projects for lazy days

anytime i rush to finish a project by a set date - like my birthday dress - i always end up feeling burnt out afterwards. while i feel like i'm capable of churning out nice results under (self induced) pressure, i never like what it does to my mental state. throw in a busy work week and a whirlwind trip to dallas (my husband had an exhibition opening there) and i'm couch potato fodder.

but after a week or so of avoiding my sewing machine i decided it was time to get back in the saddle. however i was still feeling the mental fatigue and the thought of tackling my next rachel comey pattern had me feeling...meh.

enter my birthday present from my mom and dad (thanks guys!!). many of my favorite sewing blogs have already done some pretty great posts on bra making - in fact it was seeing the beautiful creations by verypurpleperson that first got the old wheels a-turning. after i kept running into posts on the coletterie, cloth habit, and dixie diy that featured this pattern from pin up girls and the mention of "kits" and "quick and satisfying" sewing - i was a goner!

really it was the promise of "quick and satisfying" that sold me. i'm so often drawn to labor intensive projects that get drawn out for weeks and weeks and feel like some epic struggle through the finish line that i forget the joy in starting and finishing a project all in the same day.

when i first started sewing i was all about one day projects. if i couldn't get a new outfit by the end of the day i wasn't interested in doing it! but slowly i got lured in by the process, by the joy in learning a new technique, and frustrated by my sloppy sewing and awkward results. and so i began making muslins to perfect fit (adds at least a day) and integrating hand sewing to finish edges and hems (a couple of hours at least) then i got interested in hand tailoring, and pattern drafting and all of a sudden i have to block out at least a week (2 good weekends and various weeknights) to get something finished!

this first bra was really just a tester. despite the assurance that sewing a bra was easier than it looks - i was pretty skeptical. i've never really sewn with elastic before and i only just discovered i had a three-step zig-zag stitch on my machine! i made the pin up girls "classic full band bra". i think it was amy that said that the finished bra looks a bit "medical" and unfortunately i couldn't agree more! her wise assessment did have me chuckling the entire time i was sewing it up, however.

according to my measurements i'm a 32A. now... i must have done something wrong because there ain't no way in heelllll i'm a 32A!! my entire adult life i've worn a 34C - but somewhere in the back of my mind was a niggling doubt, egged on i'm sure by some glamour article i read somewhere saying that something like 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. so i compromised and cut a 32B. teeheediddlyhee!!!

32B!! pfft!! who am i kidding??!? surprisingly the band fit pretty comfortably - but there was so much top and side boob spillage it was almost comical!! i looked like i was trying to squeeze into a training bra...

so this bra will not be worn - obviously (incidentally, if you have a daughter or niece or something that needs a pink - albeit matronly - bra - give me a holla!) but i am pretty pleased with the construction. all in all the thing looks pretty well made to my eyes! i didn't use underwires for this one (because i had no idea what size to get) but i was pretty amazed at the amount of support just the underwire channels gives! even when my cups runneth over...

i have one more kit. now the decision i have to make is if i make it in my standard bra size (34C) or try something new... like a 32D - since the band on the itty bitty guy seemed to fit okay.

decisons, decisions... if i get a wearable bra out of this second kit i just might treat myself to some pretty lacy kits from merckwaerdigh.

also, i would be remiss if i wrote a post about bra making and didn't link to dixie's awesome big fat list of bra suppliers. seriously indispensable if you are new to this whole bra thing! and even if you're not - its amazing to have all the good stuff in one spot. thank you dixie!!!

aaannd because i'm all about ending my posts with some random pictures - here's me with some longhorns from our trip to dallas. seriously you guys - why are their horns so long??!?



  1. Oooh girl I'm so glad you posted this. I've been lurking everyone's bra-making lately (that sounds so creepy ugh) and I'm totally jealous and ready to make one of my own! So many tiny seams & fiddly elastic - I'm pretty amazed that thing only took a couple of hours to make up. And it looks so neat & perfect! Hahahahaha I love that you call this a "lazy" project - my idea of a lazy project is, like, a knit tshirt lol.

    That is really weird about the sizing issue - the kind of thing I'd expect from Victoria's Secret (you know, they try to convince you that you're a B cup & you end up fitting nicely into a D, I mean wtf Vicky, you need to re-train your employees). Do you have access to a decent bra place where you can get a proper fit, or even just try on different styles? I recently found out I have been wearing the wrong size as well - too large of a band size. Wearing a smaller band makes a surprising difference. Do you normally pull your bands to the tightest hook when you first buy them? I'd use that as a starting point for deciding between the 32D or the 34C - since the cups are essentially the same size.

  2. As far as size goes--I don't know what formula the girls at Victoria's Secret use but it is sure as hell completely not the same as any "bra size calculator" I've ever found--I wear a 34C from the store but if I just measure I "should be" a 38A! I think this has to do with the fact that a bra has a pretty narrow fit point around the rib cage, and from there the cup fit really has to do with the size of the lumps on your chest. I know that my shoulders are very broad and my rib cage widens very quickly between the underbust and underarm; however my underwire bras don't need to worry about the broadness of my back level with my nipples! Does that make *any* sense?

    I have never sewn a bra but what I would do with two kits is to make my standard size first, then see if any adjustments are needed for that *particular* style--not every 34C fits me off-the-rack, after all!

  3. Since you mentioned Merckwaerdigh, I would highly recommend you email her via Etsy with your measurements. I did that, and she recommended a bra pattern size that was right on the money!

  4. Ooh, fun!  Good luck with your next one-- it seems so tough to make a bra the right size!  

  5. Oh, gracious! Such a lovely little bra! Very nice work. I also love that it has a bit of an  old fashioned look. So pretty.

  6. Gosh I wish I wouldn't have read this! How disappointing that the sizing is so ambiguous from the kit you asked for that you ended up with a bra you can't wear! Some birthday present!

  7. Bras/boobs are so confusing. I thought I was a 36B forever until I got properly fitted by a boob expert and learned I am really a 34D!!!! D!!!! Maybe go to a fancy lingerie shop and get properly fitted? And then take sneaky photos of bras you want to copy..... I will definitely be bookmarking this post for when I start making bras (once I wade through the 10 project I have to get through this spring). Peter at Male Pattern Boldness just wrote a great post on fantasy vs. practical sewing and undergarments definitely fall into the practical/I will get around to it later zone. Although I realized when I cleaned out my closet last night that my undie drawer is getting scary and it's time to look into making some.

  8. I have been a 38D forever (measured by a pro), then I get the SAME kit you did, and wow, I measured in at like a 34C, which I know had to be a major error.  I haven't finished mine, but since I got a second kit too (we must shop at the same place), I'm hoping for better coverage.  I think I finally decided to cut a 38C which might work.  

    Yeah, they look a little matronly, but that's ok, I'm rather matronly.  I will try to let you know how it goes.  

  9. The bra looks great!! It's too bad it doesn't fit - but I love seeing all of these home-sewn bras popping up b/c of the sewalong. I may have to attempt one soon.

  10. Errrmmmm, daughter or niece? I really do wear a 36 A!!  I always sort of lamented it until I had a kid, and then I learned that hauling is a lot of work. :) I, too, just finished my first bra (I have yet to post it) and mine came out tight on the band, which is a bit disappointing because it's pretty. Sewing it did demystify the process though, and I am ready to give it another go. I like yours and think it's very pretty, but in truth my underwear drawer has gotten so ratty, I am a horrible judge. 

  11. I would definitely try the 34D, or actually, since you seem pretty petitie, a smaller band size. You shouldn't add any inches to your underbust measurement to find your band size, so if it measures 30" you should have a 30" band, etc. And neeeever trust Victoria's Secret, they have no idea how to fit bras. :)

  12. One of my sewing goals this year is to make a bra and learn the construction of lingerie more. I'm so glad to hear that you made the plunge into this type of sewing. Hopefully, I'll be next :)

  13. I love breather projects so much! In fact, my pin up girls kit has been collecting dust, waiting for me to finish my jacket. For some reason, I have it in my head that it will be more difficult than everyone makes out. Maybe it's just the unknown/undergarment aspect.

  14. Oh oh pretty bra window pictures! Yay, I'm glad I inspired! I so wanted to make one after seeing verypurpleperson's, too--I even bought the same peach&grey kit because I just drooled over that set. And what a coinkidink, I am a 32B! Too bad I already have one just like it. One can only use so many pink pink bras ;)

    Bummer the fit was so crazy off. The thing I picked up along the way is that on the same size bands, as the cups get bigger, they not only get deeper but wider, so the cradle gets wider. (And the bridge gets narrower.) I ended up making a 32C band with the wider cradle and used a 32B cup, spreading the width of the cups to match the cradle but not making it any deeper. This gave me a bit more width but not as much depth as the C cup. Maybe you could do something similar, like start with a 32C and if the cups feel too deep, you can bring them in a bit while still sitting in the width of the C cradle. Hope that makes sense! Bra sizing is so hit or miss that I have given up thinking about sizes at all--I have tried on so many different brands and in the same size they can either squeeze me to death or just droop on me.

    Congrats on your husband's opening! I hope it went fabulously!

  15. I would try 32D. I've worn 34C or years and was recently measured and told I'm a 32D. It's much more comfortable. 

  16. Your turned out great! I love the pink. That color has such a dainty lady-like feel. Yours looks much nicer than my first one (also the same pattern and kit). Like Lauren, I, too, have been lurking about all these bra making blog posts on the interwebs feeling inspired. Thanks for mentioning my link!

  17. Hi,

    I am one of those people that my "shape" when measuring for bra sizing also makes my measurement wrong. Mine says 31 with barely an A cup...however I have worn a D since high school. Of course everyone when confronted with this issue goes through that whole "most women wear the wrong size" thing....but I am never going to squoosh into an A (though there are times I would have LOVED to!) Between my natural shape and working out I just have a ....I don't know...hard to measure bra size :-D

    That's why many of us want to make are own bras...cause we're not all the same (hear that bra manufacturers!)