Hot Mess!

Bra FrontBra back

A hot mess is the result of my entry into bra making.  I’m not upset.

This is why I prefer to make a muslin for new sewing patterns.  I know there is a high probability that I’m going to mess up somewhere in the garment construction process.  Sometimes the mess is caused my me  (yeah,  I know shocking!!!) and sometimes the mess is caused by an error in the pattern pieces or the pattern instruction.    This time the mess was ALL my fault.  I’ve never sewn a bra so I didn’t understand the details of the construction process.

The pattern I used is Danglez DB3E and I love the style of this bra.  I can see me making a lot of pretty bras with this pattern.  It’s written in ETA : German Dutch but ElingeriA provided the English translation.  Even with the translation, I was sometimes confused by the terminology.  For example, the instructions state:  Pin the cups into the back band rounding’s, right sides together and stitch it with a straight stitch.  “Roundings” threw me.  Fortunately, I had a two pieces of reference material.  Sigrid’s tutorial and the book Intimately Yours:  Bras That Fit by Anne St.Clair.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  The “roundings” are the concave curves for the bra cups in the back band.


The next order of confusion was converting metric to US units of measure.  It wasn’t hard, it just took time to do the conversions and of course I missed a few and had to stop sewing to do the math.    I made a lot of notes on my pattern instruction sheets.

The major errors were:

1.  I used the wrong size elastic for the bra band.  I used 3/4 inch plush back when I should have used 3/8 inch plush back.  3/4 inch elastic was recommended on Bramaker’s supply’s What do I need to make a bra? handout,  5/8 inch elastic was recommended in Anne St. Clair’s book and 3/8 inch elastic was used on my most comfortable bra Fantasie Kara Underwire Balcony Bra 2091.  The pattern doesn’t specify a the width for the lingerie/picot elastic.  So I just added 1/4 inch seam allowance and started sewing.  Disaster!

The elastic is way to big!

That’s a whole lotta band showing.  Not the look I was going for.

Now that I’ve (mostly) sewn a bra, I will use Heather’s Bra band tutorial to determine the seam allowance for a wider band.  I wouldn’t have understood the tutorial before making this mistake.  I didn’t grasp the whole upside down elastic placement.   I do now :).  The sewing sequence on the pattern is (roughly) as follows:  sew bra bridge to bra back, sew upper and lower cups, sew cups to bra band, sew channeling, sew bra band elastic.  Heather’s tutorial flips the last two.  You sew the bra band elastic then sew the  channeling.  I’m so doing that.  See number 3 for details.

2. Bra cup caught on the bottom of the band.  It’s really easy to catch the bottom of the bra cup when sewing the channeling.  So. very. easy.

Top stitching bra bridge and channelling

3.  Top stitching and edge stitching the channeling gave me fits!  Please note:  there’s only supposed to be 2 sets of stitches(one on each side of the channeling).  Do you see the two stitch lines on the right and the three stitch lines on the left?  Insert a lot of curse words here!  I’m trying Heather’s sequence the next time.

4.  Elastic for Side cup and top of back bra band is not one continuous piece of elastic.  It’s two.  Notice what happens when I tried to sew one continuous piece of elastic.  That little peak on the top of the band is supposed to be more of a curve.

My beautiful drawing (ha!) above shows where the two pieces of elastic should have been.

5. I can’t read!  Notice the elastic between the pink and blue markers.  The instructions state:

Measure the length of the bra band bottom from center back to center back. From this length you deduct 20%.  The length that’s left is the length of the picot/lingerie elastic that you cut off for the bra band bottom.

Here’s what I read

Measure the length of the bra band bottom from center back to center FRONT! From this length you deduct 20%.  The length that’s left is the length of the picot/lingerie elastic that you cut off for the bra band bottom.

THIS. DOES. NOT. WORK. AT. ALL.  The sad part is I didn’t realize I’d made a mistake until I was looking at Heather’s bra band tutorial  for the gabillionth time days later.  Sigh!

6.  I began reading the instructions for the shoulder strap.  I read them again and again  and again until finally brain just shut down.    I had to walk away from the sewing room at that point.  I started stalking visiting Heather’s website, Sigrid’s website, Debbie’s website and Tina’s website.  Searching from pictures of Danglez DB3E bra straps.  It took a while but I found one on Heather’s site.   I finally got it.  Measure from the start of the partial shoulder strap (when the blue pen is pointing) to end of the shoulder strap (the part that is away from the side cup).  See below.

I’m still a little confused with the application of the shoulder strap.  Do you just zigzag the other side of the strap?

At that point, I knew I had to start another muslin.  There were way too many mistakes in my first attempt.  I did learn a lot from the experience.  One tip that I got from Tina was to use temporary fabric adhesive.  I bought 505 Spray and Fix Adhesive from Intown Quilters.  I’ll use it to baste the Powernet to band and two pieces of fabric for the cups.

I will be making another muslin soon.  I traced and cut out one size up (cup and band).  I will cut out the fabric tonight.  I hope.

This experience has taught me one thing.  I’m a visual learner when it comes to sewing.  I might make a tutorial with the instructions of this pattern because what if I forget what I’ve done.  I’m SO going to do that with the next muslin.

I’m going to keep the hot mess.  I’ve already marked it up.

Stay tuned

Explore posts in the same categories: bra, sewing tips

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

4 Comments on “Hot Mess!”

  1. Heather Says:

    Your bra looks pretty good for your first try! This pattern has no seam allowances so you just need to add whatever width elastic you’re using to the top and bottom. For example, if you’re using 5/8″ elastic on the bottom you’d add a 5/8″ seam allowance there. If you have any questions just email me!

  2. causeiwanna Says:

    Thanks Heather! I appreciate it. I’ve started bra #2 and I can’t wait to see how it turns out 🙂

  3. Heather Says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to see it!

  4. roselilith Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I happen to be preparing to sew this exact pattern. At the moment I’m gathering the materials ( in fact, I just ordered the pattern last night). I’m a newby when in comes to sewing, however, I have to try this – as I can’t find bras I like or that fit properly.

    The resources you listed and the experience you shared will hopefully make my experience a little easier. I’d love to see a video of you sewing this bra! I’ve bookmarked this page and will be sure to check in.

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: