Gold is Better than Plastic

I bought a couple of kits from Merckwaerdigh to make bras and panties. The materials are nice quality, but the one thing I wasn’t in love with was the plastic sliders and rings.

merckwaerdigh lingerie kit for bra and panties

So I replaced them with real metal ones from Bra-Makers Supply!

bra sliders and rings

These are the ‘jewelry quality’ metal rings and sliders. They’re pricey, at $3 a set, but they make a huge difference. They are real gold and silver plated over an aluminum and zinc alloy. Imagine, a bra with gold-plated rings! Talk about luxury.

metal sliders

In the bra-making class, our instructor said to avoid plastic sliders as they break.

I think the gold and silver hardware is gorgeous! It’s shiny and it’s the sort of findings you only see on very high end garments. Usually it’s the coated metal, nylon or clear plastic. It’s worth it to me, and I think I’ll be able to cut them off if the bra strap wears out and re-use them on new bras.

metal sliders

If you wanted to do the same, you have to wait until the lingerie kit arrives, as the straps are different widths and it doesn’t say how wide they are in the kit description. Once you have the straps, measure the width of the strap, and order new parts to match this measurement.

What do you think: does the metal hardware look more professional to you? Does it make a difference? I suppose we’ll know for sure in the final bra – which I’ll be showing later this week!


21 Responses to Gold is Better than Plastic

  1. Kristen June 17, 2014 at 6:30 am #

    How long do you expect a handmade bra to last? I can get maybe 2 years from a purchased bra.

    • Tasia June 17, 2014 at 6:46 am #

      I’d guess about the same, depending how often you wear it! Eventually elastic breaks down no matter how well it’s made. I hand wash to make my bras last longer too, never using the dryer. So I’d imagine handmade bras last just as long as storebought.

  2. Maris Olsen June 17, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Love the metal findings Tasia. It’s all in the details, as far as I am concerned. :-)

  3. Lynn June 17, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    I always look for bras with plastic or at least painted metal. Metal allergies are no fun and having a rash from a bra is the last thing I want, so there is a market out there for plastic/coated metal for a fair number of us.

    • Tasia June 17, 2014 at 8:24 am #

      Good point! I didn’t think of that. The coated metal rings from bra makers are nice and less expensive too. Have you ever had the plastic ones break? Or am I just bring extra cautious? :)

  4. Sue June 17, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    I’ve used the plastic rings and they do break – usually at most inconvenient times :(. I am going to have to track down the gold plated ones – they look amazing.

    • Tasia June 17, 2014 at 8:36 am #

      That sucks! I can imagine how uncomfortable it would be to have a strap break mid day. Good to know though. Metal or coated metal seems more reliable!

  5. MTangel June 17, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    Wow, fancy! Your kit color is so pretty! This is probably a dumb question, but has anyone gone through airport metal detectors with this kind of thing? What about the underwires – are they actually wire, or just plastic? I’m never sure what kind or how much metal makes it go off. I usually go through with my watch still on, and it doesn’t goes off, but another time I forgot to use plastic hair clips and I had to take them out. I’d hate to be the one that has to stand to side getting felt up in front of everybody. :(

    • Tasia June 17, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      These are good questions, not dumb at all! If you think about it most women wear underwired bras, I’d guess, and therefore we go through security all the time with wire. Yes, they’re actually wire. Some are coated so they’re white, some are actual silver-coloured shiny metal. I have never had a problem with my bra, it’s just slightly thicker a file folder in thickness so it likely doesn’t set off the detector.

      Last time I went through security it was around 4 in the morning, so I forgot all kinds of things. :) I left my ring on, my belt on, and I didn’t get felt up thankfully. I think if they can see what’s making the beep, like a ring, then they won’t be too concerned. Of course that probably all depends on the airport, the mood of the official, and a ton of other factors! I did read once that a vintage-wearing blogger had problems wearing a garter belt, because there are metal clips under your skirt in an area that doesn’t usually have metal bits.

      Anyone else had a problem with airport scanners and metal bits on their undergarments?

      • Melanie June 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        I wear Prima Donna bras with all sorts of hardware in them. They almost always set off the airport alarms so I’ve been getting some pretty luxury pat-downs. I just think of it as a free airport massage :)

    • Amanda June 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

      Yes, most underwires are metal…and most won’t set off the detectors. You can buy all plastic underwires as well, Bra-Makers Supply sells them. Some folks are worried about wearing metal around their chest since it can act as an antenna for RF. There is science behind the fear, but I don’t know that there is enough evidence in either direction.

  6. Kathy Sews June 17, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    I’ve only used metal ones until just recently. And I paid for using the plastic ones! After one (gentle!) wash one of the plastic sliders broke. Your instructor is right!! I replaced it with another plastic one just so it will match the rest of the bra’s hardware. There are white metal ones that you can dye if you want to dye your materials. You just toss em in the dye and they absorb the color! They are nylon coated but made of metal. But the gold ones are so fancy looking :)

  7. Michelle June 17, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    The metal rings & sliders look so lovely. You reminded me I do have a set of the silver ones I came across and bought a while ago and haven’t used them… I think I’m going to pull them out for my next project.

    Gorgeous lace as well. Such pretty colors.

  8. Leigh June 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    Those dyeable metal ones sound great! I like the look of the metal. I wonder if there are the colored aluminum ones. They have anodized aluminum wire in a bunch of colors and also jumprings for beading and wire work. Maybe bra supplies too!

  9. Janou June 17, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

    It does look nice! I would be somewhat wary of anything zinc-alloy though. It’s used as a cheaper substitute for pewter sometimes, but the type I’ve seen is much more susceptible to metal fatigue than other metals I’ve used. Maybe you have a better kind though.

    With anodized aluminium, I’d worry a bit about the oxide layer wearing off eventually, but the coated metal sounds good and I wonder if anywhere does plating over steel or something else like that.

    Tierracast does a line of pewter for leather straps, I’ve always wondered how that would hold up in the wash…

  10. Donna June 18, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    Hey Tasha I am beginning to make my own bras as well and I will send you a private email on this issue.

  11. Vicci June 18, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    I think it look very good looks like a expense bra….

  12. Novita June 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    I’ve made the mistake of buying a heap of cheap plastic sliders of ebay because they’re like really, really cheap. Turned out that they’re also kind of disposable because they broke after the first two wear! So now I’m left with lots of cheap plastic sliders that I don’t want to use.
    I’m sure there are stronger plastic sliders but I agree metal ones are the best. They look better too!

  13. Ms McCall June 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Wow, $3 for a set does seem steep! They are fancy looking though. I personally harvest all that I can from my old RTW bras, including the rings and sliders, but I mostly have black and white coated ones. Recently I ran out of white ones, but found them selling for a few cents each in the LA Garment district. No gold ones though, if I’m ever ordering anything from bra makers supply I’ll have to try to remember to throw them in the cart!


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