Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Summer Series: Perfecting the Clone Pattern (Prototype B, Done)

The reason I'm showing you these pics isn't cuz I've made a gorgeous bra that fits, lifts, supports and strives towards world peace. (Shocking, I realize.)

The reason I'm showing them is to give you a sense of the degree of projection I have never before managed to produce in a hand-sewn bra:




If you know of a commercial pattern that approximates this shape, please let me know. But I suspect there isn't one.

Be assured this thing is held together by paperclips and a prayer. There's some really crap stitching happening, not to mention that I didn't know how to do a number of things so, while I learned on this go round, my boning was slightly too long, as were my wires. They are not technically enclosed. Oh well.

I refuse to get all down on my technique here because, seriously, I have never come so close to making a bra that I could wear. And you can't do it all, all at once when you're on this kind of learning curve. At least I can't.

Interestingly, the upper cups in this version are too large at the top, specifically where the upper cup meets the strap side of the lower cup (to which the strap attaches). I did use elastic stabilizer but I suspect I didn't pull it taut enough. Nonetheless, the last prototype was too big there also, in just the same way, and the lace was entirely different. I am pretty amazed that I know how to fix that (at least I think I do :-)). I didn't want to shorten the lower seam on the upper cup (the seam that attaches to both lower cups). My solution: a dart. I pinned the the dart into the fabric, compared it (with ruler) to the paper piece and then made a flat pattern version (wide side at the top of the cup and the dart point on the lower seam) that followed its slightly diagonal direction. I removed the dart by cutting one of the legs (almost to the point, but not quite) and then moving it on top of the other. Then I trued up the top of the cup.

Alterations for the next version:
  • Narrower gore still that makes a slight concave curve at the base
  • Shorter boning with different position
  • Add length to back band at closures, narrow the closure edge by 1/4 inch on either side (so that it isn't too wide for the closures
  • Wider straps
  • The top cup alteration, see above
Anyway, this is where I'm at. I may go crazy and make the next version with the beige supplies I bought. I really need a beige bra peeps. That interim Wacoal one I bought (more to come) is too big in the cup and too wide in the under wire. The wire digs in really weirdly and painfully, leaving red marks. This has never happened with a bra before.  Here's hoping necessity really is the mother of invention.

So, what do you think of this weird journey so far?

30 comments:

  1. I love love love your bra!!! I'm so jealous! I'm attending the US ASG Conference in DC next weekend -- and they don't have a bra class this year (so sad)(it's the one every raves about -- I'll have to look up the instructor's name). I am dying to make a bra! I take it your fit is really good for this one -- I'd like to hear more detailed comments on this bra compared to your commercial ones. . although I know you've generally discussed this before. Great post!

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    1. Thanks Pam! Just wait till I make one that isn't effectively merely basted together :-) The fit on this one is far better than for any other I've made but it's going to take a bit more work. Then, here's hoping we can get the lift and support thing happening.

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    2. Great - then I can't wait for the next version!

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  2. Girl! You are on to something! The keys to me are the proper wire size
    And the cup size for the tissue we got to lift!
    Your bra is pretty and I hope you get to wear it with pride!

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    1. Oh, wires are So important. Not just the size and shape but the quality of the metal. I'm recycling from RTW bras since the home-sewing wires are not adequate, IMO.

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  3. Your bra looks beautiful! I applaud your persistence. When cloning a bra, I usually find it takes 1-2 tries if I am starting with an excellent fit and can find supplies that match the stretch/give and recovery. When starting from scratch (creating my own pattern from a paper tape mold of breast), it might take 3 tries. I find most commercial patterns far too flat, with a few exceptions: the Bravo 2 bra from Monica Bravo at bravo bella bras website, and the bramakerssupply Shelly bra pattern by Beverly Johnson. Both are full-band bras, but could be converted to a partial band. Bramakerssupply is also a good resource for underwires of varied shapes - it sounds as if you may benefit from the vertical wires if the wires tend to be too big for you when getting the cup depth/projection you need. Thanks for sharing your experience! Keep up the great work - you won't regret it!
    Laurel

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    1. Thanks so much Laurel! You have way better odds than me. So far this is my 10th attempt and it's as close as I've come. Mind you, my earlier attempts were made when I was quite new to sewing and before I had undertaken serious pattern altering or cloning. Thanks so much for the info about those patterns. I will def look into them.

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  4. Wow! I would have guessed you were showing off one of your store-bought bras if I hadn't seen the pieces earlier. Bravo! I'm excited about the direction you're going!

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    1. Why thank you Amy! I'm keeping on...

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  5. I swear if I saw that in a shop I'd part with good money! Your persistence is definitely paying off. So cool!

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    1. You are so sweet. Hopefully the next one will be wearable.

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    2. I have faith in your skills.

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  6. looks fantastic! bra sewing is on the sewing bucket list for sure.

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    1. Thank you! And you don't have to wait. The new Orange Lingerie book is very good. And there's so much more info out there now than there ever has been.

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  7. FABULOUS. I'm so excited to see what gorgeous pieces you're going to be producing once you've perfected that pattern.

    We got close to that kind of projection starting with a European pattern for my friend of a similar shape and fine tuning through darting and slitting. Whatever it takes.

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    1. Thank you!!!! I'm really trying to keep calm and to just make the adjustments as they're warranted. I wonder if your patterns for your friend are actually lifting and supporting well. Have you got to that stage yet?

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    2. She wore the ones that were close and then went back to work full time so it's been a while since we did any work on them. I'll ask and let you know. I don't remember any complaints and she's particular about lift.

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  8. Great work. As always, I applaud your persistence. I have made a few bras, but have not yet been able to perfect the fit. It does get better with each rendition. You have inspired me to try cloning, especially with the sticky glad wrap someone suggested. Did that work to help get the shape?

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    1. Thanks V! It does get better with every rendition - especially if you start with a bra that fits and you clone it. Don't get me wrong. That's its own kind of laborious process, but the truth is that it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. Of course, you know how much guess work there is at the best of times :-)

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  9. Wow! You're getting so close! This looks like a great "basic" color too, hopefully you'll have enough of these fabrics left to make another once you've perfected the pattern.

    As for Wacoal, I bought one a while back too because I needed one of those beige ones in a hurry, and I'm seriously not a fan. Never buy bras when desperate, LOL!

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    1. It's a better basic colour scheme than I thought it would be. I do like the combo and I have more of the lace (and the pink duplex is readily accessible from Bra Makers Supply should I decide to make it again). You are so right about not buying bras out of desperation. It's been a long time since I've needed a bra desperately.

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  10. SO EXCITING! Sounds like you're much closer than you've been before. :D

    Someday I must do some real research into why underwires dig in in the front sometimes---one of my splurge bras from this spring didn't do that (noticeably) in the store but after I had the band altered (shortened) it is almost unwearable because of it. I theorize that the shorter band pulls the gore a bit wider and this is what is causing them to dig in, but I don't really know. I will have to try and test it, though. (I think I need a very narrow gore, too.)

    Anyway, super excited for you, regardless. There is always a learning curve---taking several versions to master both fit and construction is, I would think, required!

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    1. It is so exciting! But I refuse to get excited. Refuse. Vis a vis your situationL: So many things could be contributing to the wire digging. Shape of the bra cups, the revised tension produced by altering the band, the height of the wires, the width of the wires, the width or height of the gore. It would be easier to advise if I could see what's going on. A good bra fitter might be able to help you figure it out before you make your next round of purchases.

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  11. This is just crazy! Crazy awesome I mean. Congrats to you with a such a pretty & wonderful bra that behaves like you want. :D

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    1. Thank you! It's coming along so keep your fingers crossed.

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  12. Wow, you've really made progress on this in the last few weeks! This bra looks lovely and it sounds like you are nearly there with the fit. Fingers crossed for you. I think bra sewing will have to make in onto my 2014 goals.

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    1. It is coming along. Thank you for crossing those fingers. Pls. do not uncross them anytime soon.

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  13. I am so, so impressed. That, to me, looks like a real bra. And dammit, I bet its better quality than what most people are wearing, flaws not withstanding.

    On the beige bra front, did you know that Empreinte's Kaela now comes in beige? And also that Secrets from Your Sister carries it? And also that they're having a sale? (I do not work there, but having just discovered all this wonderful news, I felt the need to share.)

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    1. Angela: Thank you! Amazingly, I do know that Kaela comes in beige and that it's on sale (very rare) at SFYS. I went in there last week, to try on some stuff, but the sale had not yet begun. Truth is, I scarcely need another bra - even an Empreinte - and the Kaela (which I own in taupe) is not my fave. The shape is too spherical for me. Thank you so much for the info, though. If I can recreate the Lola shape in a flat, beige profile, I will have accomplished a feat!

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  14. Love the lift! It sure sounds like you are close to what you want. I know I'm not a top heavy shape, but that spot is where I seem to end up unhappy with a lot of bras.

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