8 month update!!! I was dubious about how well these bras would hold up over time. Between the pattern and fabric, I wasn’t sure if the material would stretch over time or the bra style would lose its novelty. Luckily, my worries were all unfounded. I cannot say enough good things about the Watson Bra Pattern and Bravo Bella’s supplies (click link here). If you are even considering making your own clothes, you really need to start with your undergarments. Being able to appropriately move and place your bust point depends wholly on your bra and that’s a big deal for any semifitted or fitted top. Your sewing clothes so they fit well, why set yourself back before you even begin if you don’t have a perfect fitting bra.
I originally sewed this pattern June 2015, because I had had it with trying to find something appropriate. I’m OK admitting I hated wearing a bra, but does any woman truly love wearing a bra? I’m sure all women have experienced some sort of excruciating pain and discomfort as a direct result of their undergarment. Bra straps digging into your shoulders. Bruising, rashes, bleeding cause by your underwire. And this doesn’t even get into all the calamities of how you thought you bought the perfect bra, but after a couple of times wearing the bra it fits absolutely different. And for the larger bosomed women out there, a bra can mean the difference between whether a shirt you own fits or not. Bra companies push, shove, distort, contort, and wrangle your goods into all sort of weird and abnormal shapes.
The problem with the industry is that we are brainwashed into thinking, I have to buy a new set of bras every 3 to 6 months and I need to go to some high-end department store to make sure that I get the right fit. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve gone from department store to department store (Dillard’s, Nordstrom’s, Nieman Marcus) and listened to the sales associate spiel about how a bra should fit. I’ve had some tell me I need to wear a bra with a band as tight as I can possibly tolerate, because I should have no weight on my shoulder straps. Others have told me…me…that I needed to wear demi bras and pushup bras, because they’re more comfortable than any full coverage bra. Lies. All lies!!!
As women, we are told lies about bras and we will pay exorbitant prices for these lies. A good fitting bra is probably more important than a good hair day. A good fitting bra will boost a woman’s self-image. We feel better about ourselves, how we look in our clothes, and our overall mood improves. Seriously. If you have had to deal with a cranky woman, it’s probably because all she can think about how uncomfortable she is in her bra!! Can you tell I have issues? What I’ve noticed is how all the common bra companies make essentially the same partial band underwire torture bra.
I’ve hunted the internet for something a bit more comfortable, but I continually run into the sizing issues. Given the nightmare of getting the right bra, I’m somewhere between a size 32DDD or a 36C?! Wha what?! But I have found out that sewing your own, perfectly fitting, bespoke bra is not that big of a deal, totally worth the effort, and the best thing you can do for yourself….ever!!! I chose the Watson bra pattern (see pattern here), just because of the lack of an underwire. Glorious. The pattern is absolutely glorious!!
I got all my bra making supplies online through a neat little online store that sells nothing but, Bravo Bella Bras. For my bra band, I used Powernet (see here). For my bra cups, I used tricot (see here). I used 3/8″ plush elastic for the cups and 5/8″ plush elastic for the band. For the straps, I used 1/2″ satin elastic. Bravo Bella is so awesome, because you can also get the ring and slide set as well as the clasps with 3 hooks! I’m going to say this now…the total cost of fabric, elastic, and other notions, my bra comes to $12!
Here’s the lowdown on how I chose what pattern size to make and my adjustments to the pattern:
- My band measures between 30 and 31 inches (see here on why it stinks trying to get the right fitting bra).
- My bust measures between 38 and 39 inches
- My high bust measures between 35 and 36 inches
My only gripe about the Watson bra is the lack of information about sizing. If I follow their instructions my pattern size would be between 34B and 36D and I know that’s just not true. For my pattern, I went through several sizes but ended up using a 36F. I was suffocating with a 34 band and was popping out of the 34E, because the pattern was designed to have little or no stretch with the band. If I was going to sew something with more give, I would definitely want to go to a 34 band. Watson Sew Along * Cloth Habit I still had to make some pretty major adjustments to my pattern after I made my first muslin, but it wasn’t too bad. Cloth Habit has a FULL sew-along to help you sew your first bra. There’s even a section about fitting issues and changes. The way my band fit was that it was sufficiently tight at the bottom, but underneath my armpits it was gaping a LOT! For the most part the cups fit snug and great. I ended up overlapping my side seams at the top of the cradle a whole 1 1/4″ inches. Thinking to myself, no wonder I have a life or death struggle with normal bras. If I want to fit under my armpits, then the cradle is literally squeezing me to deeeeath. A lot of times when people make this adjustment, they should have just gone down a band size, but for me the adjustment worked perfectly even though I took off a whole 5 inches. I also made a very small adjustment at the outer edge of the cup. I took in 1/4″ there as well just to make the cup extra snug around the side-boobs.
After 8 months, all my bras still fit exactly as they did day one. And, I have NEVER EVER, EVER had a bra that fit so well after 8 hours. The Watson bra does not have the problem of most standard underwire bras that requires boa constrictor levels of squeezing around your chest to stay put. Full coverage or not, after 8-hours I have not one wardrobe malfunction with the Watson bra. The Watson bra is walking friendly. You can reach, bend over, jump, dancing, sit, do whatever and everything stays in place as it should. Now you would think a bra that holds you in while doing everyday activity must feel like a sports bra. Yeh, nope. You do not suffer from uni-boob in any way and you do not have bra straps digging into your shoulders for dear life. The Watson bra holds boulders in towards your body comfortably and without the strain of push, pulling, lifting or separating in any way that’s unnatural. Unfortunately, I will not be showing off the bra (for modesty reasons), but just google search Cloth Habit Watson Bra (see here). You’ll see how versatile the pattern can be.
On one final note, poorly fitting bras can be psychological torture for women. Between puberty, menstruation, breast cancer, menopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, we take a lot of abuse and changes in this region and it is torture for most of us. Seriously, I would urge you to learn how to sew or start to barter, beg, and plead a friend who can, to help you learn how to sew your own bras. In the end, it takes me 1-2 hours to make a bra from start to finish. Stop torturing yourself with the scam, frustration, poor lit dressing rooms, etc. Stick it to those over-hyped companies and take control of your happiness now!!
I love your bra and thanks for the tip — I made one muslim with a knit of Watson, and a final bra with lace — and it was the worst bra in the world due to my fabric and sewing disasters (left cup on right cup . . ). But, I’m not giving up — your post has given me new enthusiasm! I’ve also ordered the supplies you recommended. I went to a knit that fit well to a lace that was not good. I’m going to make a few with your suggested materials. BTW, I see from your pictures that you did a great job with the technical sewing. What method did you use to affix the cups? Is it the same methodology as the tutorial? I’ve tried a couple of different methods with the last two.
I used the methods described in the pattern instructions. Every material is going to sew a little bit differently and sewing curves is always tricky like sewing necklines, sleeves into armhole etc. You just have to sew a lot and practice. I found it easiest to pin the cups at the beginning and end and then at the middle notch (the bra cradle pattern has a notch where the seam of the cup should line up). When I sewed the cup to the cradle, have the cradle on the bottom and the cup on the top. The cradle should not stretch or get distorted. Instead, make the cup move and stretch to match the curve of the cradle. I had to just sew slowly and move / stretch the cup to fit the curve of the cradle. I should note that my cradle has little to no stretch in the fabric, so it was easy to work with since it didn’t get all wibbly wobbly when trying to sew. Hope this helps and good luck with your Watson bra sewing adventures.
Thanks so much Naomi — That is VERY helpful! Here’s to new adventures! I also ordered the fabric you recommended so I can have some more consistency for TNT pattern!
From your measurements I am about the same and have been considering trying out a wireless bra, your review has been very helpful, :).
Well I’m still in love with my bras! Best of luck.