Harriet Bra in Silk Chiffon

Also known as, the prettiest item I have ever made.

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Have you ever finished a project and been so pleased with the results that you literally jumped up and down, hooting and screeching in pure excitement?  No?  Because that was me on Tuesday when I finished sewing this beauty.  I hadn’t even put it on yet.  I ran upstairs, busted into my husband’s office and could barely contain myself, pushing it in front of him to gaze at confusedly.  Then I tried it on. I’m super thankful it fit, because even if it had squished me into pancakes, I’m pretty sure I was still going to wear it.

This is my fourth Harriet Bra.  I made my first two at Camp Workroom Social last October; taught by the designer, the one and only Amy from Cloth Habit.  While I was thrilled to have made those bras and they felt comfortable at first, by the end of the day it was a very different story. But I love the design and shape it gives, so I was determined to keep trying.

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I made my third Harriet (un-blogged) a couple weeks ago, using a kit from Bra Maker’s Supply.  I did not make any adjustments to the pattern since I had a new and final version of the pattern and knew that Amy had made a few small adjustments since camp.  But the fit was still not right.  I thought the band was just too tight, so I added an extender giving me another 1″ of length.  But even with that, the center tips of the wires were digging into my sternum to the point of actually causing small bruises. Not a good look.

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After my trip to Philadelphia and making a couple of Madalynne’s Simplicity 8229’s, I realized that the shape of the bridge of my Harriet may be my problem.  So I traced the shape of the S8229 bridge and re-shaped the Harriet bridge to match. I also lengthened the back bands by 3/8″.  (So while my pattern size is 30D for the Harriet, my band is actually just over an inch longer than that.)

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You can see my modified bridge pattern piece here. The changes look small but are actually quite significant.

Those changes have made all the difference. This bra is not only beautiful, it shapes well – even without foam, and is comfortable.

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A classic U-shaped back.

Most of the supplies for this bra came in a bra kit from the wonderful Tailor Made Shop. The outer fabric is another story. That is a silk chiffon that I picked up at Jomar-Swanson in Philadelphia last weekend.  I snatched it up as soon as I laid eyes on it.  My brain tried to talk me out of it – I rarely use drapey, semi-sheer fabrics in my sewing projects, and I really shouldn’t ever buy fabric again ever in my life – but having just come from a bra making workshop, I told myself that it could one day make a beautiful bra.  The yard of it cost me $2.  Totally worth it.

Though I will say, it was not the easiest fabric to work with. When I use it again for another bra and/or matching undies, I may try a stiffener to keep it from shifting around quite so much.

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I made view C and lined the bridge, cradles and three cup pieces with sheer lining. Since I was not using a lace upper cup, I followed the instructions for view A for that portion.  For those looking for the nitty gritty, I cut the fabric and lining as one for the upper cup (using 505 Spray & Fix), lining the top edge along the selvedge to avoid fraying and finishing with 1/4″ clear elastic, but cut all other pieces separately so I could follow Amy’s instructions to get a nice neat inside with no exposed seams. I used power mesh for the band and a 2-row hook and eye since that fit the height of the band best.  I may  modify for a 3-row hook and eye for my next version.

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Rather than cut the casings at the stitch line at the center front, I fold them down for just a little extra padding underneath where they make contact with my skin.

And yes, there will be more versions.  Though I may stop blogging each and every one of them since my guess is that it is getting a bit annoying.

Pattern: Cloth Habit’s Harriet, size 30D
Fabrics: Outer silk chiffon from Jomar-Swanson, other findings from Tailor Made Shop
Modifications: Adjusted shape of bridge, lengthened bands
Photo Locations: Visual Arts Center of Richmond Fibre Studio

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2 thoughts on “Harriet Bra in Silk Chiffon

  1. Lynsey says:

    I think your Harriet looks gorgeous, the fabric is lovely and love seeing them on blogs, I’ve just cut my forth out (last night) I’m attempting to make it padded but it’s taken a bit of head scratching and I not sure my changes will work, Amy said they’ll be a pdf but I’m too impatient, I don’t wear the first two but I felt the same as you with my third and I want to get my boobs out and say LOOK!! 😀

  2. Sarah says:

    I hope to make a few more Harriet bras in the very near future. At least one will be with foam. Have you read Amy’s 3-part series on making a foam bra on her blog? I found it very helpful. Lauren from Lladybird does a helpful tutorial as well. There are links on my Go-To Tutorial page. I think, if you’re using lace as your outer fabric, it may be as simple as trimming off the seam allowances on the foam pieces where they abut and then zigzag stitching them together. Then attaching the foam-made assembled cups to the lace-made assembled cups with 505 and then some tacking along the top. But I’m sure Amy will have better details for us soon.

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