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NEW YEAR, NEW BRA // A RED LACE WATSON BRA


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Few things bum me out as much as the current state of my bra drawer; it’s more depressing (and only slightly less painful) than a trip to the dentist. I’m not sure what happened, but basically all of my me-made lingerie gave up the ghost at the exact same time, and as a result, I’ve been wearing a lot of stretched out, limp, unappealing specimens that really just need to be thrown out (after harvesting for parts, natch).

This red lace print Watson bra was part of my News Years Boobolutions. My goal is to make and add a new one into the rotation once a month or so; I think I will be able to extend the lifespan of my bras if I am not wearing the same handful over and over again, day in and day out.

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I’ve made this pattern so many times (you can see the ones I’ve posted here) but I’m not tired of it yet. It’s really the perfect day-to-day bra for my lifestyle; it has enough support to keep things in place, but is much easier to wear all day long than an underwired one. They have their place, of course, but soft bras are definitely my go-to when I’m not aiming for any kind of structured shape.

The fabric is leftover from our Sophie swimsuit kits from the summer; it’s a printed swim lycra with a romantic black and red lace print. I used some pretty satin piping elastic along the cups and I love how clean and neat it looks. I recently stocked up on the motherload of lingerie fixins, and I’m glad I bought this piping in dyeable white, since I also have a growing stash of acid dyes for all my notions. I’ve been scheming some fun colour combinations.

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Construction wise, the only change I made was to substitute my typical zig zag stitch for the triple zig zag. I’ve avoided it in the past because it’s such a wide and “obvious” stitch, but you can barely see it with the busyness of the print. I’m curious to see if it holds up better over time.

I shortened the band a little, since the longline as drafted is just a wee bit too long for me. I also tried inserting some flexible boning into channelling along the side seams, to help prevent the band elastic from riding up. It helped along the sides, but the front still has a tendency to push up towards the bridge. I think you just have to accept that as a feature of longline bras, unless you sew boning into the center of the bridge to stabilize it all the way around. Frankly I’m not sure that would be particularly comfortable.

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Naturally I am already breaking my Boobolutions by wearing this a little too much without rotating, but she already has some new friends, and I have a few more bras in various degrees of completion. I feel confidant I am going to give my girls their best year yet!

Otherwise, any suggestions for alternative soft bra patterns? I think it it might be time to give something else a shot!

  • I just finished two new Watson bras myself this weekend. I hadn’t realized how much my old ones had stretched out until I made a new one in the same fabric- and hoo-boy!! What a difference!

    • My old galaxy print one is basically useless. The elastic is just gone!

  • Lauren

    This really is beautiful! I wish I could make these, but soft bras aren’t my jam. After nursing 4 kids, the sad state of my boobs need some underwire, padding, and pushing up. 🙂

    • I bet! I found out when I was SIXTEEN that my mom had her boobs done after we sucked everything out of her. I kept waiting to have her big boobs and I asked her about it and she was basically like “OH i bought these honey lololol”.

      • Lauren

        So funny!

  • this is my favorite bra too. I had taken to wearing my worn out sports bras as my day to day, before I started making this bra…but now I make this bra. 😀 Underwire never makes me happy now.

    • Oh man, worn our sports bra, haha. SO DEPRESSING! Much better to make some pretty Watsons!

  • Regan

    The lace is beautiful ! The Watson bra just isn’t for me (wrong shape/not flattering), but it is lovely. I do enjoy wearing soft bras for the day-to-day, and I make most of mine.

    • What patterns do you like?

      • Regan

        I tend to use swimsuit patterns by the big four as a base and then hack them. I’ve also used the Mallori Lane pattern by Madalynne, but I’ve hacked it so much that it is more my creation than hers. I drafted a back piece, made it high neck, took off the bottom band. I also just got her Simplicity collaboration–8228 or 8229, whichever is nonwired–and I’m excited to try that out. Sometimes I make my own patterns (sometimes they are failures). I really just don’t like underwire.
        Also, some of my creations can be found at https://solitudeforsewing.blogspot.com , my blog, while others haven’t been there yet.
        I’d like to try some patterns by Ohhhhlulu or Evie La Luve, but as a college student I have a limited budget and Madalynne’s pattern came first on the list.

  • truebias

    Cloth habit has a new underwire bra coming out soon that I saw at camp and it’s awesome. Otherwise the boylston is good for us fuller Chester ladies. I made my first Watson last night and am currently wearing it. I’m obsessed.

    • Liz

      Do you know when Amy is planning on releasing her pattern? I’ve been watching with anticipation, really keen to try this one!

      • I think very soon! I emailed her in December and she’s just tweaking a few things, Total perfectionist that one 😉

        • Liz

          Hurrah! Well, that’s why the Watson works so well. It’ll worth the wait I’m sure, I’m just getting impatient 🙂

    • OH I KNOW! I’ve been in touch with her!

  • You really do have some fine sewing skills, you know. So nicely done. My girls and I could use an AA training bra, or just more time doing freeweights. I’m better at freeweights than lingerie. Gym win!

    • Aww thanks Stephanie! Its nice to notice improvement over time. My first bras were a hot mess!

  • What most fascinates me about clothing is how to take care of them to make them last. One should wear a bra only for a day and let it rest for the next day, so it would have time to relax back to its original shape. Then there’s the hand washing and air drying. I haven’t sewn any underwear lately bc my old Brother gave up on me and I had it repaired. Now all I need is some free time and a moment where I am feeling up to it.

    • I hate sewing underwear. So nothing ever matches. But as long as the tatas are happy, I am happy!

  • Liz

    Sarah from ohhhlululingerie.com is having a valentines day sew along for her Jasmine bra, Claudia knickers and a choice of two garter belts. She has a lot of soft cup bra patterns, I can’t vouch for these as the Jasmine will be my first one (I love the Watson for lounging, but I need wires day to day!). However, I have made loads of pairs of knickers from her patterns, which are lovely. I think she drafts very well and her instructions are great, so if you wanted to try someone new, I’d recommend her.

    Also you can currently get 15% off her patterns with the code BeMine until the 16th of Jan, and it’s valid for the pattern pack of the sew along too, always like a bargain!

    • Thanks Liz! I just checked her shop – didn’t she have a lot more bra patterns before? I though I remembered different styles.

      • Liz

        Huh, I didn’t realise the shop only listed about 4, I normally buy through her Etsy shop, where she seems to have more listed, and I think the code should work for both https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OhhhLuluSews?ref=l2-shopheader-name

        Her website is new, I think she’s trying to combine the shop and blog parts, so maybe she’s transitioning patterns across? Just thought the sew along might fit with your Boobolutions, it’s certainly giving me some much needed motivation!

      • Francesca Amodeo

        Hmmm. I love your patterns because not only are they clever, the lines meet up on the PDFs and the seam lines match. This is not the case with hers. They drove me crazy, but then I’m a precisenik. I bought a bunch a while back when a hysterectomy meant most of my pretty knickers hurt my scar tissue. So. Much. Swearing. I basically redrafted them. Eventually I ended up with a couple of knit patterns that work for knickers – the woven, no…. The bra patterns – no, her sizing is so general plus the drafting I already mentioned – well, I’d stick with Watson. But if you do want to try another soft bra, I highly recommend Katherine Sheers’ the secrets of sewing lingerie. Brilliant patterns. Love her bras and her woven knickers pattern better than any other I’ve tried. (In brackets, her more recent patterns are much better in hoth respects but I’ve still had a couple of precisenik issues – but then, I’m spoilt thanks to designers like you, cloth habit, and a few others…)
        I love having a couple of TNT knicker patterns at hand – when I have leftovers in suitable fabrics, I cut them out and then every now and again sew up a few. Silk knickers are brilliant under knit clothes – they work like a slip, whether they’re woven or knit:).

        • I’ve heard a lot of teh sameabout Ooh Lulu which is why I’ve been reluctant to dive in. I do love the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie though! A great book, she should start designing more patterns for knits 😉 (her website is down, I checked)

          • Francesca Amodeo

            Isn’t it great? My favourite is the panelled high waisted one – I’ve used that pattern so much… in silks but also in tana lawn front and fine cotton jersey back. So pretty and comfy too:).

            And by the way – I got carried away by the other thing and totally forgot to say I LOVE THIS BRA!

          • Liz

            That’s so funny! I couldn’t get on with the secrets of sewing lingerie at all! None of the patterns worked for me, I thought the sizing was all off, and some of the instructions were missing/skipped over. The bras are no good if you’re anything above a B cup, and the woven knickers were just terrible on me. I wanted to love it, it’s a gorgeous book, but I spent too much time and money wasting fabric trying to get things to fit, I guess it shows we all have different shaped bodies!

            To be fair I’ve only tried OhhhLuLu knit knicker patterns, and they have all been great, I’ve not tried the woven ones or the bras. I may well change my mind after I try this one!

          • Francesca Amodeo

            You’re right, it does seem like there’s missing instructions, but everything’s there in the separate iinstruction sections – it can be a bit confusing, I suppose it was to save space not to repeat in each project.. I’m a C and the woven bras worked really well for me – especially after I added a wide elastic band to the base, as those tiny bands do nothing if you’re over an A, I think:). Re the woven bikini pants, I raised them as I can’t wear them any more – never really liked very bikini cuts anyway!
            My other favourite pants sorry knickers are high waisted/high cut leg from Jan Bones. Pattern looks almost as bad as Merckweardig but is brilliant. They have a really nice line:).

  • Veera

    Very pretty, great fabric!

    If you like soft bras, I highly recommend Merckwaerdigh BHS10! It has five bra patterns in one, three of them without underwires. The lace soft bra is my favourite, pretty and comfortable. Can’t compare to the Watson, haven’t made that one (yet).

    • I should check it out. I am always so turned off by their photos/styling although I hear good things about the patterns.

  • Lise Neely

    In Italy, it is a tradition to gift red underwear for the new year. Making it oneself works too! Lovely!

    • I love that I inadvertently stumbled onto an awesome Italian tradition!

      • Francesca Amodeo

        And for good luck, you have to wear red underwear on NYE.

  • Is this pattern meant to be soft cup/not underwired? Very appealing! I bet the long-line-ish-ness of the band gives great support (if you’re not too huge of boob like me, LOL).

    Question, though, about the Watson – when you’re wearing a close-fitting T-shirt or lightweight knit top, how bad do you see the seamline? That’s what’s kept me from making my own bras – I feel like most patterns have a major seamline that would look weird under a lot of clothes. Opinions, anyone?

    • Its designed to be without underwires. I like it compared to most soft cup bras since the cup shape is reminiscent of an underwired style, so you still get some separation and it’s not one big monoboob.

      On me I can hardly see a seamline at all – I think the long line is very smooth under clothing.

  • Sweet pattern. Seeing your gorgeous version, I’m very tempted to get it, but I can’t justify it until I make at least one of the patterns I bought from the Fairy Bra Mother months ago. I better get sewing!

  • Jessica

    Pretty! The piping is a nice touch.

    I just finished up another Watson this weekend (wearing it now)~ my first new one in about four months, it’s making me realize some of the ones I made this time last year are sadly reaching their last legs :-/. I think this makes Watson #8 and I’m in the process of cutting out #9 now. I get the desire to try a new pattern but personally I like my bras to be the sock knitting of sewing — 1-2 TNTs that I love wearing and are easy to make, great palette cleansers between other, more involved, projects.

    I’ve started cutting out a couple bras that use the same thread color and then sewing them up all at once, even if they aren’t the same pattern. Somehow it feels like 1.2x the work for 2x the bra output. Kinda like batch cooking. So long as it averages out to 1/month, nothing wrong with fits-and-starting your way to your Boobolution :-).

  • Heather, this one came out FABULOUSLY!! The colours!!! All the heart eyes!