Monday, September 1, 2014

Making the Longline Lounge Bra: A Conclusion

It's really bad when you sew all day, when one of the two projects on the table is home dec (ugh), and that's the only thing you can take some pleasure in.

The good news: My kids 80s room is coming along. Her new, white sheers are gorgeous, hanging on a matte black rod. I did a very professional job on those drapes, if I do say so myself. If she weren't still sleeping (and if it weren't hideously gray here, what else is new?), I'd take a photo.

The other news: Who's surprised? My lounge bra failed. I mean, it wasn't the worst fail I've ever had. After muslin 2's fail, I have now altered the pattern yet again (not that I have any confidence at this point), to:
  • Increase length of cups (I'd already made an alteration to increase depth on muslin 2.)
  • Add back some of the length I took off the back band. Why must I always go 100 times too far when making an alteration??
  • But here's the main change - I altered the one-piece, back band to have a 3x3 hook and eye closure. It's still a longline bra, but with a scoop back. I wonder if that is capable of working but I figure, if nothing is apt to work, why not tackle engineering? There is no way for me to get the structure in the band I require if the only way to put this thing on is over-the-head (with no closures). We ladies with full, projected busts know this. But sometimes it's nice to believe there's another way.
I have no comfort that the front cup will fit any better, even with my changes. I'm back to the: shorten the front cup to prevent gaping / then it's too short to fit under the bust scenario. I'm hoping that the alterations I've made to the back band - which, this iteration, was truly too tight and the cause of distortion in the cups - will allow the side cup to come forward in such a way that the front cup provides more coverage (but doesn't gape). The extra length will, hopefully allow for the under bust seam to fit securely at the inframammary fold...

Y'all know it's a losing battle and I do not intend to spend the effort to make another 6 muslins to prove that. I've put the thrice-altered pattern away, though technically it's ready to go if I ever decide to try again.

The thing that pisses me off most is that I sacrificed a weekend of gym-going to do this, and I got nothing. It was not fun. It did not yield a successful finished product. Here I complain about how impossible it is to do everything, so I make a decision to prioritize the thing I like to do most (at the peril of my waist circumference) and it fails utterly. So stupid.

There are no photos of the finished item, I'm afraid. I cut it to shreds (for parts) and threw it in the garbage.

But the least I can do is provide a brief review of the pattern itself.

Oooh Lulu Longline Bralet 1404:
  • It's very easy to assemble. Bras are little so most of the pieces fit on one piece of paper!
  • The instructions are complete, and clear, though I might have done certain things differently (and I did). The flattest, strongest seam (to the best of my knowledge) is produced with a 0.25 seam allowance which is then pressed open and top-stitched down on either side along the full length of the original seam. Serged seams and 1/2 inch seam allowances were recommended and I really don't think they're right for the job.
  • As with most bra patterns, it's unlikely to fit anyone out of the envelope. Whatever the (small) likelihood of a woven shirt to fit perfectly, magnify it by 1000 and that's the likelihood of a bra pattern fitting someone without meaningful alteration. 
  • A propos of the bullet above, this pattern is designed for a VERY shallow bust. Not even a wide one. True, more busts fall into the shallow spectrum, but that doesn't mean a too-small shallow bra will fit most shallow (and wide) shapes. I suspect this pattern was drafted to be appealingly simple for users. That makes it less useful overall than it would have been if more complexity had been applied to the shaping. Note: It still wouldn't work for me, but it would probably meet the needs of many more sewists than it currently does. Alas, most sewists don't seem to care about the nitty-gritty of fit (even as they pay it lip service) which is why - I assert - lots of people will make this and opt to assume it fits.
  • The drafting - which we reviewers love to dwell on, for better or worse - is very good. All of the pieces match when you walk the seams. There are no errors in markings. Just because I don't love what's been drafted (vis a vis the cups), doesn't mean I can quibble with the skill applied in drafting it.
Today's questions: Have you made this bra and, if yes, what was your experience? Did it fit? Did you alter it? Has anyone altered it to add hook/eye closures? If yes, what was your experience? What's the last really disappointing sewing weekend you've had? Please make me feel better about this total waste of time! Let's talk...


  1. As per Instagram (though you aren't on there, so you'll have to wait till I blog it) I spent yesterday hacking a faux-wrap dress, which turned out *almost* unwearabley stripey. Have a good long time of thinking the patterning was all wrong, but it did kinda turn out the style I wanted in the end....

  2. I don't know how the words "unwearable" and "stripey" can go together?! :-)

  3. At least the drapes turned out? That's so frustrating! I am so close to starting my first bra (muslin went scarily well) but there are just too many other things (with deadlines) on the go right now. :(

    1. I know! And they'll be front and centre for a long time. Good luck with your muslins. Really, you're the perfect candidate for homemade bras.

  4. That's exactly why I haven't made this bra (I own the pattern - and the culottes (same gal)). I waited to make jeans until I took JStern's jeans class and I'm glad I did -- I have the perfect block to alter other patterns -- I wonder if you need the same with the bra -- I fear I do. That said - -I wouldn't mind trying this out. I have an extra wide bust (not shallow) and average boobies:) Very wide back too, compared to the rest of my body. Good for kayaking, surfing and swimming, though. I'm sorry you didn't have more fun in your bra-making adventures. This pattern kinda scares me because all the models are think and have smallish busts. . . .

    1. It's not designed wide so consider that if you opt to make it. Maybe compare it to another bra that looks similar and alter first.

  5. I admire you, really. On my most frustrating weekend of sewing I made grey jeans from the same patterns I used (somewhat successfully) before, only to realize the front crotch was way too long and it looked like I had a sock in my underwear. I then tried on the first pair, as well as the RTW pair the pattern was copied from, and realized I had a similar problem with both pairs as well (only in darker shades I didn't notice it as much). some mornings I take they grey pair out of the closet, try them on, and realize the front crotch is too awful to wear in public. In my mind though I do have a pair of grey jeans in the closet. go figure.

    I'm on the fence with making my own bra. I'm barely a cup A so I usually wear sports bras because I can't find anything in my size without major padding. It will be nice to have something "proper" to wear, but I can't find a good pattern in my size.

    1. Oh, thank you Roni! I hear you on pants that hang in the rise. It's such a bad look :-) Keep on! We'll get there eventually, no matter the challenge.

  6. This is coming from a place of love, I swear... :)
    Why do you do this to yourself? Aren't there other things you'd rather futz around with that won't leave you in this state of vague despair?

    1. It's masochism! I can't help it! But I'm getting better, no? At least now I say fuck it and walk away... (After 2 days.)