Monday, 16 April 2018

Madalynne's free Barrett Bralette, x 2

When this first cropped up on Madalynne's instagram I was very impatient for the pattern to be made available - which in short order, it was!  I haven't been sewing much, and I've been choosing rather carefully what to sew also because I've been sewing only weekly at my friend Tessa's, but this pattern alone revived my lingerie sewjo which has been lurking at nil due to last year's lace-based catastrophe and an overdose in other bralette patterns.

Size small which fits me correctly. The sizing chart seems accurate.

I went into it a bit pessimistic, because I quite like my findings - all from Elle Joan via etsy - a local NZ seller so very awesome to get fast service and be able to support local.  I reckoned no way could it end up as good as I hoped.  Plus it's not an easy bralette to make.  Despite the popular sewing bloggers all optimistically waxing poetic, this bralette has lots of little tricky bits and the instructions are very wordy - a thicket of words often obfuscating what the actual next step might be.  Going into it I felt a bit nervous due to those instructions but as long as you have made bras and are used to dealing with picot elastic it doesn't hold major surprises.

I did the first cup wrong - sewing the lining and the outer material of the vertical seam separately, but by the second cup I realised what the instructions were trying to say and I sewed all four layers together correctly.  Indeed it creates a much better result as the seams lie flatter, and I can see the difference when wearing the bralette.

I thought the instructions for putting together the straps were bad, and I referred to the Marlborough bra for those, because it's an easy thing to get confused on.  In the end one can always figure it out.  But this is one of those cases - which reminds me of Tilly and the Buttons patterns - where a multitude of pictures and words can cause more confusion rather than clarity.  I also really hate colour pictures and strongly prefer drawn diagrams.  I think that people are polarised on this : )

As I was making the bralette, the open V of the front didn't seem to sit straight.  It is improved once the straps are on and does not influence the fit but I think I could have changed the angle with which I attached them to that bottom elastic.  I realised once I put clothing on that it is very important because it creates a lumpy silhouette if you don't have that v totally flat.

It's the bottom elastic that makes this a particularly not simple sew.  Because you have to overlap and maintain the SA - I think that is an intermediate skill.  Madalynne assumes that you have glued the layers together and that they will act as one.  I didn't use glue so I had more layers to manage and I had to undo and fix some areas where all three layers didn't catch in my stitching.

The stitching is really visible when it's lying flat but not visible when its worn, so it actually miraculously looks quite decent on.

My sewing machine is borrowed and the needle is offset from what looks like centre.  It has a terrible system for adjusting the width of the zig zag.  So I need to pay a lot of attention to choose the right zig zag and to correct for this visual error I kept making which meant I was stitching off the side of where I wanted to be, which added to my grumpiness.

Overall it was still under 3 hours. This is a fantastic pattern and I really love the fit, so for once despite some errors along the way I'm both happy with the result (yes I will wear it) and I am excited to make the next one, and make it better.

And the second one:
I discovered the width adjustment for the zigzag.  Haha, oops.  Things are better now.  I also got in the habit of putting the needle down into the fabric so I'd know where it was starting, which has also helped. 
I didn't stretch the elastic quite enough under the arms.
To improve the underbust elastic problem, I measured 1/4" down from the top of the bust elastic, and drew a horizontal line to pin the fabric to.  I left this alone at the center front, put the bra on, measured where those 2" should be at the V of the front, and then pulled and gathered in order to get the V to lie flat.  Bra 2 is much nicer looking under clothes - it doesn't stick out weirdly.

I think I've had enough of these, though they were fun.  I have been inspired to go back to an old plan of making a Noelle-Mallori Lane mashup...


  1. Cute bralettes... I wish i could wear them. I use the Noelle for a bikini top for my sister and it fit really well. I'm thinking I'll make me one too.

    1. They were fun to make! I am about to finally make a Noelle-Mallori Lane because I reckon it could be a great swim top. But this bralette takes a lot of precision to come out nicely and with only the elastic band I suspect it doesn't have much support unless you're pretty small chested.