Hand Sewing Project Part 2

Hand Sewing Project Part 2

This project took a bit to carry on with due to the other half of the human equation being rather busy and/or napping.  So this has taken a couple months to carry on from the original article where I introduce you to the concept of hand sewing for useful projects around the home.  I put a video together that both goes over that article’s content, and beginning the project I introduce to you today

One piece of clothing for women that can get quite pricey, particularly if you try to ensure a proper fit, is the undergarment we call a bra. This garment has gone through many iterations over the centuries for many different purposes ranging from basic packaging to push-up to form-adjusting, etc. Some designs have been unhealthy for the wearer, from crushing one’s breasts to constricting one’s breathing. Some provided support from the shoulders, others from the hips, and others from various forms of “underwire” ranging from actual bone and metal to plastic strips or even the lowly round shoelace. Walk into any store that specializes in offering women the ultimate fit and appearance, and pay a pretty penny to walk out with anything half-decent. Walk into Walmart, pay a reasonable price, but 6 months to a year later, have to walk right back in again because the garment has stretched out of shape.

My daughter is a history nut, and knowing how expensive modern bras are and how quickly even the high-priced items she bought were already going out of shape, she began looking for other ways to achieve the look she wanted, the support she needed, at a price she could afford. She began reading up on corsets to begin with, bought one, edited it to fit her rather short torso, and wondered if we could use it as a base from which to create other garments. When my own stash of undergarments got low, she got the idea in her head to go looking for what are known as Short Stays and found a hand-sew pattern for a Regency Short Stay. We figured we’d start from there.

We followed the drafting instructions for the Regency Short Stay to get our initial set of measurements for each of us, and the first set of pattern pieces we would use in our desired final pattern. My daughter found a reasonably simple sports bra pattern that would give us more support on the back and better shoulder support down the front. We printed out this pattern and had to piece the sheets of paper together before we could cut out that pattern. Then it was time to fiddle and adjust. We figured out where the Regency Short Stay would fit on the same fold lines as the sports bra, extended outside lines to match where necessary, then set about making our mockups.

Mockup #1Mockup #1The first mockup severely had the shoulder straps going down the sides of the bust, as originally designed to do for the Regency Short Stay. No packaging at all with this design and threat of falling out of the bra when bending over, so we adjusted our design a second time.

 

 

 

 

Mockup #2 In the second mock-up, we moved the attachment point of the front shoulder strap from under the arm scye to the edge of the front piece, and added an extension piece between the back and the front under the arm scye area. This placed the shoulder strap such that now the breasts were better packaged, but we had buckling in the back. It should be noted at this point, that my daughter didn’t want stretchy fabric, because stretchy fabric eventually stretches out of shape, so all these edits were for weaves, not knits or other stretchy fabrics.

 

 

Mockup #3 Mockup #3We adjusted the back pieces and made mockup #3. This one also saw me add cording under the gussets, the only issue there being I added them too high to begin with, but that’s not a pattern adjustment so much as desired fit. The adjustment in the back resulted in minor blousing at the back chest band area, but that is where a new straight line showed up in the pattern piece shared here for handsew Design #1, to flatten out that area and reduce the blousing effect.  We also shortened the front strap by roughly an inch.

 

 

 

Prototype frontviewPrototype side viewprototype #1We went ahead and made a prototype of the real thing and my daughter put it through some real-world paces, only to discover that the wide racerback was too wide for her shoulders, and the prototype underwent a major adjustment to the racerback pattern piece.

Prototype back view, panels upside downAs you can see in the picture, doing that adjustment “live” ended up with it slightly off centre, but I can assure you the adjusted pattern piece in the printout is definitely centred in design #2! The slight off-centre didn’t phase my daughter as it went through several days of wear at work without much hassle other than the front closure mechanism. The idea of lacing with shoelace didn’t work, it stretched all out of whack. Changing over to ribbon worked better, but after a full workday it too began to show signs of eventual stretching where it was sewn to the stay. We ordered some eyelet grommets and after 2 weeks they finally got here. This, threaded with ribbon, generally works much better as noted and observed by commercially-made corsettes.  The only other adjustment she needed and that we copied over to my stay, was removing an inch off the underarm side panels.  This allowed for better fit all the way around.

You may be thinking, that lower back looks really weird.  That’s because I accidentally flipped those pieces around and upside down!  However, it doesn’t seem to affect comfort according to my daughter, and my own prototype’s back pieces went together just fine facing the right way.  This pattern seems to be rather forgiving that way, which makes it a relatively easy pattern to learn with.

Design #3Knowing how well my daughter’s prototype was otherwise wearing at work, I went ahead and made my prototype of Design #2 while we waited for the eyelet grommets to get here. While my daughter waited for the grommets, her stay went through the wash quite successfully, including the dryer as the day it landed in the laundry, it was raining heavily and laundry couldn’t be dried out on the line. Because I don’t like special-care clothing, this instantly became a huge bonus!

 

 

 

 

Prototype#2 frontviewPrototype#2 sideviewAfter the grommets arrived, I did my own first try-on, and discovered I definitely needed more support on the sides of the bust, similar to the original Regency Stay pattern, but attached to the front upper sport bra piece instead. I am bigger busted than my daughter, and before you cinch up the stay, you need to position each breast in it’s cup and allow the cinching to bring it all together. So this is now Design #3, and was literally the only edit my prototype required.

In the next blog post, I’ll have more to say about how to go about using and working with these patterns for your own unique sizing, as well as tips and tricks to ensuring your own comfort level.  In the meantime, if you are feeling adventurous, go ahead and download the three designs and see which one you’d like to try first.  I’ll go over more of the actual how-to’s for the general pattern in the next blog post.

The download links again, for each of the three designs are:

Full Racerback Modern Short Stay

V-Back Modern Short Stay

V-Back Modern Short Stay for the Fuller-chested Woman

Share with Someone
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Leave a Reply