Hi there Everybody!
After a divine 6 weeks in beautiful Queensland, I'm back and busy and bursting to share some more beautiful bras and corsets with you all. Here is one that I started before my trip but couldn't show you until after my client's wedding:
Every now and then, I lie awake at night with images and ideas for bras flooding in. I had been asked by a client about wedding lingerie. Always so lovely, so pretty. But her goal was not just to have something white and virginal to wear under her dress during the day, she wanted something sexy too.
She also asked for something a little racier and seductive for the first night of their honeymoon. But that is the stuff of another post.
This lady is a very similar size to me, so I was well aware of the challenges for a full bust and small ribcage. I lay awake contemplating the options and got to work. My client wanted to see full mock ups of what I made and as she is overseas and interim fittings are troublesome; we agreed that I would make them to fit me first, so she could review the designs from overseas, and we could make them to fit her when I saw her in person. I love this approach - it means pretty things for me as well as for my clients!
So here then is Part 1: the Bridal bra - a.k.a the Angel!
My client would be wearing a dress with sleeves and a higher neckline, similar to the dresses from the 50's. She did not want cut and sew foam cups, she wanted her own natural breast shape to be showcased. She also didn't want a full white bra - the tradition of white is all very well, but she is a woman of the world and wanted her lingerie to to reflect some of that. Additionally, as the wedding is to take place in a hot climate, something lightweight was preferred.
Parameters set, I went to the drawing board. My client had seen the La Parisienne bra and much admired it, loving the long line look; so I opted for longline bras for her sets. Sexy would mean sheer in this instance, and the bra-tulle used in the Parisienne provided the perfect backdrop. And then I found this:
It just screamed wedding at me - the scalloped edges would be beautiful along the cups and the band of the bra. The scallops are quite wide, which is where a fuller bust really comes into its own, being able to carry larger patterns or edgings than a smaller bust. And as for a little something to stop things being too white and too pure... a little racy, red velvet seemed to be just the thing:
I decided to use the red velvet ribbon on the straps, after checking with my client that this would not be visible through her dress; and further decided to use it to cover the boning lines on the frame. This way, there would be just enough red on show, without dominating the pattern.
But first things first! Red velvet on white may be beautiful, but red velvet on a once-white-but-now-pink bra is not so good. The ribbon went into a bath to bleed out the excess colour and boy, it was a good job it did:
To add the coloured ribbon over the channeling requires some patience and precision. Once the channeling is secured to the frame of the bra, the ribbon is carefully added to the front and painstakingly attached - if you don't stitch it in just the right place, the channeling will become too narrow to insert your boning. It's also useful to leave a tail at the bottom so you can turn it under and secure it to the bottom band elastic.
Once the frame was completed, the cups were designed. Using the straight line drawing of the pattern, I drafted up a diagonal cup that would allow the decorative scalloped edge to be uninterrupted. An integral power bar in this instance would only have served to cut the pattern, and pattern matching would have been a nightmare...but a power bar is such a wonderful aid in a bra for a larger bust on a small ribcage. Let's be frank, we like it when the girls face the front! So, I opted for an internal power bar, made out of the bra tulle. This provides projection, without compromising the pattern or being a visual obstruction.
Here it is during the construction stage:
You can barely see it's there!
And here it is on:
Almost invisible, but still providing great shaping.
This meant that the cups had up to four layers of fabric in them - the external scalloped sheer, 2 layers of bra tulle with opposing directions of stretch, and the power bar at the side. Would this affect the sheerness of the bra? Well, you can decide that for yourself from the photos below, but I can say that it was still like sewing gossamer.
I dithered a bit on the straps - should I attache the velvet to strap elastic or tape? Should I just use the ribbon, and would it hold everything in place. In the end, I decided to use just the ribbon, as the elastic could look bulky, but decided on double straps for extra support.
And here is the finished version - one of the images below has some poorly positioned powernet pasties inserted for the sake of my decency, I hope it doesn't detract from the image for you all.
As mock ups go, I am very pleased with it and my client was absolutely delighted. We have decided on a few small tweaks, and she has kindly given permission for me to share this one with you all.
At this point I do want to mention that this kind of a sheer bra on a larger bust, although gorgeous, is not going to give you the ongoing support that you would expect from duoplex. However, my client is still reasonably self supporting and will be wearing this with the intention of a 'wow' factor when she takes it off, sturdiness was not the goal here :)