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What I’ve Made: Ohhh Lulu Bra

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I thought this was my best bra but I was wrong – this is my best bra yet.

Not that I have enough projects to finish but when Ohhh Lulu released its new collection of bras and undies, Bambi caught my attention. Up until this point, all of the bras I had sewn were of cups/cradles variety. These types of bras present more of a fitting challenge than a soft bra/bralette and appeal to my masochistic pattern making side. It may sound weird but I love making a bra, it not fitting somewhere, and then going back to my manuals (Beverly Johnson’s or Norma’s) and figuring out why and how to correct the fit issue. That’s how I’ve learned so much over the past year – by trial and error. But in my day-to-day life, soft bras/bralettes make up about 60% of my intimates wardrobe. So to become a more well rounded bra maker, I gave Bambi a try.

The end result was an alarming, astonishing, and awe-inspring undergarment that was simple with a shot of brio. I didn’t expect it to be either. My intention going into this project was, sure, I’ll test it out, right a review, and get on with my other bra making toils and endeavors. But when I finished and took a step back to look at it, I thought, holy crap, I must make more; I need to make more! The fit is spot on too. This will be the perfect pairing for my summer tees and dresses.

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FABRIC Because the suggested fabric is a woven, I chose a rigid galloon lace for the self and a 15-denier tricot for the lining. Technically, I didn’t need to line the bra (linings are used to stabilize cups and cradles, which are usually made with stretchy fabrics) but I chose to for comfort (tricot is softer than lace), to protect the delicate lace from wear and tear, and for coverage (so that it wouldn’t be as sheer).

ELASTIC I used a 1/4″ elastic at the top and a 3/8″ elastic at the bottom of the bra. When I first started sewing lingerie, I used a picot edged elastic that’s was labeled as lingerie elastic. But the recovery on it is not good and after a few wearings and hand washings, it’s dead. When I inspected my RTW bras, I saw that the elastic used are much sturdier and have a tighter tension. I realized that in order to make a functional bra that can withstand movement throughout the day, body sweat, and multiple washings, you really need a good quality elastic like these. Since making this switch, my bras have not only performed better but they look less homemade.

I used the fabric’s wide scalloped edge as a design detail at the bottom of the bra. To accommodate the scallops, I extended the pattern and applied the elastic at 2 inches above the lowest point of the scallop. Do you see the side seams and the cup seam? No and because I “matched” the scallops at each seam. Go Maddie!

STRAPS The straps were upcycled from an Anthropologie bra I no longer wear. In my opinion, the pop of color makes the bra.

I’ve always had a hard time sewing a clean bartack when attaching the straps. So I was delighted to read an alternative method in Norma’s ebook – a box stitch. It’s much cleaner and much, much easier to sew. Plus, it gives a couture touch to the bra, don’t you think?

The back straps extend to the bottom of the elastic to provide better support. It would have been cleaner to insert it into the elastic but the orange would have been noticeable/visible on the exterior.

SEAM-FINISH Many of my soft bras finish the seams with tricot binding that is folded in the center and then applied. Even though I have a delicate hand when it comes to sewing, I struggled with creating this type of binding. I didn’t get frustrated though – the mass manufacturing world has a machine just for making binding – and I came up with another solution – I applied the binding using this technique.

THINGS-I'M-STILL-STRUGLING-WITH I still have not found a solution to skipped stitches when applying the hook and eye closure. I have tried every needle, thread, tension, and presser foot. Nothing works. I’ve been applying hooks and eyes with a straight stitch and to be honest, I don’t think it looks bad, homemade, or lesser quality. The hooks and eyes that I buy are finished at the top and bottom edge so that’s one less step for me.

What do you think? My best bra yet?

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37 Comments

  1. Reply

    hannah

    I think it looks wonderful! So for the hook and eye closure, did you end up trying the stretch stitch out?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes and I had not look. I think it’s a quirk or my machine.

  2. Reply

    Julie

    So pretty! Just imagining one with red straps, or pink?

  3. Reply

    Kelly

    That lace is so beautiful! The bra is just perfect.

  4. Reply

    Kitty Dunne-Mason

    I’ve been considering buying this pattern, and now I have to!

  5. Reply

    Hanne

    It’s so beautiful! It looks really expensive and delicate!

  6. Reply

    Sewing Princess

    Lovely…looks store bought to me! I also like bra that have no wires…and I struggle to find them in stores.

  7. Reply

    Kathy

    How gorgeous! I love this so much. The bright straps are so sweet. I get skipped stitches often on my hook closure, too. It’s likely because of the thickness of the material. You may have tried this… lengthen the stitches, this will allow it penetrate the fabric and catch the opposing thread and prevent skipping… maybe 🙂 It worked for me so perhaps for you.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thanks for this tip! I’ll give it a try. I’m beginning to think it’s a quirk of my machine 🙁

  8. Reply

    Erica

    The lace with the shocking splash of color on the straps is so lovely. It is pretty and bold at the same time. 🙂

  9. Reply

    Megan Grandstaff

    This is amazing! Love the pop of color, and your seams are perfect. LOVE that you used the scallop edging as the bottom edge – it’s such a classy piece, and so deliciously constructed. Well done, my friend!

  10. Reply

    Lauren Taylor

    It IS beautiful! Great, now I gotta put this pattern on my neverending lust-list haha 🙂

  11. Reply

    Erin

    Wow! This is SO beautiful!

  12. Reply

    Angela

    Wow this is so beautifully made! I love the orange straps!

  13. Reply

    Susan

    This is seriously gorgeous, I love the contrast straps!

  14. Reply

    emily marie

    It is so incredibly pretty! The lace/orange combo is spot on.

  15. Reply

    Laura Bolčina

    Lovely!

  16. Reply

    Caro

    Such fantastic fabric and elastic choices! I’ve had my eye on this pattern. I think it would be an excellent way to ease myself into bramaking- my only concern is whether or not it would be that effective a bra on my bust- since I’m quite full busted.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You’ll never know unless you give it a try.

  17. Reply

    anto

    It’s so pretty! I absolutely love everything about it. You’ve really outdone yourself.

  18. Reply

    The Lingerie Lesbian

    Gorgeous! I am planning to make this bra pattern soon and this is totally inspiring! I love what you did with the scalloped lace at the bottom and the contrast straps.

  19. Reply

    Chantal

    Beautiful! I love your colour and fabric choices! I think I might have to try this pattern now 🙂

  20. Reply

    Stephanie

    This is so pretty! You’re inspiring me to venture into bra making 🙂

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      do it!

  21. Reply

    dixie

    absolutely lovely. like – wow, so pretty! i agree, the colorful straps really make it stand out. this looks like something you’d buy at anthro. and i love the scallop edge extending down below the elastic. pretty pretty pretty!

  22. Reply

    peneloping

    This is so pretty!! I love the pop of color against the soft lace. Well done!

  23. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    Wow, Maddie! It looks incredible! The lace is just so darn pretty and I agree, the pop of colour just it that little “oomph”!

  24. Reply

    Laura Doty

    Oh wow, I love this bra! I think you’re right that the colorful straps really add something. I would totally wear this all the time! xoxo

  25. Reply

    poppykettle

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Would you recommend trying this style of bra as a good starting point before sewing the more complex cup-style bras?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Yes. It would give you a feel of how to handle elastic, how to apply straps, and hooks and eyes. That’s a great suggestion.

  26. Reply

    Ginger

    Pretty! I love that lace! This pattern really caught my eye, and almost tempts me to sew a bra!

  27. Reply

    Amy

    Oh so pretty! Pretty pretty pretty. I love orange and white. And I’m so into the eyelash lace right now. I also sew the hook and eye with straight stitch. I think it looks better, at least for what my machine can do. And I’ve seen it on a lot of RTW so seems like there’s no one way…

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Good to know about the straight stitch!

  28. Reply

    sallieforrer

    beautiful!! gorgeous color combo – and I LOVE the galloon lace! Bralettes are really just the prettiest!

  29. Reply

    baileybell

    This is adorable and amazingly well-made. Whole post just made me happy. 🙂

  30. Reply

    Lindsey

    This is beautiful. Wish my mosquito bites would fit into a bralette.

  31. Reply

    Rennie !!

    How does it fit? I’m tall rooted and I’m afraid the top is too closed, but I’m really intrigued by this pattern as a first bra project!

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