Monday, 30 July 2012

Postponing My Next Post

Hello ladies, I know I promised I would publish my post on "How To Make A Pointy Bra Round" today, but the internet where I am has been really abysmal this past week. I can't even upload photos from my laptop, which makes a tutorial post rather useless. But I will have good internet tomorrow evening and you'll see the post then or Wednesday! Sorry for the wait.

Friday, 27 July 2012

How To Make A High-Cut Bra Lower-Cut

Have you ever put on a bra and thought that it would be so much cuter if it didn’t cover your whole chest up to your collarbone? I think we’ve all felt that way at some point. You might never have considered it, but it’s possible to change this. This alteration isn’t as simple as some of the ones I’ve posted about in the past, and it’s also not one that you can undo. So I’d recommend saving this alteration for bras that you can’t return, wouldn’t make money selling, and won’t wear unless they change.

This alteration is shown on the Freya Pippa, an older style. Here’s what it looked like to start with.

As you can see, that is just a lot of bra. There is no reason for it to come up so high on my chest, as I don’t even have any breast tissue there.

To start the alteration, position one cup of the bra in your lap. I find my knee is about the size of one boob (did I really just say that?) so it makes a good “dress form” for more advanced bra alterations.

Cut down and around the lace at a right angle, starting at the shoulder strap.

Can you see how the seam on the bra is right at the bottom of the lace, close to where you are cutting? If the bra you are altering doesn’t have lace at the top, you would want to cut right under the seam. The alteration would be trickier in that case, though, and harder to make it look nice. The lace on the Pippa and on many Freya bras helps conceal the alteration when it’s finished.

Now slowly and carefully cut down along the seam that goes diagonally down the cups. DON’T CUT ALL THE WAY.

You want to be able to position the lace so that the TOP of the lace is where the BOTTOM of the lace originally was, like this:

By doing this, you’ll lose about an inch of the excess height you don’t want. This will generally be enough to significantly change the look of the bra, but you can also go further, if you want. But cut ONLY until you can position it the way you want it without any wrinkling. Don’t cut any further. It will probably be about this far:

Now, hold the lace strip in position (this is where your knee comes in handy!) and TAPE it in place. Yes, tape it. 

It’s a good deal faster and easier than using pins to hold it in place while you sew. It will hold a lot better, even if you need to get up and pee or something and have to take the bra off your knee. Yes, you probably will need a thimble to get the needle through the tape and fabric. But this is an alteration best done by hand because of the curve of the bra, and this is the easiest way to make sure that it is perfect.

Now sew along the seam, starting in the middle of the cup where you stopped cutting, and moving towards the shoulder strap. Make sure you are sewing the seam you cut away from the bra TO the fabric still attached to the bra. Don’t just sew the lace and don’t just sew the fabric still attached to the bra, as that will of course accomplish nothing. The easiest way to do it is to literally sew along the stitches that formed the original seam.

When you get to the corner, take a ninety degree angle and sew up towards the strap.

Once you’ve tied off your thread, you can cut off the extra fabric, making sure not to puncture the lace.

Here’s one side done and the other side still undone.

What a difference!

The bra looks MUCH better from the front now. But for some bras (like the Pippa) it won’t change the shape from the side, which I found was still quite pointy. 

But don’t worry—this isn’t the end of the road for the Pippa! There is still hope.

Stay tuned for Monday's post—How to make a pointy-shaped bra give a round shape!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Getting Real About My Bra Collection

You might remember from my recent post "How Many Bras Do You Need To Own, Anyway?" that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my bra collection. This is the first time I've ever owned TOO MANY bras and it really didn't feel as awesome as I was expecting. The thing is, bras actually aren't an article of clothing whose primary function is to add novelty to your life. They are ultimately a support/shaping garment and consequently, you are going to find yourself reaching for the same few bras morning after morning no matter whether you own two bras total, or fifty.

And yes, owning too many bras is WAY better than owning too few. Last summer I only owned TWO bras that fit me, so during the really hot weeks where I had to wash them every day, and it was too humid for them to dry properly overnight, it really sucked. I was so confused and unsure about my size at that time, and I was SO poor, that the situation went on for months. I didn't start buying bras until I got to the UK in September, and once I had started, I just never stopped. I've now come to realize that owning too many bras may be better than owning too few, but it's a lot worse than owning the right amount of bras and seeing the rest of that money in the bank.

Looking back on my older post "If Your Boobs Are Bigger Than Your Budget" I can see where I was going wrong. Buying bras had become this ultimate scavenger hunt for me. When I found a good deal, I was so excited and didn't want to miss out on it. I would troll eBay and Amazon looking for deals. Often I would tell myself I was buying something "just to try it" but once I had it in my hands it was a lot harder to return it.

The other problem I've noticed is that I get caught up in the hype of new, exciting products. For instance, I feel this compulsion to try Curvy Kate's Smoothie bra when it comes out in September, even though I don't really wear padded bras.

Given the opportunity, I will always choose a non-padded bra over a padded bra, so why should I buy the Smoothie at all? To review it for my blog, sure, but to OWN? I don't need to own that bra. But what do you want to bet that it is going to be very difficult to let go of it if it's a good fit, even if I know I'll never wear it?

I'm trying to get real and sell a lot of my bras that I never wear. Most of the ones I'm selling have been worn only two or three times. I don't know why I have such an aversion to padded bras, but they just seem so stiff and bulky. They don't fit in drawers, they don't breathe, and they always show so much cleavage. The bras I really wear are my Cleo Lucys, my Panache Sienna, my blue Cleo Brooke, and occasionally my nude Panache Harmony. I sometimes wear my white Thea plunge with low-cut clothes, and I know I would wear my red Freya Antoinette frequently if the straps were thinner, so I'm going to switch the thick straps for the straps from my red Curvy Kate Princess, which I've given up on. Finally, I have an older Curvy Kate Tease Me (this orange one) that I wear to bed because it's nice and soft and has a high center gore to keep my boobs separated while I sleep.

But that's ALL. Everything else is just taking up space and represents all the money I've wasted. It's pretty lame. I need to clear them out.

I'm not saying I will stop buying new bras. I love buying bras and they will always have a place in my budget. I'm saying I should be smarter about knowing what I will wear frequently. Just because a bra fits amazingly (like this Masquerade Delphi) doesn't mean I'll wear it more than twice. Just because I WANT to like something (like this Cleo Bonnie) doesn't mean that I will like it.

Here are the bras that are on my horizon...

The Cleo Lucy is coming out in this interesting Navy/Pink combination this fall.

I like it and will probably pick it up once it goes on sale--maybe for full price, if my coral Lucy has kicked the bucket by then.

I wrote earlier about this yellow Cleo Lucy.

I haven't bought it yet, but it's starting to show up on eBay at lower prices, so I'm thinking about it. I'm not sure if I would really wear a yellow bra, and I don't have any yellow underwear, so I'm going to try to figure that out before I spend the money.

The Panache Sienna, probably the closest I'll ever get to the Perfect Bra, is coming out in the fall in this "Lagoon" color.

Honestly I'm not crazy about this color. It sort of looks... murky. Like... a swamp bra. I wish it was brighter, or that the lace was a lighter color instead of black. But if I find this bra at a low price (like $20) later, I will buy it anyway, even though I don't like the color. (THAT, my friends, is how you know a bra is right for you! If you will wear it more than prettier bras, no matter how ugly you think it is!)

The Cleo Marcie, coming out August (I think) is really cute and looks like something that would fit me well. I would be willing to pay full price for this.

If it does fit me well, I'd wear it a lot. But if it isn't a perfect fit, I WILL return it!

The Cleo Meg, also coming out in August, is really, really cute.

I just don't have the best feeling about how the shape will work for me. I might try it if I find it on sale. I love the color scheme but I know now that's not reason enough to own something. May as well just own a picture of it in that case...

Monday, 23 July 2012

BiuBiu "Amargos" Review

I ordered this lovely BiuBiu top over a month ago and somehow neglected to write a review. This is the 36BB/BBB.

I love the pattern of this top. It’s somewhat unusual but not quite as out-there as some of the BiuBiu patterns (as Fuller Figure FullerBust points out here).

The fit definitely runs a little smaller than most of the BiuBiu tops. I’m actually okay with this because I feel the Amargos is well suited to being a little tighter and sexier. It’s low-cut in the front, which worried me at first because I don’t like showing cleavage. But it works well with my Thea plunge bra (second to last bra in this post), which doesn’t show too much cleavage. I still wouldn’t wear it to a babysitting job, a church picnic, or a luncheon with my senator, but I think it’s fine for most other casual situations.

Due to the tightness, it does ride up a bit when I move around, not to the point where I have to constantly readjust, but to the point where I’d probably be annoyed if I was still living in Edinburgh and walking four miles a day just to get around.

My favorite thing about the Amargos is the back detail.

Isn’t that cute? A little mini V-neck in the back!

The more I wear BiuBiu tops the more I do like them and the more I see their value as a clothing company. I used to think that there was really no difference between their clothes and the high street, other than the tailored shirts, because I never struggled to find clothes that fit me in normal stores. But every time I wear something from BiuBiu, I get so many compliments that it sends me right back to their website to see what else they have to offer. I guess maybe others can see the crucial differences in fit where I wasn’t able to. But I’m definitely starting to appreciate it now. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cleo "Rihanna" Review

I’m not really in the market to buy anymore bras right now because I already have so many—in fact, I’m probably going to be looking to sell the ones I don’t often wear. But there was one bra that, when I saw it was finally available, I wasn’t going to miss out on. That’s the Cleo Rihanna.

This mystery bra has popped up in a few places (like Undercover Lingerista's post here) but I never heard much about it and I was beginning to think that it wasn’t going to be produced at all. Then I saw it was available at Breakout Bras, although apparently nowhere else, but unfortunately the price was way beyond my price range. More recently, the Rihanna has finally started appearing for sale in a few more places, including and eBay, where I found mine. They all seem to be on sale now so I’m not sure where/when/if the Rihanna was posted for normal sale.

Because this bra is the same as the Sadie (reviewed here) and Jude (sixth bra down in this post), I got my normal size for this brand and cut—30H. (I wear 30HH in Curvy Kate and either 30HH or 30H in most Freya and Panache, though I fit a 30GG Deco, and a 30H in most Cleo bras.)

I just love this bra. It’s such an unusual color combination and pattern. I’d wanted a bra from the Jude family for ages but I was holding out for something I was really in love with. I wasn’t a fan of the orange color of the Sadie…

...I don't like the combination of blue and pink, found in the Ellie...

…and I’m sick to death of floral patterns as found in the Poppy, etc.

But the Rihanna has this weird, awesome pattern that isn’t like anything else I’ve seen. It’s somewhere in between a 'tribal' pattern, a geometric pattern, and a watercolor design. It’s definitely eye-catching, and I like the refreshing color combination.

The shape from the side is the same shape you saw in my Sadie and Jude reviews. Round but a bit low, relaxed and casual. It’s definitely not the best shape out there but it’s the furthest you can get from pointy. In some clothes this bra makes my boobs look bigger, but in most, it makes them look smaller because the apex of the cup is close to the chest (it doesn’t have much depth). This is bad for people who need a lot of depth in the cup, great for people who want a round shape without much forward projection.

You can also see that the underwires are pretty narrow and are coming close to sitting on my breast tissue. I actually wish they were wider, but I know I’m firmly in the minority on this point and most people prefer narrower underwires.

The center gore sits SUPER FLAT on my chest. What a relief! I’ve found a lot of vertical-seam bras, especially Curvy Kate’s Showgirl bras that I wrote about here, just never really sit flat in the gore, so they feel as though they are constantly floating around and slipping. This bra sits firmly in the same place for hours.

This bra has the same vertical seam pattern I was talking about in my post about the Masquerade Delphi. As usual, this seam pattern brings with it a lot of open space in the top of the cup. This is great for those with full-on-top boobs and can be awkward for those without a lot of volume in the top because there can be some gaping or a “collapsed” shape above where the cup ends.

All these points add up to a bra that’s perfect for some shapes and best avoided for others. But if you do fall into this bra’s target shape, I’d recommend the Rihanna. It’s so weird and cute that it really gives my mood a boost every time I put it on. It’s a much better fit for me than the Curvy Kate Showgirl bras that I have to constantly keep readjusting and so, in a lot of ways, the Rihanna accomplishes what the Showgirl bras can’t.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Updates and Thoughts

Thank you so much for all your comments on my last post. I didn’t intend to take such a long break after writing it, and I don’t want you to think that means I didn’t read the comments or take them seriously! I tend to write a lot of posts at once and queue them to post on a schedule. Sometimes, when these posts run out right when I get busy, there will be a bit of a dry spell before I have time to write more posts. I’m going to make it a goal to shorten or eliminate these dry spells, because I know it is disappointing for readers to check back over and over and not see any new posts.

Overall, the response to the post seemed to be that most people don’t really mind that I don’t engage much in social media, but that social media could help take the blog to the “next level.” This has helped make it clear to me that, realistically speaking, I just don’t have any extra time at the moment to devote to social media. (Over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t even had time to devote to writing new blog posts!) So I’m going to leave social media as a possibility for the future and just focus on building the blog itself, and building up a base of posts, for now. 

There were also a number of comments pointing out that this is MY blog and I should do whatever feels best to me and whatever makes me most comfortable. As obvious as this may sound,  I had never really thought about that before. I now realize I was getting a bit sucked into some sort of competition that only exists in my head. I’ve taken a break from reading other lingerie blogs and it honestly has been so healthy for me. As much as I love reading other blogs and as much as they help inspire and direct my own blog, they also tend to make me feel a bit overwhelmed and trapped in my own head. Having taken a break from reading them, I can see much more clearly the direction in which I want to take this.

I do think that I will take some time to update my layout and background, but that will probably happen in the fall, when I have faster internet. So we’ll be sticking with old school for the moment.

In other news, I recently got my belly button pierced…

…which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like it. I’m not really supposed to wear a lot of super-tight tops while it’s healing, and since most of my tops are tight, I’ve just put in another order to BiuBiu in my size, 36BB/BBB. I got the Toscana Lilac, an empire waist top that will do the job perfectly…

…And the Sines Fuschia, a “beach dress” that I’m hoping will be able to transition across the seasons. Because it's meant to be casual, it's a lot more reasonably priced that the fancier BiuBiu dresses, so it fell into my price range. 

The Sines is the dress on the left. At the time that I ordered, the dress on the right wasn't on the website, but it's just been added--the Alanya. I'm a bit bummed because I LOVE the Alanya and would have definitely added it to my order if it had been there at the time, but such is life! Maybe I'll get it later. 

I’ve also been wearing my BiuBiu Etna top, first seen here, ALL THE TIME as it's currently the only empire waist top I own. I was a little unsure about this top in the winter, feeling like it made my boobs look too big. But since I’ve been wearing it a lot, I’ve been getting TONS of compliments on it. I’ve been wearing it with a tight black skirt and most people seem to read this outfit as a dress.

I was planning to sew some sort of belt into the Etna to stop the belt from sliding up, but I actually own a different belt now which doesn’t slide up at all.

That’s all from me for today but I have a lot more posts in the pipeline and they will be posted a bit more frequently over the next few weeks.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Masquerade "Delphi" Review

You might remember the photos from my last trip toBravissimo, when I tried on the Masquerade Rhea in a 30H and fell in love. The shape was absolutely stellar but unfortunately I couldn’t stomach the high price. So I scoured the internet for a 30H Rhea at a lower price. I guess I was asking for a miracle because I couldn’t find any lower-price Rheas in that size. So I broadened my scope and looked for other Masquerade bras with a similar construction, and I happened upon the Delphi in 30H on on sale for about half price.

I don’t think the Delphi is even close to as cute as the Rhea—I mean, why would you take a satin bra and then cover it with mesh on the cups?—but the shape and support are the same.

 The most interesting feature of this bra is the straps. They are very thick in all directions. I knew they widened at the top, but I had always pictured it being a thin layer of fabric that was sort of gathered at the cups and spread out at the top of the shoulders. Instead, these straps are made of a very thick foam. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it’s impossible to wear this bra with a sleeveless or strappy top, as I do with most of my other bras. But on the other hand, the wide foamy straps are a miracle when it comes to comfort. I wore this bra for 48 hours straight on an assortment of delayed international flights and it didn’t hurt me at all. I don’t know if Masquerade designed the Delphi with air travel in mind, but it certainly works for that.

The cups on the Delphi, like the cups on the Rhea, have a three-section vertical-seam construction.

This construction is awesome for giving a super-lifted, rounded shape. It also gives lots of openness at the top of the cup which is great for full-on-top boobs. It’s the same construction used in the Curvy Kate Showgirl bras, but the Rhea and Delphi have more openness at the bottom of the cups whereas the Showgirl bras are very flat there. That’s the reason a lot of people need to size up in the Showgirl range. I perfectly fit a 30H in the Rhea/Delphi but a 30HH is a tiny bit small on me in the Showgirl bras. So I would say that Masquerade definitely runs a little bigger in the cups than Showgirl. (I wear a 30GG Freya Deco, but that is a completely different cup shape so not as useful in comparison.)

Although the three-section vertical-seam construction leads to a really round shape, it also has one pitfall that I have noticed—it tends to make my boobs really center-heavy in a way that they usually aren’t. This makes sense if you think about where the lift is coming from. In a 3-piece balconette construction, the strap connects to the section that starts in the middle of the cup, so the pull comes across the cups and pulls the boobs both up and out.

But in the vertical-seam construction, the lift comes more from the outer section which pulls straight up, so the boobs are pressed more towards the center.

I suppose this would be great if you are looking for increased cleavage, but I personally find it annoying because it’s not just the cleavage, but the whole boob that ends up in the middle. It makes otherwise modest clothing a lot more showy and so I always have to be aware of what clothes I wear with the Delphi (as I do with the Showgirl bras). It is a minor annoyance in an otherwise great bra and seam construction. There is no such thing as a perfect bra and every bra comes with compromises. With the Delphi, the compromises are relatively minor.