January is that time of the year for me. The time when my lingerie drawer starts to inevitably falter. I noticed this last year and I am noticing it again this year. It could be that the colder weather calls for thicker knits that just cuddle me up in a warm cozy hug and somehow make me think of luxurious lace I could be wearing underneath. You know, a fabric juxtaposition of sorts, or something like that. There also could be a much simpler and banal explanation to this sudden lingerie craving phenomenon – without many new additions throughout the year my everyday lingerie is simply worn out and I am in dire need of new pieces. Whichever reason it is, I still greatly enjoy this time when I am eager to explore new to me patterns, fiddle with the fit and think of new combinations of lace and findings colours.
I wanted to make the Harriet Bra as soon as it came out about a year ago. The bra design just looks so pretty – a three piece balconette cup with a full band. Although the design idea itself is not ground shattering, the curve of that upper cup piece just stole my heart. I am also very partial to full band bras. I feel more supported when wearing a full band bra, even though I do not need much support. I promptly talked myself into buying the pattern as soon as it came out and then spent the rest of the year ogling gorgeous Harriet’s popping all over social media.
I was about to say that Harriet Bra pattern is very versatile in my opinion, but then as I thought more about it, I realized that we, as makers, have this incredible superpower to make any pattern versatile and this bra is no exception. It can be made in all lace, partial lace, douplex, stretch silk or satin, or even jersey. The bra can also be made with a full or partial foam cup. The possibilities are truly endless, and a google image search or Instagram search are a proof of it.
The Harriet Bra comes in band sizes of 28-42 and A-E cup sizes. The sizing seems very inclusive to me, but then I am only a small B cup and I may be completely ignorant of sizing difficulties curvier ladies face. My only issue when it comes to making bras is that I need a smaller cup size and a bigger band, which is easy to handle with my rather average chest sizing. Speaking of it, it is due to larger underbust and smaller cup that I have troubles shopping for bras. I either find a bra with a cup that fits but then my band is too tight or the band is just the right size but I am not filling the cups out.
My other issues when it comes to buying ready to wear bras is purely aesthetic and fairly vain in nature. I am a tall girl. I have broad shoulders and broad back, hence the need for bigger band size. My average cup size looks proportionately rather small on me, especially when that cup size is combined with thinner band and smaller hooks and straps, which is usually the case in RTW. I know it is all in my head but I feel like a giant in a little girl’s training bra, and there is nothing empowering about feeling that way. Having a bra that fits and in my mind looks proportionate to my body just feels so uplifting and confidence boosting.
Now that you know my bra shopping issues, let’s chat about the pattern and the bra I made. The sizing on this pattern is very different from sizing in other bra patterns I’ve made in the past. My advice is to trust the instructions! I read the instructions many times and was still worried about cutting the size 32 band that my measurements put me into, instead of my usual 36-38. I even talked myself into cutting a size 34 band, thinking that it is clearly the perfect solution to my feeling uncomfortable about a silly number. Sigh. I should have went with what the instructions said. I ended up with a nice bra I couldn’t wear because it was too loose for my comfort around my ribcage. So my advice is to trust the instructions. After all, I am sure Amy did not just haphazardly throw the pattern together hoping it would work. I don’t know why I was so hesitant and so stuck on that silly number at first…
After my first attempt at Harriet turned out really nice, but a bit too big, I was confident that my second bra would turn out just right. By the way, I didn’t even have to adjust the cup seams! The cup and the band fit right off the bat and I didn’t need to do any alterations… other than choosing the right size on the second attempt, of course.
I was after a navy lace bra for a while. I must have seen something on Pinterest last year that got stuck in my head and morphed into this insatiable need to have a dark blue lace bra. I got the lace a while back from Tailor Made Shop. That shop seriously has the most delicious laces. They all are stunning! The rest of the findings and supplies for the bra came from my stash. I seem to collect bra supplies over the year just so that I can plunge into bra making come January. It must be some kind of hibernation, where I make almost no lingerie and collect copious amounts of supplies for the next lingerie making marathon.
I really wanted to try making a partial foam cup on this bra. I think that upper cup piece is just begging to show off delicate lace detail. I also wanted an alluring bra with some modesty, so a partial foam cup was the answer. In hindsight, I certainly forgot to line the lace, which I am realizing now as I am writing this blog post. But it is okay with me. The bra is still pretty darn great to me.
As I’ve said, this bra fit just right. The cup was a tiny bit on the smaller side, and the band was just the right kind of tight. I find with body heat and wear the cups ease into the perfect size and the band slowly wears out with time.
I am very happy with this bra! I love wearing it, especially with all the thick and heavy knits I tend to wear now that it is cold. The lace texture and colour do not show through thicker fabrics of tops I wear in winter and I do not need to worry as much about wearing the right colour of bra under my garments. Cold season is so freeing in the regard. Bring on all the wild and colourful bras! I find it amusing that to me colourful means dark navy… Perhaps I need to step out of my comfort zone and try another colour. Perhaps burgundy? … gasp, now that would just be wild.
Until next time,
P.S. After writing this post and drooling over Harriet Bras by other makers once again, I realized why I got so stuck on having a navy blue Harriet in my lingerie drawer. Amy made a navy Harriet and showcased it in the Harriet Bra pattern introduction post! Duh. Talk about the power of the first impression and the right advertising…
P.P.S. After writing, editing and previewing this post I noticed in the bottom left corner of my own blog a picture of a navy Boylston Bra I made a couple years ago… I am now convinced I lost my wits and my memory has left me in a state of perpetual revelation of things I’ve already seen and made… I guess at least I won’t be bored.
This is so stunning!! I love a bigger band too even though I don’t really need it. One of these years I’m going to give an actual bra a serious try.
Thank you! Yes, the bigger band just feels so good 🙂 You should! They are so fun to make.
Anya, this navy lace is superbly gorgeous! Love this!
Thank you so much! I am so happy with how it turned out.
Oh and as a fuller bust gal, this pattern will just be adored from a far. Have plans to try the extended sizes on the Marlborough this year though.
Oh no! Hopefully Amy will be able to extend the size range on this one too. But Malborough bra is a great pattern as well!
You are speaking to me with your body descriptions! I also typically need a smaller cup-size, larger band-size. I haven’t waded into the underwire bra world yet, but this is encouraging!
I am so happy! I always find it helpful when I can relate to the body composition of another sewer. I am sure you will enjoy the world of underwire bras! They are so fun to make and it is such a difference when you wear a bra that actually fits you.
What a divine creation – I love the concept of the partially padded with the lace on top – just lovely. It’s the kind of thing I would love to sew up at some point!
Thank you! I think it is the best of both worlds – a bid of coverage AND some lace on screen. Win-win 🙂 You should! It is super addicting
Fabric Tragic says
This is gorgeous! And so beautifully made. You do make me laugh!