Something WICKED This Way Comes

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…

Elphaba Bra

Altered Marlborough bra, 32DD

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.

Elphaba Panties

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties, XS

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:

Altered Marlborough pattern pieces

Altered Marlborough pattern pieces

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. 

Elphaba Bra

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.

Elphaba Bra

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.

Elphaba Panties Elphaba Panties

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.

Elphaba Lingerie Set

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 πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Miss Maddy xx

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29 comments

  1. colormusing · July 9, 2015

    LOVE this! I bet it feels different wearing this, compared to the more girly ones– interesting, the psychological impact of what we wear under our clothes, yes? P.S. I have the Boylston pattern, and it’s next up for me. Well, after I try a front-close style…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 9, 2015

      Haha you’re not wrong there, it is certainly a different feeling! I think it goes the other way, too – my mood definitely influences which bra I reach for when I’m getting dressed! I can’t wait to see your next creations, especially the Boylston πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy · July 9, 2015

    I love this set!!!!!!!! Great fabric choices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 9, 2015

      Thank you! I’m so pleased with how it turned out πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Lynda · July 9, 2015

    Your set looks gorgeous! I love the colours you have used.
    I am nearly finished the Boylston, just hook/eye to go – I can recommend it (used cut and sew foam), the fit was spot on using the measuring method on the pattern – most “real looking bra” I’ve made so far, according to my sis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 9, 2015

      Thank you! I love them too, even though I was a little unsure at first. That’s great to hear! I’m looking forward to trying it, and having a go at using foam πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. jennystitched · July 9, 2015

    This is fabulous! I’ve never made a bra before, do you have any recommendations for a bra beginner? πŸ‘™ x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 9, 2015

      Thank you so much! The Watson bra was the first I sewed, and it came together very easily and is a forgiving fit. It doesn’t take underwires, which is what makes it a good starter, though most therefore prefer to wear it as a lounge bra for that reason. In terms of underwires bras, this pattern (the Marlborough) has excellent instructions and and is a nice straightforward sew; but it is trickier to fit. Good luck, and happy sewing! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elizsews · July 9, 2015

    πŸ‘πŸ˜ƒ…..are two-piece bathers likely to be made for the coming summer?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SofΓ­a · July 9, 2015

    Wow! That’s a wicked bra indeed! πŸ˜‰ I totally could picture Elphaba wearing it. If I were her, right now I’d be knocking on your door, asking for one! And good job fixing the fitting issues, you’re so close to the perfect bra!

    PS: In a completely bra-unrelated topic, some time ago I read the book ‘Wicked’, on which the musical is based, and I had a great time. I absolutely recomend it! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 9, 2015

      Hahaha thank you! I’m very excited for the next version, I think it’s going to be a perfect fit and stunning to boot!

      I actually have read the book too! I just always seem to forget for some reason πŸ˜› I really enjoyed it though, it’s such a great read!

      Like

  7. Michelle · July 11, 2015

    What a fun set! Definitely not girly, but lovely still. I have the Grace pattern on my to-buy list, so I just might have to do that soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 11, 2015

      Thank you! I’m just about to cut my second pair, they really are great to sew and wear! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michelle · July 12, 2015

        That’s it then, I’ll just have to get them. Thanks for recommending them. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. elainearmenta · July 11, 2015

    Maddy,, do the grace panties that you made have elastics in the legs. I’m assuming all panties do, but the example I seen on there shop didn’t look like they did, and I asked them, and no answer. I love this pattern and want to purchase it. The pair you just made are lovely. I really like the fun colorful colors you used! Also, how do they fit in the cheek area? And are these the panties that you can use cotton in the center panel. I kind of wanted to get a cute pattern that I could use cotton on! Thanks, you’ve always been so helpful to me. You are the sewing daughter I always dreamed of having!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 11, 2015

      Yes, you’re right, my Grace does have elastic in the legs! This is not part of the pattern instructions or design; according to instructions, the non-lace portion of the leg holes is to be turned over and stitched with a twin needle. However, seeing as I was using powernet and not stretch scallop-edged lace, I chose to finish the edge with elastic instead. I didn’t bother making any alterations to do this and it came out fine πŸ™‚ I do own two pairs of Graces though, that I bought from the Ohhh Lulu sample sale, and they do not have leg elastic, and are still very comfortable and flattering! I find they give good coverage on me and fit very well at the back (though I’ve not got much of a behind!) and they don’t ride up at all. And yes, you can use cotton for these! Pretty much any woven is a possibility for the front and back panels. Thank you so much for your kind words! I am always glad to be helpful πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. monserrattlopez · July 13, 2015

    What a lovely combo!! πŸ™‚

    Like

  11. AFI · July 13, 2015

    Maddy, these turned out very nice! And the fit (I’ve seen the picture) is really great. Waiting for more of your lingerie creations πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Miss Maddy · July 13, 2015

      Thanks so much! Never fear, there’re quite a few currently in the works πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Andie W. · July 24, 2015

    Wow! I really really love this set! So gorgeous. I’ve been drooling after neon lace for a bit and I think you just inspired me quite a bit more to make an all lace bra! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · July 27, 2015

      Thanks so much! I love the look of an all lace bra, I think they’re so pretty – but the neon lace shows that they don’t have to be super-feminine or girly! πŸ™‚

      Like

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