Polka Dotty Lingerie

dotted knit foam bra

Over the summer, Katherine of Blooms Endless Summer and I exchanged a few lingerie patterns we had drafted. It’s been wonderful finding online sewing friends with whom to chat about patternmaking experiments, and we both share a genuine love of pattern analysis. She was gracious to share the pattern she drafted for her Daisy bra, which I had some time to finish over the weekend.

A few moons ago I bought this comfy soft dotted rayon jersey for some Ladyshorts and, well, a lady has to have a bra to match!

dotted lingerie set

Katherine drafted her bra using Patternmaking for Underwear Design by Kristina Shin, a book I’ve since bought and used as a reference in some of my own drafting. Because Katherine’s a different size than me and the book does not demonstrate drafting in measurements other than a 34B, I used my own bra blocks to adjust and grade the size and fit. In her post about this bra (linked at the top), she also included an illustration showing how she adjusted the original draft to fit her particular shape. This may help some who have have less volume on top and need to visualize what cup pieces could look like. As so many of you have figured out in the sew-along, bra fit is such a subtle thing. We all have different shapes, or a shape we’d like to be!

In this bra, the lining is the structural layer, a three-piece foam cup which allows for the shaping and support. The outside is only a two-piece cup meant to be made from lycra, or possibly a jersey as I used, to shape smoothly over the foam.

dotted knit foam bra

dotted knit bra, inside

In these type of bras, the foam is usually joined by a zig-zag or triple zig-zag, then covered with seam tape. I have made them both with and without covering tape and it doesn’t seem to affect the feel or strength. But of course I like neat finishes! For this one I used a soft 1/4″ cotton twill tape and stitched a straight stitch on either side.

dotted knit bra, inside

To stabilize the cradle and bridge I used a fusible knit interfacing. On top of that I stitched a lightweight tricot lining to the bridge so I could clean finish the clever little ā€œvā€. I like this part of the design, which follows the neckline of the cups to a point. I have some space to work with in my bridge so little style changes like this one are easy to incorporate.

You might be wondering, do I wear all these bras I make? Yes! Yes, all of them, and I’m nearly at the point where I have phased out store bras except for a couple of investment lingerie pieces which I splurge on for my own luxury. My first couple of handmade bras fit fairly well and while they may have not been my favorite fabrics, style or fit they still work when everything else is in the laundry! Another thing to remember is that no bra lasts forever. Elastic can age very quickly with two- or three-times-a-week wear. And it particularly does in a climate like mine, where sheer body heat breaks down highly elastic clothing. I have to replace my workout clothes once or twice a year! I’m very particular about handwashing my delicates. I lightly wash after two wears to rinse out body oils, I don’t wring, I use a very mild detergent made for lingerie in small doses. But even with that care, some bras don’t last more than a year. I too have been guilty of wearing bras way past their point of usefulness!

This is one of a few foam style bras I have made for some comfy whatever days and since I work from home I have more of those than I care to admit!

dotted knit bra

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