Remember that pretty pink lacy Marlborough bra I made a couple of weeks ago? The fit and shaping were okay, but I knew some adjustments were required if I was going to make it again. I’d never done alterations on a bra pattern before, so I was pretty nervous that it wouldn’t work out well. So I instead of cutting into one of my lovely kits or beautiful laces, I went for this ridiculous neon-green lace I had in my stash, a real retro-looking piece of work that I suspect was “gifted” to me by one of my grandmothers. And out of it, came this rather wicked looking number…Isn’t it crazy? My sister called it an “Elphaba” bra, after the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, and of course, the musical Wicked. And I think it rather suits! It’s green and black, freaky and really kind of pretty in a very different way to the frilly, girly Glinda-esque bras I’ve made in the past. And as everyone here knows, I can’t leave my bras without a friend; so a matching pair of Ohhh Lulu Grace panties to keep it company.
So what alterations did I end up making? After some discussion with the lovely ladies of the Bra-Making Forum, I decided that I’d first try increasing the curve of the cross cup seam, which would retain the lifted slightly pointed shape which I’d liked, but give me more volume and projection. I also increased the length of the upper cup piece slightly to try and solve the spill over issue. Here are the original 32DD pattern pieces compared with my altered versions:I also added about a centimetre to the back band pieces, but I just added it as I cut rather than alter the pattern piece, as I wasn’t sure if I’d need more or less with the change from milliskin to light-weight doubled up powernet (and I was really glad I did, for reasons which will soon become apparent!). As I wasn’t using scalloped lace for the upper cup, I added an allowance to finish the raw edge with picot elastic.
Having had success with lining to conceal all seams on my MIX30 bra, I did the same thing on the Marlborough this time – the only “exposed” ones are frame to band, but the seam is covered by the powernet, which I cut on the fold so isn’t raw. Looks nice, eh? Pretty much everything for this bra came from my stash, excluding the rings and the back closure, which I got from Lincraft.
So, were my alterations successful? I think so! The extra volume in the cup, from the combination of increased curve and upper cup volume, have almost completely solved the spill-over issue, which in turn has improved the shaping, as the upper cup is now not pushed forward and the point seems to hit at the right spot, giving a real nice retro look. Yay! I think I overshot the increase in the curve very slightly though, as there’s now about half a centimetre spare room right at the apex. It’s hardly noticeable unless you’re the one wearing the bra though, and it will be an easy fix for the next version.
The extra back length, would, I think, have been a success – except, have you noticed something a bit odd about the eye side of the closure? It only has two rows! This is because Lincraft, whilst having a better range of lingerie notions than Spotlight, still don’t actually have proper back closures – they only have “bra repair closures”, which apparently don’t need three rows for some reason. Which would have been fine, had I realised I needed to factor this in when altering my back pieces (I didn’t). Thank goodness I added those two centimetres! It’s about the same as the first Marlborough now, still a bit snug, but wearable. Phew!
Remember how I said after I made the MIX30 panties, I never wanted to make another underwear pattern again? Okay, I rescind that (surprise, surprise). I love the Ohhh Lulu Grace panties! I needed an underwear pattern that would a) work with a fairly rigid lace and b) incorporate the colour blocking effect I had going on in the bra. Orange Lingerie has released two new underwear patterns, designed to coordinate with her bras, but I didn’t really want to shell out for a new pattern when I already had the Grace, and I’m a little underwhelmed by the line drawings of them. The Grace panties just had more pattern-illustration appeal! Also, I own two pairs already which I bought from Ohhh Lulu’s sample sale, so I already had a good idea about sizing and wearability.
The pattern is designed for woven fabric and stretch lace, but I just swapped in rigid lace and stretch fabric. Worked like a charm! The only alterations I had to do for this was trim the back piece slightly to meet the powernet smoothly (probably should have done this prior to cutting…oh well!), and finishing the leg holes with picot elastic instead of just turning over and stitching with a twin needle. And man, are they a good fit! Really nice amount of coverage, at a little less than full, with a crotch width and rise that I find really comfortable. And they don’t ride up at all! I definitely see more Graces coming from that fact alone.
So, with my Marlborough pattern so close to perfect now, I’m determined to get it right! I’m already in the midst of planning the next one. I want to come back to the MIX30 as well, and maybe even try a bit of a mash-up between it and the Marlborough. I’ve still got the Pin Up Girls Classic to try (Sew Squirrel, when will you get the beige BMS kits back??), and I’m really curious about Orange Lingerie‘s new pattern, the Boylston bra – I love balconette styles and they suit my shape well (has anyone sewn this up yet?? I NEED REVIEWS). And you know, a million non-lingerie projects to get through before the end of my break…so many makes, so little time. I’m also preparing a tutorial on how I trim and seal my underwires, so look out for that soon 🙂
- Pattern – Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra and Ohhh Lulu Grace Panties
- Back closure and rings – Lincraft
- Everything else – stash
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx