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I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bra school

Well I am done.

My classes for this term that is. Now I can pick up my creative life for a bit.

Last Saturday I kicked that off with a fantastic day with bra-maker extraordinaire Tory LeBlanc where we custom-fitted and sewed a prototype bra.

I have made bras before with some success but wanted a second opinion on fit. What I got at Tory's class was actually far much more.

First the final product:

Now this just looks like a fairly standard bra but what you can't see is the best part, a completely flawless, can't-be-improved-upon-in-any-way, fit. 

Can't show you that since this is a family blog and I can see the headlines now:

Middle-aged teacher posts pictures of herself in her underwear on the internet. Students mortified.

Back to the bra. Absolutely perfect, not a wrinkle, not a tweek required, great comfort, and terrific support. I started out by saying to Tory that the thing I didn't like about self-made bras was the seam, which showed in T shirts, and she told me that with the right fit and construction you can't see that seam.

She's right.

I wore this bra under a knit top yesterday and it was as smooth as those ride up foam-cup numbers you get from the store.

I cannot recommend the help of a good teacher, this teacher, enough. Tory only teaches small groups, there were only three of us in the class, and she gives private lessons. There is time enough to get the fit right and to really have good advice on technique. I, for example, was told to use more pins, I did and it made a huge difference:

I think the difference between teaching yourself how to make a bra and a good teacher is the experience gap. Tory has made thousands and frankly she really knows boobs. I ended up with an altered band size (I am between sizes), a different cup size, and a totally different underwire size than I was expecting.

And it worked.

Tory also give more designer classes on how to customize the basic pattern to a different style, and she thinks I should make a bustier. To be honest I think I have about as much use in my life for a bustier as I would say, a dog sled, but changing things up a bit from the standard issue might be interesting. 

The one thing I can see myself getting into is dyeing and here are some samples of bra fabric done in Kool Aid. The darker samples are those that were left in the Kool Aid a long time and the lighter ones just went in and out:

Finally here is her email as Tory says she is interested in doing workshops for groups anywhere who are interested.

Now off to work on my neglected house and my Christmas projects, more later.


Myrna said...

Your bra looks wonderful. I took a similar workshop and agree that having the help of an instructor can be invaluable. Sewing a well fitting bra shows why it's worth the learning curve. That said, every time I try a new pattern I need to tweak that pattern just like developing any T & T. I'm currently working on Kwik Sew 3300 and it's nicely drafted and goes together great. The tweaking that I'm doing is specific to my body tweaks and I find that those are fairly consistent bra to bra just as my adjustments for other garments are. My third one should be just perfect.

I learned from Sew Tawdry the value of using a consistent lining so that no matter what surface fabric you use, the fit is going to be similar. I read that thought in her posting http://sewtawdry.blogspot.com/2011/06/bravo.html

a little sewing said...

Barbara, that is impressive. You are so right that fit is the most important part of bra-making and that is the main reason I stopped sewing them. I got a decent fit and I got the mechanics down, but my store-bought bras were still superior.

I will be looking into a class or a private lesson with her, or someone as skilled as she is.
Bras are not hard to make and once could easily sew a batch of several, as long as you have the perfect pattern.

I've been told it's good to get re-measured once a year and make tweaks. Our bodies constantly change, even subtly.

a little sewing said...

by the way, the link to your teacher's email doesn't seem to take me anywhere.

Mary said...

Your bra looks great! This is a project I'd like to try, and sometime before I fall further victim to gravity. :-)

LisaB said...

I'm glad you had a great class. I'm especially impressed with the ability to sew a bra with a seam to wear under t-shirts. I would love to know how to do that!

Bunny said...

This looks so great. I am having class envy. Does Tory live up there near you? I take it she doesn't travel to tiny villages in the Adirondacks, U.S.. No one really does.

The ability to make this work under a Tshirt was worth every penny you paid her.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of the Kool-aid for dye technique but was a bit skeptical. You've convinced me! What terrific colors. And your bra looks so professional.

Barbara said...

Thanks Robin I have fixed the link.

knitmachinequeen (KMQ) said...

Great looking bra. It looks like RTW. I agree that teaching yourself bramaking is lacking. Although I had a different teacher and the experience wasn't as great as yours, I love making bras. Keep us posted on future bras. TFS

Rose said...

I'm impressed with your workmanship and have a bad case of teacher envy. Thanks for the link. I may do bra making yet!

StephC said...

How I long to sit at the feet of a good teacher "who really knows boobs" and learn everything she has to teach!

Looks very professional, it's so exciting to wear something that FITS. :)

Bless2BHome said...

Awesome! I so wished we had instructors in SW Missouri..

Priya Kundu said...

awesome post! i love this Bra !!!!
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