How to Make Underwire Adjustments for the Harriet

Choosing Underwires for the Harriet Bra

 

I’ve been on a little bit of a Harriet binge lately, in part motivated by a desire to use up a bit of my precious lace stash. While recently sorting through some of my bins, I had my first experience of supplies gone bad–I found a few rusted rings and sliders and elastic that actually crumbled when I pulled it out of a bag. Despite my careful inclusions of silica gel packs in tightly sealed rubber bins, I’ve discovered that “aging stash” isn’t always a good thing!

Anyway, this week I made the pattern in a 32G, and sometimes in the larger cup sizes I like to switch out to a wire with a narrower profile. The narrow wires I have happen to be a bit longer than the “regular” wires around which I drafted the pattern, so that also means I had to make some changes.

I get a lot of questions about substituting wires so today I want to share a few tips on choosing and underwire–and what to do when the wire you want doesn’t fit into the size you choose.

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Book Review: Sewing Techniques from an Industry Perspective

Patternmaking Books

My favorite kind of sewing book is a patternmaking book, and I collect many, even in languages I don’t read. Every patternmaking book has a slightly different way of doing things so I hunt through them to find tidbits I might not see in another book.

One thing I have always wished for in any textbook is more insight into production patternmaking–and what I mean by that is the process of creating patterns according to how they would be sewn in a factory. The seam allowances and markings (if shown at all) are generic in most patternmaking books, and I suspect a large part of that is because these are specifics that are learned on the job, not in a university where most textbooks have their market.

However, I love making home sewing patterns a little more “production pattern” ready, if only because it often makes my sewing so much easier. And this is the kind of subject that deserves its own book.

Enter Design Room Techniques, a hunk of a workbook that fills the nichest niche for those wanting to learn more about production sewing and patterns.

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Can I Leave Out Underwires?

Can I Skip Using Underwires?

Do I really need to use underwires? And can I just leave them out? Or: Can you help me find a pattern that doesn’t use underwires?

I get these questions quite a bit. Many women don’t want to wear underwires for health or other personal reasons, but so much bra advice and bra making tutorials online focus on underwired bras. I hear ya!

And here’s my short answer: many soft bras are designed exactly like an underwired bra, just without the wires. So yes, you can leave out the wires, and no, you don’t need a different pattern.

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Harriet Bra Talk: Maker Style Interview & Workshops

Maker Style podcast bra making month - I'm guest in this week's episode!

Bra making has certainly come a long way since I first started my own bra adventures. Where I once had to dig to find good information on construction and materials, resources are plenty. Even better, the oft-heard phrase “bra making seems SO scary” has been officially kicked out of our collective sewing language. (Yes? It better be!)

I’ve already seen some gorgeous Harriets, thanks to Instagram and a few women who love to email me photos. Not only is bra making NOT scary, some of these women made a bra in less than two hours after I put it up for sale. That’s some sewing zeal.

Today I have a few groovy happenings to share with you, all bra-related of course…

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Introducing the Harriet Bra Pattern

the Harriet Bra pattern

It’s here! I’m pleased to introduce you to Harriet, my newest bra pattern.

You may have heard me whisper or squeak about this pattern in the last year or so. It’s been a lonnng time in the making! Two years ago I drafted my very first version in order to make a special set for Valentine’s Day and it couldn’t be a better month to finally share it with you.

In my own bra wearing I try a lot of different styles and moods. I have casual days and super form-fitting days, grey days and neon days, and sometimes I just want to drape myself in chantilly lace. My goal was to design a pattern that straddles that line between sensuousness and practicality, and the Harriet has been a template for my many moods.

I designed the Harriet bra to become a truly foundational style, which meant a bra that can work for a wide range of shapes and sizes. And it brought together all the best things I’ve learned about bra fit. More importantly, I wanted to create a style with a certain point of view but keep it simple enough to encourage your creativity. I’m a designer but I’m also a tinkerer! And I love that you like to tinker, too.

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