12 Bras/12 Months – April’s Merckwaerdigh Rescue!

I have one new bra project to share this month and one redo. I’ll dedicate this post to my Merckwaerdigh rescue project and try to get another post up soon on the other one. I couldn’t bear the fit failure of my yellow lace bra from last month or the idea of having to throw it away. Or worse – give it to my sister! (Just kidding K, I’ll make you a bra… someday). I bought the lace from Le Chien Vert in Brussels during our vacation last summer. I love the color and it brings happy memories of our vacation. I can’t get more unless I have a Belgian follower who wants to do me a massive favor. So I decided to painstakingly unpick the cups, adjust the pattern, and try again.

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My yellow Merckwaerdigh bra with cups removed – after a lonnng session of unpicking stitches while watching some Chef’s Table and Craftsy classes

Unpicking elastic, lace, and mesh is neither easy nor fun, which tells you how much this lace means to me. The only thing that made it bearable was that Josh showed me the Chef’s Table series on Netflix. I’m only two episodes in, but both were so entrancing that I got my bra apart without incident (whereas normally I might end up chucking my seam ripper across the room in frustration).

As you may recall from my previous post [WARNING WARNING – BRA FITTING PHOTOS AHEAD] I think I had the fit of the band correct, but there were horizontal wrinkles in the cups.

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bra fit issues – wrinkly cups – ew

When I pulled up on the straps, these would disappear, but just tightening the straps wasn’t going to do the trick. I also felt like the straps were too wide in front, only providing support on the outer edge and not giving any lift to the inner cups. So I moved the strap placement by angling the upper part (strap extension) of the side cup inward as shown in the photo below. (The newest version is shown stacked on top of my earlier version.)

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Side cup pattern piece with fitting adjustments

By angling the strap over a little, starting at that little dot where the side cup and front cup meet, I shifted the straps just a little toward center front. I think the cups are better supported as a result. Other small changes –  I dropped the armpit seam a little bit because it felt like it was hitting too high. I also took a little extra volume out of the upper cup on both this pattern piece and the front cup pattern piece (shown below), because I’ve come to realize I essentially have no upper bust. While figuring that out left me feeling a little deflated (ba-dum ch!), I think knowing this will help me a lot in future fitting attempts.

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Front cup pattern piece with fitting adjustments

Below, see how much better the new cups look!

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There are still a few wrinkles, but I think I know the culprit and it’s not that I need to adjust my pattern again. When topstitching the cups along the seam that joins the outer and inner cups, the fabric has a tendency to stretch. It’s hard to avoid, and next time I might try the trick where you sew over a piece of tissue paper to keep things from getting wavy.

The final issue is that after a day of wearing this bra, I felt like the underwires were poking me in the sternum. I have no idea what to do about that yet. Oh, and also I probably don’t have enough lace yet to make a matching set of underwear. Unless someone in Brussels is reading this and wants to go grab me some more…

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