Since making my first Harriet bra, its now become a bit of an obsession. Figuring out all these new bra making techniques, fitting, etc. I’ve read other people’s blogs, searched Instagram hashtags and watched lots of youtube videos to get others’s opinions and what worked for them. So Harriet #2 had some changes which I thought would be useful to share.
Adjusting upper cup
In my last post about Harriet, I mentioned that the top of the upper cup was a little tight. Not enough to go up a cup size but something needed to be done to improve fit. I thought about increasing the upper cup slightly but was nervous to go into unchartered territory without doing some research first. I stumbled across Orange Lingerie and their blog, this particular post about increasing the upper cup told me all I needed to know. Its actually a really good blog and well worth reading for bra making fitting advice. The patterns also look gorgeous and I have my eye on the Marlborough.
The suggestion was to let it out 1/4 inch on top edge somewhere. The obvious place was at the end where it joins the cup. So you can see in my photo above, I moved the stitch line out and adjusted the seam allowance accordingly.
Fabric for Harriet #2
I recently stopped breastfeeding and got rid of most of my nursing tops but I just couldn’t let go of this one from Stylish Mum. It was just the perfect amount for a bra and knicker set.
First attempt using jersey
Just as my first version of Harriet, I did exactly as the instructions suggested for the cradle and cups. Notably I added jersey to the back panel on top of the powernet which isn’t in the instructions. As the jersey is stretchy I thought I could get away with this.
With the extra 1/4 inch in each upper cup the bra fit so much better and I felt so good in this bra. I LOVE the turquoise findings, they make it pop so much.
However the instructions tell you to press the seam allowance towards the outer cup and then when you attach the upper cup all that seam allowance is pressed down. This works well at keeping everything flat with a duoplex and lace bra but not with jersey and duoplex. It created this ugly bump, really obvious when I put a top on. I just couldn’t leave it. Thankfully I had the front top panel left from the tank top, just enough to cut some new cups.
2nd attempt using jersey
So I unpicked the underwire channels, cups, straps, etc to take the bra back to just the cradle. Ready for new cups. I had some bra foam I fancied playing with to make it smoother. With foam cups you don’t need seam allowance between the pieces, only on the seam that the joins the cup to the cradle/what underwire sits on. You then zig zag stitch the pieces together by butting them together. I then used some seam finishing tape to hide the stitching to make it look tidier. With the jersey layer, I pressed open all the seam allowances and edge stitched on either side. This has made the cup seams nice and flat.
Attaching the outer fabric doesn’t seem to have a right or wrong way. You can bag it out, use binding, use foldover elastic, all sorts. After some more research I decided to use Cloth Habit’s Tutorial for foam cups and bagged mine out. This means you have right sides together, stitch across the top and turn the outer fabric over the foam for a neat finished edge.
This is a great theory but a little tricky with Harriet’s fiddly corner between outer cup and upper cup near the strap. Not the easiest/tidiest but I can live with it. The remaining edges are basted and the cups are complete. You insert them into cradle, add underwire channelling and finish the underarm with elastic as before.
The bra is now complete and it finishes off the set using Made by Jacks Mum Wonder Undies mentioned in last week’s post. I absolutely love this set. The bra is nice and smooth under tops, my breasts are filling the cups properly and can confirm after a day of mummying that I was comfortable and nothing was where it shouldn’t.
I have to say this bra making is turning into obsession. I want to try some other patterns and really develop my skills. Also for the first time in forever, I have nicely fitting, beautiful bras. I want to completely make over my underwear drawer!
Thanks for reading.