23 May 2015

Lingerie: White Silk Slip and Bra

My on theme sewing for the stashbusting sewalong this month, ok so what will possibly be my only completed personal sewing for May, was a white silk slip, and matching partial band bra. I have been planning a new slip for quite a while. I used the same bias cut pattern that I made a previous slip from about 18 months ago, but wanted one that was a little longer with less flare at the hem. I also wanted it to be more light weight, for which I had the perfect white silk remnant. As part of the lingerie theme for the stashbusting sewalong, I had also planned on making another bra this month, but hadn't put much more thought into it than that, when it occurred to me that I should just make one with the remnants from the slip, and have a matching set, of sorts.

The Bra
I wanted to have another go at a partial band bra, so made the necessary alterations to my new bra block, rather than use the partial band pattern that I made last time based on my original block. When have I ever used the same pattern for a bra twice? As per my last partial band bra, I used bra wadding in the cups.

I made a two piece pattern this time, lining up the seam with the bottom of the bridge. The only other new thing that I tried this time was to use four sliders, rather than a pair of rings and a pair of sliders, and also made the lower part of the straps shorter than I usually do.

Everything was going fine with the making of this (unless you count thread that strips while sewing, breaking a needle while trying to topstitch, and various other afflictions) until I put the underwires in. It was obvious straight away that something wasn't quite right. It looks like I pulled the fabric too tight across the bra wadding, as the lower part of the cups is lying almost flat where it should have a rounded shape. This had some dire consequences with the fit, (see below).

Interfacing and white silk - stash / leftover scraps
$0.03    Tricot
$0.22    Powernet
$0.79    Bra wadding
$0.66    Underwires
$0.84    Underwire casing
$0.61    Elastic
$0.67    Strap elastic
$0.42    Sliders
$1.54    Hook and eye closure
$0.54    Thread (rough estimate)

Grand Total  $6.32

The Fit
My aim with this bra was to have it fit better than the last partial band bra that I made. I mentioned last time that I have never really had a partial band bra that sits right on me, so my goal was to get this one to fit better, or face the fact that they just don't work on me.

Unfortunately, the issue that arose aafter I put the wires in has caused all sorts of fit issues. Because the lower part of the cups are pulling too tight, the wires not only don't sit right at the centre, they don't sit as far to the sides as they should, and the whole bra sits just wrong. I wore it for a whole day to see how it would go. The wire didn't sit as badly as I thought it would, and it wasn't actually that uncomfortable. Because the lower cup is stretched too tight though, it is pushing the breast tissue upward, resulting in some muffin top action at the armpits.

Rather than hide this bra in a drawer and pretend that it never happened, I have been analysing what went wrong to try again and make another one that does fit properly. Apart from allowing a little give in the fabric when covering the bra wadding, the other obvious thing that could have saved this bra is to have a three piece cup. That bit of extra room across the lower cup is just what I need. I have already started on the next partial band bra with the same fabric, bra wadding etc, but with the three piece cup. I'll leave the rest of the pattern as is, and then decide whether to ever make a partial band bra again. Or a bra with a two piece cup.

As for this bra? I washed it after it's first outing, and, despite the fabric being preshrunk, it seems to have shrunk some more, and the bra wadding now has buckling from the fabric being pulled too tight. Ugh! It's pretty much unwearable now, although I bet that won't stop me when I haven't been bothered washing bras for a while. That's a first for me, made sadder by the fact that I finished it on my birthday.


  1. What a lovely set! It's a shame about the fit of the bra, but it still looks beautifully sewn :) I've not made a bra with an underwire yet, but I'm feeling very inspired now! Good luck with the next one, I hope it's a winner!!

    1. Thank you Maddy. Putting in an underwire really isn't hard. You just have to do it. If you need help, Amy's bra making sewalong on Cloth Habit has everything you need to know, it's like she's right there guiding you through the process. Good luck when you do have a go at one.

  2. Gorgeous slip and what a story for the bra, will be interesting to see what you are going to do for the next one.

    1. Thanks Sharon. I have just finished the next one, but haven't even tried it on yet. It looks much better though.