Thursday, 15 January 2015

What was I thinking

This is one project I just could not understand - making a stock-standard bra. Nothing spesh. Plain and ordinary.
Kwik Sew 3300 has been around and has been reviewed by lots of really competent sewing bloggers. Right now there are so many new bra patterns that it made no sense for me to buy another pattern until I cracked this pattern.

This underwire bra pattern uses 

  • power net for the back bands, 
  • plush elastic for the band base and top, 
  • picot elastic for the top cup edges finished, 
  • self made shoulder straps from tricot and 
  • self made wire channelling. 
View A cups are made from lace and tricot, and view B cups are made from tricot.
I decided to use pre-made shoulder straps and re-made underwire chanelling.
Most of my notions were bought at Metro Fabrics, the Remnant Warehouse and from an ebay seller who was selling their lingerie fabrics and notions. I should have bought 3x3 hook/eye sets.
My ignorance
My first two attempts were plain stupid. I had no knowledge about the fabrics needed, types of elastics, underwires, shoulder straps, hooks and the list goes on and on.
This is my 3rd attempt and I've salvage some of the notions.
I decided to make the 34B but I kept changing my mind about elastics, laces, hooks/eyes, straps because I had no idea about what was what.
Here's my 4th attempt.
This plain white attempt is my 4th attempt and it fits nicely. #success

It's taken me two years to go back to the first two attempts and try again. The first two attempts were failures but I was able to tweak the pattern pieces for a better fit.

Machine stitching

There are a number of stitch types used to a decent bra that I hadn't used before. It took several viewings of Craftsy's bra making course to learn about the stitching. Beverly Johnson is a certainly a bra fairy or bra-whisperer and owner of Bra makers supply. I bought this course on sale and it's now got me over the line.
Beverley advises to place all your pieces and notions on a board when you're about to start sewing.
Beverly's bra knowledge especially her bra notions and hardware knowledge were and are invaluable to me and she'll remain my 'go-to' bra resource.

What did I change
The lace version is full lace cup and some lace on the side and on the bridge.
The main cup shape change was on the upper cup piece. I altered the shoulder strap location to be closer to my neck as RTW bra straps sliding off my shoulders.

I also darted out some space in the upper cup piece because it seemed too wide at the top.

The bridge is also slimmer than the pattern.
Measuretwicecutonce Mary knickers with Kwik Sew 3300
Ongoing learning
Beverly's knowledge made the Kwik Sew instructions a lot more workable. When I first attempted this pattern I put it aside because there were too many variables that I did not understand #noidea.

There isn't a local bra making workshop so being able to go back through the class steps when I needed them has helped me made this bra pattern work.

My main blogger sewing references are Fehr Trade, kathhhhy, Ms McCall, Sigrid and measuretwicecutonce


After I made these bras I found this pattern freebie page.

Road test
I've since worn the lace bra all day: it sits properly; is comfortable to wear; and has been through the wash and come out unscathed.

I'll only post up future bras posts if:

  • they look amazing or 
  • I've used a different pattern or
  • I attempt to sew a sports bra.

So for now, that's my bra making story.

34 comments:

Amanda Adams said...

Oh wow! Some great tips in here, Maria- thank you! I've made one soft cup but am working on fit at the moment- always the tricky bit!

Accordion3 said...

I've been collecting bra making bits for a while. I also have the Craftsy course & a pattern. Like you I have NO IDEA how to get started. I can envisage exactly the same process as you describe.

Gotta try this.

Shelly said...

I love the lace set, it's so pretty. There are so many popping up around the blogs lately it seems to be the latest trend. I've been wanting to make a bra since they were first introduced way back when there was little to no supplies available and I decided that 2015 will be the year. I've bought a kit and some supplies; I'm just waiting for enough time to fully concentrate on it.

Gabrielle said...

Well done! The way you describe that path from ignorance to knowledge, and finally getting to make a decent bra that fits AND looks good (it looks so pretty!) - well, that's pretty much how long and challenging I imagined it would be! Totally daunting! Well done for sticking with it, and I'm really to glad to see your process ended with a "happily ever after".

Sofie M said...

It's great to hear the journey and that Beverley's course is helpful. I too will try soon and have that pattern which I'll compare with some RTW that fit well. In regards to classes don't Booby Traps do classes still? I know they did at one stage.

CraftedbyCarrie said...

What perseverance! Even better that version 4 fits well too! Thanks for your honesty about the difficulties of bra-making...it's such a trend around the sewing blogosphere and I have a hard believing it's as simple as it sounds!

Scruffybadgertime said...

Brilliant! Well done. I also bought the Craftsy course thinking it's something I am going to tackle this year. So glad to hear your positive experiences. Well done, they look brilliant and I think it is a real acheievement making bras!

Kathy Sews said...

I would have been totally perplexed if I used KS3300 as my 1st bra pattern, too! I would have had no clue how to do most of the stuff, let alone making my own underwire casing (never have made any still). I do like this pattern quite a bit (am wearing one of my 3300's right now.) I started with Beverly's Pin Ups Girls full band bra a few yrs back... her directions were so thorough and helpful making bra sewing seem sooo much easier. I can only imagine how taking her class online would be even more fantastic!! The lacey set is so pretty. I bet you will be addicted to lingerie sewing :)

beajay said...

Congrats on conquering the bra. Love that set at the end. Gorgeous.

Sharon said...

Well done on conquering the bra and when I saw the plaln one last week, it looked very polished. I did do a course at Booby Traps last year, great information and assistance, however I need to do a few more adjustments before I make the next one and hope that will be soon.

Velosewer said...

Ooh. A soft cup version would be lovely Amanda.

Velosewer said...

I think I ran through the Craftsy course twice over a week while I was on holidays. It took a while for it all to 'make sense'. I wish you well:)

Velosewer said...

Give it a go. I felt wasteful having all the supplies just sit there gathering dust in my sewing room.
Give yourself some time.

Velosewer said...

Thanks Gabrielle. I felt like a slow learner the whole time but we've now got so many paths to learn what ever we want online:)

Gail said...

Well done! I have this pattern and making a bra is on my 2015 bucket list.

Velosewer said...

I had heard of Booby Traps but I've not seen them online lately Sophie.
I keep going back to some of Beverley's chapters to get a better understanding of bra notions and fitting.

Velosewer said...

Carrie. The nice thing is we've got lots more online learning opportunities so I felt is was time for me to learn and conquer bra making. I do keep going back into Beverley's lessons while I'm planning the next bra set so I can keep an eye out for the notions I need.

Velosewer said...

You're too kind. Thank you Winnie.
Your Anise jacket is awesome.

Velosewer said...

Your bra makes were inspiring to me.
Beverley's knowledge is awesome and vast. She's a fabulous resource.

Velosewer said...

You're welcome Beverly.

Velosewer said...

Thanks Sharon. The white version was my test version too:)

Velosewer said...

Thanks Gail.

Margo Bergman said...

Well I'm impressed! Bra making is not something that I feel compelled to so but I so admire anyone who does it! Great job Maria!

Sarah Liz said...

Bra making is not on my list either - like your problem, too many unknowns. The first attempts would have taught you how to at least handle the fabrics and the general sewing steps. And eventually success :)

Ms. McCall said...

So happy you got a wearable one in the end! The lace one is really pretty!


I have a bag of bra's that didn't work out and there are 8 in there. I don't actually know how many I made before that, that I haven't kept, I can think of three, including at least 2 K3300's, a K3594, a K2489 and at least 2 from the Bare Essentials book. It wasn't fast or easy for me, but I do find it fun, and once you've made a bunch of them, they are a very quick project. I don't think I've written about half the stuff I did wrong in all those trials, and as such have forgotten all the stuff I got stuck on before. Please do let me know if you have any questions, I can't say I'll know the answers but I'd love to be reminded where people get stuck so I can write more helpful posts in future!

louise said...

Isn't it interesting that we can sew such complex pieces of clothing, making them fit our shapes, but bra making is a whole different ball game. I've had a few attempts like yourself at making one. I've almost put up an invisible barrier between me and my third attempt. Great result you must be pleased.

Velosewer said...

Thank you Margo.

Velosewer said...

It certainly took me a while Sarah Liz.

Velosewer said...

Your posts have been really inspiring and I'm unpicking my failures - slowly.
What's impressed me with your work is you've stuck with it and finally got to make bras that fit. And they look expensive to buy- indicating the high quality of you've achieved.

Velosewer said...

I felt the same way about making bras for a very long time. Thanks Louise. I'm still feeling chuffed:)

KaSchu said...

Not tempted at all to make my own bra, but I do admire those who do. Knickers, however, are on my list for a future project. Your lace set is very pretty indeed. Great work!

Velosewer said...

Thanks Kathleen:)

BusyLizzie said...

Well done for persevering, not sure bra-making is my cup of tea but I am intrigued with those that do :)

Velosewer said...

Thank Lizzie. I'm so glad this is done.

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