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My Bra Making: Tell Me What You Think

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Maybe you’ve had this happen. You have a garment – me made or RTW – that you love. It’s your go-to and if you could wear it every day, you would. Hell, you’d even sleep in it! You think it’s flattering. No, you know it’s flattering! Then, you see a picture of yourself wearing it. Uh-oh, turns out, it isn’t your best look. Pictures can be deceiving, but I think they’re a pretty accurate and objective portrayal. Rather than hating them, why not use them to change what you don’t like about yourself?

Nina Warner and Nellie Warner are my go to bras. They’re super comfy, super soft and because of their racerback, the straps never fall off my shoulders. I photographed it on body for the first time this week and when I was editing the images, I started to doubt my initial assumption that it was the.best.bra.ever. The bra that I made using scraps of fabric after cutting – the one that I featured at the end of the post – was actually more flattering. I posted both bras to Instagram – here and here – and the latter got the most likes. There could be other reasons why one got more than the other, but it’s something to consider.

free people bra

Has this happened to you? If so, how do you deal with it? What do you think of Nellie and Nina Warner? Would you wear it? Why or why not? If you don’t like it, what suggestions can you offer to make it more flattering? Above two inspiration images I used when creating the pattern. What did I miss? I wanted it to be sporty, but I think it’s too sports bra. All comments, negative and positive, are welcome!

And just in case you were wondering, yes, the sequin mesh in the first image is what is currently on my sewing table. Eeeek!

And congratulations to Emily for winning the lace fabric and bra kit giveaway! Can’t wait to see what she makes with it!

31 Comments

  1. Reply

    justineabbitt

    I’d love to help. But I’d need to see it from the front. It looks like a really pretty design from the back and I love that black strap back too.

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Which bra do you need to see from the front? There’s a link to Nellie and Nina Warner in second paragraph and the front of the inspiration bra is pictured next to the back on the left.

  2. Reply

    Karla

    I’m a new follower as I found you via Bloglovin’…. Such a fun blog you have here, I know I’m going to enjoy coming back again often…

    Oh my, what a good idea and fun way to make a favorite bra, new again. Sadly I haven’t sewn too much in recent years but would truly like to… along with other creative things I guess. My creative side consists of many interests and when I see a blog like yours, it inspires me to get moving quicker, to finish with this huge garage organizing project I started over a month ago… I’m so close to being finished but I’m a bit bored as I’ve been consumed with getting everything in order since inheriting boxes of belongings that were from my mother and grandmother. It will feel good once I”m done but most of all, I will know what I have and what I need when I’m ready to create. I’m sure you know what I mean? Anyway, your redesigned bra is adorable, I just love this style and the feminine touch.

    Warm regards,
    Karla

    • Reply

      maddie

      So glad you found my blog!

      We all have unfinished projects! I’m definitely guilty. But I make it a point to try and “clean my plate” when I’m in between projects.

  3. Reply

    Katherine

    Surely “best bra ever” is a personal opinion and not a global given….do you need to seek out advice from others? If you love the look and fit, surely that is enough? And there is every chance that you own opinion will change with time – best bra ever in 2015 will most likely be different to best bra ever in 2020.

  4. Reply

    Clare

    I think the same as Katherine; as the person wearing the bras only you can rate them on fit, comfort, support. And what you find more attractive on you might not be the same as what others think. I wouldn’t worry about the number of ‘likes’ on images, not sure they can always be taken as a barometer of true opinion anyway. What I do like about the back detail on both of these bras is that you can wear both with tops that reveal the back without looking like your bra’s on show. Even though it is! I hope that makes sense!

  5. Reply

    Claire

    They’re both amazingly cute! And they look great on you. No doubts about it.

  6. Reply

    AZ Barbara

    They’re both lovely. I wouldn’t wear either of them since they seem to lack support for larger breasts. Also, racer back styled bras & tops really hurt my shoulders so I avoid them completely. That is likely not an issue for those with less breast tissue to hold up. Again, I think they are quite lovely and only wish that I could wear them. 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      Thanks for the feedback!

  7. Reply

    Ali Benko

    I absolutely love your nina warner and nellie warner bras! I’ve actually been following your blog since I found the post where you made a kitri bra from Elma, it’s what inspired me to get into bra-making so that one day I can draft something similar. I’m on track, I’ve made a few watsons now and getting more confident with it!! Next step is trying to figure out how to draft my own 🙂

    So, clearly I really like the shape of the high-necked bras you’ve made, I suspect the strappy one appeals more to the masses because the style is pretty current (my dream bra would be the shape of your nellie warner with neat strap detailing along the bottom). Albeit, my style is less stereotypically feminine than yours is, but I don’t think your bra’s are too sporty. That fabric is so luxurious looking!

    • Reply

      maddie

      So glad that I inspired you to get into bra making and thank you for your comments. Maybe I’m looking too much into the design and should leave it as is.

  8. Reply

    Melissa C

    I think all three are lovely. In the air of constructive criticism I would say that the black one, though very similar in shape to the inspiration images, appears to be quite opaque unlike the translucent quality of the inspiration. The opaqueness of your version may be what is making you feel like it’s too sportsy? I think you got the pattern draft spot in though. =)

    • Reply

      maddie

      Good callout! I hadn’t considered opaqueness when comparing the two.

  9. Reply

    the Garment Farmer

    They’re all beautiful Maddie. I don’t personally care for the cutout design, and I do especially like the strappy black one.

    • Reply

      maddie

      Would you wear the strappy one?

      • Reply

        the Garment Farmer

        YeS ma’am! I would 🙂

  10. Reply

    Nicole Morgan

    Maddie, I think they’re all equally beautiful and flattering, but what is most important is how YOU feel in them. If you find your scrappy bra the most flattering, perhaps it’s because of the shorter length, or maybe it’s that you like the interesting straps more than the sportier Warner sisters? I personally prefer the scrappy bra because I’m not fond of high necklines, but I think it’s ultimately personal taste.

    BTW, I wonder if the reason that your scrappy bra got more “likes” is simply because lingerie with that kind of “webbing” is very on trend right now?

    • Reply

      maddie

      Before I saw it on body, I felt great in Nellie/Nina, but once I saw the picture, that feeling changed. Funny how photographs can mess with your mind and feelings, right?

      Interested comment about why one received more LIKES than the other!

  11. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    Nellie Warner the front and the back need to blend better in the way the lace is applied. On the back you showed both edges of the lace but on the front you have that part hidden and in some ways it makes it feel like two different parts as opposed to a whole. PM later.

  12. Reply

    Carrie

    Every mirror seems to tell a different story of what it sees. So would every camera, I imagine, not to mention each photographer, or each passing day.

    If you need to know which of the two bra designs is your best, I’d suggest looking at both in as many different ways and lights as you can, keeping a tally of which comes across as best most often. To be gallingly prosaic: Time will tell.

    Personally, I think both Nina and Nellie Warner are gorgeous. They’re different moods, both executed beautifully.

    I also think I’ll have to invest in some bra-making materials before long, because I want to make myself something I like as much on me as I like the looks of those on you.

    • Reply

      Carrie

      EDIT—Backspacing demolished the semicolon in my third paragraph, and I failed to notice. Forgive the oversight, please, and pretend the following was there all along:
      “…[the Warners] are gorgeous; the quick-and-dirty scrap of Nellie is perhaps more elegant in its wide-set position on your shoulders, yet both of the Nellie styles are graceful. They’re different moods…”

      • Reply

        Carrie

        This is not another edit (not exactly) but another thought:

        I’m sure you’ve heard or seen a quote that runs along the lines of, “If someone says, ‘What a beautiful dress!’ instead of ‘What a beautiful girl!,’ there’s something wrong with the dress.”

        In looking again at the photos of your Nellie Warner and Nellie Scrap, I’m realizing that, when you’re in the Warner, I’m seeing you—seeing Maddie—in the photos, then zooming in to look at the construction of the Nellie Warner. The photos of the Nellie Scrap are, instead, showing me a bra design; I see that first, then you.

        The fashion industry and style magazines and catalogs have trained us so to look at the clothes first… I wonder if that’s why the Scrap version has gotten more LIKEs.

  13. Reply

    Kim

    I think all of your bras are lovely, and it really is an issue of personal taste. That said, in my opinion, your Warner bras look fantastic from the back, but it’s a lot of fabric in front on your small frame. I think the cage-back bra looks more proportionate with your figure. But, I think the Warner bras would be fantastic with a plunging-vee front. I think the strap positioning could even stay the same. Eberjey makes some really lovely racer back bralettes that have this styling. They don’t come in my size! But I would wear all of these styles, and one of my summer sewing projects is bralettes that perfectly fit and support me. I just ordered supplies, because I think my fuller figure may need some spacer foam for support. But I really love that your creations embrace a natural, unenhanced bust. I am personally not into the “push them up and out” style, and also prefer a more natural look (and my bust is somewhat small for my size). This is my first time commenting, but I truly appreciate that you share all the work you do. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Thank you Kim! What a great comment and I hope you comment more! I see how the back is very strappy, yet the front is dominated by fabric. I’m testing out a new neckline. It’s a slight change, but I think it will make a big difference.

  14. Reply

    Tanit-Isis

    What a mirror shows and what a camera shows are definitely two different things, but I’m never sure whether either is really accurate. One thing I’ve discovered over my years of blogging is that it’s perfectly possible to take great pictures of a garment that’s completely awkward and unflattering! 😉 not that I think it’s the case here. What’s most important about a bra, especially, is how you feel about wearing it—is it comfortable, do you feel pretty, or fun, or happy?

    I love the narrow-at-the-neck looks of your Warner bras on other people, but never seem to like it on myself. And it is a shape that reads as fairly sporty, for whatever reason. I wouldn’t call that a bad thing.

    I guess I’m saying use the photos as a tool, but don’t take them too much to heart. As for the Instagram likes, I don’t even know if I’d call that a tool—I think it has as much or more to do with the quirks of a particular image (lighting, composition, pose) as it does with the garment, and also with what is conventionally popular—hardly why we sew. 😉

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Thank you for the input! I’m using the camera as a tool and going to test out a slightly different neckline variation.

  15. Reply

    Sofía

    Both bras are gorgeous, Maddie! But I think that, as other people in the comments were saying, the strappy one might have gotten more Likes because that strappy style is ‘on trend’ now.

    Also, in my opinion, the strappy bra has a more cohesive design than Nelly Warner, mainly because of the black lace trim you used (it matches the fabric). Meanwhile in Nelly Warner, the lace trim has a different colour and motive that the main fabric of the bra, and therefore it looks a bit ‘out of place’, making the whole design seem a little unbalanced. (I’m not a fashion designer, so don’t take my words too seriously! But I’m an art historian, so I’ve developed an eye for visual coherence and that sort of things…)

    Anyway, both bras are little beauties! In the quest for the perfect bra, the journey itself is as important (and fun) as the destination! 😉

    • Reply

      Maddie

      I also agree that the strappy bra is on trend right now. I also think that it photographs well. There are many garments that look good on camera, but not IRL. I’m not saying that’s the case for the strappy bra : )

  16. Reply

    Amiko

    Hi Maddie! Big fan of your blog. Props to you for being so prolific.

    First of all, I really love both bras and wouldn’t have any criticism unless I looked close enough. I could be wrong about this, but the neckline on the Nellie Warner feels “neither here nor there.” It may need an additional 1/2″ to 5/8″ @ CFN to register stylistically as a high neckline, or would need to drop a few inches to balance out the proportions. I trust the measurements you chose, so maybe it’s just something about the thick bottom band that is throwing off the neckline/ proportion? Not sure. Just food for thought! 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      Great comment! I agree with you and made that pattern change – raising the neck 1/2″.

  17. Reply

    newmodellame

    Hi Maddie, if you feel great it in then wear it out! After all a bra goes underneath so it’s the silhouette that bra gives under your clothes that is important no? Likes don’t mean anything, I just think your scraps bra looked more unusual and innovative, but that both were very pretty 🙂

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