Always eager to try new patterns I had been following the posts for Beverly Johnson’s Jewel Collection of bra patterns. As usual I get drawn in by a discount so when Fit2Sew, UK distibutor for Bra-makers Supply, launched their new website with 30% discount I stocked up on a few patterns! First up is the Ruby, “an off-set vertical seamed cup for the roundest styling, and a shortened upper cup for maximum lift”. A lot to live up to but, oh boy, no wonder I am obsessed with making lingerie.
The pattern uses a unique sizing system based on your Bottom Cup Depth (BCD). Taking my own measurements in a mirror was a sight to be seen but hey, I’m an accountant and don’t normally have much to laugh about. I did a little more reading on Beverly’s blog about sizing and using her methods I came up with my RTW size. So I was really excited to see how well this would work out, although I need no excuse to get on and finish. For each BCD there is a band size which is your rib cage measurement. I made up a little paper cup just to check the size out against my RTW.
I wanted to make this in lace so I first had to redraft the frame, following Beverly’s Craftsy Class, adding a seam allowance to the centre front and taking off the bottom band elastic allowance.
I also marked the foam pattern pieces in red so I didn’t get them confused with the fabric set.
Then on to the huge decision as to what fabric to make it in. For me this means getting the stash out of very tightly packed plastic boxes. The first choice was the leopard print lace. Again, another recent post, reminded me of this lace from Tailor Made. I chose a skin tone foam rather than black as I didn’t want the cups to be obviously foam lined.
Cutting foam isn’t my favourite task. I find it easier to draw around each piece and cut out separately. I do check both sides are the same size. Then I mark the notches with a heat erasable pen. This is a four piece cup so it is really important to line up each piece.
I really like pattern instructions that give you stitch sizes and this is especially important when butting up the foam pieces. As expected from a Beverly pattern, the cups came together beautifully and I could move on the to the covers. I should mention that you need to stabilise the inside of the neckline and underarm edges of the foam.
All the seams are opened up and top stitched on either side, close to the seam line. I trimmed back to the stitching on the upper cup seams so they lay even flatter against the foam. I then placed the fabric over the foam ensuring all the seam lines matched before machine basting all around the cup. I would normally attach fold over elastic in two passes but the pattern has you use a glue stick and then stitch in one pass with a small zigzag. As there is no stretching of the FOE this worked really well.
For the frame I chose to line with beige duoplex rather than sheer cup lining so that it would have the same appearance from the front as the cups, I used a temporary spray adhesive to hold in place. I opened up the centre seam and again topstitched either side, trimming back to the stitching for a neat finish. Next, I would normally put on the back bands but went straight to inserting the cups into the frame to ensure the lace stayed in place.
Then I put on the back bands. As I had adapted the frame for a lace edge I needed to ensure that the band extended past the frame to allow the fold back of the elastic. I then trimmed the duoplex back slightly so that when I folded towards the cup and top stitched it did not show through.
On the first pass you apply the elastic to the bottom band as normal, stopping at the point the band joins the frame and again on the other side of the frame. Then I turned the elastic to the inside of the frame, pinned at the centre front to ensure symmetrical and stitched down on the opposite side of the frame.
I thought I would share how I attach the wire casing. First, I change from a stretch to a microtex needle and then I use my stitch in the ditch foot. I have the blade of the foot just covering the stitching line and I butt the casing up against this and move my needle over slightly to sew within the seam allowance. Perfect result every time.
With the underarm elastic done just the straps and fastener to do. As always I check the fit of the fastener before I attach the strap at the back. Just a little to take off. The straps are made in two pieces. The front strap should be reinforced with ribbon to stop stretching although I did omit this for my version. The only black rings I had were a little small and the foam front didn’t really want to go through. This is one reason why I leave the tails on my elastic. I overlapped the the underarm and FOE elastic to in effect extend and fold this over the ring. I hand stitched in place and then trimmed back to where I wanted the seam to finish. Then I used a small narrow zigzag to overlap the edge. So neat.
The bra used quite a lot of the lace so I had to think what underwear I could make. This just keeps happening to me, but Evie La Luve introduced an update for the Esme that morning! The PDF came in and within hours I had made a new version.
I put together two versions, using a lace front and a mesh back. This would fit perfectly with the look of the bra. I followed the instructions for the front, basting the lace gusset to the lining and applying picot elastic to the sides and then attaching to front. The updated version of the pattern finishes in a different order. The back pieces are placed over the front pieces, the waist elastic applied and then the backs are stitched together, finished by attaching the back to the gusset.
I enclosed the back seam by placing one folded back piece over the other and stitching through all layers. You pull through to the right side and the seam is enclosed. This is the method I picked up from the Orange Lingerie Montgomery Brief, although this is the first time I have done it on a curved seam but it looks fabulous. Finally I applied the FOE to the waist in the round and attached the back to the gusset.
Well how beautiful do they look. I am getting pretty good at this lingerie lark!
Another astonishing success. The bra fits perfectly and is a fabulous shape. I just need some ladies who will let me practice in other sizes. And, Evie La Luve has also updated the Bella for even more possiblilites. Christmas sewing here I come.