Wow, this has taken a long time. A little bit of work followed by a lot of thinking to lead me through the most truncated of processes.
At this point, prototype A should be done in a short time. I've got to add the upper elastic, straps and closures. In the process of making it, I've revised the pattern (one paper shaving at a time) to the extent that I have amassed a pretty collage which now sits on my cutting mat.
With all the emphasis on the technicalities of perfecting fit and the technique of merging all the pieces so that they sew up neatly, I forgot how intuitive the actual bra-sewing process is. You have to do it to know how to do it. It's all about cutting bits of elastic and managing negative ease. Mind you, that's the part I like (though not as I'm re-establishing a rhythm, natch!).
Here's what I want to say now, before the next round of chips fall:
I refuse to be optimistic about this. Optimism has got me nowhere in the past. Having said this, knowledge is most definitely power, my friends. With knowledge, I am 1000 times closer to creating a bra that fits. I can feel it and see it.
Because of what I know now about a) fitting and pattern alteration b) specifically bras and fit and c) sewing technique - not to mention confidence - these are some highlights of applied learning while making this prototype:
- I've used fabric adhesive to attach layers of stabilizing mesh to the upper cup and to affix 2 layers of powernet together (for a stronger band)
- I've been able to figure out exactly how and why seam allowances on partial band bras are very fluid (and depend entirely on the width of picot elastic being used).
- I've determined how I'll insert boning into the bra (though that's something I'll tackle in the next prototype.
- I've adjusted the flat pattern pieces in accordance with what I've learned while sewing up the bra.
I urge you, if you fall into the large cup / small band / narrow frame category - aka if you wear between a 28-32 F-H (just an approximation) - that you must clone a bra that you own - that you know actually fits. Otherwise, you're probably wasting your time. I would not have been able to alter any commercial pattern, by sight and with my current knowledge of fit and bras (which isn't negligible), to turn the pieces into the shape I require. They are in NO way the same size, shape or in the same proportion to one another as the pieces that comprise the bras I wear.
So that's today's bit of info. I do intend to show the next prototype and photos of the flat bra pieces - I'm not quite finished making changes and I don't want to be confusing by showing things at a zillion different stages.
Today's question (for the bra makers): Do you fall into the small back/large cup range and have you discovered the same challenge I've documented above? Or have the commercial patterns worked well for you? Please, let's talk shop!