Drafting a bralette

I have been wanting a decent bralette for a while. However, there is no pattern that goes up to my size. Well…. Seamwork Florence does, but that was a disaster when I made it…

I knew the basics I wanted: racerback, non-stretch cups for support, wide elastic band, front closure, etc.

I just decided to take the plunge at drafting my own using my measurements. There are lots of different ways to do that… and since this was a completely new thing for me, I didn’t really document that process. I may at some point, but it was a learning experience every step of the way.

First try on was a little bit disheartening since the amount I subtracted in the cup was a bit too much so I actually needed to add most of that back in. The back, however, was perfect. Really really perfect actually. I didn’t want that lovely velvet to go to waste since a friend had given it to me so I decided to add a third cup piece for a 3-piece cup so that I didn’t have to scrap the mock up entirely. I really love the result and the shape of the cup. Still some more work fit-wise but it is very close!

The cups are made with stretch velvet and lined with sheer cup lining (either from Emerald Erin or Artes Crafts, I can’t remember but either of them have great quality sheer cup lining). Back is stretch powernet from either Blackbird Fabrics or Emerald Erin; I also doubled it up for more support. I finished the edges of the back and cups with fold over elastic from Emerald Erin. The band elastic is wide elastic from Emerald Erin and the straps and slides/hoops are from Arte Crafts. Front closure from Bra Maker’s Supply, I believe.

As you can see the front is still a bit scandalous and I needed to cover it with my long hair. Hahah. The length of the cup is also off in the center front, meaning that there is a bit of spillage instead of support there. It would benefit from at least 2 inches taken out as well as 2.5 inches to 3 inches added into the cup volume. My next steps are to lower the armsyce a bit since it comes up a bit far. I also want to move the straps on the front a bit closer to the center to match up with the back. I want to make the cups rounder to give a nicer shape In the process of making the curves in the cups rounder, I should be able to add in the extra material needed to give coverage in the center. I am going to make the elastic band a bit tighter since it is a little loose causing the front closure to twist forward a little and not lay flat. The length of the cup also needs to be shortened slightly overall (maybe an inch on the side and a few in the front center. This is going to bring the whole cup up and make the band sit a bit better under my breast tissue.

I really really like the 3-piece cup. I think it offers a nice shape and look and great support. It will also be nice for using some lace in the center cup or doing some colour blocking. The racerback is so incredibly comfortable and makes my back feel great. I might actually make my wired bra into a racer back, too, given how great it feels. I’m really pleased with this bralette. It feels supportive but incredibly comfortable. The support in it is a bit less than my wired bras. I think it will be improved by the fit changes I am making.

I got a few people asking for a pattern for it on instagram. I have no sewing pattern plans for this or ever! It was a learning experience and I really enjoyed doing it. I would be interested in developing it for sale of the actual product, but creating sewing patterns is so not in my interest. I’d much rather sew. ūüėČ

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Me-Made-May 2016 and Progress Report

I cannot believe it’s almost time for Me-Made-May’16. I feel like this year has flown by like crazy! In the past year my handmade wardrobe has expanded like crazy. I almost have no RTW garments left in my closet. Last year, I accomplished my goal of wearing at least one handmade garment a day. This year I am upping that this year!

‘I, Andie of https://sewprettyinpink.wordpress.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear at least three handmade garments each day for the duration of May 2016’

Three handmade garments a day! That can be easily accomplished I think, because I have a ton of new knickers! This weekend I made 13 more pairs of Barrie Briefs (shown below; there are two red pairs with black lace). I have over 20 pairs of handmade knickers in my wardrobe now. I am pretty proud of that.

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Along with all of these, my handmade bras and leggings end up being three pieces alone. I could actually pledge to wear four pieces…or even five… but I was already tripling my pledge from last year…

I am not making an extra pledge of making stuff during the month and I will not be posting my daily outfits on instagram either. Part of May is our honeymoon so I may not even be able to post half the month and I certainly don’t expect to finish much when I return, because I definitely expect to be exhausted when I return. I will take pictures, though, and post a round up at the end of the month. I will probably also report that I should have made the pledge of four or five pieces, because I have so much handmade stuff. ūüėČ

Our honeymoon is less than a month away and I am so incredibly excited. It snowed here in Toronto this weekend (10-15 cm!) and I teased myself by looking at the weather in Amsterdam. 15 degrees celcius! Curses! April should be better weather here.

Let’s talk an update on the honeymoon wardrobe:

Outerwear

My Waffle Patterns Pepernoot Coat¬†muslin has been made. I still need to make the final pattern alterations and cut it out in the final fabric. I expect to get that all done this week and start sewing. I will not be making the detachable fur trim until after the honeymoon, though. I won’t need that on a Spring coat.

Pants

I have one pair of Misty Jeans made along with my first version. I have two more cut out with fun pockets:

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Bonus makes: several pairs of leggings.

Tops

I will not be getting the Style Arc¬†Skye top done before I go. Just too many issues that are making me not want to sew it at all. I’ve decided to put it away for now.

I got the Eva top and Cate’s Cousin Top done. I also refashioned a dress into a top using the Jenna Cardi top hack.

I have some more to share in this category, but you have to wait a week for that. ūüėČ

Blazers/Cardigans

I made my Decades Everyday Three’s a Charm jacket last week and can’t wait to share. I didn’t take pictures this weekend as I had planned because the weather was terrible. Hopefully this week will allow for that. If not, I will have to take them inside. Here is the picture of the finished product I shared on IG for a preview.

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I would love to get one more of these done with the alterations I need to make, but I probably won’t get to that!

For cardigans, I have my Jenna cardi in blue merino.

Skirts

I will not be getting a Style Arc Candice Skirt done since my material was directional in the wrong direction. ūüė¶ D’oh! I’ll try out the pattern later once I find some good fabric.

I made two Tenterhook Pattern Snapdragon skirts. I wrote a review of the pattern on the Curvy Sewing Collective and it went up last week. Check it out.

I have three Cake Pavlova skirts cut out that I will get done at some point, too. I will be trying out some pleating details on them, too, and side-seam pockets.

Lingerie

I made several bras so far. I’d really like to get one more done using the pattern from the Prep School Bra and the blush bra tulle kit from Emerald Studio. We’ll see. I feel like two pairs of jeans, three skirts, and a coat will be enough for the next few weeks!

I made around 20 Barrie Briefs. Good amount for the trip!

I made one pair of Going Rogue socks and one pair of tights using part of that pattern and would love to make more, but I doubt I will have the time and I am running out of materials. That will wait until after the honeymoon.

To sum up…

What I made:

  1. 1 pair of pants
  2. Several pairs of leggings
  3. Three tops (plus a bonus amount of tops to be revealed next week!)
  4. 1 blazer
  5. 1 cardigan
  6. 2 skirts
  7. Several bras
  8. Over 20 knickers
  9. 1 pair of socks
  10. 1 pair of tights

(WTF, that’s a lot of stuff….)

What got shelved:

  1. Style Arc Skye Top
  2. Style Arc Candice Skirt

What is left to do:

  1. Two pairs of Misty Jeans
  2. Pepernoot Coat
  3. Three Pavlova Skirts
  4. One more bra (if I have time)

I better get back to sewing…phew…

 

Garden Bra

Yep, more lingerie. I am not sorry for this! I love it! That being said, I will have a v-neck Jenna cardi and a Jenna top to share with you soon.

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This is my latest cloned bra, the Garden bra.

Why the Garden bra?

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I have an entire garden of little flowers sewn to the bridge and some lovely floral lace.

For this version, I added some to the power bar. Big mistake. I thought this might help with lift and push the girls forward, but it didn’t sadly. The good thing is that I still have my previous pattern pieces and can go back.

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It’s a little bit of a frumpier look with the girls going a bit more sideways. There is very little vertical stretch in the lace, too, which causes that horizontal line to look a little bit wonky. I look fine wearing this under a dress, though:

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I probably would have been better off to line the power bar with a sheer cup lining for extra support. For now, though, I am moving forward. I recently had to retire a different Elomi bra from the rotation and decided to clone it, because I am having trouble parting with it.¬†The upper cup is split into two pieces with the top half in non-stretch sheer cup lining. Since I want to copy Erin’s Parisian bra, I will be using this pattern and putting the gathered bra tulle into the upper cup. I’ve made a “test” version in sheer cup lining and navy lace and will be sewing that up before CSC lingerie month is up.
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Then I am taking a break from sewing bras, because that will make 7 bras this year… I do want to sew a couple more before the honeymoon, though, but those can wait. I’ve got my pepernoot coat to work on. I’m almost done the flat pattern adjustments and ready for the muslin! There were a lot of pattern pieces to adjust.

I’m happy to announce that the hook and eye installation went so much better for this version after all the feedback I got before. I cleaned out my machine. There was an entire dust bunny in there! I put on a new needle before sewing this part.¬†I’m using a zigzag stitch now and it looks great.

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I made another bra after that (my third Maya bra) and it went even better. The strap elastic also went on better there and I got much better in the Maya bra (review for that will be posted on the Curvy Sewing Collective this week) as well. I’m feeling pretty confident after all this crazy bra sewing.

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Of course, no bra of mine is complete without at least one sewing error. Look at that wonky shit on the power bar above the lace. Hahaha. Oh my!

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How weird do these¬†bras look hanging on a hanger? My band can’t even close because it’s so much smaller than my cup and the wire is huge in comparison, but somehow this thing looks just fine and is comfortable as a pillow on.

 

Barrie Briefs

I know, I know….All I am sewing lately is lingerie. I swear I will get back to other kinds of sewing soon, but Lingerie Month at the Curvy Sewing Collective is consuming my life!

Shameless Plug: Check out my Cloning a bra post and my Bra Materials post.

Just an FYI, I hate the word “panties.” I have no idea why, but it makes me cringe like crazy. I feel like the mother in Dead Like Me with the word “moist.”¬†I guess in Canada we say underwear or underpants or even just pants. I don’t hear many people saying panties… Feel free to tease me endlessly in the comments with the word panties! Hhahaha. I’m sure several of my friends will do this in person after they read this post. I love my friends.

I say knickers like I am British. Point of fact, my father was born in Leeds. I am half British. Therefore, I say  knickers.

I’ve made some knickers before in a few different ways:

  1. Cloned a pair of RTW knickers
  2. Sewed the So, Zo free knickers pattern
  3. Sewed the Cloth Habit free Rosy Ladyshorts

For whatever reason, none of these options worked well for me. Crotch length too short, crotch length too long, butt not big enough, knickers fell down, elastic wore out too fast, and fabric didn’t have good recovery. Those last two are more about fabric/notion choices than anything. Both the free patterns were great, but just didn’t work for me.

Things I learned from several failed knickers:

  1. I hate elastic on my knickers. It cut in. It was irritating. It got stretched out. I do, however, like stretch lace and find that to be comfortable and have good recovery.
  2. I needed a low rise front to accommodate my belly, but with a fuller bum. I knew I would have to make a full bum adjustment.
  3. I needed to choose better fabric.

Enter the Barrie Briefs. The positive part of this pattern is the bands on the legs and the top. The top band could easily be replaced by a band of lace. But the leg bands…. to die for. I knew they would be a winner! They are so comfortable.

I heard the pattern ran large. It is made for a 20% stretch knit. My knit was 100%. Some magic mushroom¬†told me that I should cut a size 3 to start….. Um….. wtf, Andie?! Obviously too small.

I cut a size 8 next with a full bum adjustment and an inch on the front sides added and they fit perfectly.

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They took 30 min to make including cutting them out.

Edit: The fabric is a lightweight poly spandex stretch with a cotton jersey crotch inset.

Not much else to say except that I am happy to finally have a pattern to work from. Now comes making all the knickers in all the colours!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern:¬†Kitchy Koo’s Barrie Briefs
  • Pros:¬†Bands for the legs and waist with the option to use lace.
  • Cons:¬†Made for 20% stretch fabric, which is kind of odd and causes some complaints about the pattern running too large. Size way down if you are using a stretchier material.
  • Make again?:¬†YES! ALL THE KNICKERS!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md¬†pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Desert Sunset Bra

Do you remember long ago I asked for a name for this bra? Nicole came up with Desert Sunset.

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I cut out the bra back in August and then it sat around for quite a while….

I made some modifications from the last bra: increased the lower cup, moved the apex slightly to match my apex (edit: up and to the centre).

What results is the best fit yet for my cloned bras. I really love this pattern and am excited to see the fit improve with each adjustment.

I’m going to do something I’ve never done before and show you how it fit after I made it. I didn’t put the bows on it yet in this picture.

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The bridge sits nice and flat against my chest, the cups are perfect, and the band is perfect. After wearing it for a day, the bridge does come out about 1 cm from my chest. May be due to the fabric stretching out as I wear it.

For the next one, I want to add a little more to the power bar on the side to push them a little further to the front as I have a bit of splaying to the side. Doesn’t bother me, though, since you can’t tell the difference when I am wearing a shirt.

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I find photographing my bras to be weird, because of that stretch lace upper cup and the fact the cups are so large. Inflated vs.¬†deflated balloon. Ha! It’s also kind of why I wanted to show you how it looks on me. You get a better idea of the fit.

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Here is the inside of the bra.

Instead of using the band elastic from my BMS findings kit (material links below), I chose to use 5/8 strap/waistband elastic. It’s a firmer elastic and less stretchy. It made the band an even better fit due to the lower stretch. The main reason for the switch was because the band elastic was rolling after a couple of hours of wear. Now, there is only rolling at the end of the second day of wear.

I made so many mistakes when making this bra. Ripping out stitched from duoplex, stretch mesh/lace, and lingerie elastic is basically a horror movie. The fabric gets torn apart so easily. Some mistakes I just left because the bra itself was secure.

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My machine is seriously hating attaching the hook and eyes lately… I’ll get there and figure out the trick of not having my machine break five needles at that point and the hook and eye not moving about so much… I’ve been looking at tips and tutorials left and right for that. I just got so frustrated with all the mistakes and ripping out previously that I kind of just shrugged my shoulders at this point and said that is good enough. I’m not changing it now, but going forward… I really hope that area doesn’t look that shitty. I was getting better and then this…. UGH.

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I added some florescent orange bows to the bra. Originally, I want to overlay the power bar in a florescent orange lace, but affixing it to the fabric turned into a nightmare and I decided to leave it off.

I’m not sure why, but this bra makes me want a Sunset Margarita:

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Which fits in great with January’s Monthly Stitch Challenge! Originally, I was going to make a Mint skirt and top ensemble and site my drinkspiration as a mint milkshake…..but that never happened with all this bra making. But I kept thinking about Sunset Margaritas and it fit in well. They are so tasty.

Desert Sunset Materials:

Lilac large findings kit (KF-34) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Fuchsia duoplex (FJ-6) from Bra Maker’s Supply

5/8 inch black strap and waistband elastic from Porcelynne

Lilac and fuchsia lace from Arte Crafts

Black Powernet (FP-1) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Black Stretch Mesh (FP-7) from Bra Maker’s Supply

Florescent ribbon from stash

Up Next:

I have another cloned bra about halfway done along with my second Maya bra. I’ll be posting my Maya bra review on the Curvy Sewing Collective for Lingerie Month in February. I will also post my review here as well. I’ll be modelling the bra again (!) to show you how each one changes with fit. Check out the beautiful materials I am working with for my next few bras:

20160123_205255 Blush bra kit

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Speaking of materials, Megan and I have some bra making materials tips and shopping lists that will be posted on CSC next week to help you start your bra making journey. I’ll be listing all the materials from the above and talking about large busted material tips. Keep your eye out for that!

Agent of Love and Exams, the pretty sailor suited soldier Sailor Mercury!

This is a post about a bra.

I grew up with the English dubbed version of Sailor Moon. It was my favourite show and I would watch it endlessly. This was before we could download shows or stream them. I taped tons of Sailor Moon and ran home at various time from school to watch. I was 15/16 when I first started watching. We got the internet around the same time and I discovered that the English dubbed version was pretty different from the Japanese version. Eventually I read the manga and got to watch the Japanese version. I bought Sailor Moon everything and became a hardcore fan.

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At 15/16, I bought all of the Sailor Moon mini palaces including the larger moon kingdom palace above. Little chibi Sailor Scouts were a favourite of mine. Sadly, I have nothing left from this era. I loved this stuff, though.

I wasn’t a popular kid growing up. I was a bookworm. Naturally, Sailor Mercury was my favourite. She could kick ass and still get her assignments in on time.

There’s something about the Sailor Scouts for me. The idea of being a young woman and being assertive and strong resonated with me. The show gave me a lot of strength and repaired a lot of my feelings about vulnerability. I wasn’t going to be the victim anymore. I started standing up to bullies and really became the strong woman I am today.

I have been watching the new Sailor Moon Crystal series. I actually really love it. I’m not that far in, though, because the wedding distracting me. I need to catch up!

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The bra’s colours instantly reminded me of Sailor Mercury along with the oversized bow. I named her Sailor Mercury and she’s a beauty and strong. I put the bigger bra lower so it wouldn’t be bumpy under whatever dress I am wearing.

This is my best fitting bra yet. I will be tweaking the fit a bit more and more as I make more, but I’m pretty satisfied with this one. It’s super comfortable to wear and has a nice shape and lift.

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I’ve gotten mostly rid of the bulk problem in the bottom seam. There is the tiniest of bumps left. I’m going to¬†ask about¬†sheer nylon stabilizers when I am at Bra-Maker’s Supply¬†in a couple of weeks. This should help reduce the bulk in the seam, but make sure I still get the appropriate support.

For this bra, I increased the lower cup a little more and increased the bottom seam of the upper cup. The seam between the two lower cups now sits where it should at the apex. Before the seam wasn’t quite there and definitely contributed to an odd shape. I think for the next one I will increase the upper cup just slightly, because there is still a tiny bit of flatness in the seam between the upper and lower cups. I also increased the band by a little more than a 1/4 on each side. A little bit more than a 1/2 inch in total. I can’t quite remember the amount to be honest. That’s why I am being vague. That was just enough to make it a lot more comfortable for me. My other two are a little bit too tight. I can wear them okay, but after a day my sides pinch a little bit. This one, though, perfection. A bra should be so comfortable that you barely notice that you have it on.

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I did a much better job with the straps and hook and eye than I have in the past. The stitching is still not perfect and my machine skipped a couple of stitches, but it’s getting there! They look kind of wonky in the picture above and don’t appear to sit correctly, but on me they scoop perfectly down to the hook/eye and sit very flat. I don’t think I will be working up my nerve to show you a picture of me in these bras. My day job would have a fit about that if it ever got back to them. The back looks great, though, take my word for it.

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I did a much better job of making the bridge look nice at the top of the cups. I extended the channeling and used that to cover the raw edges. It also nicely lends a bit more structure to the lace at the top and will help it last.

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I also lined the lace! I used stretch mesh with spandex from BMS. It’s definitely going to preserve the stretch lace.

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Speaking of the lace, I took the lace off of a nightgown that I had used for a cosplay project last year. The upper part of the nightgown wasn’t needed so I cut it off. The large bow also comes from the nightgown. I made the smaller bows on the straps using the fork method.

The teal blue fabric is duoplex and the band is white power net. Elastic findings are a kit. All these are from BMS.

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The insides of my bras are starting to look at lot better. I would still like a way to make the raw edge of the lace look better though. I will be asking about that at BMS.

The final touch I made for this bra was to officially make it Sailor Mercury:

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On the right strap at the back, I embroidered a tiny Sailor Mercury symbol to let my geek subtly shine through. Now I have to make sure my strap is showing! ūüėČ

This is my favourite bra yet. I’ll probably be saying that for sew many bras in the future! I have planned out three more bras in terms of fabric combinations and named two with the help of Instagram! I need your help for the last one. ūüôā

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Ruby: Black duoplex/elastics/powernet with red lace. Thanks to Maris for naming this one!

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Black Raspberry: Black cherry duoplex, dusty rose lace, black power net/elastics, and grey ribbons. Thanks to Elizabeth for naming this one!

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Help me name this one!

Fuschia and lilac lace from Arte Crafts, fuschia duoplex, and lilac findings kit.

Update: The name was randomly chosen! Thanks Nicole for Desert Sunset. ūüôā

It’s Lingerie Month over at the Sewcialists blog. Will you be taking part and posting your project to the flickr group for the round up post? I’m definitely posting this!

The Wedding Lingerie

Well, my plans for the lingerie ended up all over the place. I did make the bra and I will be making the camisole, but left out the tap shorts and the underwear. I just didn’t want to fiddle with the bottoms and have been feeling stressed by it and not wanting to do it. Instead, I bought some white stretchy shorts with lace on the bottoms and some lace underwear to match my bra. I will blog about the camisole another time and include a review. The pattern I am using for the camisole is the Savannah camisole from Seamwork mag. So, this post just includes my bra. Oh the grand plans that come down to one thing while I co-plan a wedding…

The Bra:

Since making my cloned Elomi bra, I was pretty psyched to get to making another bra with the tweaks to the pattern. Before making the bra for my wedding, though, I had to make another test bra.

From the last bra, I shortened the band, narrowed the bridge, increased the lower cup and accounted for the stretch in the lace for the upper cup. I also shortened and narrowed the straps.

Outside:

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Inside:

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The “test” bra is in fuchsia duoplex, black powernet, and fuchsia elastics/findings from Bra Maker’s Supply and black and fuchsia stretch lace from a local store. The fit is almost perfect. The band ended up tighter than I expected, but still okay. Not uncomfortable unless I eat a big meal. The bridge still doesn’t sit flat in this version. It’s a little difficult to understand how this bra works in the flat version. The stretch lace is narrow at the top so the bra looks like the straps are close together. On me, however, they are in the correct position. To give you an idea of that, I put the bra cup on a balloon:

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It’s hilarious to me that the balloon is still not big enough for that cup and I still find the cup a little small…

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Unfortunately, the lace in this version got a couple little holes in it when I washed it.

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The other thing I realized was how bulky the bottom cup seam is where the powernet of the band and the duoplex/lace of the bridge meet. I doubled the powernet in the band, which also meant that the bra was more supportive, but I also doubled the duoplex in the bridge, as well, to ensure the support there, too.

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Super bulky seam that I didn’t trim down. The sewing is less than stellar in that area. The problem with sewing with duoplex and powernet and lace is that ripping out seams is almost impossible without destroying the fabric so I left it. My technique only gets better with every bra so I know this will be remedied in future versions.

The other issue I seem to have with the sewing is in the straps:

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The straps are sewn to the powernet with a double lightening stitch. This one is actually better than my wedding bra version, but you can see that I didn’t quite catch the powernet in the second row. In spite of using pins, the three layers move about a lot. I need to figure out how to improve my technique there. It works, but I am worries about the longevity of the bra in that area.

The other thing to note is how narrow the bridge is:

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The underwires actually overlap in this area, but I have no issue with comfort from that.

For my wedding bra, I left out the lace on the bridge and made sure I clipped the seams to reduce the bulk. I clipped one side of the doubled duoplex and powernet so that I was only sewing over one of each within the 1/4 inch seam allowance. I also further increased the lower cup and the upper cup. I decided not to increase the band, but I have done it for the next version, including increasing the upper cup and lower cup again. Geez, how big are my boobs?!

You can see the seam is much smoother on this version:

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This version is an even better fit. The bridge is almost flat against my breastbone (only a 1/4 inch out now). I haven’t spent a lot of time wear it, because I am saving it for my wedding mostly. I did wear it for a day last week to make sure I wouldn’t have a problem for my wedding day, though. It fits will and is very pretty. The only issue is I derped and put in the hook and eye wrong so I will be fixing it this weekend, because I can’t hook it very well this way since I am used to the other way.

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Here are more balloon pictures:

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You can see that the cup is even bigger in this version, because of the bagginess in the cup against the balloon.

Here are some lovely detail shots:

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Oh and the crappy job I did on the straps (even worse than the last time!):

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The interesting comparison here is this bra to the original cloned one:

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It’s pretty similar in terms of length.

Here are all my cloned bras so far with the most recent on top:

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I feel like they are getting a lot better with every step. I’m really pleased to see my skill increase. So much more room to grow (damn straps), but it’s getting there.

From here, I basically want to make all the bras. I will hold off for a while, though…cuz wedding…and see how these wear. I have enough materials for another two bras minus one pair of wires. Then in the future, I’m hoping to try foam bras and bras for my swimwear plans.

Also in the series:

April: The Wedding Dress, pt. 1: The Design, the Muslin, the Fabric, and the Outfit

May: The Wedding Dress, pt. 2: Construction and Details

June: The Flower Girl’s Dress and Sash

Stay tuned for:

July: Wedding!

The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day.