DIY Lingerie | Watson & Co.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsI made a bra, I made a bra, I made a bra today hey HEY! This is sewing thrills right here. I think I mentioned in a post a while back that for me, lingerie, jeans and swimwear are those final frontier sewing items. The ones you put up high on a the maybe-one-day shelf. Then even when you are ready, there’s the whole issue of finding patterns for the above items that well, you actually want to make. No pattern snobbery here (if you would kindly put down that rotary cutter) but let’s be honest, Indie pattern designers are making it verrrry easy to start checking off those big ticket items by bringing out all these damn good looking patterns. Like this one, the Watson bra by Cloth Habit (I’m also looking at you Ginger Jeans).

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsPre-Watson, my biggest fear about sewing a bra was running into fit issues. What if I just kept trying endless combinations of bra-band and cup sizes, never quite getting a good fit? And then not knowing how to tweak it or make the necessary adjustments (because bra construction is a whole separate game to garment sewing). My sew-jo crushed, I would fall into a Watson-induced stupor, never to return. A logical chain reaction surely? But it didn’t go down like that at all…ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsTo find the bra-band size I measured my rib cage as a 34. Then I read somewhere that you should exhale and measure and this will give you a better fitting bra (you want the bra band to be firm to provide stability in place of under-wire). Which was more a 32. To establish your cup size you measure your full bust, then you measure your high bust and by a clever little calculation, the difference will allocate you a cup size. This system works perfectly well as long as you don’t have highly advanced pectorial muscles from ex-crossfitting, child-slinging, shoulder-hunching days. In other words, above my bust I am broad and so there was hardly any differenc, approx 1″, between my high bust measurement and my bust measurement, which put me at an A cup. In standard bra sizing, I am generally a 32 C ish. So I went with that. And it fits. A little snug in both the cup and the band, so I’m going to experiment with a 34 C next, but still very wearable.

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsI LOVE the style of the Watson! It’s new for me. And I was dubious about the support and the sexy factor. Like almost every other woman, I am used to bras that hoist you up, pull you in and mould you into a universally ‘aesthetically pleasing’ shape. Soft cup bras with no under-wire and no moulding….I wasn’t sure. But they’re feminine and totally sexy in a more loving, let’s celebrate YOU, kind of way. Prior to the Watson, I didn’t know this long-line bra was actually a thing. Now I’m seeing them everywhere, see Fortnight Lingerie and Nanhina Shop. The support is pretty impressive, I was truly expecting some wayward side boob action but the Watson is so ingeniously designed that the firm bra band actually does a great job of holding things in place. Sewing the matching bikini briefs was a no-brainer and took half the time the bra took and the bra only took one evening so yup…the perfect quickie project!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsDo you ever get amusing reactions when people find out that you sew? Typically I find it has three stages: 1. Surprise and Confusion (Really? You actually sew? Like, sewing sewing?). Followed closely by 2. Justification (Ohhh, you must save lots of money making your own clothes). And it inevitably ends with 3. Lessons in History (but I thought sewing, you know, died out…). And then you’re either cool or weird or…wait, that’s 4. Compartmentalising. But then you go on-line and there’s this whole other universe where sewing is not dying but alive and thriving and having a re-birth! This is really a special time to be sewing / learning to sew. We have so much choice now when it comes to good looking, ‘relevant’ patterns, thanks to all the Indie companies. And if that weren’t enough reason to love them, you get the feeling the designers behind them actually care about whether you to make it to the final step or not. Where all this is going is, between Amy’s instructions included with the pattern and her Sew-a-long online, I felt held and cradled (not unlike my tutties) sewing my first bra, not scared at all!ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY Bralette & Bikini BriefsFor my first attempt at DIY lingerie I decided to bi-pass the hard work of sourcing all the hardware and ordered a ready-to-go Watson Bra Making Kit in the purple / peach colourway. This really is the way to go, especially if you don’t have access to reliable haberdashery, which I don’t. I love the mesh look so much, I went looking for more colours and have since ordered samples of mesh from here in ALL the colours to make ALL the Watsons. I’m totally hooked!

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  • Robynwrote:

    Just beautiful. I’m loving the colour combination (which is great because I ordered that same kit over Easter!)

  • Trishwrote:

    Great post! The bra came out lovely, you made me want to order that kit too! I have a kit waiting to be sewn, but I’ve been hesitant to get started for the same fear of the fit being all wonky! Based on the measurements my size in the Watson bra is also a bit smaller than my RTW size, which threw me off at first. It seems like this is happening to everyone though so I suppose I’ll just go with it. I’m excited to make my first bra, woohoo!

  • Ali Benkowrote:

    Your watson bra turned out beautifully! I love the colour , its so delicate

  • Joannewrote:

    What a lovely, inspirational post. Not quite at the bra/jeans stage yet but I have the confidence that time will come. SO agree with you about all the indie designers and the support they offer – yay sewing!

  • Katiewrote:

    Beautiful! Ever since I saw your set on Instagram, I’ve been lusting over the Blackbird mesh sets — so dreamy and romantic! I’m totally with you on the Watson — it’s an amazing introduction to bra sewing. And I love how surprisingly supportive it is. I wear mine as often as I can!

  • Petite Josettewrote:

    So pretty! I should just steal your pictures to blog about mine 😛
    i too went with my RTW size (34B), after trying the size that my measurement suggested (32A !)That was a bit of a head scratcher but whatever…i did have to do a bit of pattern adjustments but it wasn’t actually that bad…and there was definitely a feeling of satisfaction. Not only did I make a bra, but I made it FIT!…bra-making’s the bomb! I really want to try this in some soft knits like oona…

  • Amy Bricewrote:

    Wow, so so pretty. I’m totally inspired.

  • Amberwrote:

    This has to be the most beautiful watson I’ve ever seen. I have the pattern and I’ve attempted a few but I think it’s time to try it again!

  • Kat @ House of Lanewrote:

    The colours are freaking gorgeous! I would love to make a Watson but being in the DD category I’m worried it wouldn’t give me enough support. Thoughts? I’m totally with you on this being one of the sewing “final frontiers”. But just think, now you’ve done lingerie and swimmers. You are sure to smash it when you decide to make jeans!

  • Sarah - Fabric Tragicwrote:

    Looks lovely! You forgot stage 5 and 6 – stage 5 – ‘you should totally make things and sell them in markets’ and stage 6 ‘oh maybe you could take my jeans up for me!’

  • Summerflieswrote:

    Lovely, Sophie… lovely colours and good on you for trying something completely new!

  • Pingwrote:

    Love this!! I’ve been eyeing the Watson for ages but holding off because I didn’t think it’d be supportive enough but everyone seems to be telling me differently so I may have to try it. This mesh look is so gorgeous!!

  • Chie (@vivatveritas)wrote:

    This is so beautiful! Watson bra is in my next to-make list..I think my husband’s grandma is buying me the pattern for my birthday:P Can’t wait to make my own version. I made two pairs of Ginger, it is a wonderful pattern! Highly recommended.

  • Gingerwrote:

    Oh man, I really don’t want to sew my own bras but every time I see a pretty Watson I get a step closer to doing it! 🙂 This looks gorgeous!

  • Juliewrote:

    In my head I imagine all of the cute bras and undies I could make, then I back out of it… for me it is stretch, jeans and underwear as my scary three

  • poppykettlewrote:

    Such a beautiful colour, that lavender! The one thing about bra’s that freak’s me out is ALL THE THINGS NEEDED to do it. Bra kits are genius. Your set it loverly 🙂

  • Veronica Darlingwrote:

    OOOh that’s interesting about the support in a natural way… I’m not sure about sewing my own yet… but if I did I’d go for the all hardware included option because even buying the right interfacing is a mission in my new town!

    I’ve noticed more people are accepting of DIY stuff in the last few years.. I started really talking about it with friends around 2005-2006 and people would FALL OVER besides themselves that I made the dress I was wearing. But now in Shanghai it’s the same. People are utterly astonished and it’s mostly, ‘why bother?’. The Handmade thing hasn’t really started here…

    Your blog is so interesting! x

  • Laurawrote:

    So pretty! I just made my first Watson in black mesh and it fits quite well. Except for the cups which sort of divide my boobs in half if I stand too upright. 😕 I was thinking it might be the stretch of the mesh, but it has around 70 %, just what the pattern calls for. Do you know how much stretch your mesh has?

    • Sophiewrote:

      Hi Laura! Hmm that’s curious. If your mesh does stretch in both directions then I’m not sure what it would be doing that to your boobs, I’m assuming you mean through the vertical seam. It could have something to do with what stitch you used to sew that part. I can’t remember what the pattern asked for but if you did a straight stitch and it asked for a stretch zig zag stitch then that might explain why when you stand up right, there’s no give through that seam and so it pulls taut and divides the boobs in half? Wish I could be more helpful, maybe check in with Amy from Cloth Habit. x

      • Laurawrote:

        Thank you, Sophie! Yes, it’s the vertical seam. The instructions called for a regular straight stitch + topstitching, so I did just that. But I still think the fabric’s the problem. Maybe it should be firmer. We’ll see how the next one goes.. 😊

  • Tips for Making Bralettes and Briefs | Spoonflower Blogwrote:

    […] at the end of the post. For these separates I chose four different patterns: two bras that I have made previously, one pair of briefs that I used for swimwear and a wild-card. You might be wondering how long it […]

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