Confession time. I’ve only ever owned one strapless bra. I’ve had the same single strapless bra for an embarrassingly long time. Even more embarrassingly, I didn’t buy it. I “borrowed” it from my mom and never gave it back. I’m happy to say that I now have a new, much prettier, much better fitting strapless bra!
I made this set using Simplicity 8437 by designer Madalynne. Normally, I wouldn’t trust a bra from a Big 4 pattern to fit. Is that too judgmental? I just feel like their sizing is all over the place. I would much prefer to go with an indie designer. I’ve been following Madalynne on her blog and Instagram for a while now, though, and have seen the care that she puts into designing each pattern. I was ultimately lured in by her Instagram post advertising a bra kit specially designed to go with this pattern, and bought the kit straight away. I was cheap and bought the pattern at Joann’s when it was on sale for $1.99. Does anyone know if designers still get the same commission no matter where the pattern is sold, and whether or not it’s on sale?
This bra fits great, and does not feel like it’s going to slide off, thanks to the silicone gripper elastic included in the kit. There is a full video tutorial for this pattern available, too, so it really could not be easier. It was very reassuring to me to have this resource, because there were a bunch of firsts for me on this pattern: first time using boning, first time using tiny galloon lace as elastic, and first time using silicone elastic.
When I opened up the kit, I was surprised to see that there are no foam cups or underwires in this bra. I guess I had always assumed that all strapless bras had to have foam cups and underwires. Nope. Instead, there is boning at each of the vertical seams that gives the bra its structure. It also provides a really clean finish on the inside, because all of the seams are covered by channeling.
I struggled hardcore with the silicone elastic, but this was all my fault for being stubborn. The pattern instructs you to use a teflon presser foot with the elastic, because it is meant to stick to you, and thus will stick to your presser foot. I ignored this, and tried to hack it out on my own. On the bottom side of the bra, I tried putting tape on my presser foot. This minimally reduced the friction, and I was able to sew on the elastic, but it is not pretty. You can see this in the waviness of the bottom band in the flat picture. It doesn’t affect anything when wearing the bra, but looks a little sad when it’s not being stretched out on a body. I wised up before sewing the top of the bra, and used a sheet of wax paper between my presser foot and the fabric. This worked MUCH better, and you can see that the upper band is much smoother than the bottom. It’s still not perfect, though. Eventually I’ll invest in a specialty foot.
The pattern also comes with a pattern for a thong, and the kit comes with plenty of fabric to make multiple bottoms. This is where the narrow galloon lace is used as elastic. I’ve never done this before, but it is genius. It is such a time saver, as it does not have to be turned and re-stitched as with traditional elastic. Pretty too!
Pattern: Simplicity 8437, size 32a
Fabric: 1/2 yard stretch floral fabric, 3/4 yard galloon lace, 1/2 yard stretch mesh from kit
Notions: narrow galloon lace elastic, silicone gripper elastic, channeling, boning, hooks and eyes, all from bra kit
Cost: $35.95 bra kit = $35.95 ( $37.94 with pattern)
Time: 6 hours