The Floral Satin Bustier

I’ve just spent the last five minutes scrolling through synonyms to try and find a single word to adequately sum up how I feel about this project. Delighted? Infatuated? Ecstatic? I feel like the proverbial cat that ate the canary. I feel as though I’ve succeeded in some nefarious plot and gotten away both unscathed and a million bucks richer (I wish..). I feel…

Well. I finished this bra, put it on, and I’ve pretty much been peeking down my shirt to stare at my own boobs in awe all day, if that gives you an idea. I feel like dancing.

Hi, friend! you should know that this is a Really. Long. Post. Proceed with caution, or scroll for pictures.

IMG_9442

Yep, that’s right. I broke out the fancy camera lens for this one.

I’ll admit to some second thoughts at my abilities after the second one, but seriously. I’m so excited about this, but I’m going to start at the beginning and I hope it makes some kind of sense. It started when Lynda asked a few of her bramaking friends to test drive some beautiful new floral satin she’d just got in stock, and I saw one of the resulting beauties on instagram. I knew at that moment that I had to have it, and Lynda was kind enough to send me some before she’d even had a chance to list it in her store.

IMG_9265

Remember this? SO PRETTY

I also asked for some of her new 19mm strap and underbust elastic (which is AMAZING, let me tell you, but we’ll get to that) – and when she apologized for being an enabler and mentioned some matching lace, I couldn’t resist. When the package arrived, I discovered that she’d also included some of her beautiful, hand dyed satin channeling as a gift (it’s the reddish curly stuff in the bottom corner of the photo above) and let me just tell you, it not only made my day, it also made the inside of this bra look way better than the black I was planning to use would have. It really does pull the whole inside together.

IMG_9445

There was a guy that walked past the front yard right after I took this. Funniest double take I’ve seen this month.

So, my package came, and I set it on my sewing table and stared at it every day until the weekend, when I promptly got distracted and ended up with last week’s shirt and baby hat instead. This was partially because I’d realized that my original black powernet and cup lining was going to hide the pretty detail of the lace, and partially because I’m a terrible procrastinator and I was a bit afraid to mess the whole thing up.

IMG_9367

From the beginning, I knew this was going to be a bustier with wide straps and boning, but the finer points of the design determined themselves along the way. Lynda’s helpful post on how the stretch satin tended to behave influenced me to line the cradle with a double layer of sheer nylon lining (it has a slight directional stretch), and the combination of my desire to have the floral in the back somewhere, plus the lack of premade 5 hook bra clasp options prompted me to try making my own.

IMG_9451

I didn’t realize this velvet duvet would be such a good photo backdrop when we bought it.

I cut out the pieces on Thursday evening, and did all the construction minus the back clasp and straps on Friday afternoon. (Working half day Fridays is wonderful).. The lower part of each cup is lined with cut and sew foam, and finished with self bias tape to hide the seams. There is boning at the center front, centered under each boob, at the side seams, and directly under the straps in the back. I actually attached the channeling to the band with the boning inside, because it was a pretty tight squeeze and I didn’t want to sew too far in and risk the boning not fitting.

IMG_9455

SO PRETTY ON THE INSIDE

The cup construction was a puzzle to make sure I didn’t end up with any exposed seams. I had originally intended to line the whole thing with sheer nylon, but it didn’t hold the floral binding very well so I ended up just using it for the top piece under the lace.

With my first two bras, I kind of just got to the strap attachment and thought.. ‘well, now what?’ – and ended up with some kind of weird, thick seam to zig zag over. Not an elegant solution. With this bra, I assumed I’d do the same thing, but realized once I was ready to attach the straps that attaching them to the top edge of stretchy lace and delicate lining was a recipe for disaster in the worst way. I didn’t want to snap a strap and take an eye out or something! Instead, I squeezed them down between the lace and lining of the top cup and attached them to the foam edge of the lower cup. The support is on point, and the lace doesn’t distort at the strap point. I’m pretty proud of that.

IMG_9452

Now, onward to the back, and two more things I’m proud of: First, the rings. I left some spare channeling to fold under and stitch down with the boning, and while I was sitting there in my little corner puzzling over the straps, I had a brilliant idea. I slipped the ring on before folding the channeling under, which not only completely hides the attachment point, it also looks awesome and is literally the most supported it could possibly be, right on top of the boning. It looks like I planned it.

IMG_9459

Hah, these pictures were actually the first time I got to see the back of this thing. That beige powernet is excellent. Delicate, but with structure.

The second – and probably the feature you’re most curious about – is that fantabulous floral bra clasp! Hello, all of my Saturday afternoon! I’d like to do a post on how I did this in depth, but I need to iron out some kinks in the process first – (also is there interest in such a tutorial?). I was going to use normal hook and eyes but it was less expensive to buy a couple of cheap bra extenders and rip them up, so I went that route instead. Here’s the first surprising thing I found:

IMG_9370

A normal set below, and above – the set I pulled from my sacrificial extender.

Presumably, the difference between normal and bra-specific hardware can be explained by the fact that machines put bra clasps together, and the larger holes must be to ensure the machine can attach it? Maybe? Either way, interesting.

IMG_9374

Is it super nerdy of me to point out that the fold looks like a sigma? Yes? okay. Also, I’ve just realized that I can make a new ironing board cover, and I was thinking I’d have fun with the print but if I keep using it for pictures it’s gonna have to be a solid. Whoops.

First the hook band: I folded and ironed my fabric to mimic the shape of the one I’d cannibalized, attached each hook with a bar tack, and then stitched two rows to secure the hooks further. About thirty seconds after I snipped the last thread, the lightbulb went off and I thought of a much more elegant way to do this with way less exposed stitching, but hey, that’s how we learn isn’t it? We won’t talk about how close my fingers were to the needle for this thing. There’s a better way.

IMG_9409

The pressed pieces,Β to be assembled

The eye side is composed of a series of little folded strips, attached one by one from what will be the ‘loosest’ setting on in. These, too, I attached with bar tacks, but I clearly did a bad job because they started coming apart and I’ve had to hand stitch them again from the back. I don’t think I’d recommend machine back-stitching further, because that might get lumpy and itchy on your back, but I think I might experiment with a small dab of thread glue on the inside to hold everything tidily. One could also feasibly not snip between the bar tacks, which would also eliminate the problem.

IMG_9410

Pins to mark equidistant measurements for the hooks to match the eyes

After the bar tacks, I stitched a row in the crease of the fabric overlay piece and folded it back. My machine didn’t have any issues sewing over the hooks or eyes- I suppose it’s the same principal as sewing over pins which I do not recommend – but it won’t be lethal to your machine if you stitch slowly and listen when it tells you it doesn’t want to do the thing.

IMG_9413

Two bar tacks down, a million to go!

Ying of the Tailor Made Shop has this post featuring a bra she made with a self-fabric clasp from silk charmeuse. It was the only other instance of a DIY hook and eye I could find in the blogosphere (Shout at me in the comments if you’ve found another one!)

IMG_9416

The Many Uses of a Button Foot: Lingerie Edition.

I attached the clasps to the band by stitching the outsides wrong sides together, and then caught the back side in the ditch to seal the deal. Much cleaner than a zig zag – and by all my tugging and pulling I’d say just as strong so far. I also mattress stitched the top and bottom edges together to neaten things up. Next time, I’ll investigate a way to sew the edges and flip it inside out, but for the moment I remain skeptical of the possibility of this thing. I almost like my way better.

IMG_9417

ALMOST THERE. I can’t believe I stopped for a picture when it was THIS CLOSE to done.

I attached the underbust elastic in a somewhat unconventional way as well: Instead of stitching, folding under, and stitching again, I folded and pressed my fabric, and stitched the elastic on all in one go (jumping the boning). I’ve also left it free so technically it could fold down, but it’s stiff enough that it doesn’t seem to want to.

The lace at the center front is a clever workaround for my pesky sternum. I cut the lace a bit higher because I wanted it to be wider, and then hand stitched the two edges together in the middle above the top edge of the cradle. The underwires clear my sternum, but the bra is still a little higher cut with more lace showing! Sneaky. Also, no bow on this one ’cause I didn’t want to hide how nice the center front looks πŸ˜‰

IMG_9450

And now, the fit! And the part where I try my very best to impress upon you how thrilled I am about this bra. First, I was clearly wrong about achieving lift with my first bras. By some miracle, this thing fits brilliantly. There’s not a hint of the dreaded muffin boob, everything feels very contained, and it’s not even remotely uncomfortable. And perhaps most importantly, it makes my boobs look bangin’. Am I allowed to say that? Have I crossed the delicate line of talking about my lingerie in public from ‘a bit odd’ into ‘delete-your-search-history creepy’? I don’t care. The ladies look great. I’ve been grinning all day. I made this happen out of a pile of elastic and fabric in two afternoons. Me, and a sewing machine from the 60’s set up on a box in the corner of the kitchen. You’d think I’d be over this feeling, sewing as long as I have been, but nope. I feel like I’m holding the secrets of the universe. Like the answer to The Question is 42 plus one handmade floral satin bustier. This is the third time, and I am charmed.

IMG_9457

~headless photo~

My word, I do love the strapping. I may be a DDD but I wouldn’t consider the wide strapping or elastics to be a requirement for my size. (to be honest, DIY lingerie is one way to completely lose respect for traditional sizing. I’ve got no idea what ‘size’ this thing is, just that it fits me.) However not required they are though, they’re amazing. The underbust elastic is great for finishing, and it keeps the boning from potential poke-age, while keeping everything snug and in place. The straps don’t hold much weight at all – their highest function is to keep the lace topped cups from sagging, but they’re beautiful and the width both looks and feels amazing. I’m totally sold.

Next time, I think I’d like to go up an underwire size, and grade out my cup curve a teensy bit at the sides. There’s just a very, very slight wrinkling right at the underarm edge of the cradle that I think this will fix. I also need to pull the underarm curve out by about 3/4″, but that’s a personal preference thing to add coverage, not fit related. It’s also something I definitely meant to do here and totally forgot about. In other news, I am totally sold on this style of cup. I drafted it from my powerbar cup style, and I’m not sure if it was the seaming change or the ensuing adjustments, but the shape of this cup is much more appealing to me (I did it mostly because of my fabric choice, but the fit change is bonus!)

IMG_9448

There’s a bit of a ledge across the apex of the boob where the lace connects to the floral, because of the change in thickness with the foam in the lower half. I was really worried this would make the bra unwearable with a big obvious line cutting through the center of my boobs, but by some miracle it doesn’t look at all weird under any of the shirts I’ve tried it with. Regardless, it’s still a thing to address the next time I make a similar style.

IMG_9458

One of the changes I plan for this pattern will be to line up the lower cup center seam with the boning. it’s about 1/4″ off. But look at that strap!

This is my third bra, for those of you keeping track, and I have had one constant fitting issue on all three. Do you remember? The first time, I pinned the fault on being too flippant with my seam allowances. On the second, I was still unsure due to other factors influencing fit. Number three here has solidified any doubts, though. Rightie is definitely smaller than Leftie, and I’ve been fitting for Leftie (It’s easier to pin across the chest…). From some angles, you can sort of see a small wrinkle on the outside of the right cup, which disappears when I stick an extra layer of foam padding inside. Definitely smaller, although only slightly. Next time, I need to decide whether I’m going to cut the right cup smaller, or incorporate an extra layer of foam more permanently. (what if it fluctuates? Could things even out next month? Is it the muscular result of how I carry my bag? If it does change, do I need to make duplicates to accommodate one boob over the other? Am I overthinking this?)

Honestly, it’s incredibly hard to tell the difference, and it’s not like Rightie’s trying to make an escape every time I bend over, so we’re probably good. There’s only so many times I can walk up to Jon in my signature bra testing t-shirt and say ‘do my boobs look different to you?’ (it usually elicits the same response that you’d imagine getting back from ‘does this ___ make me look fat?’ which is a nervous glance and an “I don’t know how you want me to answer that question.”)

I’m not entirely sure what the solution is – which is perhaps compounded by the fact that I’m not entirely sure what I’d be trying to achieve, solving a problem that nobody else can even see, and I can’t actually feel. Thoughts?

IMG_9461

Obligatory model shot that’s actually me contorting to get my remote to trigger the camera…

Here’s the diggity down low on supplies:

-1/4m Floral stretch satin (used 1/3 of it), 1/4m both beige powernet and cup lining (used 1/3ish), 1m 19mm strapping (used all), gold findings, 1m 19mm underbust elastic (used half), 1m picot elastic (used all), 1/2m lace (used all), and 2m hand dyed channeling (used all but scraps) from Lynda at Elle Joan’s – there’s plenty of all the fabrics leftover for another one! I’m going with navy lace and elastics.

-1m boning from Spotlight (used nearly all – I figured buying simple extruded plastic was probably safe, but the channeling it came in was 12 kinds of awful so be warned. It went straight into the trash) –Β  In addition, there’s some iron on interfacing in the clasp that I believe originally came from here. Also I’ve got pasties on to cover them nips in the pictures, and I found those at Spotlight. (Don’t talk to me about the patriarchy.)

-2 bra strap extenders from Geoff’s Emporium in Mt Eden. If anyone knows where I can buy bra specific loose hook and eyes at a 3:1 ratio, let me know! Taking those suckers apart took ages, although it was definitely educational.

IMG_9439

~hangs bra from anything and everything near the light sources~

Have I done it? Have I impressed upon you the glory of this moment? Thrilled? Chuffed? Enamored? My biggest problem is that I can’t wear Just This out in public so that everyone can see how clever I am. I guess I’ll have to settle for posting headless photos of my boobs on the internet. I think my favorite part might be that it’s just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, and the fit is icing on the cake.

Some housekeeping from around the internets: Have you guys seen Madalynne’s new patterns? I’ve definitely got some lace envy after reading about them, but she drafts for smaller boobs than mine. So pretty though! Also pretty, is Ashley from Craft Sanctuary’s newest bra. I found her blog last week and was so pleased to find how delicate she made her bra, when she’s similar to my size! She’s definitely inspired me to get my hands on some bra tulle in the future.

My next big Bra Accomplishments are going to include a partial band, mastering straplessness, and fitting a bra for someone else’s boobs. Also I have some clothes to sew as well…at some point.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “The Floral Satin Bustier

  1. Merry Pinbender says:

    Hello Kat, OMG! Talk about knocking it outta the park! And on your third time at the stitch plate! πŸ™‚ Sorry about that, end of summer and surrounded by Baseball faNUTics. Bad combo with my weird sense of humor.

    On to the bra talk! Such a BEAUTIFUL bra, perfect for such a beautiful soul. I love that your artistic expression is almost more important than fit! (Seriously we have so much in common it’s ridiculous) The fit looks great and sounds right also. Straps aren’t meant to lift so should feel just the way you describe and if you’re excited about lift now, just wait until you’ve been acquainted with Mr Gravity for a few more decades! lol! We are the same size-ish so if you make one that isn’t cute enough…… ha ha as if, right! For me, if it’s comfortable plus has LIFT, it can be any shade of ugly it wants. Needless to say this has helped tremendously with my own bra creations. I wish I had your training. I just research like crazy and then dive in the deep end. I still haven’t found the pattern I want so I’m back drafting from some favorite RTWs. Bear with me please this may be dumb. Do you think your strap attachment in front might be acting a bit like a power bar? IF you do tackle partial band I would love assembly tips! As for your hooks&eyes SewSassy.com has them by the yard( called tape) 1,2,&3 hook depth so you can cut as many as you want. Bad part is they are in US. Maybe someone can pack them in a suitcase when they visit. I would if I could! πŸ™‚ Sorry this is so long. We have an old travel companion named Bart. He’s a black bear with a puppet slot, about 18″ tall. If I find negatives or scan a good pic I’ll post to you. He traveled with my husband and I back in the 90’s. Keep up the fun! Yours, Merry

    • Kat says:

      Hi Merry! Oh my goodness, thank you for the lovely message! And don’t apologize for amazing baseball puns πŸ™‚ It’s just coming into summer here in NZ but the general population isn’t as fanatical as I’m used to in the US. And yes – it seems I finally got the fit mostly how it needs to be! I just hope I can transfer it to other styles. As for how pretty it is- well, I guess I just don’t like to compromise! To be completely honest I don’t have that much training- but the band of amazing ladies on the internet blogging about bramaking is a very helpful thing! Plus, like you said, you can get some really awesome ideas from the RTWs that do manage to fit.

      I do think the front strap behaves like a powerbar a little bit – it’s certainly putting tension on the side piece of the lower cup, and it’s in exactly the right place, but I think a lot of the benefit of the powerbar is also its shape, which this one doesn’t have – if you know what I mean? Regardless, it fits better than the two I tried that actually had a powerbar.
      I’m definitely going to do a partial band one! I had actually intended it to be the next one but my lace doesn’t quite stretch enough so I need to source some more before I can start. There definitely doesn’t seem to be as much info available for partial band bras. And hook and eye tape – definitely a good idea, I just wish it came in more colors! It would be cool to find a place to get just the little metal bits that I could sew to my own fabric as well. I need to get to dyeing, I think. Your travel companion sounds amazing! Bart is an excellent name for a bear. Thank you so much again for the lovely message, and I’m so glad you liked my post!! ❀ Kat

  2. Lynda says:

    Awesome bra Kat! I love the way you’ve attached the straps to make them all neat and tidy – I always struggle with trying to wrestle the top of the fabric strap through the ring and zig zag it down. Your whole post was so informative to read and gorgeous photos ❀️ Keep up the inspirational lingerie makes – can’t wait to see your next one!

    • Kat says:

      Thank you so much! I’m definitely hooked on bras now that I’ve got the fitting kinks worked out- more are definitely on the way 😊

  3. Christa Jennings says:

    Definitely interested in a how to blog for the hooks. I have been wanting to make a longline like this, and haven’t been able to find a clasp set I like.πŸ˜ƒ

  4. lolielab says:

    So beautiful bra!! I’m so impressed by everything, but your handmade hooks and eyes is just unbelievable. I’d be reaaaaally interested to see a tutorial about that, for sure!

  5. Charlotte Boul says:

    I would absolutely love to see a tutorial for the hooks! I too have only seen one other (the one you mentioned) out in the blog is blogosphere and I would really like to have a go at making my own. Your floral one is just beautiful.

    I can only hope to eventually make a bra that fits and looks as amazing as this! It looks perfect!

    • Kat says:

      Thank you Charlotte! I’m definitely going to have a go at making a tutorial!
      If I can do it so can you πŸ™‚ it took me a couple tries but the fit is finally darn near perfect!

  6. Heather says:

    What a gorgeous bra! You have some outstanding sewing skills – I wish mine were half as good. Definitely inspiring me to keep sewing!

    I would also like to see a tutorial on making the bra hooks and eyes.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Kat says:

      Thank you Heather! Keep at the sewing! I’ve been at it for a long time and you’ll be able to do it too!
      I’m working on gathering materials for my hook and eye tutorial, so watch this space, haha πŸ™‚ Thanks for the lovely note!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s