This week, I’m a busy bee. Okay, I’m more like a chicken with its head cut off as I prep for my bra workshop on Saturday. Even when life gets chaotic, I still try to squeeze in pockets of time to sew, and whatever I’m sewing, it is a tried and true pattern/project. Noelle is definitely a TNT. Although you’ve seen and read about this bra before, I learned a few new things that I want to share with you.
O v e r v i e w
Good design versus a great design – what do you think is the difference? I expressed my opinion before – I believe a good design is one that works in many fabrics, colors and trims, and a great design is one that in addition to the previous, is flattering on many shapes and sizes. For women, Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress is an example, and for men, a Ralph Lauren button down shirt. Is this bra, Noelle Warner, a great design? Mostly likely not. It’s a soft cup, sports-bra type bra that provides little support, not enough for larger-chested ladies. But is Noelle a good design? Well, that’s what I’m experimenting. I’m making many versions with different fabric and trims, and the one you see today uses a point d’esprit fabric (or stretch swiss dot tulle). My original inspiration image used this type of fabric, so this is also a good measure of how close I have come to nailing what I initially envisioned.
F a b r i c + T r i m s
Front and back:Black point d’esprit (stretch swiss dot tulle) from Bra Makers Supply underlined with beige/nude stretch mesh from Fleishman Fabrics. I used temporary spray adhesive to spray baste the fabrics together prior to cutting. I treated the layers as one going forward.
Front and back bottom band: 6” black stretch scalloped lace from Bra Makers Supply
1/4” stretch piping for front neckline, underarm and racerback. I applied it as I would a normal picot/plush elastic and I really like the look of it. It’s cleaner than elastic with a picot edge.
1/4” strap elastic
3/8” firm band elastic for bodice/band seam
all from Bra Makers Supply
C O N S T R U C T I O N + P A T T E R N
The only made 2 changes to the pattern, and as small as they were, I believe they made the bra pretty darn similar to the original inspiration image. First, I scooped out the neckline just slightly and then I increased the dart spacing apart. Ying made a Noelle and she commented that the darts were too close together. She had to push them out ¾” on each side. I’ve made this bra for several women and asked two where the darts hit on their body. Both said that they were too close together; they only noticed because I asked them. I’m very narrow (28” ribcage), so it makes sense.
Construction was exactly as the previous versions except that I added channeling to the side seams (no boning), which really helps prevent the bra from rolling up while wearing.
C O M M E N T S
A woman on Bra Making Forum recently asked how many bras one must make before finding the right fit. Some responded with 4, some responded with 5 and some responded with 6. Every time I make a Noelle, there is something I want to change, and when I do, I think I have finally reached the perfect fit. Then I make it again and find some detail, usually very minor, to correct. So, I can’t answer that question with a number. My tastes and my body will continue to change, so I’ll always be fine tuning. I’ve finally reach the perfect fit for today. I could feel differently tomorrow.
Just for fun, below is a comparison of Noelle and the inspiration bra/image, which is by For Love and Lemons. It has an underwire, which I think is weird, so I eliminated. Other than the bottom lace, I think it’s pretty spot on, don’t you?