Sunday, December 8, 2013

Experiments in Bullet Bras

My recent acquisition of bra construction skills has given me great pleasure of late as I am now no longer scared of flimsy underwear construction and can dive right into making obscure vintage bra shapes that are hard to get by in your average bra shop. 

My latest experiment involved drafting and making myself a bullet bra. I love non-underwired vintage style bras and think that even on a large bosom (I'm keeping my vocabulary classy ;) they can be more supportive and comfortable to wear. However, bras like that are hard to find and I have so far only managed to buy one style for myself in the shops. 

So, what could be better than making my own? 

I was ecstatically happy when I discovered the site Foundations Revealed, which is a website dedicated to the reconstruction of historic undergarments. 

Foundations Revealed Website

Most of the articles on the site are about corset making but there is also a whole array of bra drafting and construction articles on every vintage bra style imaginable. Unfortunately, you have to sign up and pay if you want to read most of the articles on the site, but a couple are available for free.

I think it's fair enough that you need to pay to read the articles on the site, but the monthly membership fee is far too high, in my opinion. But I was glad to have joined for a while and really recommend the site if you are planning on experimenting with extinct or current bra styles and their construction.    

My first test bra was partly a size, and partly a construction check. I wanted to experiment with techniques and find out how best to construct the bra. Therefore I did not use any specialized bra supplies, like strap elastic or hook and eye closures, but only used random ribbons, bias binding and elastics from my stash. 

My first test bra

The bra turned out to be too big in the cup, too wide in the band and featured some interesting construction techniques that I was glad I had a chance to try before diving into making a proper bra. 

I was much happier with my construction on my second bra. 

You can clearly see the circle and spoke stitching design on the bra cup in this window shot

The fit of the band is perfect and the elastic is supportive enough both at the straps and underbust band. 

I used powernet for the bra back band (not necessarily period authentic but more supportive)

However, sadly, the cups are now a teeny bit too small. 

The bra is still wearable, especially if I want to go for a push-up look, but my next bra will have a cup sized somewhere in between both bras and should then, hopefully, fit correctly. 

The pink bit is some elastic covered in power net 

Bra making is a lot of fun and surprisingly quick. Once you have the right size and fit you can make one in an evening. 

Have you tried making any vintage-style bras or do you have any recommendations for good sources for inspiration and techniques, or even patterns? Do let me know.

Happy sewing everyone!