Last week I dyed the elastics for two bra & panty sets. Here is the first set and my thoughts on how it turned out.
The bra pattern I am trailing is Merkwaerdigh MIX5L.
Sizing & Pattern Layout
The pattern sizing is for sizes (42-54A; 40-52B; 38-50C; 36-48D). The pattern sheet has the nested pieces for the B cup equivalent, with the band being shortened or lengthened to get the other sizes. I’m just out below the range of this pattern, so I graded down a size to get the cup size I needed. The way the pattern pieces are nested makes this fairly easy to do.
The fruity fabric is a swimwear nylon/lycra. For this bra, I used the powermesh for the band and also the cup lining. I made this choice because I may use this bra when I go kayaking, so didn’t want the white sections being see-thru when it got wet. In hindsight it was a bad choice as it stretched, but more on that later.
The photo below shows the pattern pieces cut out and arranged as they would be sewn. Sometimes I find it hard to know which way around some pieces are, so laying it out like this takes a lot of the guesswork out.
The pieces went together quite easily. There is boning in the side seam, which was a new step for me. This powermesh was a real pain to use for the lining and boning casing because of the bulk of the seams. The next time around, I’ll make sure I dye some cup lining fabric to use for the casing.
For the elastic on the band, I overlapped and bartacked the orange and green elastics together. This gave me the change of colours from the band to the cups.
The padded straps were also new to me. I used the illustrated instructions from the Merckwaerdigh blog to put them together. Very comfy to wear. Initially I had planned to have orange straps, but I decided to use the print instead.
The internal seams are all enclosed by the cup lining or the casing, which gives a really nice finish. Unfortunately the seams at the bridge can’t be encased, but I have a cunning plan to fix that on the next bra.
The straps at the bridge are the last thing to be sewn in. The adjusted so that the bridge is pulled against the body. Most soft-cup bras tend to pull away, so this is an interesting way around it.
Hahaha – are the colours bright enough???
The fit is pretty good although I had some problems with the straps being too long. Initially I set them up to cross at the back to take up the extra length. I’ve got some problems with my shoulder after dislocating it a couple of years ago and the straps were really getting the nerves firing. I went back to the normal configuration and had to shorten the elastic to a bare 4cm in length.
Initially I was a bit disappointed with the fit. The cups felt one size too big and the bridge was a bit too wide. Using the power-mesh for the cup lining came back to bite me as it has stretched about the equivalent of a cup size. I think the fit on the cups would have been spot-on if I had used a stable lining.
But it had pretty good support for a soft bra. I wore it for a day to see how it felt and then wore another soft bra I’d made to compare the two. It was better than the other one so worth having another try.
So for next time:
- use a stable lining or reduce the cup size
- narrow the bridge by 1cm.
- shorten the padded straps
- use a narrower trim for the bridge straps
- (ETA, version 2 : palm print set)
The pattern this was an earlier trial of a KwikSew pattern which I mistook for my TNT pattern (oops, bad labelling!!!). It is OK, but way to wide at the crotch. Nothing special about them, just lined with swimwear lining and bound with the fold over elastic. Neither the bra or bottoms are see-thru when wet so the set could double as togs for an impromptu dip.
At a Glance:
|Pattern||Merckwaerdigh MIX5L – soft-cup bra (view A)|
|Type||Soft bra. Pattern also includes tankini & undies. Designed for larger sizes.|
|Fabric||Nylon/spandex swimwear knit, powermesh, hand-dyed elastics/hardware|
|Difficulty||3/5 Pattern goes together well, but like most bras, is very time consuming to sew.|
|End Result||4/5 – Comfortable to wear and quite supportive for a soft-cup bra. Fit is pretty good for a first trial.|
|Cost||Bra ($11.50) – powermesh- $1, swimwear fabric $1, elastics $4.65, rings/hooks.boning $2.850, thread $2
Panties ($3) – fabric $2, elastic $1