Running a bra supply business means being constantly surrounded by beautiful laces and notions but often I don’t get a chance to make something for myself until something is already sold out. This time, however, I was able to make an Elise Patterns Chelsea bra from a few pieces that were left from the ends of the roll from our now sold out Aqua and Peach Lace. This pattern features a four piece lower cup with lining with a lace edge upper cup and band. In comes in UK sizes 30-40 C, D, DD and E.
I lined it with aqua blue bra tulle and trimmed it with picot plush back finishing elastic, beige plush channeling, an aqua 2 hook bra back closure, rose gold rings and sliders and strap elastic from my personal stash. I adapted the wing to use lace instead of power net as suggested by eliminating the seam allowance and straightening the bottom of the pattern piece. The lace was both firm and stretchy enough to do this. I used an R2 regular daywear underwire. All supplies mentioned can be purchased from Arte Crafts Bra Making Supplies either on Etsy or our website.
I cut out a size 38C. The mannequin I am showing here is a 32F/34E which is sister size to my actual bra size but the breast are much closer together than mine so it does not lay flat for photographs.
The pattern went together fairly smoothly all the seam lengths and notches matched and while I didn’t use the instructions they seemed comprehensive. It may seem obvious to say all the pieces match but I am finding in the world of PDF patterns this is not always the case.
Fit wise it gives a nice round profile which is something a lot of bra makers are looking for. However, if I were to make this pattern again I would make two major adjustments. I would raise the cross cup seam so it was above the nipple. Some bra patterns refer to this as the apex and in the industry they call it the “point of bust” and the apex is where the strap is attached to the cup. The cross cup seam sits just where my areola starts but the volume of the cup is otherwise correct. This lowered cup seam has the effect of making the bra look very top heavy with a large upper cup so by raising this seam up to the point of bust level would give a more proportional look on my breast. The four piece lower cup is completely lined and this does provide a nice amount of uplift for my non self-supporting breasts.
The other adjustment I would make and should have made before I cut the pattern out is to change the angle of the side seam. The pattern has the side seam placed at an angle pointing towards the wing. I choose to make the pattern as is to be able to better evaluate where the side seam fell in relationship to the body. Both on the mannequin and on myself this seams points backwards in a way that doesn’t make design or structural sense. So next time I would choose to correct it to a more traditional placement.
Overall I would consider this a very successful debut of a new pattern company. I would recommend this pattern for the following reasons. It fits very true to RTW sizing which can make the fitting process easier for new bra sewers. The cup has a very nice round shape compared which can be hard to achieve in other patterns. The four piece lower cup with top stitching and lining provides lift and support. The size range covers a lot of common core bra sizes going up one cup size more than some other patterns in a similar size range. The instructions are very detailed and I feel a beginner could make this pattern without needing supplemental instruction. It can be made with a gallon lace giving more fabrication options that just duoplex and power net. It also uses a regular length underwire R2 without having to cut it which I feel is very important for new bra makers. Overall it’s a basic full coverage bra which with the right tweaks could be adapted into a few different styles without too much difficulty. But fix that side seam first. Trust me on this one.
This was my first attempt at an in-depth review of a bra pattern rather than just a summary of my projects. I purchased this pattern with my own money and was not compensated for this review nor was it solicited. Are there any other bra patterns I’ve made in the past that you would like me to retroactively review? I tend to do this on the bra making forum on Facebook here and there as people ask questions about this or that style but this is the first time I’m doing it as a formal objective review. To be honest I was nervous because I have a tendency to be overly critical and I know for each pattern I’m reviewing there is a small business owner like myself behind the brand. So hopefully this review was useful and kind. Let me know because I always maintained that if I was going to blog that I would be honest.