July 23, 2013

About that red bra...

Ehmm... Do I really want to talk about this? 
Maybe not, but because I already announced it, I guess I should.

This is where it is now. Which, apart from its odd angle, does look like an almost completed bra. 

Until you notice this:

And know that those vertical drag lines don't disappear when the bra is put on.

What happened is this: Me being me, I wanted to make yet another bra design. The hardwear sort of dictated my choices: of the underwires I have (six sets), I thought the plunge one would be a bit too vavavoom for this fabric and lace, and two of the three slightly larger ones (for use with foam padding) were already earmarked for specific other projects, so I went with the "normal size for unpadded bra" wires. I also didn't have any stronger elastic in red for the bottom of the bra and decided to try a different solution from the one in the sage green bra
For this red bra, I would create a stand-out bottom band by encasing 3 cm wide elastic in the red lycra. Incidentally, this would also make the bra close a bit lower on my back. To avoid making the front of the bra look like one big block, I decided to try and leave out the normal bridge piece. I thought this would be possible because, to get a correct fit, I have to have the wire casings so close together that they touch at the top in any bra.

So far, so good. I then decided to go with the cup pieces from the sage green bra because those had already worked before. Makes sense, right?
Construction seemed to go smoothly as well although I worried a bit about the very stretchy lycra covering the hardly-stretchy-at-all net fabric lining in the lower cups. A justified concern, as it turned out. The bra in the picture was already taken partly apart to deal with baggy bits of lycra.
But that wasn't the worst of it. Those weird drag lines and the odd curve of the whole thing are caused by one thing and one thing only: there just isn't enough room for the wire.
I remembered from sage green one that the wire was a tight fit but I didn't worry about it. It fit them, so it would fit now. I certainly didn't measure it.......
BIG MISTAKE. The space for the wire, in both patterns is almost 1 cm shorter than the wire itself (and you need a bit of space to close off the ends of the casing, so you'll typically want the space for the wire to be about 1 cm longer).
I suppose I got away with it in the previous bra because a large part of the underwire casing was only connected to the cup and not to any other pieces. Here, on the other hand, there was that big solid band at the bottom which doesn't really allow for cheating. And now that I'm talking about it anyway: when I wear it, there are some minor horizontal drag lines at the bottom of the lower cup of the sage green bra. These are likely the result of that same wire issue.

To make a long story short, I'll have to re-do the entire thing. Fortunately, I have enough material, but I do not like it. (E. suggested cutting a bit off the wire, but I don't like that idea because I don't know any reliable methods to give the cut end a nice blunt edge again)


  1. oh that really sucks!I hate when I have to redo a project when I hadn't measure something correctly.

  2. You can easily cut the wire using wire cutters then cover the cut edge with either an all purpose sealant (I use Household Goop in the U.S.) OR you can use electrician's shrink wrap tubing - my new favorite method!

  3. I've never tried my hand at bra-making, more for lack of time than lack of interest. But I wonder whether dipping the cut-end of a wire in nail polish would work-? If you can get it to fit well, I like the peek-a-boo sternum!

  4. Your bra is looking so beautiful already that it seems a shame to start all over again! I work for a professional costume studio where we make a lot of corsets with cut steel boning, and to finish the ends, we use "tipping fluid" from Richard the Thread. (It's a costume supplier located in California, USA, and you can order online.). I have never tried any of the methods suggested by your other commenters, but the idea seems very similar... Cut away from the ends, file away sharp edges, and coat with a thick paste-like substance that will harden as it dries and seal-off the metal. Good luck with whatever approach you decide!

  5. Oh no! but my solution would have been the same as the ones you have received already... namely to cut a bit off the ends of each underwires, file off the sharp bits and seal the ends with a blob of something that will harden to a smooth slippery surface. Here in Australia hardware stores sell household sealants that I would use for this job.
    I hope you can complete it, it looks like it is going to be gorgeous!

  6. Aw, that is disappointing :( All that work, and it looked very promising. Would it be possible to get shorter underwires with the same curve if you can't shorten them yourself? I really hope you can fix this.