Yesterday I made my first partial band bra! Back when I wore store-bought bras, partial band styles were what I usually went for. So why did it take me so long to make one? Well... I guess I wanted to perfect the fit on my full-frame bra before jumping into more patternmaking with a totally different style.
I followed Beverly Johnson's instructions (from her Bluprint class "Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques") for making the partial band pattern, and I have to say it made me nervous. I understood adding an allowance for the channeling to the cups, but removing the seam allowance from the bridge just didn't seem right. But Beverly must have read my mind because she even said it might not seem right and to just trust her.
The actual sewing seemed to go a bit faster than a full-frame bra, probably because there is a lot less elastic to sew. My only problems , which are minor, came with the fit. There is some gaping at the top of the bridge, but I feel like it comes up too high for my taste anyway. For the next bra I will lower the bridge and cups and just trim my wires.
Also I think I made my separate strap attachment piece a bit too short, so I will add about half an inch to the length. Folding back the strap attachment over the O-ring and sewing through all those fabric and elastic layers never goes well for me (I usually break my needle) so I think I need to go back to the new type of strap attachment I used on my blue sheer bra and just put the O-rings in the back.
On this bra I used hook and eye tape instead of a heat-sealed hook and eye closure. Sometimes the stiff edges of the heat sealed closure irritate my skin, so i wanted to see if this would be a bit softer. Maybe it doesn't look as pretty with the zigzag stitching around the edges, but I'd rather be comfortable.
Look at all those thread ends! Haha. I never can seem to trim them all as I go. I like to show the guts of the bra so you can see the finishing. The duoplex cups are lined with 15D tricot sheer cup lining. I used a stitch-and-flip technique to enclose the cross-cup seam, but those four layers of seam allowance all going in the same direction did create a bit of bulkiness. I usually sew both cup layers separately and join at the top and bottom, so I might go back to doing that just to have a flatter seam that will be less visible under clothes.
One more thing I think I'll change is the angle at which the bottom of the band joins the cup. On this bra it is quite low and looks a bit awkward on my body. I think I'll raise it about half an inch and straighten out the line a bit.
For some reason, when it's hot out I become much more sensitive to elastics. By the afternoon rolls around, I have welts on my ribcage and feel very squirmy. So the less elastic I can get away with, the better!
Have you tried converting a full-frame bra pattern to a partial band bra?