Ah, I've been managing a special kind of apres-vacation ennui this week, made somewhat more complex by new things afoot at work (namely an exciting, upcoming transfer to a new branch) and a freakin' heat wave. You are correct in your assumption that I will complain about the weather, whatever it is. It's a thing we Canadians do. But honestly, I feel like I'm living in the rain forest.
At any rate, things have been busy and sweaty. The weekend will be full with socializing and reclaiming the child, but I've been working apace at my Empreinte rub-off (clone) and here are a few new things I can share:
- I don't know how it is that I have an entire shelf of bra-making supplies and fabrics, and somehow I still had to spend 100 bucks on new lingerie supplies. Partly it's that I've made 9 bras and numerous prototypes and those things eat through bits and pieces (which one doesn't buy overly much of in any given colour). Sure, I have zillions of straps and lots of picot. I just don't have enough of one thing to match with another. Y'all know I've got a kit for the final version of this new bra, but I'm going to have to make a couple of muslins first - which I cannot stop myself from believing might be wearable - though not if I make the 3 cups in different fabrics with elastics that don't match. So yeah, I bought new stuff for that purpose. (Feel free to roll your eyes - I can't see you.) Moreover, I am SO desperate for a new beige bra (I have a whole story about how I found 2 options and they've both got lost in the mail) that I'm buying the materials to make one "once I perfect this pattern". We really better hope this works or I'm going to have to bonfire the lot.
- A propos of this, don't buy more than 1/4 yard of any given fabric unless you really know that the bra you're going to make a) fits perfectly and b) will be made identically more than once. I wish I didn't have so many fabric ends. Mind you, if I had a pattern that worked, I could probably find a way to repurpose many of these bits. Another challenge is, alas, that many of the supplies I've bought (aka 8000 pairs of wires) have turned out to be flimsy and just don't work. I've tried 3 types of (inadquate) power net and so much useless lace. Sure, you may be able to make your own bras for 15 bucks each. It'll just cost you $1000 to get there.
- As always, and for this I am SO grateful - when I move into the bra muslin phase, a community of wonderful sewists comes out of the woodwork to assist me. So far, this time, Amy (she of the recent, fab blog bra-sew along) and Norma (she of the recent, fab bra-making book) have been invaluable supports. Y'all know how I spoke (last post) about the potential requirement to stabilize the cup seams with some kind of channeling? Well, they've both advised me on a couple of different ways to go about this. Once choice is to get 15 or 40 denier tricot and cut it in bias strips (the method of attachment is currently open to discussion and, as I have a few ideas, I'm going to wait to tell you which one I think is best). Another option is to use flat wire channeling, but it might not be discreet enough. Again, so much depends on available supply.
- It's finally occurred to me that, among other things, a reason I haven't ever been able to make a bra that fits is because (bra pattern instructions being mediocre as they often are and given that I've often modified patterns without a depth of experience) I've been using the instructions for full band bras while I've actually been trying to make partial band bras. That means I've been ignoring the extra width of seam allowance required to enclose the channeling into the cup. In a full band bra, you attach the channeling to the band frame. In a partial band bra, you attach the channeling to the interior cups.
- Finally, I should advise that - to make a rub off (aka clone of an pre-existing bra that you do not take apart first) of a bra that is in a larger cup volume - it's tough (understatement x10) to pin the original bra in such a way that you can a) maintain an understanding of grain line and b) so that you can pin incredibly curved, sewn seams in the flat plane. Grain line establishment - when cloning a working bra - is still a mystery to me. I know that pinning the full bra to a board with grid lines should help but, trust me - I did that and the shape of these pieces has required much reworking. Like a week's worth. This time, though, I'm not fucking around. I have walked every freakin seam line (not cut line, peeps, seam line) and I will not cut fabric until every paper line matches and the shape of the pieces yields the shape of the finished bra. Furthermore, you can decide whether you think I'm an idiot or a genius, but - having bent numerous pins beyond recognition - it occurred to me that I could put on the freakin' bra and hold the partially traced pieces (on a larger piece of tracing paper) up against my actual body in order to ensure I was getting an accurate measure. Sure, you can't pin this way, but with a helper you can easily find the seam lines of any given piece and trace them adequately. I didn't even have a helper and I managed it with a mirror and a lot of trial and error.
So, that's where we're at now. I can't say I expect to complete a bra this weekend. I don't think the time will present itself. But I do hope to make some headway with a toile, if possible. Please stay tuned.
Today's questions: Have you had challenges dealing with the curved seams when trying to clone a working bra into flat pattern pieces? How have you managed?