Bra and lingerie sewing is one of my favourite things. When I started sewing a few years ago, I never dreamed I’d be able to make anything that would resemble a real bra in any way – I was doubtful I could even make a skirt that didn’t look like a pillowcase! The project that gave me confidence was the Cloth Habit Watson bra that I sewed here and is now an old favourite pattern for me. Since then, I’ve moved into underwires and sewed a Maya, a few Boylstons (here and here), a Marlborough, a couple of bras hacked from ones I already own, but none of them have actually fit me. They’ve all been alright, but needed plenty of tweaking and I still hadn’t got the right fit and comfort in a homemade bra…until now!
I’m part of a couple of bra making Facebook groups and on these I saw that Amy at Cloth Habit had released another bra pattern: an underwired one in sizes 28 to 42, A to H, in UK sizing – the Harriet bra. It costs $16.50 for the downloadable PDF pattern (buy it here) and I didn’t have to think twice about buying it! An underwired bra pattern from my favourite bra maker! In my size!!
I was so excited that I printed it off that day, cut out the paper pattern when I got home, then had to wait for Saturday to sew it because of, you know, work and other commitments. I’ve had a couple of bra kits hanging around since my birthday that Ben bought me – I’d been a bit disheartened by bra making because none of my creations had been quite right for me – I was having to pick sizes like 38DD and shorten the band and mess with the cup grading – and I didn’t really ever wear them, so I hadn’t picked them up. But I decided to give this grey/blue mesh and blush lace kit from this seller on eBay a go for the new Harriet pattern.
The sizing for the Harriet bra pattern is based on the UK sizing method that I endorse – taking your underbust measurement as your band size (or rounding up if it’s odd) then +1″ overbust is A, +2″ is B, 3″ is C and so on. This gave me my usual ready to wear (RTW) size of 28GG, so I decided to go with that. And IT FITS!! Can we just look at how perfectly fitting this bra is please? The band is tight enough but not too tight. The cups fit with no gaping, no overspill and no digging. The wires are just the exact right width. I’m SO impressed with this pattern! The problem with small band/large cup combinations in bra making is that they’re often graded down poorly from more common sizes such as 36DD. I understand why (because it’s more difficult to construct a pattern for a more projected and narrow breast shape that you usually get with a smaller band and larger cup), but it can be frustrating. So it’s wonderful to find a pattern that’s graded properly and fits me!!
I found the pattern and instructions easy to follow. It followed the usual method of bra making, so if you’re used to that, this one will be a breeze for you. For beginners, I’d say it’s probably a good place to start for an underwired bra as the instructions are nice and clear, the diagrams are good, and considering that it fit me so well, hopefully it won’t need too many tweaks for you either. I only had one problem, which was all my own fault: I put one side of the underwire channeling in upside down so the plush side isn’t facing towards my body – whoops! But that’s only something I’ll know, so it doesn’t really matter all that much in the end!
I’m DEFINITELY going to be making this bra again. I have another kit to use and I’m pretty certain it will be with this one. One of the great things about this pattern is that it’s so versatile – the 3 cup pieces can be made from lace (with a scalloped edge or not), normal bra making fabric, and I believe even foam for a more padded look. I’m not sure which I’ll try next – possibly a lined cup without lace, but we’ll see. I wore this bra all day after finishing it and it was just as comfortable as any of my ready to wear bras, with the same amount of support and a very similar fit – like I said, so impressed!
Let me know if you give it a go – I’d love to hear other people’s experiences of it 😀