Thursday, June 13, 2013

two random Thursday thoughts...

I've been much taken up lately with the idea of making my own custom bras, not just the simple sports-bra style that I've made for the last twenty years or more, but decorative fancy/pretty ones, like I'd long given up hope of every having. I went to Nordstroms a few months ago to try and get "fitted", and they didn't have anything; then went to a small boutique nearby on Alberta "The Pencil Test", where it was discovered why it has been so difficult for so long, the size(s) that actually fit our plucky heroine are not common. There were a few to try on, but nothing that was "just right"...

I have TNT garment patterns, why not add in lingerie? There is a fair amount of information online, and I just checked out two books from the library. In the back of my mind I am cogitating on frankenpatterning... Like anything else, as far as custom sewing, it involves a lot lot lot of trial and error to get the pattern right, and a fair amount of fitting, but the actual sewing sounds to be not that time consuming (once the pattering is sorted out) This will be a rather long term project... even more complicated than my t-shirt project, which took about four trial patterns to get right... but just think how nifty it will be!

One of the difficulties is that even here in Portland - City of the Independent Fabric Stores, most of the particular supplies are not available. I ended up finding a few of the needful fabrics, and one of the several plush elastics at Mill Ends (still need to scope out Fabric Depot), but just ordered underwires from Merckwaerdigh in the Netherlands, for my DIY bra experiments. Why is it cheaper to order from across the planet than from Canada??

Huzzah for Sharon Rose! Girl is seeing some gradual improvement in my baseline pain, acupuncture is definitely making a difference. While recreational walking is still not really an option, necessary walking is getting easier, and today the up and down stairs was almost normal. The strange neuro-pain in my left arm, which occasioned the horribly drama-llama visit from the 911 boys, is easing off, hopefully not to return.


  1. You are very plucky to embark on making lingerie. For some reason I think it must be more fussy than my fussy-tolerance level. May you be an inspiration!

    It's great news about the acupuncture and pain levels!!!!

    1. well, Claire, I just figure that by making my own, I can get something that fits the way I want it to, and once I have a TNT pattern, it will not really take more than a few hours per bra. I have been making my own sports-bra style ones for years now, and that takes only an hour to an hour and a half from cutting out to being wearable. The process might be fussy, but the seams are REALLY short!

      My band size is 38, which it has been forever, but the cup size, well, that is the challenge. My current plan is to frankenpattern a bra I scored at Goodwill here... the band is the right size and shape, and the underwire IS the right size, but the cup size and shape is not a good match for my shape.

      It actually seems to me like the base of my chest/breasts is one size and the actual breast is bigger, if that makes any sense. I followed some patternmaking information and cut a slice partway through the cup, to allow it to become wider where I am bigger, when I did that, the band stopped hanging out away from my body and fit properly against my sternum! This means that the cup shape needs to be bigger, but the underwire does NOT. (with an underwire size that fits "normally" for my cup size, the width is too wide and part of the wire is under my armpit, which is excruciatingly uncomfortable)

      The other thing that is really challenging is the current "style" of most bras, whether large or small, has the shoulder strap coming up towards the outside edge of the breast. I have weenie little shoulders, and the straps pretty much almost fall off! which is another reason why I am thinking that the real solution is DIY my own. Fortunately I am not afraid of flat pattern manipulation, or of making multiple mock-ups.

      My hope is that once I figure out and adapt the pattern, that I can stitch up a whole wardrobe of pretty bras for the cost of one or two from the boutique! (Bras in my size mostly start over $50 apiece) Life is too short not to have some pretty lingerie, and I have wanted this for decades...