Monday, 9 March 2015

Watson Handmade Longline Bra

A few days ago I shared my first ever handmade pants, and whilst I'm ridiculously proud of today's little share, in terms of energy input vs satisfaction output the pants still win! Even so it's pretty exciting...

So without further ado allow me to introduce my very first handmade bra!

It's a 'Watson' (Longline, version A) by Amy over at Cloth Habit, and I love it. I used some seriously cheap 6 inch stretch lace and stretch mesh bought locally just to try it out (fully anticipating a fail!) but I have to say I'm pretty darn proud of myself. It looks like a bra and works like a bra!

The lace was a little too sheer so I lined the cup pieces with stretch mesh, and the cradle with proper cradle lining (from the Sewing Chest) to stabilise the front.

There are loads of tips on Amy's blog, one of which being altering the cup piece to allow for keeping the scalloped edge. I followed the directions and stabilised the edge with clear elastic to stop it stretching out over time.

Powernet is recommended for the wings but as it's a first trial I thought I'd carry on with my cheap stretch mesh, doubling it up to create the appropriate degree of stretch and it worked like a charm!

It actually came together surprisingly easily! The only hiccup I encountered was me having a funny five minutes and ending up basting one of the pieces wrong side out. D'oh (I was lazy and cut another rather than unpick!!).

A few people had trouble negotiating the bulk at the centre front. The cup to cradle seams meet and need to be overlapped and topstitching into place. I had extra bulk due to the cup lining but I have to say, fiddly though it was it still didn't pose much of a problem.

You can see that I've overlocked all of the innards so it's nice and clean looking inside and out.

It's not quite right for Mabel as she's bigger in the shoulders and rib cage area, but the internet really doesn't need pictures of me in my smalls -so you get the idea!

Onto the little niggles (and there are ALWAYS niggles)...

  1. Fit wise I was slap bang between and 30 and 32 but I'd rather risk it being snug and stretching out than too large and unwearable so went with the 30. It's a little snug and the side seams are creeping forward so next time I may try the 32 depending upon the stretch of my materials.
  2. The cups are pretty bang on. I think a slight further stretching of the side elastic is in order for next time, and I may even omit the clear elastic stabilising the scalloped front as altering the pattern piece shortens this edge so it 'squishes' a little, flattening me just a tiny bit in the front.
  3. There is a small amount of wrinking on the cradle when worn due to only the outer layer being stretchy. I think others used spray adhesive to baste the layers for construction which may help alleviate this -alternatively cutting the outer layer a fraction smaller perhaps?
  4. The pre-cut hook and eye closures from the Sewing Chest are the tiniest bit rough on the heat sealed corners so I may need to bind the edge with a zig-zag or something similar if it continues to irritate.

That's it really. For my very first ever handmade bra I don't think I could have hoped for a better result. The longline version is has a really pleasing vintage look and provides a little more support than 'View B' for slightly bustier ladies, but the combo with cheap shiny lace in white looks a little 'dowdy' perhaps?

I might look into dying the whole set when the bikini is finished later... Not sure if this would be possible after making it up though.

So a good start to my 2015 resolution. I'm going to stick with perfecting one or two more of these little beauts before moving on to non-stretch / underwire territory!


  1. Wow, that it so impressive, well done! I have long thought bras are very over priced and would really like to have a go at making one. Thanks for showing that it can be done with such skill and patience.

    1. Well, If I'm honest patience isn't my strong suit (which is why I've put off diving in and giving it a try!) but this pattern is really manageable though a little fitting perseverance may be needed so I thoroughly recommend trying it for yourself! I'll be moving on to underwires etc in due course but the 'Watson' has been a great starting point (In my very humble and inexperienced opinion!). Thanks for stopping by Sue! x