Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Component Parts

You know how I went back to Figleaves to repurchase my fave bra so that I could dissect an older (pre-owned) version that's nearing the end of its lifespan? Well, though that bra's been regular stock for years, the new one I purchased was too big (even though the size was "right") and when I sent it back for the size down, I was advised that there are no more to be had and it won't be available going forward.


That is really hard to take - even though it was equally hard to take cutting up a bra under any circumstances. Thank goodness the risk mitigator in me refused to allow the unstitching of the current bra till the new one arrived safe and sound. Can you imagine how horrible that would have been?

I'm about to make a new bra from a new bra pattern - one I haven't tried before. Who knows if it will be as unsuccessful, fitwise, as the other 2 patterns I've used, but I figure I owe this pattern a fighting chance before I try to source another repurchased version of a bra I already own and rip that one up. I'm a little gun shy...

Fortunately, I have some beautiful new supplies from Bra Components to use in this endeavour. My contact, Jen, and the owner / head dyer Craig, kindly gifted these to me as samples so that I can tell y'all about the experience of ordering and (eventually) using the supplies.

Turns out that Craig started this small, but growing, concern after 20 years of dye experience in the fashion industry. He's dyed product for lingerie companies such as Wacoal and Victoria's Secret.

What prompted me to try Bra Components, aside from curiosity and the desire to expand my network, is that I was limited - when ordering elsewhere - from getting components in colours that matched my fabric. (Components include: closures, rings/slides, strapping, chanelling (the thing that holds the wire), elastics and more.)

See, even though I'm crazy enough to make bras, I absolutely draw the line at dying fabric. I mean, it's messy! Having made 7 bras in either black or pink, I want to expand the options. Next bra, as it happens, will be indigo. Yes, it looks practically black but it's not. And, quite honestly, with someone to manage the dying, the bra-making world has become my oyster.

My newly dyed components are an excellent match to my fabric swatch (which I sent to Jen for matching, as is one's prerogative). You can also choose from a massive pantone drop-down list (if you know the pantone of your fabric, for example, or if you've got a good eye and can determine the pantone visually from your fabric.) I can also say that the service is prompt and affordable - the shipping rate is reasonable even to Canada!

I will let you know how I enjoy the straps, elastic, rings/slides and channeling as I apply them to my next project.

Now all I've got to do is master the fit and I'll be unstoppable :-)

PS: The CreativFestival, coming to the Toronto Convention Centre October 22-24, will include a couple of bra-making courses taught by Beverly Johnson of Bra-Makers Supply. If any of you are close-by, and looking to develop a new sewing skill, it might be useful to register. There are zillions of other courses to try out also, so check it out. I really hope I'll have a chance to go...


  1. Geesh, I want to go to that Creative Festival. Someday.

    And I have been very intrigued by the link to the Bra Components site as color matching is a really big deal for me. Sooner or later I'm going to cross over to the dark side and sew bras.

  2. I popped into Victoria's Secret today--first time in about 8 years--to buy some simple staples and was appalled at how the quality had diminished. Flimsy this, ill-fitting that due to construction flaws, and annoyingly upbeat (read: unhelpful) teen salesperson. Left empty handed but educated.

  3. Can't WAIT to see how your bras turn out. Have fun!

  4. Have you read James Howard Kunstler's book World Made By Hand? It takes place after peak oil, when modern life as we know it has fallen apart---no internet, no government, no utilities, etc.---and one of the laments is no new underwear! It's so complicated to make that no one can manage and after a few years everyone's, but especially the women's, underwear has fallen to shreds and there is none to be had. In this kind of scenario you would find yourself highly skilled and in demand. Really enjoy your postings.

  5. Mardel: I predict you'll be doing it this year (bra making, I mean).

    Miss C: Victoria's Secret is a sign of world chaos, IMO.

    Sewn: If you look back, I've already posted about a few that I've made. The search feature can help to find them...

    Gail: I haven't but it sounds FASCINATING! Let's just hope I never have to put those skills to the test :-) And thank you for reading...