My Final Frontier, with the Fairy Bra Mother.
Let’s just start by my introducing myself. My name is Elaine and I have been sewing some 50 years. My mom would not let me use her sewing machine until I was 11. She was afraid I would wreck it. She did not understand my drive to sew and the fact that I did understand what she was doing and was learning. My first project was a set of Barbie Doll clothes for my sister’s doll that Christmas and my second was a Muskrat Fur Coat for that same doll, with a bit of real fur. I must have been fearless to have tackled real fur! Karen still has that little fur coat.
Why then, after all of these years of sewing have I failed to make a bra? Fear? Procrastination? For some reason, I thought it would be too hard.
Enter Beverly Johnson. This dynamite of a woman from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, comes every year to the middle of nowhere, Humbolt, Saskatchewan, for many days of classes and sewing. Last year, I signed up for her bathing suit class. Somehow that seemed like something I could do. Not hard like a bra. BUT…we had to make a bra for the inside of our bathing suit. Why, oh why, did I not take her bra class first?!
So when her Craftsy Class was announced, I jumped at the chance! I have taken many Craftsy classes, some I have enjoyed and some not so much. However, this class was exceptionally well done. Beverly is clear, speaks directly to you, and makes you believe that you can get this done. Her speaking voice is easy and she speaks with such humor. She walks you through the measuring and how to select the pattern. She advertises her own pattern line, but also mentions a few others so you do not have to buy her pattern to get this done. Her pattern line includes many many sizes from 32AAA to 48 H! She talks to you as if you are friends and she really wants you to succeed. In her patterns, your size is chosen based on your high bust measurement – my high bust is 41 and full bust is 45, and Beverly says to size up to even numbers, which would put me in a 42D. However, I decided to go with a 40D and add across the back for my broad back.
At each step along the way, she talks you through the sewing process and demonstrates the sewing. She shows you her way of doing it and gives you options, should you like to try your way instead (Though, FYI: Her way is usually the right way). Then, when your first bra is finished she helps to critique the fit. She will show you, step by step, the problems along the way and how to fix it for the next bra. Sloping shoulders, pointy cups, too tight , too loose, how to tweak it to get it perfectly fitting. Once fit is perfect, she will discuss ideas on how to make it pretty. Lace, alternate fabrics, elastics etc.
The only thing she forgot to say is that it’s addictive.
I think that all women need bras that fit, but for those of us that are on the plus side of life, we NEED bras that flatter our curves. We can alter them to fit the same way we any other garment can be altered. When the bra is right, everything else is right.
I made the following alterations for my second bra: the top of the bra cup was a bit snug, so I added the wedge where she said to make it. The back band was too small for my wide stooping shoulders, so I added what she said I needed. I also decided I wanted a wider back band and a bit more coverage under my armpit. This was the same alteration I did to her bathing suit pattern last summer. I also decided that I wanted to use a double layer of powernet in the back, and I moved the back should strap slightly in towards the spine. This keeps my straps on my shoulder, instead of always falling down.
For my third bra, I just added 1/8 inch at the center front to give myself an extra ¼ inch between the girls. I also dropped the plunge in the front by a ¼ inch. The plan for the next bra is to move the front shoulder strap slightly, maybe ¼ inch to the center. I might also try copying the strap of a ready to wear and add a small amount of padding. Now my girls are happy and content, they do not bounce, and my “back muffin tops” are controlled.
I figure each bra costs me approximately $35 Canadian, when buying the little kits and findings. Also, don’t forget the under wires! The Canadian dollar is down to $.90 US making it a bit easier to take if you decide to order from Beverly directly. So I would highly recommend buying her class and also purchasing her bundles, with the pattern and everything you will need to finish your first bra.
Beverly says, if you can set in a sleeve, and you can sew a reasonably straight line, you can do this. You need to figure out an accurate ¼ “seam allowance. It would be helpful if your machine can zig-zag and also has the triple zig-zag stitch. We can all do this. The only other thing I can say is that I had skipped stitches at first but when I changed needles to a 75/11 STRETCH needle, that all went away.
I have now gone to MY FINAL FRONTIER.
For anyone interested in Saskatchewan Stitches guild and the 2015 classes please click here: http://www.saskstitches.ca/
If you’re interested in signing up for the Craftsy class, you can sign up with a discount at Beverly’s website, https://www.bramakerssupply.