When I shared my personal version of the Cloth Habit Watson Bra with a strappy back detail I got a lot of comments wondering about my technique. I decided when I made my second one to make sure to take a lot of detail pics so I could do a tutorial for y’all. Over all the technique is fairly easy, its just a matter of getting yourself set up right.
The Watson is a great pattern to work with for this technique because its a nice basic bra shape, with the option of a longline version. The way the pattern pieces are cut is very conducive to experimentation and alterations. For my first Watson I did the standard version, but for this tutorial I will be demonstrating the same technique using the Longline version.
First, lay out your plan. Use your pattern piece to lay out your plan for your straps. Cut the straps so they fit exactly on the pattern, you don’t want any elastic hanging off the pattern piece. Use scotch tape to hold your straps in place on the paper pattern, making sure not to tape near anywhere where you may be stitching. Take note if your elastic has two different textures on each side, you need to place the side you want to see (your “right side”) facing you.
Next, use your taped pattern piece as if it were fabric. Fold back the paper near the seam allowance, exposing the seam allowance of your elastic pieces, giving yourself room to insert the piece into your machine. Cut an extra piece of elastic the length of the seam you are about to sew, this will act as a facing.
Sandwich the pattern piece with the elastic between your front pattern piece and the extra strip of elastic you cut. Make sure the right sides of your two pattern pieces are facing. Sew with a zig-zag stitch down the inner side of the elastic, away from the edge.
Open up the two pattern pieces, folding the seam allowances to the front piece. Now stitch the facing piece of elastic down with a zig-zag stitch along the loose edge, securing it in place.
For the opening in the front, I adjusted the actual pattern piece to the shape I wanted with the cut-out. I then cut three pieces of elastic: two to act as facings cut the length of the new seam line, and one measured to fit across the opening.
I attached the cross elastic in a similar way to the back pieces, with the cross strap sandwiched between the fabric and the facing elastics, making sure the right sides are facing each other. Then, when attaching the hem elastic, make sure to mark the elastic where your cut out will start and stop.
You can see a little in the picture of the full set I made below that I also added a bit of strappy-ness to the side seams of the bikini briefs. Once you have a handle on this technique you can really manipulate any pattern to feature the strappy look.
And there you have it! I encourage you not to be intimidated to give the strappy thing a go. It can really be applied to almost any pattern. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it! I definitely plan on experimenting more with this in the future. I really love the strappy look thats so popular these days.
Pattern: Watson Bra and briefs by Cloth Habit
Fabric: Stretch black lace bra kit from Merckwaerdigh on etsy.
Notions: Elastic, bra hooks and hoops from same shop above.
Difficulty: Intermediate – it helps to be pretty confident and well versed in the general concepts of garment construction to really master this look cleanly.
Adjustments: Strappy back adjustment with front cut out
Finishes: Elastic facings
Time: approx 2 hoours
Sew it again? Absolutely. This is my second Watson (though this one was a gift for someone else) and I plan to make many more in the future. No more bra shopping for me!