I was one of those kids that hated pink just because it was a girl’s color. Though I like to be pretty impartial to most colors (except yellow- yellow and I don’t get along…) I think it’s pretty safe to say pink and I are friends once again.
Although purple is still resolutely my favorite, I think at some point I became aware that The Patriarchy was the only reason I wasn’t letting myself like pink… and that seemed like a dumb reason. Then I had pink hair for a year or two (The Patriarchy hated that, it was awesome) and now I’m totally team pink.
I’m more of a ‘wild splashes of retina-burning fuscia’ than a pastel type person, so this lace was obviously too perfect to pass up. It’s from Elle Joans, and I’ve had it in my stash for almost a year now. I wanted to make another x-back bralette like my aqua one with this lace, but I’m still working through some options to give that design more lift and make it in such a way that I don’t have to pull it on over my head. In the meantime, I stole a few inches of lace from that project pile so that this one could come to life!
The partial band mod is something I’ve been wanting to tackle since bra one. All the bras I’d worn up to that point were of the partial band variety, and to be completely honest I wasn’t sure I ever wanted them any other way. I do love my full band collection now, but I remained curious about the modification all the same. I set aside some pink crepe de chine from my Fabric Store silk remnant bag, dyed up the elastics to match, and finally made it happen.
It’s a full foam cup (I was going for a t-shirt bra type smoothness here) with an internal powerbar and silk and lace overlay. The band sides and center are silk crepe de chine lined with sheer nylon, and I used 19mm straps pretty much only because I really like the way they look. The elastics are dyed with Fluorescent Fuscia acid dye from Dharma, although I apparently didn’t do a very good job cleaning my tongs or my dye pot because there are a few rogue purple smudges…
On the topic of fit – hot damn! I don’t know why I left it so long. I made some modifications to the cup to tweak a few things from my navy floral rendition of this pattern – and I’m tickled pink (ahem) that the fit is so perfect! The general consensus on partial band bras is that they don’t offer the same level of support as a full frame, which makes sense, so I was understandably nervous about how this one would turn out. I am happy to report I’ve had no such problem! I expect there will be many more of these lovelies in the near future. Plus, it’s the smoothest fit I’ve gotten under a t-shirt yet, which is awesome!
My draft changes are as follows: I lowered the upper cup edge by about 5/8″, smoothed the lower cup curve at the apex, and moved the strap attachment about an inch out towards the arm. To create the partial band, I traced a copy of my cradle piece and slashed the pattern where I wanted the bottom of the wing to be. I did mostly the same thing for the bridge at the center, except I also removed a small amount from the top of that piece, since I didn’t want the connection to go all the way up to the top of the cup. Finally, I added 1/4″ to the wireline of each cup piece to compensate for the way the wire sits inside the cup on a partial band style, rather than outside the cup.
Construction was largely the same as the full band bras I’ve made – with two exceptions. First, I added the band elastic to the wing/back pieces separately, and then stitched them on to the cups before sewing on the channeling. Second, the channeling is sewn to the outside of the cup and then folded inwards. For future partial band bras (and for any of you who are reading these midnight rambles to get ideas) I would definitely use plush channeling instead of satin channeling. I’ve been using (and loving) my satin channeling lately – it’s less stiff so it’s easy to apply, it feels silky soft, I can sew through more layers of it, it takes the dye brilliantly… but it does lack the firm structure of its plush counterpart.
First, using a stiffer channeling would have saved me a lot of heartache and seam ripper time when I couldn’t hold the wiggly satin channeling in place to topstitch it through my layers of foam. Also, with a full band model, there’s a bit more material directly under the breast to diffuse the pressure. With a partial band, it’s really just the channeling. If you use plush channeling, there’s a bit more between you and that steel wire. Don’t get me wrong, even with the satin this is one comfortable bra. It’s just something to keep in mind.
The success of this bra was a little bit of a surprise to me. Not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because I made a few pretty big changes and every single thing seems to have worked out – combined to make the perfect finished product. I didn’t have to make any ‘holy crap I messed up’ modifications halfway through (except the satin channelling seam ripper drama, but that was a do-over, not a mod), and perhaps most excitingly, it came out looking exactly like the image I had in my head.
Don’t you love it when that happens?! I also made this one hot on the heels of the Harriet Sisters, so having a bra that felt like the final exhale at the end of a long day when I first put it on was a welcome feeling after two kinda pinchy ones that I’m never going to wear if we’re being honest.
There are a few bras in my immediate future that I need in order to meet certain wardrobe requirements (read: fluorescent fuscia shows through light colored shirts!) but those bright colors are calling to me! Plus, I’m going to test out a garter belt draft I’ve been working on so we can finally once-and-for-all determine if I’m the sort of person who even wears garter belts.
In the meantime, I have a question for you: You’ve probably seen my self-fabric bra clasp tutorial. It is far and away the most popular post I’ve ever written, and it gives me warm fuzzies whenever I see that someone’s followed it and made one! Would you guys be interested in a partial band conversion and construction tutorial? I’m pretty happy to report that it’s not nearly as complex as the self-fabric clasps, and perhaps applicable to more bra makers, however there are available resources for partial band bras already, so I wouldn’t exactly be breaking new ground. If you have opinions about that (or you just want to tell me how gloriously hawt this pink is) I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Before I hit publish, one more thing: Today’s the first day of May, and with that comes Me Made May! This will be my first year participating, and although I won’t be posting daily selfies on Instagram as is customary (I just don’t want to see that much of my face to be honest). I will be including a short update in each blog post during May and I’ll do a wrap-up post at the end of the month! The typical pledge is to wear one me-made item every day, but that wouldn’t be much of a challenge for me.
My pledge instead is to wear no more than one RTW item per day (shoes and socks not included, but everything else is fair game!) – and to make a list of what I’m wearing that isn’t handmade so that I can address those shortcomings as required. See you in a week for the first round up!