Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I haven't had time to write, believe it or not, because I've been slogging away at the final 20% of the Bettie's Pullover. It's times like these when I realize top-down raglan sweaters were invented for a reason. I don't know if the pullover is complicated for its own sake or if there's actual method to the madness (well, there's method, but you know what I mean). But I have this nagging concern, founded or no, that it's not going to fit (really, there's no telling till the freakin' shoulders exist at the very, very, very end.) And it's a total pain in the ass. I don't care how cool it looks.

I have so much to tell you about so many things but I MUST finish the sweater. I want it to be done with. Oooh, that's a real selling point.

What I cannot wait to write about, for one more moment, is the utter, persistent stupidity of the Lingerie Shop Along (yeah, that's 3 separate links) order from Figleaves. Let me lead with the following provisos:
  • The problem has had less to do with Figleaves, which has been a conscientious and professional vendor, than some weird, temporary, universal insanity.
  • Having said this, just about everything has gone wrong from a) ordering the wrong sizes b) getting sick and being prevented from returning the items myself c) the kid sending the parcel back by dolphin express and so on.
  • If this were my first online shopping experience I might never attempt the process again.
Well, the latest is that the parcel did return to Figleaves, after 6 weeks, and they honoured my refund (as requested) for the item I didn't intend to keep. They also resent all of the bras - the Gem first of all (because I reordered it and paid again in the event that the original parcel never returned - I was determined to own it) - and then (rather counter-intuitively) the Fantasie basic and the Charlotte lounge bra - each in separate packages. One's gotta hope there's a good reason for that.

OK, the Gem arrived yesterday and here's the low-down: 2 sizes smaller than the original, it does fit, but I wish the side-wires went higher. They're quite low and there's a bit of side-boob pillowing on the left side. It's by no means a deal breaker, but really, once you've owned double digit's worth of bras that fit perfectly, why would you wear anything that deviates even slightly? Furthermore, it's a bit dull. And stiff. And, dare I say it, uncomfortable?! That's not a hallmark of the Freya product.

I urge you to wait until Freya resolves the rather large issues of size and fabric choice. FYI, if Freya never fits you, maybe you should try this bra. It sure as hell doesn't fit like its regular sloper.

The fabric is actually irritating, especially as the underlining (a lighter shade of blue than the fashion fabric, the effect of which I do not like) has no drape. I'm sure, were it April, I would love the robin's egg blue. But in deep November it just seems wan. And I don't think you should have to size down in back by 1 and in cup by 2 in order to get a product that fits. They've got to work on this bra if they intend to make it a brand staple.

The strongest feature of the set is the modified thong (half way between thong and something else). The fit is very flattering and it is comfy.

I'm not returning it. I don't have the will. And I will wear it, no doubt. But it's really not the bra I dreamed about for 6 months before it came out - and then for almost 2 months after I ordered it.

Today, the stupidity intensified as my Fantasie basic arrived in the same freakin' size I first ordered and then returned for a smaller size. Mmmhmmm. On the website, they even show the original order, with size, next to the return order, with the same size. When's the last time you returned a bra cuz it didn't fit (as you indicated on the return form, next to the new size you wanted), and then reordered it in the same size? I so wish someone had been paying attention.

So now, I have to return the same bra (on my own dime, at least until they reimburse me as I'm confident they will) for the second time and wait another 2-4 weeks for the correct size. Did I mention that this is the most boring bra on the planet. Sure, it works under everything, gives great shape and I've owned it time and again. But really, this is effort I am not psyched to go through YET AGAIN for a workhorse. Mind you, if they ever stopped making this bra I'd lose it, but that's not the point.

Lord knows what I'm in for when the Charlotte comes. Let's say I don't have any expectations.

There has been way too much care and feeding in this experience. I have upwards of 30 emails with Figleaves, I've online chatted, I talked on the phone... Lord, I wonder if I expended this much effort organizing daycare for my once-tiny child. (Note: Of course I did, but allow me the hyperbole.)

Between the sickness-association and all the hassle, I can't say I'm going to be ordering any bras online in the near future. Fortunately a) y'all had better experiences than me when you ordered, can you imagine how my rep would have been in the gutter?? and b) I have enough lingerie to last me till the end of days.

Point is, I commiserate. Now back to knitting


  1. I've been meaning to email you on the lingerie shop-a-long, but I guess I'll do it here. I bought 2 Panache bras; the Ariza (32GG) and the Andorra (34G). They are so*close to perfect, BUT, the center gores are WAYYYYYYYY too tall (OK, only about 1" too tall, but it seems monumental). They have an Andorra plunge, and I'm tempted. Do you think it would fit exactly the same way except lower in the center front (cuz that's the only thing I want changed)? BTW, I couldn't believe that the 32GG fit--it was a bitch to turn it after fastening, but wearing was just fine. I'm kind of in shock....I might actually be getting close.

    1. The safest way to determine this is to email Figleaves or chat online to ask them. They'll have that info and you'll be saved from wasting your time. I know, I can't believe I'm advocating this, but my issue is not with the client service or product...

  2. Keep on slogging - not far to go now and it's worth it! :)

    1. Left you comment and the blog ate it? Your version is the one that inspired me to make this crazy sweater, so I am inclined to listen to you :-)

  3. I don't know if it will make you feel any better but I wanted to let you know that thanks to your series of posts about bra fitting I have finally (at age 46) bought a bra that fits me properly. I've always had bras that fit okay - but never really well. Due to your detailed posts about fitting, I ordered a ton of bras in sizes I've never tried before and have discovered that I needed to go down a band size and up two cup sizes (36C to 34E). The band does feel a little too tight, but there is now absolutely zero weight on my shoulders. With the 36C I always had to shorten the straps a huge amount, but with the 34E I can practically wear them as they come out of the pack.

    It's also made me realise why I have had such problems sewing without doing an FBA. When I thought I was a C cup it was easy to convince myself that I should be able to get away with using a pattern as printed because B to C isn't that much of a difference. Now I've discovered I'm an E my fitting issues make a lot more sense!

    Amusingly, a lot of the online bra size calculators tell me that I am an A cup. I seem to remember one of them telling me I was a 40A - which caused my husband to nearly die laughing!

    1. This is FABULOUS. Can't tell you how happy I am to hear this. Bands will start to feel less tight as you get used to the feeling of a band that actually supports the weight of your breasts (as opposed to straps).

      The thing about FBAs is that they depend on so many factors (I've written quite a bit about this on the blog), not least of which is the narrowness of one's frame and the profile and shape of one's breasts. I have upwards of 7 inches difference between my full bust and under bust measurements and I can still, often, get away without an FBA because the narrowness of my frame makes up for the amount of fabric needed to get over my breasts. That doesn't mean that I don't have to make alterations, but the FBA is a very blunt (though complicated) alteration that, on narrow frames, can totally distort the final line of the clothing. Just saying you may want to consider that when you're sewing...

      The only bra calculator I'd try is the one by Butterfly Bras. Did that give you the right info?

    2. Sorry, Butterfly Bras got it wrong as well. They put me at a 36D or 38C. I do have bras of both those sizes in my underwear drawer but the problem is that I have always worn the 38Cs using the smallest eyes on the band, and the 36Ds (and Cs) never have the bridge sitting against my breastbone and the wires tended to dig in at the sides. (I may have fudged a little in my first comment because I do have a range of sizes in my drawer but 36C was the most common).

      I haven't worn my new bras long enough to absolutely know that they are absolutely the right size, but they feel hell of a lot better.

      I do get that an FBA is not necessarily an easy alteration - which is why I've avoided it for about six years - but I'm now keen to work it out because it isn't just B to C but B to E! For some reason that makes the effort more worthwhile :) (I do have a slightly broad back, I think, so I don't think it's going to be too difficult an alteration - just a necessary one.)

    3. No apologies necessary! That one often calculates correctly, but it's just a computer program, right? Sometimes, the process of finding your right size involves wearing some new bras, learning some lessons from them and then refining the size next time you order. Or you could become completely obsessed like me :-)

  4. Any on-line bra shopping advice should include the mishaps, at least all your readers that have a better experience will be happy, and the few that have a frustrating one will see your post and will not feel alone. I hope your lingerie will arrive soon!


    1. Mona: I'm glad you see it that way. That's the spirit in which I share this. And, strangely, I'm almost over it, now that I've written about my frustration.

  5. I agree with Mona. It's good to see that it's not always going to work out but that you can make it work out in the end. I was really happy with Bra Stop, trading emails about my returns and what I wanted instead and then noticing the flaw in the one bra I wanted prior to shipping. All is well that ends well.

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed your Bra Stop experience. I have had good experiences with that online vendor too.