For now, this is my last post in the Underwires series.
If you have any questions at all, or if there's anything I didn't cover, please let me know and I'll see if I can clarify or find the answer for you!
How can I tell which end is the centre front? Is it the coloured end?
I’ve seen this comment a lot online. Home sewists checking which end is the centre front. Don’t necessarily rely on the coloured tip. Looking through my stash, the majority have it at the centre front, but the odd grouping did have it on the underarm. To check, line your wire up on an X-Y axis. Find the deepest part of the wire and place on X, and one end against Y. The lower end will be your centre front. I’m still yet to see a style of wire with a lower underarm than centre front.
Gauges?! What the heck is that?
Wires, and the metals used in them, come in different strengths, and widths, which make up their gauge. A light gauge wire is suitable for smaller cups. It’ll be more flexible and adapt to a variety of breast shapes easier. When it’s used in larger cups, some women may find that the wire feels like it’s warping or twisting. In my experience, cheaper bras use a more flexible wire in larger sizes and we hypothesise that it’s due to the brand wanting to accommodate more people with a limited size range. A heavy gauge wire will be much firmer, harder to spring open, and will keep its shape better and not twist or warp as much when sprung open. This makes it ideal for large and heavy busts.
Do I want flat wires, nylon-coated oval wires, wires with a groove in them, plastic wires…so many options?!
This is going to come down to personal preference and what is available to you if you’re buying small quantities. I’ve personally been a fan of the nylon-covered Galbline wire (has a groove in it) that I discovered in luxury brand PrimaDonna years ago. They’re firm, yet flexible, and have been good to me for a long time. I’ve seen the plastic tips on the flat steel wires chip off after time and poke through. I don’t know enough to help you select which is best, so it’ll come down to personal preference. If there’s anyone out there that has a better explanation - please do enlighten us!
Alright folks. I think I’ve dumped everything I know about wires out of my brain into these four posts. If you have any questions about underwires, give me a shout and I’ll see what I can dig up for us!
If you're as obsessed as I am about all things lingerie & technical - do check out these other great posts all about underwires from Lyzzy Beswick (who studied Contour Fashion at DMU and graduated the year before I started) who also shows a good breast root trace, and from Erin (who also trained with Beverly Johnson). It's a small lingerie-making world out there folks!
I chose the DiaryDoll knicker because it seemed to be the only European/UK based brand. For quick shipping and no chances of duties or customs charges being applied to my order, I selected their knicker, panty, brief, bottom...whatever you wish to call it. Now, from looking at their website, they only have one style, in four sizes, and in four colours, black being my obvious choice. It’s a relatively limited size range, with me requiring the largest - the UK 18/20, which they call Size 4, which seems appropriate for fit, my most recent purchases of jeans were a UK18 from Next and a size 16 in Canada from Marks Work Warehouse.
I wasn’t able to get the knickers direct from DiaryDoll as they were out of stock in my size in black. Searching online, I also found them on Debenhams (which aren't on there anymore!), but wasn’t able to complete the purchase online using PayPal or my Canadian credit card. I then discovered them at Boots! Since I live in Germany, and I didn’t want to ship them here and pay any extra postage, I had them shipped to my UK address and my partner brought them to me on his most recent visit. They were quickly delivered and I was excited to see them to give them a try!
They came in a cute little blue box and were folded nicely inside. I opened it up, took them out…AND LAUGHED HYSTERICALLY. And then I just got angry, and concerned.
The knickers are not quite what I anticipated. As a lingerie designer, specialising in grading, I know a thing or two about how knickers should look. The gusset on these was incredibly wide! Nearly double the width of knickers that I usually wear on any given day. I was so shocked I messaged some blog-lady friends on Facebook who are cross-posting some leak-proof panty reviews, and they confirmed that theirs were not nearly as wide.
The comparison! My size 4 (18-20) DiaryDoll knicker has a gusset width just shy of 11cm. My Bravissimo knickers in a size XL (UK16) are about half that at 5.5cm, which admittedly are a bit narrow, but I've honestly no complaints about these knickers (besides the fact they are a bit high at the waist in the back for me.)
I reached out to DiaryDoll on Facebook, and they assured me that the width of the gusset was intentional to be able to fit a nighttime-style pad and still help prevent leaks. Oh-kaaay…
First Wear: The knickers fit well around the waist and hip and leg openings. I put these knickers through their paces first wear with a road trip. After walking about 7.5km and sitting on a combination of busses and trains for 5+ hours here are some of my fit, feel and function thoughts.
Based on the price, these knickers are about 3x the cost of my normal, everyday cotton knickers that I buy in a 3-pack. Since they’re “special” I really don’t think the cost is that much of an issue. The knickers are made in China, which is a tad disappointing, as I kinda wish I would have spent 2x as much as I did, and rather have got the Dear Kates, which come in way more styles and colours, have lace details, were one of the first doing this (if not the first) AND they are made in New York City, so more likely to be ethically made.
Second & Third Wear: Ok, I’ll admit. I like the idea of these, so I’ve been hand washing them at night and laying them on the radiator to dry. I’ve only got one pair…and they’re for a certain few days in my calendar each month. The bunching is less noticeable, but I know I don’t need these knickers so wide in the gusset. I won’t pick up a second pair, as I’d prefer to give another brand a shot.
Overall opinion: They’ll do, but I will seek out other leak-proof panties for alternative and interesting designs, as these aren’t any more interesting than the black cotton Jockey bikinis I wear most days. As a lingerie designer, the incredibly wide gusset on these knickers still bothers me. I wonder how wide it is in the smaller sizes? Has anyone tried them, or other leak proof knickers?
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice