Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bra Flaws: Trim on Moulded Cups

This is a 2 part post. The first involves Freya Deco Taylor Plunge in Jet. The second involves Freya Deco Spotlight Plunge in Claret. I appologize but this may be lengthy.

PART 1
The Taylor:
I had actually emailed Freya about this on 11/28/13 and they responded 12/03/13 with, "Thank you for your e-mail. I have passed this onto our Design Team and we will be in touch shortly." Over 6 months have passed and I'm still waiting for that reply. As many people know who own this bra, it's not really seamless. A seamless bra offers just that - No Seams. I realize this was a special attribute of the bra, but it could have been delivered better.

So what's the problem? This:

Before (left) and after (right), taken on the same day from this past November. Look at the difference in size removing the trim has done! The cup now has ease both above the apex and along the edge. I wish I had a shot of what this looked like under clothing. You can see the ridges in the trim on the left, it was much more exaggerated with a shirt on.


Freya has decided based on the feedback from many of its customers that there needs to be some kind of a trim to keep the edge of Deco from tilting out. For these customers Deco runs too large. But this is not the bra's fault. It has to do with the shape of the woman wearing it. If you fit great in Freya's seamed, unlined bras, then do not even bother with Deco. Deco is, or was, targeted to a specific audience of women with rounded boobs. Full On Top. The trim that they started adding to Deco (which actually started with the Carly from SS2011) has proven to be not only quite visible through clothing, but also problematic when it comes to having the bra fit with a smooth line. Add to this that the shape and size of foam used in ALL of these trimmed bras is shorter than the original Deco, AND it's pointy? Who makes a foam cup with a point moulded in?? Ok...it's a subtly rounded point, BUT IT'S STILL A POINT!

There are 2 different types of trim. One is detailed with ribbons and lace, the other is a tape that's folded over the edge and then stitched through. Both are very bulky. The ribbon/lace version is stitched to the cup too far below the edge which results in a curl (see previous post, this would be along the lines of reason 1b.) and also much less ease in the top portion of the cup. The tape version is just too thick, and with all of the zig-zag stitching on top of it...it's very hard, there is no ease at all...and I just cannot understand why a design team thinks it's a good idea to remove ease from a fabric that allows for it in order to fit correctly. Why don't you just put a full lining, zippers and darts in a dress made of jersey knit fabric?

Fixing It:
The fix for Taylor involves nothing more than a seam ripper and a pair of scissors. But you suffer the loss of the trim on the cups. Actually...I like it better without the trim! It will take a couple of wears to remove the indentations left from the stitching, but you will be left with a true t-shirt bra and you'll be able to wear it with anything and not worry about a gross VBL.
  1. Starting on the inside of the cup, remove all the stitches holding the trim in place, getting as close to the end as you can. There are 2 rows for this particular bra holding the velvet ribbon down.
  2. After the thread is removed, carefully cut as close to the edges as possible. This is just a lot easier and less invasive than taking apart the center gore and bonded side elastic. And you're done!

Something else that really bugged me when I was removing the trim wasn't the fact that it was on there in the first place and compressing the cup. These next issues had to do with quality.

I don't know why they did this or how it passed. This photo and the one below show the cups folded in half. The right cup (what would be the right when wearing the bra) was 3/8" shorter than the left. Just to make sure it wasn't because the bra was folded in half from one way, I did it to the other side folding it opposite. The right cup was still 3/8" shorter!

Look, you can't even see the right cup beyond the left one that's on top!
 

Here you can see just how much compression resulted from having the trim stitched so tightly on.

And because it was stitched so tight, these are just the indentations from the thread. I had already removed the trim. Additionally, there were sections along the stitching line that had several pieces of thread in them. Almost as if the machine had run out of thread and they rethreaded it with 2" of thread, only to run out again. This caused the majority of negative ease because you had sections with 3 lines of stitching in one little area, and as you can see this was more of a problem in the right cup, the thread channels are deeper. You don't do that! You just don't!
 
 
After removing the trim, I tested the cups again to see if they were different sizes. Guess what? They weren't!! So why were they before? Well! Someone thought it would be hilarious if they used trims that were different sizes! I cut each trim off evenly from both cups but the one that was from the right cup measured 7-3/4" while the trim from the left cup measured 8-1/2". Almost an entire inch was missing from the trim attached to the right cup. This caused the cup to also curl out more because the trim was gathering the foam and giving it a fluted edge.
 
What this will look like after:
Taken on the same day. You can see how much negative ease was in place from the trim being on. In the top it's holding me down and (not noticeable but I remember clearly) pushing me out to the sides and causing the wires to sit on tissue, whereas the second shot shows me more front and center.

A complete after! And a smooth line! THIS is how I want my Deco's to fit. In the second shot here you'll notice the gore/band is a little higher up. I had to add a dart to the gore because the cups on all their trimmed bras and those in the Honey range use a shorter foam cup with less depth. Adding this gore provided more depth because it tiltled the bottom to come up higher. Without this dart I was getting indents next to the gore because my boobs were pressing down on the apex, there wasn't enough room so the result is quad-boob (ever so slightly noticeable in the first shot on my left breast).
 
I mentioned to Freya that perhaps they could come up with another line within the Deco Range. A cup that fits those who are full on top or just full all around, with center pull straps and higher sides, a narrower gore that's also a little taller, more room in the bottom of the cup with a foam that is moulded to a more naturally round shape. There are plenty of us out there who fit this bill. Then keep the Decos that have trim and the other one that's so heavily padded you could use it as a memory foam pillow (or a floatation device?) for those who are bottom heavy or smaller busted. As of now, in my book, Freya only caters to 1 shape. And I'm not it.
 
 
 
PART 2
The Spotlight: I thought this bra was cute. Until I got it in the mail. While the underwear feels a lot softer and a lot more flimsy (so glad I got them on sale, they're not worth a $29 price tag), the bra feels like you could use it as kevlar armor.
 
The problem with this bra is the trim, the shape and the fact that it was over starched.
 
First the trim:
Just stop it already! It's itchy, it's rigid, it's visible.
 
The shape:
Who has boobs shaped like this?


A foam moulded cup should maintain a natural round shape. Not one that is flat on the sides and bottoms with a severe inward taper at the top of the cup. And I certainly do not want my boobs to be moulded into this kind of shape, it's just hideous.
 
The starch:
No! You don't need to starch a moulded bra. I've worn and washed mine several times already and I cannot get this crap out!! I would soak it in fabric softener or even conditioner, but the straps on this bra are so ridiculously flimsy and will stretch out easily that I'm not even going to both tampering with this cardboard effect for the sake of keeping some amount of elastic in this.
 
My fix:
An iron. I used a middle heat setting; mine goes from 0-6, with 4-6 being steam, I had it on 4. And a moderately thick towel. Start with the inside to relax the cup. Hold the iron on for about 8 seconds giving each second a quick burst of steam.



This is how you'll be pressing them flat, and with a towel over the cup. The first one is done from the inside and you just want to go over as much of the cup as you can. The second one is done on the outside and you'll be pressing all along the edge to flatten it and relax it a bit. Quickly reshape the foam after each press, stretching it in the way you want it. If you don't do it right away you can end up with some wrinkles/indents in the foam. These will go away with wash and wear. (You'll see some indents in some of my shots.)
 
 
And now for some before and afters:
Before: Really, strangely tall and pointy.

 After: Relaxed. I'll mould it myself, thank you very much.
 
 

Before: Ski slope is all the rage in the UK I guess...

After: Smooth lines are more attractive here in the US.
 
 

Before: Can't...find...any...room! Nowhere...to...go!!

After: Ahhh...
 
 

Before: Why, Hello there. I'm related to the Blockheads from Gumby. Except it's not my head that's blocky, it's my boobs. (Top of my left boob. Sorry the quality is bad. This looked worse in person, trust me!)

After: Hey, look! I have a new bra I can wear and not feel uncomfortably noticeable and awkwardly shaped in!
 
 
I may one of these days remove the black trim along the top of the cup if it still poses a problem, but the act of pressing this with heat and steam flattened the edge so you didn't see it as bad - also, I know I mentioned the trim shows through shirts and you couldn't really see it in this top because of the lighting and the angle, but believe me it was there. After wearing this for the evening, I didn't notice the starch quite as much as previous wears. I still have an issue with the sides of the cup where it meets the straps. They dig in and there really isn't much I can do about that except for move the position of the straps. Unfortunately that will not be an option for me because the cups already fit good. When you do that you have to take out almost an inch from the sides, depending on how far you need them in...some might be able to get away with just half an inch. But when you do that you take out that much more depth from the cup...and I kind of need it. I may perhaps add a piece of cloth or soft fleece felt.
 
 
Other bras from Freya that would benefit from an iron and a seam ripper:
Ashlee
Carly
Charm
Crystal
Deco Cobalt
Deco Delight
Deco Lagoon
Deco Shape
Flamingo
Honey Topaz
And just about all the others they will be making in the future. It seems they're steering clear of the previous Deco shape that fit so many women wonderfully. All of the above mentioned bras have the new Deco shape which is a shorter cup with less depth, and a severe curve just above the apex that tapers in.
 
It's not just these little design elements that get me, it's also the quality. If a bra has a QC sticker, that means it was inspected and thought to be worthy of selling. Yet many flaws get past this process and are deemed acceptable for profit. I have an issue with that...!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bra Flaws: How To Uncurl a Curling Cup

PLEASE READ THE PARAGRAPHS BELOW BEFORE CONTINUING. 

I do not have time to edit this to everyone's liking. First you complain there are no photos, then I'm finally able to upload them around my schedule with the problems mentioned below and now some of you are having an issue with lack of descriptions. Sorry, but I just do not have time to hold your hand along the way.

EDIT: I have WiFi for about 2 minutes at a time on my laptop. The only way I was able to fix the photos below was to spend an hour going back and forth between my phone and laptop and using whichever one I could that had the better connection, meanwhile turning wifi on and off to get it to respond. I've removed the broken photos and also their descriptions. The photos below are not in the correct order. The very last two are the sewing process. The one with the chalk line where I'm holding the cup is where you mark your stitching. Go in with the needle catching only a little of the fabric. You don't want it to go through to the outside (think of it like large tailor tacks). That's all I'm going to add. Easy fix for this...buy better quality bras and don't order through the mail. Just in the time it took to write this measly paragraph my WiFi has once again timed out so now I have to shut it off and wait just so I can update this stupid post...




One of the reasons I buy Freya is not just for their somewhat extended size range and the availability of a t-shirt bra that fits rounded boobs made of naturalness in a 28. It's also for their somewhat better quality. I'm not going to find the same type of durability or size that fits from a bra bought at Victoria's Secret, Target or Walmart - or any American brand for that matter. Sometimes...even Freya falls short on their own quality. Perhaps their QC team is made up of a bunch of monkeys, or 5 year olds, or disgruntled sweatshop workers...or all of the above? I don't know. But if I'm paying $60+ for a piece of underwear that has a tag loaded with those wretched QC stickers that leave residue to prove they've been inspected then I expect something decent! Because $60 is more than I even spend on groceries in a single week!!

That being said...last year I ordered the last of Freya's "original" shaped Deco bra: Deco Honey Plunge in Jade. (Currently they are making them all with an overstarched trim that only fits women with shallow boobs. The original design does not have this.) Upon receiving it in the mail I noticed one of the cups was badly deformed. Having to avoid shipping it back and waiting a month (Figleaves.com - overseas - they're mad slow!) I kept it and figured maybe it'd work itself out. Not only that but I ordered a larger cup size because my others were getting small and thought maybe if I wore this one enough I could mould it to my shape. Then I lost weight...! Well I gained the weight back so now I can wear it again. I had it on yesterday and Luke noticed the flaw, "If I can notice it then it must be bad!". Yes, thank you!

I searched online for a cure. The most popular result, and pretty much the only one, was to iron it with a cloth to protect the fabric. I actually tried that when I first got this but it only lasts a short while, like, 1 wear, and eventually the cup refolds.

Why does this happen? A couple of reasons:
  1. Shoddy workmanship!
    a) The main fabric has not been cut correctly, usually because it's too short for the foam so it has to stretch over the top of the foam cup and this causes it to pull the moulding out and down. - or
    b) When stitching the main fabric to the moulding, either one of them could have been pulled too much in the process resulting in the fabric being stretched and the thread in the stitches actually keeps this shape.
  2. The bra is old and has stretched out - except this would most likely happen equally to some degree in both cups.
  3. The bra has been washed/dried incorrectly. Never put them in the machine and always line dry them letting them hang from the center gore so neither the straps nor band can get stretched out in the drying process.
So why did it happen to mine? Reason 1a. There is a super quick and easy fix for this that involves chalk, thread, a thin needle, and a pair of scissors. Below are photos, pretty self explanatory but I'll briefly describe them as needed.













      

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

List - Update/Addition

I managed to complete 22 projects last year. That's 2 less than the year previous...but in my defense I had a crap load of work that took up most of my time. Some projects were removed from the list, some were added. Altogether by the end there were 26 for Sewing, 20 for Knitting, and 1 for other, 47 total.

I've completed 12 from Sewing and 10 from Knitting. Almost half! Which is amazing for me! So below is the new list for 2014 with current projects, and again, those to come will be added as needed. Hopefully I can get this down to just a few at a time......Ha!

Completed:
01/2014 - Knitting = 3
02/2014 - Knitting = 2, Sewing = 1
03/2014 - Sewing = 1
04/2014 - 
05/2014 - 
06/2014 - Knitting = 3
07/2014 - Sewing = 2, Other = 1
08/2014 - 
09/2014 - Knitting = 2, Other = 1
10/2014 - Knitting = 1
11/2014 - Sewing = 4, Knitting = 1


Sewing:
Asian print wrap dress - mod to wrap skirt
Green floral print skirt - mod to...haven't decided
Shape FX dress - alter
Tahari dress - alter/mod
Luke's combat vest
Black Asian print skirt
Red Asian print skirt
Domino swimsuit
Red swimsuit
Bridgette thong - mod from basque remnants
Rainbow quilt - topstitch
Bambi's (Oma) embroidered pillow
Blue pleated dress
Gray/Orange Kimono
Linen pencil skirt
Asymmetrical shell
His and Hers matching Star Wars PJ's (2)

Knitting:
Corsica sweater - frog/reknit
70 yard mitts
Green Gable hoodie - frog/reknit
Striped V-neck pullover - frog/reknit
Jaywalker socks
Kitten mittens
Drop Stitch Infinity Scarf
Turquoise hat
Yellow hat
Gray vest - frog to...haven't decided
Diagonal pattern baby blanket for Nevi
U-neck pullover - frog/reknit to Featherweight Cardigan II
Tree Jacket - frog/reknit
Woodland Friends
Wolfie hat
Rocky Coast Cardigan
Bulkyweight Cardigan
Sportweight Cardigan
Anchor Cardigan


Other:
Dress form
Asymmetrical Shell pattern
Anchor Cardigan pattern
Glass buttons