Sewing: Cloth Habit Watson Bra

Sewing the Watson Bra
I know I don’t tend to share underwear photos on this blog much (since I now have Big Cup Little Cup for that), but these ones are a bit different so I chose to share them here: I made this set myself! So rather than this being a review/fitting post, it’s more of a sewing one, which fits here better at the moment, although I may do a fitting style one at BCLC too.
This is probably my biggest achievement of late, this bra and knickers set, because who would have thought when I bought a sewing machine nearly a year ago that I’d still be sewing now and making even my own undergarments?! I found the Watson bra pattern on Pinterest just before Christmas and immediately emailed it to Ben to ask him to buy it for me as a present since we were both a bit stuck on what to get plus it was available in a size that would fit me!! I read through the pattern booklet straightaway after receiving it, but was a little overwhelmed by all the different types of fabric you could use – I just didn’t get all the stretch and different names, especially since the UK isn’t particularly big on stretch fabrics or lyrca which this pattern calls for. A few days later though, I discovered that Amy at Cloth Habit was doing a sewalong just for this pattern – amazing! I immediately joined the Facebook group and have been reading every bit of info I can find on the pattern.
Following Amy’s recommendations, I bought all the bits and pieces I needed from an English website called the Sewing Chest and a few extra pieces for future bras or for “just in case” – in case I’d chosen the wrong things or messed up the first time! Obviously, I only used a few of things I bought for this bra, which was these:
Cloth Habit Watson bra review

Stretch Nina Stripe (sherbert pink – 50% stretch each way) | White Powernet | White Tricot (lining) | Bra Strap Plush Back 13mm | Plush Back Elastic 8mm | Gold rings/sliders | Hook/eye fastener
I decided to start with making the bra, since that was the main part of why I’d chosen this pattern. It is an unlined, soft cup bra pattern without underwires and you have the choice of longline or normal band. It is available in sizes 30B-I, 32A-H, 34AA-G, 36AA-F, 38A-E, 40A-D – if you’ve been around here (or BCLC) a while, you’ll know I struggle to find well fitting bras in the small band, large cup size range. In UK sizing, I’m currently a 28GG/H, but as you’ll notice (and you must take note!), this pattern is in US sizes without double letters. Amy provides a size chart for this particular pattern and I did use this to an extent, but I am a bit of an anomaly to it, since I’m a pretty full on top shape, however I made this in the smallest band size and largest cup size available: 30I. For reference, I measure around 27.5″ underbust and 37″ full bust, and 34″ upper bust.
Watson bra pattern review
sewing the Watson bra review
The pattern was easy to cut out and use – I weighted it down onto my fabrics with tins of tuna, obviously! And traced around it with pencil, although I now have an air erasable pen I used for the briefs which is much easier. I’ve since made a couple more sizes from the pattern, and while it’s easy enough to print off and cut out more sizes, I’ve also traced out the main sizes I use (I bought this MASSIVE roll of tracing paper on Amazon) as they’re slightly longer lasting, plus it’s easier to make and keep any small alterations on tracing paper (I haven’t needed to fortunately!).
The above picture shows the bra in progress – I’d sewed together the cups, sewn the elastic onto the cups, the lining onto the cradle, and the powernet (band) onto the cradle. I did have a bit of trouble attaching the cups in the middle where the elastic was a bit bulky where it overlapped, but I think it’ll get easier with practice (apparently Amy has some tips coming up on this anyway), and I definitely need to practise my elastic sewing – this was my first ever time, so there are parts that are a bit iffy, some parts where I overstretched it or didn’t stretch it enough, and a couple of tucks (oops!), but this was really just a practice to learn how the pattern works.
And here’s the finished product – the lighting changed between when I started and finished, took me that long – oops! And I’ve also taken some pictures of it on me since I know others are wanting to know how it looks on, especially in a larger cup size (oh and I’ve got some old swimwear padding in under it as a cover up – it was slightly see through! – so sorry about the strange bumps!):
Watson bra & briefs from Cloth Habit
Watson bra
Watson bra back view
Watson longline bra and briefs
So you’re probably wondering how well it actually works in this size – pretty well I find! I have a self-supported shape anyway, so despite my size, I don’t actually need a huge amount of support – I’ll sometimes go out without a bra. I do find though that this gives me a small amount of lift, pushes me into the middle a bit, and has a nice supportive band – the longline helps very well with this. My band is a little on the tight side at the bottom, possibly because my elastic was a little bit firmer than it should be – technically I think it’s strap elastic – and because my rib cage flares out significantly. But it’s loosened over a couple of wears, so it’s now very comfortable.
Watson briefs via Cloth Habit
And finally the briefs – I made these in a size small, but using different elastic which I picked up in a local shop I found, Barnyarns: so amazing, it’s a 5 minute walk from work and had everything I need, including stretch needles in the right size and iDye which dyes stretch fabrics and elastics but I couldn’t find anywhere else except online! Anyway, I finished the briefs this afternoon and they fit perfectly and are really comfortable – so pleased! I did have a few issues with skipping stitches in these, but as soon as I swapped the needle, it was fine – I didn’t think my needle could have gone blunt after just sewing one bra but apparently so, just goes to show!
So that’s that – what do you think? I’m really pleased and can’t wait to make my next set – maybe blue mesh next time, and possibly the normal band option.
PS: The mug is, I believe, this Cath Kidston one – we got a set as Christmas presents :)

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28 Comments

  1. Jo January 31, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    Wow I’m SO impressed you made your own bra and pants! They look very professional and well fitting. You wouldn’t know it was a first attempt.

    Although I don’t know if they do anything lingerie specific, there’s an online shop called Funki Fabrics which sells lots of stretch/lycra fabrics so they may be worth a look.

    • Sian Thomas February 1, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      Thank you!! I I think it’s because it’s a really simple pattern to follow – it seems to come out very well for everyone :) I think it needs a little bit of tweaking in the cup as it’s almost too small on the inside.
      Ooh thanks for the tip, I’ll have a look! Wish it was easier to get hold of them in person too.

  2. verykerryberry January 31, 2015 / 6:10 pm

    The stripes work so well with the long line design. I have a list of UK lingerie fabrics and findings supplies on my blog, plus a few in Europe with reasonable postage options.

    • Sian Thomas February 1, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      Thanks :) Ooh, I’ll stop by and have a look, sounds very useful!

  3. Evie February 1, 2015 / 1:43 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing this!! I’ve been seriously debating buying the pattern myself, but as someone who’s a bit bustier than most of the people who’ve made it and shared reviews so far I wasn’t sure how it would work. I’m really wanting to make myself one or two to use as sleep bras while I’m nursing and it’s nice to know how it fits and supports on someone closer to my 30F size.

    • Sian Thomas February 1, 2015 / 3:29 pm

      I’d definitely recommend the pattern! That’s why I wanted to share it, especially with photos of it being worn, as there don’t seem to be many/any in the bustier range. I think they’d be perfect for nursing – really comfortable and still has quite a bit of support too.

  4. Amber Bockman February 11, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    your boobies are like my boobies! tiny ribcage, big on top! I think I’ll have to try the 30I and see if it fits better. I did the 30D and the cups were too small still. Did you line your cups for extra support at all?

    • Sian Thomas February 11, 2015 / 9:09 pm

      Ah yay, someone similar to me! How far off were the 30D cups? What are your measurements? Feel free to email them to me if you don’t want them on here, just I might be able to recommend you a better size for you :) The 30I is 5 cup sizes bigger than the D, so if the D wasn’t too far off, the I might be a bit far.
      I didn’t line the cups, just left them as they are, although I might try lining the cups in a future attempt to see how it works for me :)

  5. Jeanette Archer February 18, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    Interesting read. I had totally dismissed this pattern because I wear a 32H, and my breasts need a lot of support, (I’m 45 and have had 6 babies!)
    Looks really great on you, I am under no illusions it will look that good on me, but I’m thinking it may make a good sleep bra or soft bra for lazy days.

    • Sian Thomas March 3, 2015 / 12:26 pm

      I definitely agree that it could work for you as a sleep bra or one for round the house :) You may need to do a bit of scaling since the sizing is (sort of) US, so the H is technically smaller than I think you’d wear, but I don’t think it would be too hard. Let me know how you get on with it if you decide to try it!

  6. Mary May 25, 2015 / 12:54 am

    The first thing I noticed was that the adjustment for the strap was in the front, where it belongs! Who decided that it should be on your back? you either need to guess what length your strap should be before you have it on or have someone else adjust it for you, once it is on! I have a question since I have never had a longline bra. Do they stay in place better than the average thinner banded bras do? I think it looks great on you!

    • Sian Thomas May 26, 2015 / 8:54 am

      I was a bit worried at first about the front strap adjustment, that it would look strange, but I think that’s just because we’re used to seeing them at the back now – it’s definitely SO much easier having it at the front!
      I don’t find that it stays in place much better than my normal banded bras (but I don’t have an issue with them moving around generally), but I do find that they’re a little bit more comfortable as it spreads the pressure of holding everything up over a larger area. Hope that helps a bit :)
      And thank you!

  7. Ana-Marija Spajic July 3, 2015 / 11:54 am

    Wow it looks amazing! I’m so impressed as bra’s are the most complex thing to sew! :O

    • Sian Thomas July 3, 2015 / 11:56 am

      Oh, thank you! It wasn’t too bad as the instructions were very clear :)

  8. Rubiy July 31, 2015 / 1:27 am

    I’ve been debating getting this pattern for a couple weeks, in spite of all the rave reviews. Your cute set of absolute cuteness and apparent functionality has pushed me over the edge! Thanks also for the links, as I’d be lost without them.

    Well done!!!

    • Sian Thomas July 31, 2015 / 8:54 am

      Ah yay, so glad you like the review and it was helpful for you! I really hope you enjoy sewing it and get a lovely set out of it too :)

  9. Kelly August 30, 2015 / 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this! I haven’t seen many photos of this bra on real people, let alone on bustier ones. You say you don’t need a lot of support – besides being very jealous of you being able to go bra free, I’m wondering if you think it’ll support someone who does need it. I’m a little smaller but after having kids, I’m not as firm as I used to be.

    • Sian Thomas August 31, 2015 / 12:58 pm

      That’s what I thought when I posted it as I hadn’t seen it on anyone else bustier and thought others might like to see that too :) I’m only really able to go braless if it’s something quite fitted or very loose (so you can’t see the outline!), but I think it would give a fair amount of support if you need it, particularly if you used a fairly sturdy material such as scuba fabric. Even so, it’s still great for wearing around the house as it’s a really comfortable shape :)

  10. Kelly August 31, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    Ahh ok, I’ll give it a go. Thank you :)

  11. Anna November 17, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    Hi Sian, it looks amazing! How long did the bra take you to sew?

    • Sian Thomas November 17, 2015 / 2:14 pm

      Hi Anna – thank you! This was my first time sewing anything like this, so it took me a couple of days (with lots of breaks!) to cut it out and sew it up. I’ve now made a few Watson bras and can sew up the pattern in around a couple of hours :)

  12. Shazia February 15, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Hi Sian

    I am watching this blog of yours from the very first post. I found some very elegant dresses on this which helped me a lot to make some dresses for me. Thanks for such a wonderful helping guide :)

    Hey, you said you don’t tend to post your bikini pictures on this blog, yes I didn’t find yet. Can I ask whats the reason dear? Actually I want to buy some bikinis online If you tend to start posting your bikini pictures here. My figure is also same like you.I would be very thankful to you.

    • Sian Thomas February 15, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Hi Shazia, thank you! I think you might have misunderstood slightly – I don’t tend to post bikini photos on this blog for 2 reasons: I don’t wear bikinis a lot (living in North Yorkshire!), but in saying I don’t tend to post those photos here, I mean because I publish them on my other blog instead, Big Cup Little Cup, which is focused entirely on underwear and bra fit, so that may be helpful to you :)

      • Shazia February 16, 2016 / 4:00 pm

        Oh I see. OK will visit that website “Big Cup Little Cup”. Hoping will get a better idea for some bikinis.
        Thanks anywayz :)

  13. Shazia February 17, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    Can you suggest me some more blogs like yours please?

    • Sian Thomas February 17, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      Hi Shazia – we have a list of other lingerie blogs here :)

  14. Shazia February 19, 2016 / 10:23 am

    Thanks Sian

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