Bra #2: A Basic Push-Up

Last year I took a bramaking course taught by Anne St. Clair, which I posted about here. The result was a really well fitting bra...that I rarely ever wear. Why? Well, it's not exactly pretty. But most of all, it doesn't have any padding! Now I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I've gotten so used to wearing padded t-shirt bras that I feel like I don't look right without at least a little extra shaping under there. Especially under more fitted tops.

I've been meaning to make myself another bra for almost a year, but I was honestly scared to tackle it on my own. I had a lot of help in class and now I can't remember most of it. And since my two best fitting bras are quickly becoming stretched out, unwearable messes, Amy of Cloth Habit's Bramaking Sewalong couldn't have come at a better time!

I would have loved to make a pretty, lacy bra in a more exciting color but I knew that's not what I would end up wearing. Since I'm really in need of a basic, everyday number this is what I made:

I used a pair of molded push-up bra cups that I already had and sandwiched them in between the outer cup and lining fabrics. After stretching the fabric over the cups and pinning, I hand basted all three layers together so that it would be easier to sew onto the band. That was well worth the extra time as I'm pretty sure it would have been a disaster if I hadn't. I decided to cut off the extra fabric that goes up into the straps in favor of a balconnet look.

My machine was not liking this tricot fabric AT ALL when I first started so I finally went out and bought a walking foot and a set of new stretch needles. Problem solved! My only big issue through this whole thing was that center front seam. I have no idea how to make that work - it's such a tiny area and the molded cups made it extremely difficult to sew even with a narrow zipper foot. That seam still looks wonky, but I did the best I could. I actually wound up hand stitching to reinforce it because the machine stitches were not looking stable! I think next time I will elliminate the center seam altogether. None of my RTW bras have it anyway and I don't think it's needed.

I also used twill tape over that center seam, as recommended by the pattern. Yet another reason to get rid of that next time! I am glad I lined it though, it looks much nicer (and feels nicer too!).

The bows were made out of picot-edged ribbon and stitched on by hand. It makes it feel a little less basic and helps hide a few messy stitches in those areas.

So, how does it fit? AMAZING. I need to get over my bra-making anxiety so that I can make a whole drawer full (this is really the reason it took me so long - those precise seams and stretchy fabrics just make me nervous, even though they turned out just fine!). Why does it fit amazing?

- The band stays in place. I can do jumping jacks if I want, this thing isn't going anywhere!

- I can't even feel these underwires! I had to double check after putting it on, even though I damn well remembered putting them in there! Every underwired bra I own digs in at the sides so that feels like a minor miracle.

- The seam isn't visible under a t-shirt. All that obsessive steam pressing over a tailor's ham paid off!

It is just a bit tight at the top of the cups, but I'm thinking that will improve with wear. I much prefer it over the solid inch of gaping at the top of my other bras. Hoorah!

Just for comparison, here is a picture of my first bra (made from Anne's Bra Elite pattern) against the new one:

Much better!

Huge, huge thanks to Amy and everyone who participated in the sewalong discussion board on Flickr. I learned so much!

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