50 Shades of Paisley

Is it possible to be unaware that the biggest womens 'literary' phenomenon of recent times has hit the big screen? Love it or loathe it, 50 Shades of Grey certainly had people talking a couple of years ago, and the conversation has flared up again.

Personally, I wanted to loathe it, being a bit of a book snob. But I still read all three books. In less than a week. I haven't yet gone to see the movie, wanting to boycot it as it objectifies and subjugates women... but at the same time the rather delectable Jamie Dornan is in it... maybe I'll set my scruples aside yet.

Perhaps my inner dilemma was subconsciously directing my attention during a recent foray to my local fabric store, where I spotted this seriously reduced remnant in the back of the bargain corner.

Paisley bra fabric

Isn't it fabulous?!! I adore paisley. I love the sinuous curves, the flowing lines and it's highly decorative effect. Paisley is named after a town in the West of Scotland, near Glasgow and is the town credited with producing the finest woven paisley shawls from 1800 -1850. But paisley goes back much further than this, and it's appeal has proved to be quite literally timeless.

It's said to have originated in Persia during the Sassanid Dynasty from 224 AD to 651 AD. Imports from the East India Company first made it popular in Europe during the 17th century, with printed fabrics bearing the motif being made in France, Holland and England. The French got a bit possessive about their printed ware, and foreign imports were actually banned by Royal Decree. Fast forward a few hundred years, to the Summer of Love in 1968 where paisley was once again seen everywhere. Most recently, the Azerbaijan Olympic team wore paisley pants at the 2010 games, proving that it's appeal still endures.

Beautiful paisley tissue stamp, Isfahan, Iran

This fabric asked to be a bra with strong lines and without too much embellishment - after all, there's already plenty going on. No frills or lace this time, it had to be less is more. I decided that this robust fabric required a robust cup - so out came my black cut and sew foam and the pattern I used for the Spring bra. Some black duoplex provided strength and support under the paisley band.

I dithered a little with how to cover the cups. I liked the idea of covering each component part of the cup separately with the same motif from the fabric, but this fabric was, on closer inspection, really quite directional. Separate sections, I felt, would only draw attention to the directional qualities. However, covering the cup in one piece of fabric would require a dart - and I am always nervous of darts - and could potentially disrupt the pattern. It would also require clever fabric placement to get some sort of balance, if not symmetry. Several cups of tea and some chocolate later, the darts won, and I got down to business.​

More of that glorious paisley fabric

I didn't want to see any more stitching than absolutely necessary on the cups, as I didn't want to obscure the gorgeous grey patterning. Therefore the straps had to be secured to the cup before these were covered. It's a bit fiddly, trying to cover a cup with a strap in the way but it does allow for some seriously robust stitching. These straps won't be going anywhere!

Once I had the cups stitched in to the band, my urge to embellish kicked in. It was a strong urge - I just felt it needed something. A solid, strong black line running horizontally across the cups in 4mm satin ribbon was just the thing, to take all those soft and sinuous curves and straighten them out a bit!

Ugly Duckling shot of Paisley Bra

It looks horrible on the photo - a 2 dimensional mish-mash of two tone fabric. All my bra's have a moment like this, where I wonder if it will ever work out; and it always does. I call this the 'Ugly Duckling stage', that moment just before it metamorphoses into it's more swan-like self.

After adding the elastic, all that remained was the central decoration. A bow just wouldn't do - way too soft. Rosebud - too girly. I finally ended up with some short lengths of chain - oh dear, we're back to 50 Shades of Grey again!!


50 Shades of Paisley Bra

My main concern was getting balance between the cups, but I think it's worked out quite well with the crown shaped flower pointing to the middle on both sides. The lighting on these pictures is a little disappointing, but trust me when I say it's fabulous!

50 Shades of Paisley Bra

P.S. If you're wondering where the panties are to this bra - check back soon, they are going to be featured in another post.

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