Harriets and Fenways



Another batch of bras – an old favourite and a new style combined with luxurious fabrics and hand embroidered details…

The Harriet

DSC_7260The Harriet Bra from Cloth Habit, now occupies most of my underwear drawer. This is my fifth version – you can see the others here and here. harriet bra in lace and velvetWith a well tested, fitting pattern I felt confident enough to experiment with my fabric choices so used a burgundy stretch silk velvet and combined it with stretch lace, powernet and sheer bra lining fabric. The velvet (bought at Simply Fabrics) was, as expected, extremely tricky to work with. It tends to slip and whilst on most garments a mm here or there doesn’t matter much, when making bras every mm counts, so I had to work patiently and use an incredible number of pins. (I probably should have hand basted – but I wasn’t that patient).harriet bra in lace and velvetBut it turns out the only thing harder than sewing the velvet was photographing it! It looks incredibly wrinkly but isn’t so much in reality, especially when worn. I made some self drafted briefs to match.

Fenway no 1DSC_7341

With a drawer filled with one style of bra, I felt it was time to experiment with another pattern, so I treated myself to the Fenway pattern from Orange Lingerie for my birthday. By the measuring system on the pattern I came up as a 34C which gave me confidence as I know the corresponding wire size fits me well. It is also the size I make in the Harriet – although with that size I have to take length out of the wings to get the right fit.


There was no need to adjust the Fenway pattern though and much to my surprise it fit almost perfectly first time. The bridge was slightly too wide but not uncomfortably so. I normally narrow the bridge on bra patterns to get a good fit, however when I checked the pattern piece for the Fenway it looked good – I had though forgotten that as the piece was drafted for a partial band style it would look narrower than on a full band pattern.

For the materials I used scraps of my favourite Liberty print harvested from a shirt that was falling apart at the shoulders and hems but still had some useable life left in the middle sections, and combined it with white bra lining fabric and some rigid lining at the bridge.

Grace hipsters in liberty printThe briefs are made with the Ohh Lulu Grace Hipster pattern which is designed for a combinations of woven and stretch fabrics. The crease down the front of the pants is the lingering remains of the back dart from my shirt.

fenway bra in liberty print

Fenway no 2hand embroidered flowers on fenway bra

With the pattern tested I decided to experiment with some embroidery. I partially sewed up the bra using light beige/pink lining fabric to the step before adding the channeling. I wanted the embroidery to go over the seams so wanted the cups assembled first.DSC_7456I was unsure whether the embroidery would be irritating next to the skin, but was prepared to experiment and in an effort to minimize the risk tried to keep the back (or inside) as neat as possible. I used no knot embroidery techniques including the two strand method listed here.

When I was happy with the flowers I finished sewing up the bra, and to my pleasant surprise I’ve worn for a day and not been bothered by the embroidery, so perhaps my next step will be some matching briefs…

10 thoughts on “Harriets and Fenways

  1. Wow – gorgeous… and so inspiring!! I especially love the ingenuity in remodelling your Liberty fabric…

    1. Well so far I’ve only tried it under winter jumpers and it’s been fine/not noticed any difference, but i guess it might not work so well under lightweight fine garments?

    1. I’m sure you can! Sometimes though, if you are new to bra making it takes a little time and patience to begin with – it did for me anyway!

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