Ever since I was little, I have had a keen interest in the way I dressed myself. As a child, I wanted nothing more than to array myself in the ballgowns of Disney princesses (who am I kidding, I still do); as a young teenager, I both desperately wanted to follow latest trends, and stick stubbornly to my garments of choice, generally oversized black t-shirts (I for one, am glad this era is behind me). While I have always adored historic and classic fashion (too many period dramas as a child), it was not until this last year that I discovered my passion for vintage and retro fashion, and embraced my now favourite silhouette: that classic 50s hourglass, epitomised by Dior’s New Look.
It’s only fairly recently too, that I rediscovered my love of sewing. I’ve been sewing on and off since I was about eight years old, making many little bits and pieces over the years with much enthusiasm and little finesse, including a rather shapeless dress which I nonetheless adored at fourteen. But all things crafty rather fell by-the-by as I got to the serious end of high school, and I’d rather forgotten the sewing machine sitting rather forlornly in my cupboard until the end of last year. Over the last summer though, through my interminable uni holidays, trying to both cut down on shopping and distract myself from a broken heart, I made a simple cotton circle skirt, and I was instantly re-hooked.
Over the last few months, I’ve sewn skirts, tops, shorts and dresses (which I intend to share as soon as I’ve taken some decent photos of them), but the majority of my makes of late have all related to my current sewing obsession: lingerie. At first when I saw bloggers around the net whipping up their own bras and underwear, I was amazed. Could you really sew something so complicated on your own machine? Surely you could never produce really functional undergarments yourself? But soon enough all the pretty lacy creations, usually too far out of my budget and size range, proved too great a temptation, and after picking up Cloth Habit’s Watson pattern and a bunch of notions, I launched straight in. And here’s the results of my first attempt!
Look at that! It’s a matching bra and underwear set! And it’s beautiful! And I MADE IT!
For starters, I cannot recommend the Watson pattern enough. In size range 30B-I to 40A-D, it has a much larger scope than most other bra patterns I’ve seen. Also, as a “soft bra” without underwires, it had one less unfamiliar skill required – having never sewn with stretch fabric or elastic before, I thought I had enough to be going on with. It also has a matching bikini pattern included (sizes XS-XL) which really sealed the deal for me – I am a sucker for matching sets and have so few. The style also intrigued me, as I own no soft bras, and no long-lines, and the vintage-inspired styling of this pattern was irresistible to me. The instructions were clear and thorough, and I had absolutely no trouble following them at all. Amy of Cloth Habit also ran a sew-a-long for the pattern earlier this year, which is a great resource, especially if you’re new to all this, like me. I didn’t have to make any alterations to the pattern, either; designed for stretch fabrics, the fit is very forgiving, and it made the whole process so much more rewarding, that I was able to produce a beautiful, functional, wearable garment on my first attempt. The longline view of the bra (I have not made the shorter length) also provide a surprising amount of support (which I definitely appreciate, usually wearing 8E in Australian RTW bras), and it’s quickly become one of my favourite bras…
…so much so, that I made myself another THREE, and six more for friends and family (what?? They’re fun to make!)
Aren’t they all gorgeous? While the white lace/apricot elastics combination is my favourite, the hot pink miliskin (from a Grey’s Fabric kit) is probably the best size and fit, given mostly to the nice firm stretch of the fabric. But I love and wear them all, and I see matching Watson bikinis for all of them in the near future.
I’ll be taking a break from Watsons for now though – after this lovely introduction to the world of lingerie-making, I’m more than ready to step into underwires so next in my queue is Orange Lingerie’s Marlborough bra. I have also many other long-neglected non-lingerie projects to attend to – so expect to see some actual clothes soon!
Being based in Australia, fabrics and notions are a little tricky to find. I sourced the fabrics and notions for these bras from:
- Powernet – Joelle’s Fabric Clearance Warehouse
- Purple and white lace – J K Lace
- Elastics and notions – Booby Traps
- Hot pink miliskin Watson kit – Grey’s Fabric (A US site)
Finally, these Watsons have been featured in Emerald Erin’s Bra-a-week challenge! It’s been a lot of fun to follow and I am so excited to have finally contributed! I definitely recommend checking out all sixteen weeks of the challenge so far, all the contributions are lovely and inspiring.
Until next time!
Miss Maddy x