Wednesday, March 28

Elan 645 - Retro Styling

I finished Elan 645 and worn it for a little over a week and while I like it, it's not the holy grail of bras for me.

Socks filling the cups, tee hee...

Things I like
  • Wow is this band supportive.  My posture would be so much better if I always wore a band like this.
  • The back is really low.  I could wear a damn near backless dresses with this bra.
  • I love purple, I find the end result pretty.
  • The straps generally stay put and yet are far enough to the side to not show up under my boat neck top.
  • Speaking of the straps, another successful venture making sliding straps.
  • And my first bra with integrated straps as opposed to just tacking them onto the back.
  • Mr. Lina also thinks it's pretty.
  • My breasts are staying put in this thing.  The top less so because the lace isn't going to hold them down if I jumped, but it's a real shelf underneath.
    • Of course that's my own fault for putting 3 layers of fabric in the lower cup - stretch purple satin, purple tricot against my skin and a little powernet.  It's the first time I've tried powernet in the cups, I think it's overkill.
  • The directions are pretty good.  I did keep my Bra Makers Manual around because I've put my own notes in the book about channeling and for once I did that right on the first try.  For the most part I followed the directions with the bra and found them good enough.
  • The underwire is actually sitting flat against my chest between my breasts
Things I'm not sure about
  • The shape.  It really does lift my breasts up and out, but it's a bit like a shelf and feels a little retro compared to the modern soft cup look.  Gertie posted about the fashion of breast shape, and this looks like a lot of the retro images she included rather than the modern tshirt bra. 
  • Wearing a tank for modesty, but you see the pointed shape.
  • The change in shape seriously impacts how this fits under my clothing.  My bust is 44" in this bra, other bras are around 43".  Some shirts have wrinkles under the arm, they just don't fit the same.
  • I had a headache the first couple of days of wearing it, but that seems to be easing as the bra is stretching out a little.  This seems in line with Gerties post "Is my girdle making me dumb?"
  • Something is funky under the arms, about an inch of the top band is floating away from my body.  This is likely my sewing error, maybe stretching something that shouldn't be stretched while sewn or the fabric stretching when I picked out stitches, I'm not sure.  It's not really noticeable except that I'm looking for problems.

Things I don't like
  • Initially, I was going to say the band was too tight.  I really felt the headaches were due to oxygen being cut off, but I can tell it's relaxed in the week I've had it.  Wearing it on alternating days or shorter periods of time was a good call.  I'm still wearing it on the loosest setting but the headaches aren't so noticable.
  • I seem to have not caught the stitches well under one of the underwire.  Elastic is stitched once on the right side of the fabric then turned under.  It is key to go close to the picot edge so that you only see the little pretty detail of the edge when it's flipped under.  I guess in focusing on the elastic, I didn't look closely at the fabric and it's  frayed and pulled through.  I have put some fray check on it, and zig zagged a little there.  Really, who is looking at my bra that closely? 
Nice match on the thread, eh?

  • The cup seams are not well curved and you can see them through my clothing.  It was hard to find an outfit that would work well with the bra but that is improving as I mentally adjust to the shape and try it under more clothing.  As mentioned, it's noticable on my black Renfrew, but I still wore it. 
  • My preference in RTW are partial band bras, this is the first full band bra I've made (well, second, but the first 645 was pretty but far too big).  That longer piece of fabric under the cups is rolling when I sit at a desk (again, my posture sucks).  If I pull the bra higher it helps but the underwire starts to get so high it shows up at the neckline and it won't stay there.  I think there is a reason I haven't purchased many full band bras.
So net-net, I'd say it's a wearable, functional bra but I'm not sure how many of this style I would want.  I like my partial band styles better. 


  1. I find bra posts fascinating, as always :)---good job managing to show us so many details :). I think a tight band really does take some getting used to---I often wear none at all and a tight band can leave me feeling really breathless and weird. I'm not a big fan of the pointy look myself (it looks fine on those with enough breast to pull it off, I just don't have that much)---I'm pretty sure when/if I ever attempt a bra, it will have the shaped foam cups in it. Speaking of which, Tyo thinks I should make her real bras, not just bralettes. I am trying to dodge that one so far ;).

    1. Breathless and weird is the right way to describe it. The first full day I wore it I had a headache that went away as soon as I took it off. I was looking through Gertie's blog to find the posts I was thinking of and kept saying "yes, that's it exactly".

      So would "Mom gets a bra first" work? Or just you don't want to. That's fair too.

  2. Well, you know where I stand on the tight bands. And the pointy look. I'm totally into both of them. I think generally the lower the band sits at the back (within reason - and shape depending, of course), the more support the bra provides. It's like cantilevering. Long line bras benefit from this engineering. I do wonder if it's a bit low at the sides (underarm). I think you need longer wires. It's hard to tell but it seems that the cups may be slightly too small at the sides. Also, re: how the wires pull away. I believe this is a function of the cheap wires available to home sewists. They don't have enough stability, IMO. Could be the combo of this pattern, wires and materials has shown up their limitations.

    1. The lifting isn't at the wire so much as behind the wire at my arm pit, just along the elastic. I will have to take pictures of the underwire, they are far better than that crap they try to sell as underwire at Fabricland. Pretty sure they are Sew Sassy UW927, 4th picture down
      Longer wires? I'll have to think about that. These come up pretty high to the front, my brain needs to feel it to get it and I'm not wearing it at the moment, I will get back to you on that.

  3. I should also have said that you did a beautiful job on this bra and it's far more wearable than anything I've managed to make. Not trying to be negative about materials. I've just hit a peak of frustration over them.

    1. You are the bra goddess, I was looking forward to reading your thoughts. I once asked at Fabricland for the fuzzy picot elastic and the stuff they suggested was so much stretchier and narrow than what I wanted. Frustration is the word.

  4. I salute you! Your bras look lovely and I am in awe. Bras are the one thing I decided I would never make, due to the frustration potential. Since I am small, I like to have full padding and padding out my own bra would most likely just drive me crazy.

    Your band woes drove me to check my bras, and my underwires are all partial bands while the non-wires are full band. I think the band and the wire may be interacting weirdly for you because of having a shorter waist -- I'm long waisted and even my full band bras sometimes tuck under or do something strange if I'm not perfectly upright.

    By the way, I put the Renfrew on my "to buy" list as soon as I get a bit of money. I'm going to blame you for that, if the Hubs asks. That's ok with you, right? Tee hee.

    1. I can take the heat, you can blame me all you want. I'm wearing the purple version today, total wardobe staple for me.

      I completely agree about the full band tucking under because I'm not perfectly straight, it is fine when I'm standing up an walking, but I spend my day sitting at a desk. Wearing this bra has highlighted how bad my posture is when I'm not thinking about it which is 99% of the time.

      I think padding in cups would be tricky (it did make me giggle to fill my cups with socks for the pictures, it looked better than flat cups). There are things they can mechanically do to curve cups for seamless bras that just aren't options (so far as I've read) for home sewers. That may be changing as sell foam cups and teach a class specifically for them, but I don't need that kind of padding.

      I also think for any kind of sewing, you have to feel the itch to do it or it's just not worth it. Generally speaking, we aren't sewing strictly to save money (arguably better value, but not net dollars) so if you don't want to sew it, don't fight it.


Thanks for your comments, I love to have a two way conversation. I seem to be getting a lot of spam from anonymous users and am turning off the ability to comment that way. I really would like to hear from you so if you do want to add your two cents without an OpenId, email me at seraphinalina at gmail dot com.