Woohoo! Just finished Make Bra DL01, which is a foam cup balconette bra. The matching panties are Make Bra DL21. The fabric and lace are from a Merckwaerdigh kit. The decorative picot elastic is from Sew Sassy.
I think I met my new favorite bra! The foam very very subtly enhances my shape without adding bulk and the foam straps are very comfortable and stay in place. The straps are set wide enough so that I can wear this with wider necklines, but not so wide that they will fall down. The cups are cut low enough to be a little sexy, but still give very good coverage. It is absolutely perfect.
Originally this pattern was published by Make Bra in sizes 75C (34C) and above. I emailed Annele, the Make Bra designer, and asked if there was any plans to make it in 75B. She got back to me within a day and had the new sizes up on the website. She must be have attended the same class on customer service as StyleArc!
I really like how this is published as a download. Bras are small enough that there’s only a few pages to print, and I saved $$ by not having to pay for shipping from Europe.
Adjustments and Little Tweaks
My previous MakeBra used a 75 band. I had some gaping around the upper cup as well as a general feeling of it being too loose, especially after wearing it for a couple of hours. So after doing some tucks and pinching out fabric here and there I decided the issue was that I needed to go down a band size. I measure between 75 and 70 on Make Bra’s size chart. Going down instead of up helped a lot. This cup does NOT gape at all. The fit is actually the most perfect I’ve ever gotten out of the envelope from a bra pattern. To adjust the band I removed 3/8″ from the front band piece and 3/8″ from the back band piece at the seam where the boning is placed.
Since I wanted fancy elastic around the neckline and have issues applying foldover elastic (still waiting on a binder foot for my Janome) I decided to add a 1/4″ seam allowance and use normal lingerie elastic instead. It was more complicated than foldover elastic but I like the final effect.
I underlined the entire front piece in sheer cup lining by cutting a second front band piece and machine basting it to the lace. Make Bra has you only line to a few inches below the bridge. I did this with my first bra but didn’t like the loose feeling of the lower part of the bridge. I also pulled the elastic a little bit more in this area to make sure it stayed close to my body during wear.
Since I didn’t have a wide enough lace to cut the front and back band as one piece I cut them as two and seamed them together.
Unlike my first bra, I decided to add the suggested boning to the sides. I used some extra bra channeling to create the casing and stitched it to the side seam so the seam was fully encased. I don’t notice it at all when I wear it but it does help give a little bit more structure.
The back closure is very wide on this. I trimmed it down over 1″ to better fit my usual closure, and trimmed it down even more to fit the slightly narrower than average closure included with the Merckwaerdigh bra kit.
Other General Notes About Working with Make Bra Patterns
Aside from making sure the band is cut with the greatest degree of stretch going across, there’s no need to pay attention to grainlines with Make Bra. Since you use a foam lining the fabric options are limitless and even include regular woven fabrics. This is a nice concept that really lets you play with the direction of prints, or squeeze the pieces onto very small sections of fabric.
I have found it easiest to cut the foam in a single layer – two layers at a time is just too wiggly and ends up taking me more time!
When I covered the cup with the fabric it ended up collapsing a little in some sections, but when I wear it the collapsed parts fill out and the fabric appears smooth. So while you don’t want the entire cup to collapse, pulling the fabric a little more over the cup will help eliminate sagging, especially if you use a stretchier knit. It is a fine balance.
I find that I get a more seamless look when I topstitch using a regular straight stitch 1/8″ away from the seamline instead of doing a small zig-zag and then trimming like Make Bra recommends.
Using underwire casing instead of the casing that’s included with plastic boning makes it a lot more comfortable to wear.
I find the band most comfortable and has the best fit when made out of a fabric with 50-60% stretch.
My measurements are 32″ upper bust, 34.5″ full bust, and 28.5″ underbust. For me a 70C (32C) gives the best fit. I use normal 32C/34B underwires from Sew Sassy for Make Bra patterns. These are also known as the “long” underwires from Bramaker’s Supply.
The only adjustments I made to the panty were adding little lace inserts at the front seams before sewing the front to the back. I attached the overlaid part of the lace using a 3-step zig-zag stitch. It only takes a few extra minutes to do but adds a nice touch.
I am between a medium and large in the Make Bra panty sizing (about 41″ hip), and for this fabric with 50% firm stretch a Medium is perfect. If using a fabric with more than a 50% soft stretch I would go down to a Small.