Watson Bra by Closet Case Files
Sewing Projects

ME-MADE LINGERIE: THE WATSON BRA

Let’s take a little sewalong break, shall we? Because today I saw that Amy at Cloth Habit finally dropped her new pattern and I couldn’t wait to show you my new Watson Bra!

Amy is the reason I started making my own lingerie; her bra sewalong last year was so detailed, thoughtful and smart, and I seriously cannot get enough of her colour sense and design aesthetic. We share a love for 1970’s style, in particular the sexy, insouciant glamour of 70’s lingerie, so I was super elated when I heard her first pattern was inspired by this period. Full disclosure: Amy and I are pals. We’ve been there for each other over the last few months, since pattern-making can be a lonely and frustrating business from time to time. It’s been lovely having someone to talk about crotch curves with, share information, and in general be an encouraging support system when needed.

I was sort of an informal tester for this pattern. After I launched Ginger, I needed a break from making jeans so I asked to have a sneak peak at Watson to give my hands a denim break. I haven’t made any new bras in a while and everything I have is getting a little raggedy; perfect timing to make an easy, breezy bra doncha think?

Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files

I have been stockpiling lingerie fabric and notions for the last year, so thankfully I had everything I needed to make Watson in my stash. I chose a purple mesh, a pretty scalloped elastic for the top edge, and some standard bra strap and band elastic, all in black. Since the band needs to be less stretchy, I doubled up the mesh there, but the cups are a single layer and the cradle is lined. I made a 34D in the longline version and didn’t bother making a proper muslin with this bra because I trust Amy’s grading; I wasn’t disappointed. The fit is fantastic. The cups are flawless and the cradle lays perfectly beneath my bust. I’ve had some issues in the past with bra fit when there wasn’t an under-wire present to cradle the girls, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the cradle worked. Amy doesn’t call for adding stretch to the cup elastic, but I think my particular elastic could gave used a touch of stretch at the top; the scalloped trim doesn’t lie perfectly flat, especially under my arms. For my next version, I may lengthen the band by about 1cm, but otherwise I’m really happy. If it wasn’t so sheer I would have tried to model it for you, but you guys really don’t need to see the nips.

While I like the support it gives, it’s not a big, pushup-y padded bra that we’re probably more used to wearing. It’s more of a natural “these are my boobs, but prettier” look and I’m super into it. My explorations in bra making has taught me that I much prefer celebrating what I actually have, rather than trying to make the girls look like something they’re not, if that makes any sense. And not to be too TMI or anything, but the fella, who is not normally into lingerie, was pretty delighted when I flashed him.

Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files Watson Bra by Closet Case Files

Construction wise, this is a pretty simple pattern to assemble. The instructions are really thorough and I think it’s a perfect introduction to lingerie making because there is no under-wire; in my opinion channeling is the hardest thing to sew but you don’t have to worry about it here. I have a bunch more planned since I can whip one up in a few hours – I have this crazy silver spandex that I’d like to use to make a pretty bralette with a regular band to wear under drapey tops. The pattern also includes a pair of bikini undies (I will NOT say the “P” word) but my big booty is really a boy shorts only sort of situation so I didn’t bother making a pair. I’d like to make a matching pair of Ladyshorts with some leftover mesh so I’ll have a matching set since that pattern really works for my caboose.

Anyway, I really, truly love this pattern. It’s a unique design and a great alternative to more traditional bras. What about you? Think you’d like to give the Watson Bra a try?

  • Amanda

    i wondered if that was a Watson in your instagram feed. I’ve been totally stalking both you and Amy with the release of your respective patterns. And the two of you did not disappoint!

  • LOVE!!

  • Louise

    Gorgeous! Definitely looks like a great pattern for getting started with making lingerie.

    • Totally! But not beginner friendly in the “tote bag” kind of way, you know? It’s such a pretty bra!

  • Your purple bra is just lovely!!!! I am dying to have a longline one in my life and want to make one. So would you say this is an everyday bra you can wear under a sweater? Or more of a “I’m home and want a super comfy bra”? I just love the look of this bra!

    • Oh, I’ve totally been wearing it out. I don’t have huge boobs so I think the support is totally fine, not sure how it would work with a really big bust. I do find longlines a little uncomfortable for like a 12 hour stretch which is why I’d like to crank out some of the regular banded ones.

  • Amy

    Soooooo pretty. The mesh ones I made were definitely my favorite!

  • Ohhh. This is making me consider bra making! I’ve seen that it’s kind of the thing to do now, but it seems so tedious. This looks doable!!

    • Not tedious at all! Seriously only took a few hours! It’s really the underwire channeling that is a pain in the butt.

  • Jen

    DAMN!!! Okay I’ve been waiting for this one b/c I HATE underwire so so so so much and this just looks too good to pass up. Love the mesh…gonna head over there now and check it out!

  • “I will NOT say the “P” word” hahhaahah!!!!! I can’t stand that word either!

    I have been wanting to sew a bra, but wasn’t sure which pattern I should start with. It sounds like you have solved my problem!

  • Sophie

    eeeeeee! It’s d.i.v.i.n.e! I am so ready for this. Soft, pretty, feminine lingerie that yup exactly as you said it…celebrates what’s already there or not there. Love it Heather!

    • You have to make it with some crazy knit fabric that the fabric fairies always seem to bestow on you!

  • I’ve been hanging out for this bra, and I didn’t realise it had no underwire! This gives me 1,000 extra boob smiles* because underwires were created in the fiery depths of hell. Your purple is very, very delicious.

    *Boob smiles? Look, I don’t even know what that would look like, but it would be happy.

    • Bwa ha ha. I know what boob smiles look like. What boys do when they see boobs.

  • so pretty! i love the minimalist simplicity of the watson, and since it comes in proper bra sizing, i will give it a try!

  • The 70’s in general are not my favorite decade for clothing but the 70’s lingerie is definitely the best! I love the look of the longline bra and I’m looking forward to give it a try!

  • Dee

    I love t his bra and the materials you used are gorgeous. I’m pregnant at the moment so I can’t use underwired bras so this is a perfect alternative to the horrible mumsy nursing ones that you get in stores!

    • I think these would be pretty nursing friendly I think. It’s flexible enough that you could probably just scoop it off to the side.

  • Αντωνία Σπηλιάκου

    This design is so pretty! I’ve been wanting to make my own bras for a while because finding something in my size that’s attractive and not $$$ has been difficult.

    Whom would you recommend as suppliers for lingerie-making materials?

  • sallieforrer

    I DEFINITELY want to give the Watson bra a try!! I’m fairly intimidated by sewing lingerie – mainly going through all the unwearable trials until you get a good fit (I have 3 unwearable Pin Up Girl Classic bras at this point…. harrumph… I think I’m just going to have to figure that pattern does not work for me) But one of the things I’m pretty excited about the Watson is that it looks like fitting is less of an issue. The other thing I’m usually really intimidated by is sourcing all those pretty materials! However finding stretch lace is much easier for me to find locally than finding the stable lingerie fabrics that other bras call for.

    • sallieforrer

      Oh, and also, duh, your bra is absolutely gorgeous! I’d die and go to heaven if I could get my mitts on purple stretch mesh! So freaking chic, I can’t even stand it. G must have passed out when he saw you in this!

      • You don’t need powermesh – if you use regular mesh you can just double up. There is a bra supplies supplier out of Texas – shipping would probably be pretty cheap (but oh boy the website is from the stone age): http://fabricdepotco.com/

  • Jodie

    Heather, what kind of mesh did you use? Is it pretty beefy like powernet? Or more lightweight like what’s often found in regular fabric stores? This is so lovely. I need to find this color! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this pattern. I bought mine yesterday. 🙂

    • Hi Jodie. I just used regular lightweight mesh. Powernet would NOT work at the cups (ouch!) Amy suggests powernet for the band or two layers of mesh, which is what I did.

      • Jodie

        Thanks Heather! I was hoping that’s what you’d say. 🙂 I can find that mesh locally which makes me even more excited to try this pattern!

  • Francesca Amodeo

    Oh, gorgeous! Love that purple! I bought the pattern yesterday before the newsltter came out – I have been checking in every day since she said it was coming out! I have a bunch of bra supplies that I’ve been stockpiling while I waited to get ballsy enough to tackle them:). I’m glad to know it is not at home bra – I am so fed up of wires digging into me! They make me hotter in our sticky summer:(. I have a couple of oh lulu’s patterns waiting but neither of them struck me as being supportive – this looks amazing! And I’m a 36c so I think I should be fie – whohoo- thanks Heather Lou!

  • Heather Petersen

    What kind of shirts does this bra work best with? Is it t-shirt friendly?

    • I’ve been wearing it with everything. It gives a nice clean line so I like wearing it with tees, although if it’s really cold out you’ll probably have some nip action, at least in a super fine material like mesh.

      • Heather Petersen

        After nursing two kids I always have nip action 😉 I’d like to try this pattern!

  • This is such a lovely bra. I love the color, and I love the look of a longline bra. I’m very tempted by it, and I’m torn. I need wires for support, and I prefer a bit of foam so there’s no nip action if it gets cold. I have some bra kits that would be perfect for this. May be I can make these and wear it as a lounging bra?

    • Exactly! I think a thicker fabric at the cups would help with the nip factor too. Most of my bras are sans foam these days.

  • This looks really lovely. The mesh seems to work beautifully with this pattern. I’m still jealous of that haul of fabrics in your last lingerie post!

  • It’s a beauty 🙂 I love nothing more than pretty underthings, and seeing everyone get into lingerie making this last 18 months or so has been wonderful! I’m still not quite at the point of trying to sew a pair myself just yet. I need clothes more than I need underwear… ha!

  • Very Cute. Great colour! I’d love to try making a long line bra. Just gotta gather the supplies 🙂

  • Lauren Durr

    I think this will be my starting point into bra making, love the long line option and the purple mesh on yours it fabulous!

  • I’m pretty sure this is the bra pattern I’ve been dreaming of. I absolutely love 70’s lingerie, so natural and simple, and even though we’re pretty far removed from the necessary mid-century foundation garments, the 70’s style inevitably makes me think of the shift in women’s clothes to more freedom and comfort. Anyway, your version looks really wonderful. The purple and black go so well together!

  • Gorgeous! I reckon I’m going to have to have a go at lingerie. Beautiful work.

  • Charnelle Pinkney

    I love the color! all i wear are wireless bras these days, so i’m definitely going to be making a whole heap of these!

  • Shirleanne

    This is so beautiful and I want to make one just like it! What kind of fabric did you use to line the cradle with?

    • It’s a standard lightweight lingerie lining. I think I got it at Fabric Depot, the bra-making supplier.

      • Shirleanne

        Thank you!

  • This is lovely! I just ordered supplies to make my own. I’ve been working towards a hand-made wardrobe for the last year, always adding “… except underwear and bras, of course”. I’d like to eliminate that caveat once and for all!

  • Your bra turned out perfect! Do you know how much stretch your purple mesh has? I just made my first Watson in black mesh and it fits quite well. Except for the cups which sort of divide my boobs in half if I stand too upright. ? I was thinking it might be the stretch of the mesh, but it has around 70 %, just what the pattern calls for. Any idea what went wrong?