, and that this might be a safe way of seeing if it works for me. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Not the pattern’s fault, just that my ribs and sternum have very little padding on them. I get bruises if I wear my Harriet for a full day.

The making process was pretty smooth: I did a few muslins to get a starting point. And also because when you spend 50€ on a bra kit (kit+shipping+custom fees), you are not going to use it on a bra that might fit. Nope. I mean, even if you skip the elastics, you’ll get a fairly good idea of the fit by just putting together bra lining (front), power mesh (back) and some spare hooks. I tried three different cup-band combinations before I cut into my actual bra fabrics, starting from 28DD and ending up with 30E. I’ve seen similar Harriet fitting paths around the interned, so I’d say that it runs a tad small. I don’t have to pull the measuring tape that tight to get 27″ chest measurement, but 28″ band was definitely too short for me.

I’m not going to get too deep into the sewing process because 1) I don’t remeber much about it anymore, and 2) as I recall, it was all quick and easy. What I ended up with was a bra that fits, and if I’d ever make it again I’d merely lower the upper cup piece by 4 mm. The band feels nice and snug, the wires lay smoothly against my chest. The shape is more projected than what I’m used to, but it doesn’t make me feel like my boobs are in wrong place. (Like some padded bras have done in the past.) Only I keep getting bruises, and haven’t been able to wear the bra two days in a row ever, because it hurts. I’ve tried to find out if this could be solved some how, but really, the band isn’t too tight, and it seems to be just the even pressure of wires against bones. So, for now my relationship with underwires is over.

But that just means that I can get back to my beloved bralettes. I had somehow forgotten Ohh Lulu, even though I’ve had some positive experiences in the past. Maybe it was because the bralettes began to look too easy or too flimsy when everyone around me seemed to have moved on to Orange Lingerie or the like -more structured bras I mean. But lately the flimsy things started calling my name again for a couple of reasons: all my old bra(lette)s are slowly dying, but my favorite source of unpadded bras (Monki, that is) has began to add padding to friggin everything. I found an exellent bra from Weekday, but they’ve quit Finland and I can’t keep flying to Sweden for bras. On top of these things I kept seeing Sarah’s freakishly pretty photos on Instagram, and figured that I might need to make stuff with straps everywhere. This naturally led to buying patterns for Romy and Ava.

I’m still waiting for my strappy lingerie notions and laces from around the world, but have managed to do some fitting and one functioning lingerie set! I mean, this is what I love about Ohh Lulu patterns: I don’t need a bra kit with eleventy different elastics to make one piece of clothing. And what I need can be mostly gathered from here. I had a notions kit left from planning to make two Harriets, and I used the leftover lace to muslin Romy:

And that became one freakishly bridal bra muslin with too small cups. I actually measured smaller than XS, but ended up spilling from the cups. Naturally I read only afterwards from Sarah’s tutorial that you pick the closest size, but will need to adjust the cups if you’re beyond D cup. And yep, I had to. For some reason it makes sense in practice even if the sizes refer to full bust measurement. I prefer grading between sizes to adjusting the pattern pieces myself, so my fitted version (pictured far above) is size S cup blended into XS band, and it worked really well. The pattern pieces are nested, so no fiddling with tracing or anything like that. For Ava panties I measured a straight size S, and they fit me out of box.

The set is black stretch velvet and it’s awesome. I mean, horrible to work with, but awesome to wear. I’m not sure how it will work with other clothing because so far I’ve only been prancing around my flat admiring my soft and warm undies (hello neighbours), but it doesn’t seem too bulky. More like normal underwear, and I expected worse. I’ve lined the bra cups with some kind of stretch mesh I found from Eurokangas, mostly to get a neatly finished, non-itchy interior. The peach notions I picked out from the muslin, and then got some FOE from Nappitalo to finish the rest of the edges. I think I can still get another pair of panties from my leftovers.

I have plans for at least two more sets from these patterns, and at least one involves straps everywhere.

*I hadn’t had a massage since December, I was super stiff after having all the flus and the pain level was somewhere around dentist. I drank about two liters of water before going to sleep yesterday, and my back has sore spots all over.


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