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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bra making here we come

I should start at the beginning, OK the pre-beginning.

In the last couple of months or so I have noticed that some of my favourite sewers have embarked on bra-making adventures. Sigrid started it, Liana continued it and Robin got involved too. Since each of these sewers always makes things I would like to wear myself I spent more than a few late nights looking at their blogs, following their links and generally considering the concept of bra-making.

There are a couple of reasons why I have not got into this bra-making thing myself. First it looked all a little fiddly to me - if I was good at that sort of sewing I think I would be a quilter and I am not. Also there seem to be a lot of hard to source parts to the whole thing, and I thought all those across the bust seams would show through knits, and as a general policy I don't like to sew what I can buy cheaper (OK that's not at all true, let's be honest it is the fiddly thing that got me). However the bras online that I see other sewers making look very pretty so let's say that the idea was planted in my mind, and there isn't a new area of sewing adventure that generally doesn't eventually get to me.

OK. On Friday I got my hair cut. My hairdresser has a strategic chair on the second floor of a building on the corner of our best shopping street. As he cut away and in between our catching up (he has done my hair for 20 years and once brought me a lasagna when the kids were little and I had pneumonia) I looked at all the women pass on the street below and thought to myself if there was one thing they could do to improve their appearance what would that be, and I decided it was a better bra. In the summer in all those T shirts there are a lot of poorly supported bosoms out there.

This got me thinking, and really my own bras aren't that comfortable. I don't really like the ones I wear to work (yes I have comfortable old knit bras for the weekend) and I often suffer from a urge to haul them down. 

Which brings me to shoes. A while ago now I decided to buy fewer shoes but to spend whatever it took to have shoes that are really comfortable but also have some style. I walk a lot, and walk to work, and the concept of work shoes that I can't walk any distance in is something I feel I have outgrown and have a right to outgrow at this age.

So now I spend more than I ever thought I would on shoes but am saving money because I buy fewer pairs - and I am happy to wear what I wear to work on the weekends.

You see where I am going with this.

In fact where I actually went after my haircut was down the street to a fancy lingerie shop with a  " Bra fitting specialists" sign in the window. I walked and and just said "fit me." And they did.

Well what I ended up with (pictured above) was a bra two band sizes smaller and two cup sizes larger than anything I have ever worn in my life. It fit and it felt great. The price, well we won't be talking about that, let's just say I won't be buying a lot of fabric over the next couple of months, and that when they brought me the matching panties at $90 I don't know who had a greater fit me or all my Scottish immigrant ancestors or the Prairie farmer grandparents. My people don't spend that on underwear. But I did buy that bra - for research purposes and to own something that fit - I am considering this tuition money and it more or less is.

You will notice something about this bra though, a couple of things. First is there is next to nothing to it 1/8 of fabric and a couple of yards of elastic. You will also see that it has seams and looks completely sewable.

This purchase has been followed by an incredible amount of pattern surfing/sourcing. I liked the European patterns a lot and tried to find one that looked like the research bra but also saw this. The Bravo bra is a new pattern designed by Anne from Needlenook's daughter  Monica and that lead to a really nice conversation with Anne herself (when I was supposed to be engaged in heavy duty company's coming house cleaning and bed assigning for 5 incoming guests). Anne incredibly has volunteered to send me a few fitting bras to try on to see what I think before I try a pattern. 

I think I am about to start something new, stay with me, as the ultimate Ordinary Sewer, who knows where this is going to go.