Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not There Yet

Let's not bury the lead.

I made a bra:


It's really pretty (if shoddily constructed):



It does not fit.

You don't have to call the suicide hotline on my behalf. I'm over it. I was over it at noon, when the fucking straps almost did me in.

The part of me that's optimistic about the next version fitting better is well aware that the crapness of my strap application is almost a deal breaker to the success of any bra. Too many layers. I need to have my machine tuned up. I need to get one of those gizmos that you stick under the presser foot to keep it level. (Where do you get those things and are they machine specific?)

Part of the reason I've decided to live (:-)) is that I am really, really close. It's just the upper cup that's giving me trouble - so now I've taken another 1/2 inch dart out of the top (this one angled differently). I mean, my adjustment in the last version did improve the fit. But it wasn't enough, apparently.

I made a few more, rather small adjustments to the pattern based on this version:
  • The aforementioned new dart in the upper cup (close to the gore and angled)
  • Recurving the parts that the straps attach to (to make those areas narrower)
  • Recurving the upper back band slightly
  • Removing the 2 inches I added to the band last go round. That was unnecessary...
In the last version, I figured out how to put picot under the lower inner cup (to carry that line through the entire base of the cup. I'm pleased about that.

I've cut out the new (version 4) bra pieces and I will assemble them tomorrow (stat holiday). Gotta say, if the next one doesn't work, I may well loose my urge to continue.

The next one will be black and blue; go ahead and read any symbolism into that you'd like. Alas, I'll have to use 1/2 inch strapping on - not 5/8" which I've discovered is far preferable to me - because that's what I've got. I don't know if it will inhibit the support overly. The one I just finished is not excellently supportive but it's not horrible by any stretch (ha). Remember, the band is really too big.

It's amazing that I have hundreds of dollars of lingerie supplies hanging around and no black strapping in 5/8 inch... Hmmm...

Do say something encouraging please. xo

41 comments:

  1. Bra looks good to my eyes (I'm not yet ready to tackle, I'm in awe of those who do!).

    I use a jean-a-ma-jig for hump jumping. It is not machine specific, does not attach to the machine anywhere, and is placed so it falls off the back as I sew over the hump. It is a rectangle of plastic with a slot on one short end. I have had it a while (maybe 10-12 years) and don't remember where I got it, online anyway.

    -Jean Marie, Virginia, USA

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    1. Thanks Jean Marie! I'm going to have to find a jean a ma jig. Good info!

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  2. I cannot, cannot, cannot get over your persistence. Really damned impressive! Mad props to you! Seriously, tipping my hat (my farmer's hat, you'll see what I mean)

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    1. It's not persistence, it's compulsion!

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  3. It is very pretty. Your tenacity is impressive. I really like the shape but it does need to fit. Good luck.

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    1. Thank yous! And it really does need to fit. Regrettably :-)

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  4. My dear, you are insane in the best possible way. It may not be the best constructed bra ever (which doesn't show in the photos, BTW), but it's the closest to RTW I've seen in that size range. Look at those cups! They're shaped like a real, flattering, non-grandma bra!

    Your Jo-Ann analogue should have a Jean-A-Ma-Jig thingy. They're like $4.

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    1. I am insane. Not even in the best way! It's quite a feat, if I say it myself, to get a bra to fit in this size range. And I'm very thrilled it's hawt and not granny like.

      Must look up jean a ma jig.

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  5. Seems like you've angled the learning curve a bit too steep too! ;)

    Seriously, they look great and next time they'll only be better. Hang in there -- no pun intended.

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    1. Oh, this freakin' learning curve has been going on intermittently for 3 yrs. When will I crack the code??

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    2. Keep going, you will get it!! I spent years learning to fit my shoulders and it was SO WORTH IT.

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    3. I remember every time I would read one of your posts on shoulder fitting I would feel weak from confusion. It was all so much at that stage of my sewing life. I didn't imagine I would every have the fortitude to undertake something like that. And yet, here I am :-)

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  6. What do you do with the "rejects"? Are you scavenging parts off of it, chucking it in the trash under some leftover spaghetti, or dancing around cackling gleefully while it burns? ;-)

    Anyway, it looks like it's got to be pretty darn close! One thing about the upper cup (and obviously you know WAY more about this than me at this point), but is the upper cup fabric just too stretchy/have poor recovery or something? I have a hard time believing that your tracing of that section didn't work.

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    1. Oh, I've been thinking of writing about that. It's terrible. I keep hooks and eyes, sliders and hoops, straps (if possible) and wires. But I throw away a lot of channeling and picot. Interestingly, I don't care so much about the fabric and lining. I mean, I throw out much more of that, often. But I could unpick the channeling at least. I just can't be bothered.

      The upper cup is woven (non stretch) lace that's underlined with a layer of non-stretch picot and reinforced with tape. But it could be the issue that the recovery isn't good. Maybe I overstretched it when sewing.

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  7. I tried sewing for a while. Thus, I am in utter awe of your abilities and patience. If I were to try this, I'm not sure if the suicide hotline or the homicide line would be more appropriate.

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    1. Ha! OK maybe homocide would be more apt. And thank you.

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  8. Okay, I am finally coming out of long-term lurking on your blog to say how amazing this is! I really appreciate the chance to vicariously understand and learn from your bra-making challenges as you move through them. Describing and documenting your process in this much detail is a lot of work. Although I won't be making any bras, I find your tenacity inspiring, and will keep it in mind when I finally get to working on that fitted black wool tuxedo jacket with satin peaked lapels that is my ultimate sewing goal!

    Oh, and Wawak has those hump-jumper thingies on sale right now, but I don't know anything about shipping to Canada.

    Elizabeth C., Massachusetts



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  9. Kristin, there might be that part already in your Viking sewing machine kit. My Viking rose came with that part.

    I'm very impressed with your bra.. And your persistence!!

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    1. It was supposed to but a couple of the things that came with the machine when it was new were missing. That was one of them...

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  10. I am so rooting for you! The kharma odds are definitely in your favor by now!! (it really looks pretty)

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    1. OMG - if only karma odds work like that I will be SO set! :-) Thank you! xo

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  11. Hey, I know you can pull it together -- you probably need to back away -- and come back. I hear Ms. St. Claire (Bra Lady) gives an eight hour class where she guides you through the perfect fit for you .. . so hang in there you can always fall back on a class! I do think the bra efforts are amazing!

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    1. I don't know what I can learn in 8 hours - apparently, I've spent hundreds of hours and I still don't have a bra that fits :-) Xo

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  12. Darn - so sorry it didn't work. I'm impressed with your determination. Can't wait to see the next version. You can get the jean-ma-jig at fabricland (also sometimes called a "hump-jumper"). But...you might not need one. Get a hammer and hammer the lumps a bit (also could be a frustration or stress reliever ; )). The idea is to keep your presser foot level. So when your presser foot angles up (over a lump) lift the presser foot with the needle down and slide some folded fabric (I often use an old pair of jeans) in behind the needle and then put the presser foot down. Sew slowly forward and repeat the lifting and sliding until your "over the hump" as it were. Hang in, have wine and best of luck tomorrow. I'll be checking in. I plowed through some utilitarian sewing today (cami's for my Mom who is visiting). Tonight I'm making a pattern off a pair of undies and then hopefully re-creating with a few improvements tomorrow.
    Best of luck! What you have done so far is beautiful.

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    1. I tried just putting fabric underneath and I was amazed by how well it worked. It seems so silly but it makes a huge difference!

      I am definitely having wine this weekend - no shortage thereof :-) And thank you so much for your feedback!

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  13. It's so bloody beautiful, you're nearly there! I admire your courage and determination :-)

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  14. Wow! I swear I'm having trouble pulling a skirt together properly at the moment and you are sewing bras like this. I know all you see are the flaws, but all I see is a really, really pretty bra.

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    1. Thank you Evie! It means so much to have your confidence in me.

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  15. no need to buy another sewing gizmo, just slide a folded up piece of fabric under the presser foot to even it out. started doing that when sewing on beltloops (which, previously were my absolute hated task!) and it makes the job so much easier. so sorry this bra didn't work out! hope the next one does, it sounds like you're too close to give up!

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    1. I tried this Lisa and it totally works! Great idea. Thank you.

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  16. The purpose of strapping in RTW is adjustability which is not necessary if you know your measurement. I can't remember if I learned that from Kwik Sew 3300 or where I now I use fabric, interfaced, non-adjustable and it works fabulously. It could be padded for comfort.

    You are doing AMAZING. Stick with it. You're making progress. It's worth the work.

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    1. You know, you're right! I dimly knew this (but not in any meaningful way - more like a concept that didn't seem to apply to me in any way :-)) Thanks for all of your support M. I am really channeling your bra-sewing ways.

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  17. I'm so glad you've chosen life for purely selfish reasons. I spent part of the weekend fighting with a bustier top pattern. Thinking of your persistence got me thru. And I still have a way to go before I am ready to call the muslin good. Hang in there. This version looks beautiful and if you are continuing to zone in on the right fit then each step is a step in the right direction.

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    1. Ha! You don't know how close I was to the scissors :-) If my so-called persistence has kept you on the straight and narrow then I am so thrilled. I was calling on the tenacity of my bra-sewist friends (and others who make amazing things with perseverance). I'm surprised by how far that gets me!

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  18. I was going to say the same thing as Lisa G. - I use a folded up scrap of fabric instead of one of those gizmos. I think it's probably better than the gizmo, because you can vary the height depending on the thickness of the bit you're sewing. (I try to fold my scrap into the same number of layers the seam has.)

    So there: I saved you eight bucks or so. I recommend you spend it on a cocktail! ;-)

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    1. OMG - I did this today and it really works! Who needs a gizmo? You and Lisa are genius and I am toasting to you as I write :-)

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  19. You are amazing. The bra looks fantastic. I'm sorry the straps did you in, and that it still does not fit, but I am happy for you learning so much during this process you may soon make a bra that actually fits!

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    1. Thank you Susan! I'm really hoping I'm going to learn something life changing. xo

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  20. Keep at it! The bra looks great and don't forget we are our own worst critics. I usually hate everything I make...

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    1. Freya: You raise a valid point! When I make things I can be SO critical. I will keep on - and keep you all posted. xo

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