Learning From Your Mistakes

Folks. If you do not learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them. There was going to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth if my sixth attempt at sewing the Rebecca bra from Sewy didn’t work out for me.

I am thrilled to report that wearing sack cloth and sitting in ashes was not needed!  This bra fits. Did you hear that? Angels cried with me when I finished this bad boy up.

This lace is from my once in a lifetime trip to Kantje Boord in Amsterdam last year. Why oh why did I not purchase a lifetime supply of lace and findings!? Oh. Yes. The crappy exchange rate. I forgot.

I must tell you. The road to this bra was not paved in milk and honey.

I received a new copy of the  Rebecca pattern from Sewy a few short weeks after my posted plea for help. They do ship to the US and they’ve fixed the bug on thier website that wouldn’t let me complete the order. Woo hoo!

Anxious to sew a litlle somethin’ somethin’, I traced and cut out a 70F. I used a bra kit from Summerset and lace from Etsy.

It’s hard to try on a bra mid-sew (sans straps and closures). But, am I ever glad I did! The bra was again too small! Why or why! I hadn’t done any alterations.  The 70F should have fit. Well, at least fit better. Except, well, I traced the wrong size. I know this, because I went back and read my original blog post from Jun 2011:

As I suspected in my last bra post, I did in fact trace and sew the wrong size bra. I made a 70F when I should have started with a 70G.

Grrrr. Do you see that? That means I’d sewn the wrong bra size twice now. Twice! Why? Because I didn’t read the notes I wrote here on my very own blog.

That made  1 muslin, 1 slightly large bra, 1 huge bra, a teeny bra, and now this small bra. That’s FOUR bras I’d sewn and none are wearable (by me). I was *so close* the first time I sewed a bra. But, happily, I got the magic back!

The good news is, these are now a breeze to sew. I *love* how they look. I’ve got all the sewing tricks worked out. For me, that means shortened band, downward hike, some curvature out of the bust apex, a wing and a prayer.

So not to destroy the good bra making vibes, I plan to sew this silver / grey version today before the Ravens playoff game.


  1. Wow–you are tenacious and dedicated. Absolutely a good idea, to sew another one while the iron is still hot (sorry for mixed metaphor).

  2. Can you order more lace from Kantje Boord online? The exchange rate is more favorable now. € 1 = $1.26. Fear of failure keeps me from trying some projects, but you are correct; each mistake teaches us something.

  3. I have yet to make a bra that fits, despite many attempts at many patterns. It seems likely that eventually I’ll crack the code. Till then, I’ll admire the success of others.

    • I feel you. I was about to break down and just pay $$ for a class and custom pattern. I kind of felt I was on the right track since this is the same design / pattern as my RTW bra. But, I’d never make five muslins of anything else, LOL.

  4. I’m so glad that you were finally able to make one that fits! I’m sure the next couple of bras will be all that you desire because you have worked through your sewing and fitting challenges!

  5. Ok, stop making me feel like a lazy cow because I buy my bras and would have stopped trying to make one the very first fail. Your bra is gorgeous! I’d wear it without a top on just so people could admire it. Of course I live in Cali and no one would notice and it’s warm enough.

    I can’t actively root for the Ravens, being a 49er myself – but good luck on the next bra. The bit I see is gorgeous.

    P.s. the Euro has been falling against the dollar so keep watching that exchange rate so you can feed the habit.

  6. I was wondering when all of that work was going to pay off. This new one is just beautiful and I’m so happy for you that it fits! Now you can make your own for a fraction of the cost! Too bad I have to wear padded cups, or I’d be tempted to give it a go as well.

  7. So glad this finally worked out for you! It’s a bummer that it took so many tries, BUT, just think of how fast you are at it now! 🙂

  8. Congratulations! I look with envy at Sigrid’s wonderful lingerie and I resist trying because I know that 6 muslins would be in my future as well. Now you can make many more and enjoy the process.

  9. The fact that you have the patience to even TRY to fit and sew one bra, much less see it through six attempts to completion, puts me and my slapdash, short-cutting habits to shame!

  10. I have a class before…and I think you are doing a great job. The “class” bras were like medical bandages. You have some great teachers here. Save your money and buy more supplies for your bra making. 🙂

  11. I really admire sewers who make bras – such diddly work, but worth it the reward for effort in terms of economy and comfort. In 2012 I may just take the first step.

  12. I completely understand. I love the thought of making bras, I try every few months and I’ve made one that really fit. I’ve made beautiful bras, but only the one that fits and trying to make the same one again resulted in something that didn’t quite fit because the fabrics were different. I have patterns I’ve made up to recognize they just aren’t made for my shape. So very frustrating you can’t tell until the end and there isn’t much you can do to adjust after cutting seam allowances etc.
    And yet, with little success, I’ll try again and again because I did love that one bra that fit (until the front closure broke and I wore it so much, honestly, the lace isn’t recovering like it once did).

  13. Ahhh, persistence, the elusive persistence. I’ll have to clean up my sewing room and see if I can find it if I ever try bra making. You and Sigrid inspire me, but on the other hand, that many mock ups makes me a little nuts. But hoo ray Ravens!

  14. Hi Miss Celie, I enjoy your blogs. I, too, have had bra-making adventures. I initially tried a Kwik-Sew but didn’t like the fit. There is a place in Hamilton, Ontario, called Bra-Maker’s Supply and she does a good bra pattern, with a few adjustments an excellent fit. Have a look at her website if you get a chance. I also went to Kantje Boord (I wouldn’t have known about it without your blog!) took a #13 tram 13 stops from Central Station in Amsterdam (we went over to celebrate my husband’s 60th at a nice restaurant on the canal!– did you get to the 9 Streets area?). I bought some of their complete kits and made some nice bra and undies sets. They gifted me a bag of lace remnants which are quite generous and I plan some adventures with them. Bye for now and happy sewing!

    • I didn’t make it over the 9 Streets! I had about a day and a half in Amsterdam. I was looking at their complete kits and will definitely be ordering some this year. I’m glad you found Kantje Boord. Talk about the only place of it’s kind! I’ll check out Bramaker’s supply! Thanks for the tip.

  15. The Fabric Lament….from every person who’s ordered or bought fabric like this….I think this is when you know you’ve ordered the right amount, you get home and want more after the project is finished!!! Oh yes, and GO RAVENS!!!

  16. I’m so glad you sewn a bra that fits. Yay! After much frustration last year, I took a bra making class. Taking the class was right for me because I think I would have given up if I hadn’t taken the class. I learned a few things about bra fit that I would have never learned on my own. Congratulations on make such a pretty and well fitting bra.

  17. Where can I purchase the bra pattern? I’m taking a class with Claire Kennedy and she gave me your website. Thank you

  18. I can’t believe I just now found your bra posts! I’ve been looking around for others’ adventures in bra sewing and these are lovely. I had to laugh because I’ve done this kind of thing before and on bigger projects (traced and made the wrong size not once but twice) so now I’ve taken to writing copious notes on the pattern so I don’t forget. I’ve still got some kinks to work out on my bra (which started from a Pin-up Girls pattern) but it’s getting closer. Thankfully I don’t mind having to do a few to get it right (except having lost/wasted some good lace in the process, sigh).

    • Oh! You should joing the lingerie sew along. There are many great examples and great pace to post. LingerieSewAlong.blogspot.com It is currently a locked group, but the administrator will likely add you if you ask.

      • That sounds wonderful! I’m guessing it might be Sigrid? (I can’t see.) I love your Pinterest lingerie board. That place is addictive!

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