In part 1, I had the test pieces cut for the fitting band. In part 2, I'll be sewing up the fitting band, testing it for fit and then making some test cups.
Sewing the Band:
With a 6mm seam, I sewed the centre of the bridge pieces together to create a full frame and then attached the Powernet band pieces.
Lace frame bras usually feature scallops along the bottom edge of the frame so the powernet band pieces extend further down than the centre frame to allow for turning under the elastic on the back band pieces only. I don't need this for the test band so I trimmed this part off.
I then basted some 12mm band elastic along the bottom of the frame.
To allow for underwires to be easily added and removed, the underwire channeling gets attached to the outside (right side) of the bra. This needs to be attached so that the underwires sit in their correct position. To do this I marked the 6mm seam line (where the cups will attach to the frame) as a guide and basted the channeling in place.
The final part is to baste on the hook and eye (leave long thread tails for easy removal) and add in the underwires. The fitting band is now ready to try on.
Making a fitting band only took about 30 minutes and it's a really useful exercise to help diagnose fit issues before you cut into your good fabric.
After trying it on we decided the band was a little bit too big. I had used the size 32 back band pieces (as my mom said she preferred a looser band) and my mom measures closer to a 30. This is an easy fix; I only needed to remove the hook and eye and cut the back band piece smaller. I ended up making a custom size 29, based on measurements from the fitting band. I reattached the hook and eye and the band now fits perfectly.
We think the 34 underwires might be a tad small but will wait till the cups are in to assess this.
Making a test cup:
The final cups will be foam lined so I'm using foam to make a test cup.
To cut the foam, I like to trace round the pattern pieces with pen (or washable marker) and then use scissors to cut them out inside this line.
I also mark any pattern notches with washable marker too.
To sew foam cups you need to butt the edges of the cup pieces together as they are moving under the presser foot. I use a really handy stiletto tool for holding the very end pieces together as they move through the machine.
I usually use a triple zig-zag set at 5 wide and 1 long and it turns out really tidy. This time it turned out a little messy! I'm not sure what was going on!
With the cup pieces sewn I then basted them into the test frame, using the seam allowance that was left to extend past the channeling.
A length of strap elastic can be pinned in place to the band and top of the cup and the test bra is ready for another try on.
Assessing the Fit:
The band fits really well. The cups appear to fit well too but the 34 underwires look too small, as if they are popping off the bottom of the breast root. I replaced the 34's with size 36 and they encase the breast root much better. These still fit in the frame so we will use the 36's in the final bra.
I'm happy with how the test bra fits so I'll move on to making the final bra in the lovely green lace fabric! Check it out in Part 3.