Sunday, September 29, 2019

The free Maya Bra

I’d like to get three wearable bras made before I move on to cold weather garments. The Shelly I showed in my last post fit rather well, but the wires were off just enough to bug after a few hours, and the lace on the top cups was as scratchy as sandpaper!  I’m not sure if I threw it out or buried it, but it isn’t going to count as one of the three. I am giving the Maya pattern a spin this time because it’s one of the patterns that I like best. Kind of amazing that it is also free. I am under the impression the designer plans to return to the instructions at some point, but as of now the outline is complete but the tutorial stops after the band and cups are done, but before straps and elastics. I’m pretty confident I can complete it and I’m trying to record what I’m doing all the way through, so I can make improvements for my next Maya and possibly do a sew a long video for people who might like some additional guidance on that particular pattern. I’m no expert, but it could still help someone.

The bra is downloadable at AFI atelier. Measure carefully according to directions, don’t imagine your RTW size will work. You can cannibalize wire, strap rings and slides, and a back from another bra. You will still need the right elastics and unless your stash is very versatile, the right power mesh for the backwings. Also a sturdy lining fabric for the front, that frame is where the support comes from. Might as well head to a great lingerie supply store and get all of the right stuff, and WIRES that fit correctly are the most important part of the well fitting bra. Most suppliers have sizes you print out and compare to the measurements you have taken, best discovered by bending some flexible wire around each breast (they can be different enough for you to need to know). If you don’t find good instructions at the first place, look in a second. Also, not all brands of wires have the same measurements for the same size. I know, fun. I am not willing to pay for overseas postage, you can probably find a vendor in your country to help with that expense.  The cloth habit blog  has an excellent post breaking down some sources by world wide location. She should get a prize for that post! 

So, without further ado, some things I’m discovering as I sew my first Maya:

Don’t skip stitch testing on duoplex! It would be pointless to show you my first 15 minutes of testing needles that wouldn’t put a single rotten stitch in! With my previous bra, the Kenmore demanded a Microtex 70 needle. The Viking said, No, Ma’am! I swung over to the Kenmore and she blushed and giggled like she’d never heard of duoplex. I went through many hoops to get these final acceptable stitches, with a universal 80/12 needle, of all the choices. After we settled that, hardly a hiccup except for wanting to suck down fabric through the bobbin hole at the start of each seam. Hold onto those thread tales and start slow.

While the ribbon covering inside seams is very decorative, I could have skipped some bulk and potential scratch factor by sewing my lining like the outside, then sandwiching the foam between lining and fashion fabric. I had cut the lining with the pattern pieces called “lining”, which already had seam allowances trimmed. So it had to be tacked to the foam and sewn by zig zagging over the butted pieces. Therefore, I’m renaming the lining pattern pieces  “foam” and using the same pattern pieces for fashion fabric and lining next time.


There was an awful lot of this going on. She warns you to not mix up which piece goes where! I cannot leave sewing out in a nicely arranged setting though. There is a small child in my life and stuff that I don’t want to share HAS to be put up. My solution for this will be to add some markings. I need to be sure which is top, bottom, right side, wrong side. I decided to leave a cup with one piece showing the “wrong” side. I’m not sure that I didn’t cut two pieces alike rather than opposite for a left and a right. I can’t blame that on the Maya.

So much of this going on. Good thing they are all short seams. Good thing duoplex is such hardy fabric.

These little needle nose pliers reclaimed from my old jewelry making phase are wonderful! Not only are they essential for pulling out tight threads that tire seam ripping hands, they are a relief from the repetitive tiny pinching movements too. Also good for pulling and pushing hand needles through multiple layers when basting.

Toward the end of the project I found a supply of Gutermann Mara thread that I had specifically purchased for the duoplex. Well, I know where it’s at now. It may help with consistently nice stitches. There is an assortment of colors, including white, which I think I prefer over this blend in orange. At the end, the bra was not well enough fitted to wear and I’ve already torn it most the way apart. I can reuse the straps, fasteners, rings and slides. I can use the power mesh and elastics for fitting muslins in other bras, not in a new bra. I have enough fabric to start this over again in orange, this time with white elastics and straps. I have high hopes this one will fit well and be a keeper, then if I like it I’ll do one more, different fabric, for a video. Hoping to build some speed too, I have other things I’d like to make!

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