*Warning: this post will contain lots of discussion of b@@bs and my b@@bs in particular. You've been warned.
So, as a young girl, there were a couple of things I wanted to be: tall and voluptuous. Fail on the first count and sort of on the second. (To add insult to injury, my little sister is both.) I developed early so I thought perhaps there was hope. Yes, I had bought in to all those VS ads and thought I should be practically falling out of my bra. However, it was not meant to be. I stopped growing at a respectable 34B. The "trouble" was that I was not thin so my rack was not particularly impressive. My good friend in high school wore the same bra size but was super skinny so she looked much more well-endowed. First lesson in the fact bra size does not determine your look.
I had a fairly hourglass figure back then so it was OK--I could wear a strapless top and still look perky. Then in grad school I gained a little more weight all over. Still an hourglass figure but the b@@bs were not even. I know that uneven cup sizes are pretty common but it makes finding a bra that fits difficult. I went on to wear a 36C for many years. I just had to be specific about type and brand. Who knew that my favorite would be a minimizer style? The stable woven helped support the weight and kept the slightly larger side completely covered so you couldn't see any difference even without a shirt.
Fast forward to pregnancy #1: I had a lot of rib spread. At one point I was wearing a 40B. After the first few months of breastfeeding everything went back to normal but, of course, breastfeeding b@@bs are a little, ahem, fuller. However, it is recommended that you not wear underwire when breastfeeding because of possible damage to the milk ducts. (Another reason to make sure you are wearing the correct size.) It is very annoying that at a time when you are most likely to have heavy weight and extra volume your "appropriate" options are little better than a light support sports bra. Let's just say there were some noticeable after-effects.
Until pregnancy #2 last year, I fluctuated from 38B to 36C depending on my weight. During the actual pregnancy, I was wearing a 38D I think. Breastfeeding this go around meant I was wearing a 36DD. So, my voluptuous dream was finally fulfilled but at what cost? At my age (cough, over forty, cough cough) and 2 rounds of breastfeeding... let's just say the girls could definitely use some TLC if I'm going to avoid having my b@@bs reach my navel in another 20 years. Based on my various styles and sizes, I had an idea of what constitutes the perfect bra but no idea where to start.
Then (cue angels singing) I found women who were sewing their own bras! I started reading Cloth Habit, VeryPurplePerson, and, of course, OrangeLingerie. I found Madalynne and took her bra making class at The Sewing Party. I liked that she made it seem so simple and straightforward but I felt like I needed some hand-holding through the first bra making adventure so I bought the Craftsy class, Sewing Bras: Construction and Fit with Beverly Johnson. This is exactly the kind of detail that I wanted. I bought the Craftsy kit from Sweet Cups Bra Supply (the US supplier since I'm stateside but the original Bra Makers Supply is located in Canada). The shiny milliskin is not exactly what I would pick for myself but I wanted to stay as close as possible to the class before getting too crazy. The kit arrived today so we'll see when I'll actually be able to get to it. I'm hoping sooner rather than later but we have plans for tomorrow (Sun.) and the work week is always hectic.
About a week after I had sketched out my dream bra Norma release her Marlborough bra. Seriously, it looked almost exactly like what I had sketched out so I knew I had to have it. I don't have anywhere near the skill to make this bra yet but when I do, I plan on making a ton. The makes from Kathy Sews and Fehr Trade only reinforce the fact that this pattern is awesome.
At first, I was a little awed by how much it would cost to get all the supplies but then I figured all these materials cost about the same as two good RTW bras. If I can master the pattern, I can buy source materials in greater quantities and just dye them different colors. Not to mention, I would be able to have matching panties for every bra! (I don't know about you, but I have a ton of bras in my drawer but always reach for the same 2 or 3 so its like only having 3 bras anyway. Panties to match? Ha, like the panties to go with those RTW bras are comfy. Now I'll have a drawer full of bras & panties I will actually wear. happy happy joy joy Its the little things in life, people.)