Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Underneath it all

Oooffph. Ok, now I need to make a note on what I've been doing. First, I completed my first ever bra. This had been put aside a month ago because I was having a lot of trouble sewing through the elastic, slippery materials. I think part of the problem was also that I didn't really like the materials. 
As it was my first go, I had thought I'd be better off ordering a kit with all the necessary materials to go with the pattern. I ordered the Elan Bra 511 pattern and kit from Sew Sassy in the US ( 

My first problem, almost immediately, was that I couldn't identify which materials were which. The materials supplied in the kit were not labelled and the pattern stated that I should have tricot and lycra. I emailed Sew Sassy, and got a quick polite response, and then a day later the answer. Good customer service, and generous amounts of the two main fabrics. Unfortunately, to me the tricot and power net (they had substituted for the lycra, which is what had confused me I think) were a bit shiny and 'cheap bra' looking to me, not really anything I would chose.

Second, I found sewing the elastic to the power net difficult, and unpicking impossible.  I had to scrap my first two attempts. I was using special stretch needles.

Well, I managed to solve the second problem. I just placed tissue paper between the fabric and the machine, under the elastic or whatever, and no problems. Great! After that, the bra came together pretty quickly and looks fine, although the fit is not perfect. The centre band does not sit against my body, so now I have to work out how to solve that.

As I had plenty of spare tricot (the shiny slippy stuff) and power net (stretchy, rubbery mesh) I decided to practise and have another go. This time I took apart my favourite, and too old to wear anymore, bra and made a pattern from each piece, noting down what stitches were used and in what order I undid the bra, so that I could reverse the order for making a new one. This information from Cindy Elan was very useful (hhtp://

I also took the underwires and casing from another worn out bra. I made up one side of the bra (one cup, side, back etc) and am really surprised that the fit seems to be pretty good! So I'm going to continue with this. I'm also looking round the net for some nicer looking materials in small quantities. I have seen a pattern for making bras from woven non-stretchy materials (Kwiksew 2489), so might consider buying one as it would give me a wider choice of fabrics and I prefer cotton stuff anyway.

However, then a parcel of fabrics arrived, including the corduroy that I needed to finally finish my lingerie was abandoned! Think that will have to be a separate post.

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