Despite my constant avowals that I have found it, the one, my true lingerie-pattern love, we all know by now I think, that there a few things I love more than trying a new pattern. Even though at this point, I’ve found some patterns I adore which work beautifully for my size and shape (I’m looking at you, Boylston and Grace!), I think it’s still good to try new things, to find new styles and designs – after all, as anyone who wears lingerie knows, just one type of bra does not a good lingerie wardrobe make!
Over the last few months, I’ve so enjoyed watching Ana of AFI’s journey and progress in drafting and trialling her own bra pattern (and general being in awe of her skills). So I was pretty thrilled when she sent out a call for pattern testers for the Maya bra! I immediately signed up, and she very promptly sent through the file in my requested size, UK 30E (US 30F, AUS 8E, EU 65F). The file was pattern only, with no instructions (though Ana provides very detailed ones on her blog). One thing I really appreciated about the pattern itself was the pieces included; not only all those required to sew the bra, but additional back pieces to make a three-hook or two hook version, and the cup pieces with seam allowance removed to use with cut and sew foam.
I decided to make it up in a Merckwaerdigh kit I’ve been stashing away for some time (there’s nothing wrong with hoarding as long as you get through it all eventually!). Some readers may have noticed a trend, here – I never make “test” bras, I always go for nice fabric straight off. It’s not an approach I would necessarily recommend; I’ve certainly seen others come to grief sewing up lovely bras that then just didn’t fit at all. However, I’ve always been very very lucky with getting reasonably well-fitting bras from the get go, and I really do detest sewing muslins in boring fabric, so I tend to jump straight in with the pretty stuff. At the end of the day, it’s just fabric, and I’d much rather have a pretty bra that isn’t quite perfect than a boring one which is spot on but I’ll never wear.
Construction sailed along pretty smoothly, apart from a few small snags – all much more to do with me than the pattern. For some reason, I didn’t realise until I’d sewn the cups in that the bridge was going to be way too wide for me. This necessitated the quick fix adjustment of sewing down the middle of the bridge to take out roughly a centimetre of the width all the way down, which, with the bulk of the cups and casing in the way, was no mean feat – I’ll be sure to make the adjustment to the pattern before cutting for next time. I’d also decided I wanted the scallops of the lace at the top of the cup and the back band. Unfortunately, I muddled my seam allowances a bit whilst cutting and they both ended up a bit too high. I *sort* of managed to fudge through it a bit when attaching the elastic, and I think the effect overall is still pretty I think 🙂 But something to be careful about next time! The pretty pink casing from the kit turned out to be very narrow – despite the extra care I took with stitching as close to the edge as possible, I still struggled to get the wires in. Worse, I’d cut the wires down and sealed them using my usual method, but it was such a tight fit that the heat shrink tubing actually got pushed off the end of the wire, and I’m now sure at least one of them is completely loose. Grrr! I’ll have to take them out and fix them at some point – and knowing me, that won’t be until I’ve forgotten about it and one of them bursts through to poke me 😛
But what of the Maya itself? Well, the fit is pretty great. After my slap-dash adjustment, the bridge sits nice and flush against my chest. The band is nice and snug without being too tight, and sits perfectly parallel to the ground not riding up at all. The cups are almost there; they’re a little small, more noticeably on the left side, but I think this is more me than the pattern, as it’s an issue I encounter pretty regularly, being full on top. It’s not even close to being a full cup size, so I’ll probably just adjust it myself for another version. The shaping is great – I know that Ana took a great deal of trouble to perfect the rounded shape, and it really paid off; nice and smooth and lifted like a RTW bra 🙂 on a personal note there’s probably a few alterations I’ll make to the style next time; I prefer my straps a bit wider set, and my cups a bit lower cut – easy changes which will make this bra a real winner with me. Whilst I still love the Boylston, I definitely see a place for quite a few Mayas in my lingerie drawer in the future!
Aaaaand because matching sets are love and life, a pair of Merckwaerdigh MIX30s, with what was left of the lace from the kit, and some white cotton jersey which is delightfully soft 🙂 I was pretty happy with the kit overall, despite the super narrow channelling – although always gorgeous, the elastics in Merckweardigh can be of pretty variable quality. The ones in this kit were great though – the strap elastic in particular is lovely, super smooth and satin-y but very, very firm. As usual, I subbed a couple of things in and out; I swapped the little creamy two-hook closure for a pink three-hook from my stash, and added in some white powernet to underline the back band with. The foam was also from my stash. I also used the band elastic under the arms, given it was narrow-ish and there was enough of it, and saved the fancy pink underarm elastic for another project, as well as the supper narrow stuff included for stabilising scallops (the stash grows, huzzah!).
I’m only a few weeks off finishing uni for the year now – it’s only about six weeks util I’m done with exams 😀 and whilst there’s some stressful times ahead, I am very much looking forward to my (well-earned, I think) summer break. Until then, I’ll keep sewing when I can – it’s Corset October in Emerald Erin’s Bra-A-Week Challenge, and I’m hard at work on my submissions!
Until next time,
Miss Maddy x