Last month I wrote about my first time trying my hand at lingerie sewing. Because I’m gutsy (read: a sucker for punishment), the first undergarment I ever made was an underwire bra. Specifically — a muslin for Simplicity 8229. And I didn’t run away screaming!
After a few test fittings and compulsively tracking my underwires in the mail, I was ready for a real version. Shockingly enough, I have a lot to say about it. So let’s get down to it! What did I reaaaaaally think about Simplicity 8229?
Even Before I Started The Bra
Here’s a thing about me: I have two degrees in history and another in library science. I like research. And when it comes to a brand new sewing skill that requires something of a financial investment, I might even love research. So you can bet I read everything about Simplicity 8229 that I could get my hot little hands on. Reviews seemed a little mixed. I think that’s common for patterns across the board, but it still made me nervous.
The number one takeaway I had from those reviews, though, was to watch Maddie’s explanatory video. She has you make a couple changes from the pattern instructions, starting at step #1. I’m really glad I knew to start off with the video, but I wish I had watched before I cut all my pieces out. She has you set up the lace and lining differently so that you don’t have an exposed seam on the inside. If you’re reading this in advance of making Simplicity 8229, watch the vlog RIGHT NOW.
Cutting Simplicity 8229
I decided to cut a 32C based on the fit tests I did with my muslins. The reviews seemed all over the place with fit accuracy. I think there’s two reasons for this: Maddie is a smaller girl and has drafted more for similarly built folks in the past, and no one knows what size bra they really are (thanks @ Victoria’s Secret). Normally, I wear a 32B or 32C, and I ran with it.
I ordered two kits for this bra from Tailor Made. I really suggest kits for first time lingerie sewers. You get a beautiful end product with none of the stress of making sure you have the right stuff. What’s picot elastic? Where can I get 5/8 inch strap elastic? I thought channeling was for ghosts????? Dude. Just buy a kit. It took me a minute to figure out what fabric was what, though. I suggest screenshotting the item list for the kit you buy if you’re new to the bra making game. By the time I got around to making my bras, the kits I bought were sold out and no longer listed. I found similarly colored kits and make my best guesses, which ended up being right, thank God. Also, bonus — I got enough lace in the kit to make the bra AND a pair of Ohhh Lulu’s ultimate lace undies in the thong style, AND I probably could have gotten another pair out if I hadn’t miscut a couple of pieces.
I’m saying it again — watch Maddie’s video, and watch it before you cut out your pieces. Don’t spray baste your power mesh to your cups, because you WILL peel it apart to make sure there’s no exposed seams on the inside and you WILL get confused and sew two left boobs.
Sewing Up Simplicity 8229
Can you guess what I’m going to say here? Watch Maddie’s video. I’m a visual learner when it comes to sewing, and the video was useful to me. Even beyond showing some skills for the bra, it allows you to make a much more professional-looking and comfortable bra. The combination of written instructions, the video, and just thinking about what the inside of a bra looks like meant that I was never like “wait what?”
Honestly, I don’t have a lot to say about the whole sewing process besides that it was a lot easier than I expected. Go slow and have the video open and the directions beside you, and you should be good to go. Make sure you have that picot elastic on the right way when you do the bottom and underarms, because it is a PITA to get off when you’ve stitched it on. I did alter the way I finished the bottom so that the scalloped lace wouldn’t get hidden: I sewed the elastic only onto the powernet the first time, and then to both when I flipped it up to the inside.
Changes In Store
Now that I’ve done the bra once, there’s a couple of things I’ll do differently for the next ones. Yes, ones, because I like this bra so much I’m planning on using it to replace a lot of my older RTW bras.
The two most important changes I’m going to make are widening the bridge by 1/4″ and trying the 32B cup. I seem to be ~wide set~ up there, so the bridge is a little gappy. I’m trying a new cup size because there’s about 1/4″ extra space up by my underarm. I think it could be easily solved by just shaving that amount off the top of the cup, but it’s also worth trying the smaller cup size.
I also underlined the back in powernet, which I won’t do for the next one. The pattern said to (I think), and it’s fine, but I think that the stretch mesh is supportive enough on its own. Luckily that’s a relatively easy thing to go back and change if I end up hating it.
Lastly, I’m going to redraft the back pieces to use a double hook and eye instead of a triple hook and eye. I found this to be an interesting inclusion for a Madalynne pattern since I think she really drafts for smaller chested girls. I don’t think a triple hook and eye is necessary at all for my size.
Yardage needed: minimally 1 yard of stretch lace depending on the view, additional yardage in stretch mesh and powernet
Level: Advanced beginner — appropriate for the first time lingerie sewer, but you should be confident in your basic sewing skills
Time: approximately 3 hours, especially for first timers. GO SLOWLY.
General modifications: Watch Maddie’s video before starting, do not use spray adhesive to hold pattern pieces together.
#SewingTall modifications: none!