|Pattern Description: A balconette type bra with a three part cup, underwires and foam lining. The bra forms a horizontal line on top of the breasts and, therefore, goes well with clothes that have a wide and open neckline. The bra provides good support and a beautiful shape for the breasts. Suitable also as strapless and a bikini top.|
Pattern Sizing:70B, 70C, 70D, 70DD, 70F, 75A, 75B, 75C, 75D, 75DD, 75F, 75G, 80AA, 80A, 80B, 80C, 80D, 80DD, 80F, 85A, 85B, 85C, 85D, 85DD, 90A, 90B, 90C, 90D, 95A, 95B, 95C.
I made a 75B.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? She includes only the briefest of pattern instructions with the pattern, and you are expected to go to her website to view the tutorial if you need more in-depth instructions. The website instructions are very good. Lots of detail and photos. I didn't need them but I will take a look at them next time, just in case if there's any little details I missed.
I'm not sure if the instructions have you do this, but when I was attaching the fabric to the foam I first topstitched the seams in place, then I stretched it over the foam and stitched right in the seam, in the middle of the topstitching, to secure it in place. I then stitched the fabric in place 1/8" from the edge all around the cup and then trimmed the extra fabric away. The stitching that secures the fabric to the cup is invisible.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that it is drafted specifically for use with foam. The balconette neckline looks great with my wide necklines. While for obvious reasons you want a stretchy fabric for the band, the cups can be any fabric you want - even woven fabrics. It also has a lot of potential as a strapless bra with a few tweaks. The seams are almost nonexistent under a t-shirt because they sink into the foam.
The only thing I disliked was that I thought an extra piece should have been included for the interfacing. If you don't interface the bridge from top to bottom in the center front it will stretch out of shape as soon as you put it on. Also it would have been helpful to add some notches to the lower cup fabric pieces so you can tell which sides should be sewn together. I ended up adding in a couple of little notches to my pattern after I sewed this.
Fabric Used: Stretch satin lycra (Fabric Depot). The foam is pre-finished foam from Bramaker's Supply. You can get a similar foam from Sew Sassy or Fabric Depot that's twice the width for almost half the price. Look for something like "polyester laminate foam" or "tricot bonded poly filler". It is 1/8" thick. I used sheer cup lining from Bramaker's Supply for the bridge interfacing.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
For design, I chose not to add the boning at the side. I didn't feel like I needed it.
I'm between band sizes according to the measurement chart on the Make Bra website. I also didn't know if I would be a B or C cup. I bought a 70 band because I was between the 70 and 75 for the band size, and I round down when it comes to RTW. I should have rounded up because when I compared the pattern to one of my other patterns, it was too short. I slashed the back band and spread it 3/4" (this is how you adjust the band in Merckwaerdigh patterns for the different sizes). I traced the 70C size, which makes my final MakeBra size a 75B. This is also my Merckwaerdigh bra size. It is like a 34B in Pin-up Girls patterns.
I always have had issues with bras gaping/wrinkling at the wire line by the underarm. This bra is no different. I adjusted the pattern piece for next time by taking out a 1/2" dart in the outer lower cup piece from the armhole just above the wire line to the bottom of the cup.
I didn't interface to the bottom of the bridge so I have a tiny bit of gaping in this area. I'm going to interface it better next time so I can make sure it is just the stretch of the fabric that is the cause and not the bottom of the bridge being too wide for me.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, absolutely, and now that I am familiar with the fit next time I won't do such a rushed job on it . It is a great pattern if you want to make your own bras and want the modesty of foam but don't want to deal with trying to find fabric that's stretchy enough to go over the cups without puckering or collapsing the cup. It is perfect for a bikini top and also has tons of potential as a strapless bra if you add some silicon-backed elastic, take in the band a little bit, and maybe add some boning in the center front. The Make Bra website is FULL of useful information and I think even a beginner to bra making would find plenty of resources. I've emailed the owner before and she was extremely responsive.
Conclusion: More details and photos on my blog