Monday, 16 March 2015

Watson Lingerie as Swimwear


Readers, I spent a lot of time last month being frustrated by the Cloth Habit Watson Bikini Set. Don't get me wrong, it is a really cute pattern. The bra is a soft cup seamed bra without underwires. It depends on stretch for support, much like the 'training' bras I can remember wearing as a teen. If you google Watson you see images of many successful bras made up by many people.

I, who had never made a bra in my life, jumped in the deep end and agreed to make it into a swimsuit  for DD. Her idea!  She wanted a retro type bikini top to go with the black lycra Jalie pants I had made her earlier, blogged here

I wasn't going to blog about any of this at all. I'd come up with a wonky garment that didn't work and didn't fit and then there's all these perfect-sewing-goddesses Posting Perfect Underwear. With never a failure in sight. Maybe I should just let it languish in the closet never to be spoken of again?

Well, then I read Anne's hilarious "Beware the Valley of the Unbloggged' about a few unloved pieces and also this  After 5 years of failure I can't take it anymore.. thread that is running hot on Pattern Review.

So here it is, I present to you  the wonky lycra and scuba knit failure swim set.




Poor Watson! A note about fitting. This is a bra that depends on negative ease to work. There are instructions for taking your measurements and figuring out what cup size and band you need. It's a nice pattern with good instructions. However, for DD who fell between two sizes I had to go to the smaller cup size and the larger band size for it to work, so like all garments you have to take body variations like breast position/broad back/ ribcage into account. The only way to do this is a muslin as flat measurements will only tell you so much. The 'give' of the fabric also has to be taken into account. It was exhausting!

The knickers ran big. I cut them out, went 'what the?' then took an inch off the sides. As an experiment  I had added 6cm to the top and a 10cm doubled over band as my take on retro swim bottoms to go with the top. On DD they sat at an awkward height. She didn't like the leg line. Oh well.

A note on elastic. There's a great tutorial on Cloth Habit about doing the elastic as you go by the feel of the stretch. This is daunting to say the least but I understood her point about not over stretching the elastic. Over stretching even a small section will give you ripples. I found that if I measured 6 inches of garment  to 5 inches of elastic and pinned one or two sections at a time then held onto it as I sewed it gave me a more even outcome.

The tutorial,  tips on sewing elastic is part of the Watson sewalong.
In fact it's a good technique to know. The material goes on the feed dog teeth and you hold the elastic and stretch slightly but smoothly with an even amount of give as you go. It works!
She also recommends using a normal type zig zag not three step for a more even finish as the three step is best on harder elastic. Who knew?


My story does have a happy ending. After I figured the fitting issues I made the bra for DD again. I lined the back stand with black and the front bra and stand with scuba knit to prevent cold water nipple strike through. I finished it like a regular bra with clasps and straps, it worked and DD liked it. I don't have photos of the success because I thought it would make a return trip to be organ harvested for parts but it didn't. 

The bottom did the return trip and will be cut down into knickers for me. DD likes the leg line of the Jalie better. 

I will make a Watson bra for myself sometime in the future but there are other things nudging into the queue first. Like a grey print autumn skirt..

Happy Sewing
love your failures, they teach you things,

Val.




20 comments:

  1. Well I love the idea! And I'm glad you were able to come up with something successful. I am 0 for 4 with my last four sewing projects. I just can't seem to connect the idea with the execution lately. So that pattern review thread was pretty timely. I get the frustration!! Just not quite to that extreme.

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    1. Maybe the solution is to have a little sewing break for a while? Takes the pressure off.

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  2. Thanks for posting your difficulties! It is a pretty set even if it didn't work out. I have a big faul from last year that I have yet to post, but it will eventually get shared;)

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  3. It is a shame as they look lovely and the fabric is divine.

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    1. The scuba knit really did not impress me until I cut the pieces and saw how effective it looked!

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  4. Thank you for all the elastic tips, I consider them to be learning experiences, and I've learnt a lot from your Watson set ;)

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  5. A very interesting post, and the bikini looks lovely, even if the bottom half was rejected! It all goes to show how much we need to invest in our sewing at times. I have learnt so much from your blog and others, I think my sewing is starting to improve these days :)

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  6. Pity the bikini wasn't correct but you have had some great practice with elastic :) I've made up the Watson Bra and Bikini but so far trying to get a photo that doesn't look like a crumpled up piece of fabric is hard, and just maybe I've got my elastic too tight!

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  7. Great post and I loved reading the links. Your bikini looks pretty good to me and I'm glad you had more success with the second version. I have also made the Watson. It's fine, but I never wear it as I don't like the resulting boob shape under clothes. A swimwear version might be just the ticket!

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    1. A double layer gives a bit more support. I am happy for the swimwear idea to take off!

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  8. You've done really well here. They look very RTW.

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  9. Oh my...I have the pattern, and I'm chicken to even try! Every time I read about bras online, there seem to be so many things to buy just to get started. Thanks for the tips...I'll get brave sooner or later :-)

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    1. Coco you can harvest bits from old bras before throwing them out. If you have access to a store that sells elastic by the yard and the basic bits it isn't too bad.

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  10. You're so right about posting failures. If a project fails, I tend to chuck it and move on. I started changing this practice with my black cardi. I think it's a good idea to share the hits and misses - not just at the end of the year. =)

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  11. Thanks Gail and L. One of the most inspiring things I read was a 'fail' on Pattern Review by an extremely respected and successful sewist (no she doesn't blog) of a Koos pattern. Both the pattern and the piecewerk looked amusingly terrible even though this woman was an expert. It still gives me courage when something does not work out!

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  12. Hi Valerie!!! First I want to congratulate you for this make. I also made a bra with cloth habit. She is the best...unfortunately, I´m not! I mean she helped me a lot when I was making it, but I found the whole process very frustrating. Underwear, it is good to try once, but I can´t see me making it for myself as in a regular basis.

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