I have a feeling you’re getting sick of seeing this bra as well as the play on names. I made the first iteration in February; it was based on Handmade by Elma’s KITRI bra and became my favorite piece. When I made the third iteration, Nellie Warner, I realized that although it was super comfortable, it wasn’t flattering. I liked the racer back, but the front was too sports bra. It was slightly masculine and I wanted something feminine. So, I asked your thoughts, and with your them in mind, I made this version, Nicole Warner.
Why spend so much time on the fit? Well, I recently emailed a fellow bra maker that I feel lucky to know – Christina of Fortnight Lingerie. When I first starting making bras and undies, she allowed me to interview her, and it was cool for a little guy like me to get a peek into her world. During our recent conversation, she gave me some advice as I grow my bra making – start small with a tight offering and refine fit and fabrics. I talked about how important I think it is to hone in on my aesthetic last week, and this is just another reminder. Have I finally nailed the fit with Nicole? I think there are still minor tweaks, but I’m a lot closer than I was before. Additionally, I want to test how well this silhouette translates into different fabrics.
Bottom band: black stretch scalloped lace with metallic thread detailing (Tailor Made Shop) underlined with same metallic lycra above.
3/8” firm elastic at racerback, underarm and neck (Bra Makers Supply)
1/4” strap elastic (Bra Makers Supply)
Cutting was standard – I spray basted the stretch mesh to the lycra and cut. I used eucalyptus oil after to clean my cutting mat to remove any residual glue.
By accident, I ordered firm elastic from Bra Makers Supply. It’s different from the plush kind in that it’s a lot stiffer. I repeat, A LOT STIFFER! BMS’s website says that it becomes softer after washing, but I didn’t find that to be true at all. It took me 4 bras, yes FOUR, in order to get the hang of using it. I was only successful when I didn’t use tension while sewing (I set it completely flat). Even if I stretched it slightly, it resulted in waviness; the same waviness if you’ve stretched out a knit.
Evolution of the Nina and Nellie Warner. The biggest change was the shape of the front. One of my good friends is a designer for a large retailer. We ran into each other recently (not literally) and I showed her a picture of Nellie Warner. She immediately said the front, especially the armhole, needed to be scooped out. I went home that night and browsed Pinterest, comparing halter bras I had pinned with Nellie. My friend and Pinterest were totally right. So, I combined the center front and side front patterns to create one front piece, changing the princess seam to a bust dart.
WWD has become a new resource for what’s going on in the lingerie world. This article featured fall trends, all inspired by active wear. I like how the lines are being blurred between active and everyday wear. Active wear is becoming cuter (Lululemon) and classic lingerie lines are becoming sportier. I think both Negative Underwear and Fortnight do a fantastic job at being wearable, feminine but slightly sporty. This is what I want Nicole Warner to be.
I thought it would be fun to show an evolution of this bra. The top two images are where it started – the left being the KITRI bra and the right being my version, which I sewed using the same pattern. Below it in the second and third row are Nina and Nellie. The fourth row are my inspiration images for Nicole, which is shown in the fifth row. I still think that I have some alterations to do before I nail the fit, but I’m close! I’d love to hear what your thoughts on how I can achieve the look I have in mind. Personally, I think the neck needs to be scooped out. I showed this in the pattern alteration graphic above.
In case you’re wondering how I wear this bra, above is one of my standard, go-to weekend outfit; it’s what I wear around my house and at studio. Rather than hiding the high neckline, I wear with with oversized tanks. Why not show it off?
And just for fun, I give you candidly Maddie as I make sure everything is in order and in place before I take the shot. No, that wasn’t a selfie in the making!