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Merckwaerdigh: BHST2 (Bra and Bustier) - Type:Lingerie
Review submitted in Lingerie Challenge Contest 2013 Contest    printable version
Viewed 640 times 1 more reviews
Review rated Helpful by 1 people    Very Helpful by 16 people   
Reviewed by:clothingengineer
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About clothingengineerstarstarstarstar
Member since: 5/7/10
Reviews written: 186
Favored by: 79 people
patterns reviewed: 176
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Posted on:10/30/13 9:32 PM
Last Updated:10/30/13 9:35 PM
Project Photo:Merckwaerdigh: BHST2 by clothingengineer

Merckwaerdigh: BHST2 by clothingengineer  Merckwaerdigh: BHST2 by clothingengineer  
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I decided for the Lingerie Contest I wanted to do a knock-off of the $220 Agent Provocateur Electra bra.

I studied the photos and description for a while, and here was the bra feature list I came up with:

  • foam cups

  • full band

  • lace overlay on the cups

  • side boning

  • leotard-style back

  • mesh band combined with strap detail at the center back

  • decorative cup channeling (meaning it faces the outside, not the inside)

  • foldover elastic for sides and bottom band, as well as a thinner foldover elastic finish for the upper cup edge

I went through my pattern stash and decided that Merckwaerdigh BHST2, view A, would be my best starting point. I would convert the front to look like the Agent Provocateur bra but leave the back alone. I preferred the pattern lace detail to the strappy Agent Provocateur back (which you can view in the link above).

My materials list is below. Everything is from Sew Sassy unless otherwise noted.

  • Foam for the cups. To hold its shape this style needs a cut and sewn foam cup.

  • strapping elastic: 1/4" for front crossover detail, 3/8" for straps and back band strapping detail

  • foldover elastic: 1/2" for binding the upper cup edge, 5/8" for finishing the armhole and upper band, 1.25" for the bottom band

  • channeling (used for boning as well as underwire casing)

  • underwires (Merckwaerdigh)

  • gray/silver stretch lace (from the sadly departed Elingeria)

  • sheer cup lining, for stabilizing the "frame" (i.e. center front and side bridge) (Bramaker's Supply)

  • back hook and eye closure (Elingeria)

  • sliders and rings (Fabric Depot and Sew Sassy)

  • powermesh (Fashion Fabrics Club)

  • cotton/lycra jersey (

  • RIT (to dye my white notions black)

  • plastic boning (Joann's)

I dyed the underband fold over elastic, the power mesh, and the 1/4" strapping elastic used for the front strap detail. This was the first time I dyed something using the black RIT dye and I am not happy with the result. It ended up being a deep gray with heavy blue undertones instead of black. I pre washed in strathapol, doubled the dye amount, and stirred it on the stove for at least 15 minutes so I'm not sure why it turned out this way. Should have ordered the good stuff from Dharma. Luckily I think the resulting color works with the gray lace.

I got to work first tracing the cup from BHST2. This bra is surprisingly easy to knock off. I started with a 32/70B and cut the traced cups out of thin foam, butted the edges together, and sewed them with a 3-step zig-zag stitch. I then held it up to me, took a pen, and redrew where I wanted the new cup edge to be. I ended up taking off 1" from the inner cup at the center front edge. I also raised the armhole edge 1/2" and the center front 1/4" to allow for a full coverage underwire. When I last made up this pattern I found the side coverage rather scanty so I extended the underwire line 1/2".

I then started working on the pattern for the cup covering. I took my new foam cup pieces and retraced, adding seam allowances. These pieces were for the black cotton/lycra jersey - seam allowances needed to be added to the center seam because unlike the foam, the edges are sewn rather than butted together. Once sewn together it would be stretched over the cup to cover it. When I stretched it over the cup I zig-zagged the it to the edge of the foam cups using a small, narrow zig-zag and then finished the upper cup edge with the 1/2" fold over elastic.

The next step was making the pattern for the lace overlay. I took the cotton/lycra jersey pattern pieces, arranged them so they met together at the upper part of the center front seam, and then traced the resulting shape. (I was essentially converting a princess seam to a dart.) I then measured my lace - it had about a 1/2" difference between the upper and lower lace "points" - and drew a straight line on my pattern piece connecting the armhole edge of the upper cup to the center front edge. I then drew another line 1/2" down from that and lined up my lower lace points with that line. The result would be lace points that extended up to the upper cup edge but not past it. I sewed the dart together and then stretched it over the cup, and zig-zagged along the lace edge using a small, narrow zig-zag.

I then constructed the bra as usual, only instead of flipping the channeling to the inside I sewed it to the outside. If you are sensitive to the feel of an underwire this helps cushion it a bit more than the usual method.

When it came time to add that 1/4" elastic strapping detail to the front I tacked it with my machine to the center of the cup, and then tried it on and went by look and feel as to where to place the elastic and how much to stretch it.

Normally I can sew a bra in about 3 hours. This one took me 5.5 hours due to the extra details (and a couple of sewing mistakes I had to redo).

This writeup, along with photos of the Agent Provocateur bra, has also been posted in my blog.

I also have a modeled photo here.
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38 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
Immelu said...
Wow, great bra!!! I like your version better!
10/30/13 9:54 PM
annakeeton said...
Wow, this turned out super!
10/30/13 9:59 PM
minggiddylooloo said...
Absolutely stunning, Ann! You did a fantastic job, I'm so inspired by your beautiful work. I've never heard of this company before but I put some of their patterns in my Etsy cart right now!
10/30/13 10:04 PM
RoseE said...
Dazzled! Wow that is so beautiful! On my wish list and will be purchasing those patterns from your Etsy shop.
10/30/13 11:31 PM
Carolyn.S said...
WOW! This turned out absolutely beautiful!! You did an absolutely brilliant job; it looks soooo high end :)
10/30/13 11:46 PM
KathB said...
I can only add to the superlatives: impressive!! Your project is a work of art:)
10/31/13 0:41 AM
Annette Wright said...
I totally LOVE the back detailing. I will use the idea on one of my own. What a sexy little bra you've got there.
10/31/13 0:55 AM
lacroise1 said...
That's just beautiful!
10/31/13 3:36 AM
Sigrid. said...
Outstanding job. How beautiful too.
10/31/13 3:57 AM
Quickie said...
You did what you promised....
10/31/13 4:03 AM
mnitts said...
This is gorgeous!
10/31/13 4:27 AM
sfshaza said...
Gorgeous!! I love everything about this beautiful bra. I will say that I used iDye recently - the first time I dyed polyester, and it worked great! (Purchased from Dharma, but other places have it, too.)
10/31/13 5:19 AM
KensingtonCrab said...
10/31/13 6:24 AM
Jstarr4250 said...
Unbelievably gorgeous. A stunning piece of sewing. Yours is so much more appealing than the overstuffed original!
10/31/13 7:14 AM
cindyann said...
That bra is fantastic! Well done!!!
10/31/13 9:12 AM
sewingsilly said...
Very nice!! I actually drafted this lace when I was a textile drafter. Nice to see it used to make something so pretty!! The lace is nylon or poly and I'm sorry to say RIT dye will not take on this fiber content to get a rich black color.
10/31/13 10:50 AM
sewbehind said...
Gorgeous knock off. Engineering at its finest.
10/31/13 10:52 AM
j Renee Design said...
Amazing, as usual. You are my lingerie sewing idol!
10/31/13 11:00 AM
sewmaris said...
One word: GORGEOUS!!
10/31/13 11:32 AM
Jeffer said...
Super impressive! Wow, a stunningly gorgeous bra.
10/31/13 12:15 PM
Ms. McCall said...
Holy wow, that is amazing!
10/31/13 1:15 PM
Andrea67 said...
10/31/13 7:22 PM
Amanda.Claire said...
Beautiful bra!!
10/31/13 10:35 PM
ClioBklyn said...
Holy cow, this is beautiful!! It also reminds me of Marlies Dekker bras.
11/1/13 11:15 AM
clothingengineer said...
sewingsilly - I can't believe you drafted this lace! I dyed some of the elastics and mesh though, the lace was already this beautiful gray color. I had good results before using RIT on nylon so that's why I was kind of disappointed that it didn't seem to work as well this time.
11/1/13 11:28 AM
Judy Kski said...
What a knockout bra! You do beautiful work.
11/1/13 2:50 PM
JDpenelope said...
Your bra is even more provocative than the original Agent Provocateur bra! And the grey lace IMHO is actually better than the black would have been. Though I will never reach your level, I still want to try a bra, though it will no doubt be UN-provacative. LOL.
11/2/13 8:48 AM
ryan's mom said...
Super! What a terrific knockoff!!
11/2/13 9:23 AM
JetSetSewing said...
Gorgeous! The review info is so helpful, too. Makes me want to try bra-making.
11/2/13 1:27 PM
madbadger said...
You nailed it! Great looking bra!
11/3/13 5:06 PM
Sunnie49 said...
I really like the strap you have coming from the centre front to the main shoulder strap - looks as though that feat of engineering would def provide super support. Beautifully sewn and I like your version better that the inspiration as well!
11/5/13 7:32 AM
droxy said...
amazing and a fantastic write up!
11/5/13 10:24 AM
Betty Stitchup said...
Fabulous - looks better than the original!
11/5/13 7:58 PM
treefrog said...
Fantastic! Thanks for the detailed review
11/6/13 4:41 PM
2mulie said...
sewing the channeling to the outside is pure genius!
11/6/13 5:19 PM
kealoha said...
Incredible!!! Great job, it looks amazing!
11/8/13 2:44 PM
Sue Parrott said...
Wow! Beautiful!
11/13/13 10:50 AM
ASiverson said...
Wow is right. Terrific work and beautiful bra. TFS!
11/13/13 11:52 AM
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