The Shelley – without Seam Allowance

I still have a hard time believing I did this. I actually worked on the pattern making sure  the underarm area was shortened, and the allowance was made in the pattern for the Omega shape – but I forgot to add a seam allowance to the pattern! And it all went together so nicely that I didn’t notice until I tried it on!

All that upset aside, it turned out very well and looks so pretty.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Front View

Here is the Shelley from the front. I love the lace I used here. All the materials are from Bra-Makers Supply. I decided to do something a little different with the lace and used a little flower I cut out to cover the front seam on the band where it joins to the bridge. I applied it before sewing in the cups or sewing the elastic to the lower edge. I was quite pleased with that little detail.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Side View

Here is the side view. Do you notice, there are no little gathers at the bottom of the cup? I made some alterations to the pattern and I am so happy with them. I actually took it in at the corners on the bottom so it would fit into the cup perfectly and it did! So, that means no more darts or ‘easing’ the cup into a smaller opening.

Something I’d been wondering – and I’d need someone who has much more technical experience with pattern drafting to let me know if I’m correct or not – if I’m using a D for my wire size, then is the D cup pattern the correct size for the base of my pattern. I’m dealing with two different sizes, so I was just wondering.

My wondering led me to check. and I pulled out the D pattern and compared the pattern I’d made and it fit. So, now I’m thinking I could [possibly] make my patterns by starting with a D and then graduating it up to the F cup I need. Hmmm, some more playing with patterns is ahead.

Shelley Bra Full Band Beige Omega Design Back View

And this is the back. I’m very happy with it as well. I based this on a Prima Donna bra I had and took apart to clone. I haven’t done that yet, but did decide to copy the back. I will need to make my fabric straps longer if I do this again. There was no ‘extra’ in that strap.

As well, the hooks are a little wonky (is that a word?). I’ve been having a bit of trouble with my zigzag handling the fabrics for lingerie. I’ve spoken someone in the education department of Elna (my sewing machine brand). They suggested using a walking foot to help with that. I haven’t tried that yet though. I had a few problems with the stitches bunching up on this bra in a few places. I wonder if anyone else is having the same problems?

Even though I left out the seam allowance when I made this, and the cups aren’t quite deep enough as a result, I’m still very happy with this bra. I now have my pattern with adjusted seam allowances, and am ready to sew it again.

Before I do, I’m planning on joining Amy on her Bra-Making Sew Along. For this, I’m thinking of trying a new pattern. Danglez have some lovely patterns, and I’m thinking of using one of theirs.

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robyn
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 22:54:24

    I’m participating in that sew along, too, and am planning to sew the Sewy Rebecca pattern for the first time. I must remember to add all my seam allowances ;)


  2. lmichelle777
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 07:50:38

    I think that’s one disadvantage to the European patterns – no seam allowances. I know the Pin-Up Girls patterns all have it built in. I like that!


  3. Andrea
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 20:26:31



  4. lmichelle777
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 22:25:32

    Thank you, Andrea. This pattern is very similar to the Sewy Rebecca, but the lower cup has an extra seam, and the back shoulder straps are in a much better placement for me. I think this is going to be my TNT pattern.


  5. Amy
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 09:41:20

    Pretty! It’s a lovely pattern and I wish I would’ve been out just a month sooner! Thanks so much for letting us know about it.


    • lmichelle777
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 19:24:17

      So exciting that it’s out today. I just got the email that it’s on its way to me. And you really got me pegged when you said I’m collecting patterns! Boy, if my honey only knew. :)


  6. Naomi
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 15:18:11

    It’s beautiful! I can’t wait to try this pattern. Is the back sewn according to the pattern or did you alter it to clone another bra you owned? It looks really comfortable. Nice job.


    • lmichelle777
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 19:28:08

      Thank you, Naomi,

      I made this pattern using my Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern AND a cloned Prima Donna pattern. The front I made using Bra-Makers’ CD Designer Bras by YOU! The back… I had seen an ad for Prima Donna – and if you can believe it, they printed a whole page citing what parts are in their bra! – and one of the features they mentioned was they were the first to do a U-shaped back and how supportive it was and comfortable too. I simply decided to try it.


  7. Louisa
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 22:37:12

    What a lovely bra! I hope to get my version to fit too – though I have the opposite problem: big wire/small cups. My poor sewing machine heats up on the multi-zigzag and starts acting wonky. I have to go very slowly and let it rest a lot. Makes for very slow results!


    • lmichelle777
      Jan 30, 2013 @ 07:54:20

      That’s the relief part of making a bra for yourself – you can actually get one to fit if you’re not the average fit. Let me know how yours turns out. I’d love to hear!

      As for going slowly, I prefer it. I take my time, and then I know my seams will be nice and straight, or curved properly, and I won’t be disappointed with the results. Going slowly can be a good thing. :)


  8. CGCouture
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 09:24:49

    Pretty! :-) I just found this post and am interested in retrying to master the bra this year (I was in the sewalong too, but after several failed attempts gave up temporarily.) Anyway, I was wondering what the Omega shape is?


    • lmichelle777
      Mar 02, 2013 @ 09:52:54

      Thank you! The Shelley pattern is a very pretty pattern, and I’m hearing wonderful things about the fit too.

      I want to encourage you to not give up. I haven’t had the easiest time either – that’s partially why I’m doing this blog. I want others who may have challenges and don’t fit easily to see someone else is still trying.

      Beverly Johnson, the maker of the Shelley pattern and author of the Bra Makers Manuals I & II talks about the Omega shape in her manuals. Basically it’s when the base of the breast is smaller than the rest of the breast. For me and my size, normally a bra I’d make would take a 44 wire, but I only need a 38. So, I have to take the lower edge of the cup in somehow to make it fit into a smaller wire. The manuals also give information on how to do this. And you can call Bra Makers Supply too. They’ve been a great help to me.

      Really, don’t give up. I could do my best to help; I’m sure Amy would too.


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