My mom LOVES this pattern. LOVES it! I made the bra for her about two years ago, and despite the elastics getting rather tattered at this point she insists it is just fine and still wears it all the time. (The fabric, a microfiber I bought from Elingeria, is still in surprisingly good shape.) My mother is an incredibly practical woman that’s a self-described “old farmer,” and she spends much of her day doing physical labor. (She claims shoveling manure on a daily basis is the best exercise you can get!) Her favorite bras are soft, unstructured styles made out of stretchy fabrics. She loathes underwires, and her top priority is comfort. She has an average size bust and doesn’t require a lot of support.
Before you ask – no, I haven’t made the Cloth Habit Watson for my mom. I just don’t see the point when she’s already very happy with this one.
This bra goes together very quickly. From cutting to finishing it takes me about 1.5 hours. There’s only three pattern pieces – cup, front, and back band. It is fully lined and the seams are entirely enclosed (which is why the center front bridge needs to be a little wide at the top.) The cup shaping is done through gathers at the bottom of the cup. This gives a seamless cup, but at the same time it has the tendency to flatten since there’s no seaming to provide shaping at the apex. (Don’t expect a lot of uplift from this bra either.)
The original bra I made her fit great in the cups but was too big in the band, despite having used a fabric which had the recommended amount of stretch. After I took a 3/4″ tuck at the side she was much happier with the fit. When I made the bra again this time I transferred this 3/4″ tuck to the center of the back band. (I think it is roughly equivalent to going down three sizes.) My mom has a broad back and doesn’t like tight bands, so the band on this bra definitely seems to run big.
Another little quirk about this pattern is that the strap extension is not quite long enough, in my opinion. I extended it upward 3/8″ so it wasn’t quite as wide when folded over the 5/8″ ring.
The first bra I made this time (not pictured) was plain white matte milliskin, lined with lightweight by-the-bolt mesh from Fashion Fabrics Club. I wanted to see how my mom felt about the fit before I cut into my good fabrics. She was happy with it, so I proceed to cut out the next bra, which was a lightweight Supplex from Spandex World. (No photo of this one either since she’s wearing it today.) Rather than use the mesh again I went with a self-fabric lining. This fabric is so incredibly soft and smooth to the touch. She says the fit is perfect and the comfort level out of this world.
This pink bra is Bra #3, made out of a lightweight microfiber I bought a few years ago from Elingeria. The bow was pilfered from a RTW bra. While my mom is the least vain person I know, as her daughter I insisted on making at least one bra that wasn’t plain white :).
I lined it with the lightweight by-the-bolt mesh from Fashion Fabrics Club. See how the seams are entirely enclosed? The disadvantage to this is that there’s four layers of fiddly lycra to topstitch! (BTW I did not dye the mesh to match, it is just the pink lycra showing through the weave.)
The neckline and armhole edge are finished with 3/8″ stretch lace I had in my stash. It was from either Lace Heaven or Sew Sassy.
I attempted to dye the strap and back closure to match using Dharma Trading’s acid dye in Ballerina Pink. Unfortunately the lycra is a little bit more peachy than Ballerina Pink. On the Dharma Trading website Ballerina pink looks a little peachy, but in person the pink definitely has a cooler tone.
Some dye notes:
- Nylon accepts dye very quickly and very easily. Plan on reducing the amount of dye by 1/4-1/2 of the recommended amount for silk and wool, especially if you’re going for a less intense color. For this pale pink I think I used barely 1/32 teaspoon of dye, and the elastics were in the dye bath a total of 10 minutes.
- The bottom band elastic from Sew Sassy is a poly/nylon blend rather than 100% nylon. The plush section dyes. The picots do not. The back of the elastic dyes in a checkerboard pattern. I like the strength and durability of this elastic, but obviously this is a deal breaker for dyed-to-match projects. For this project it didn’t matter because the lycra is such a light color.
- The bottom band elastic from Fabric Depot is 100% nylon, so it dyes completely. (I think just about all of the Fabric Depot elastics are 100% nylon.)
- I like the back hook and eye closure tape from Porcelynne. The stitching is concealed, so when you dye it you don’t get those bits of white thread sticking out. This took a little longer to dye than the elastics.
- The 5/8″ strap elastic from both Sew Sassy and Fabric Depot dyes extremely quickly. I take these out of the dye bath first so the color doesn’t end up more saturated than the other elastics.
- The 3/4″ fold over elastic from the Etsy seller frogfeathers dyed in about the same amount of time as the Fabric Depot bottom band elastic – not as quickly as the strap elastic, but quicker than the back closure.
- Oddly enough, the nylon coated metal rings and sliders from Fabric Depot dyed with Jacquard acid dyes, but not the Dharma Trading acid dyes. I did a little experiment where I mixed a Jacquard acid dye with a Dharma Trading acid dye in an attempt to get a blended color, and the hardware started taking on the color of the Jacquard acid dye but not the Dharma Trading dye color. The rings and sliders take the longest to dye, and I can’t seem to get the color as saturated as the elastics. I’m ok with that though. If I am being especially picky about rings and sliders matching I’ll just use clear ones. Since the pink was so light I went with white ones for this project.