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Adventures in bra making

Part of my goal to sew more lingerie this year is to make more bras. I want to really immerse myself in the techniques of bra-making and truly master this skill.

Part of the reason is because I love fancy underwear. I don’t know why, but there is just something about wearing really high quality underthings that makes me feel very grown up. However, fancy underthings come with high price tags. Lacy, silky, pretty bras are also often not the most supportive things in the world, which pretty much kills them for a busty gal like me.

I decided to try out this Pin-Up Girls Classic Bra pattern, because I’d read some good reviews. To make things simple, I decided to get the findings kit to go with it, which is a great way to try it out without spending too much or having to figure out the lengthy supplies list.

The pattern is pretty awesome. The fit is comparable to some of my best bras, and the instructions walk you through every step in sufficient detail. I’m excited to make more! This particular fabric doesn’t excite me in the least, but just think of all the variations you could do with fabric and lace.

(If it looks a little baggy on the dressform’s chest, it’s because she’s a cup size smaller than me.)

The only thing I need to work on a little is the elastic tension. It’s difficult to know exactly how much to stretch as you’re sewing to get the desired fit, but now that I’ve made one I have a pretty good idea.

Anyone else into bra making? I’d be especially interested to know if you have other sources for supplies, lace, etc. I only know of Bra Maker’s Supply and Sew Sassy right now.

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On , Leah said: | avintagethread.blogspot.com

I’ve been looking into bra making recently. Specifically pretty, non wired bra’s, which are really hard to find at reasonable prices in the UK. My first very simple bra is on my blog: http://avintagethread.blogspot.com/2012/02/attempt-no1.html

I found this lady: http://www.etsy.com/listing/69107095/custom-bra-pattern-simple
who will make you a custom pattern. I’m very excited to try this, and i was going to try this burda bustier top too : http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/52011-bustier-top

Leah xx

On , LEE LEE said:

What kind of sewing machine did you use to sew the bra? I want to learn how to sew bras so I can get a good fit( am busty also). It will save me money and it will be fun to have some pretty ones .

On , lyn l said:

I have sewn many bras and love to make them! I would recommend a machine that handles thick fabrics well. I know a bra looks like it’s pretty thin but there are places where the seams overlap resulting in a bit of an obstacle for machines without a lot of get up and go! I have a Babylock Decorator’s Choice which is lovely to use but doesn’t handle the multiple seams well. I also have a Bernina 380 which I love to use for bras-it’s perfect. You just need a machine with a zigzag stitch, a straight stitch and a multiple zigzag (sometimes called a 3-step zigzag, a serpentine…my Bernina calls it the running stitch). A lightning stitch (the lingerie or super stretch tiny bolt shaped stitch) is only needed to attach the strap elastic to the band for a few inches. You can use a regular zigzag with smaller width and length to get the same result. Happy sewing!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

You don’t need a serger or anything. I used my Bernina 430.

On , Popbabe7 said: | themagnificientblogofpopbabe7.blogspot.com

I am thinking about making one of the bras included in this pattern: http://diystyle.net/projects/fashion/diystyle-patterns/

I do have a small bust so can get away with this sort of very basic pattern. I am quite intrigued by the pattern you used though- will definitely check it out!

On , Debbie said: | debbie-sewdebbie.blogspot.com

What a coincidence! I was searching on line last night for bra making supplies as I want to give it a try and also came across the Bra Makers Supply. What excitement when I discovered they are actually located about 20 minutes from where I live!

On , Marty said: | mblow.wordpress.com

I’ve recently read other sewing blogs that talk about making bras, so I think I’ll be a copy-cat and take the plunge (hee) myself. If I can make a dress that I want and no one else has, why not underwear?

On , Lavender said: | threadsquare.wordpress.com

I was just researching this a bit yesterday, and found this site on the lovely Amy’s blog, Cloth Habit

http://www.elingeria.de/catalog/index.php

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Oh yes, I’ve seen that one too! Seems especially useful for those on the other side of the atlantic too.

On , Kristy K said:

Did you need anything special, machine wise, to sew this? I’d love to give it a try, but only if I can do it on my machine!

On , lyn l said:

Hey there! Check out my post to LEE LEE above~YES you can sew a bra on the simplest of machines! Only need a straight stitch, a zigzag stitch and a multiple zigzag stitch (2 or 3 step stitch looks dotted on your stitch selector, a serpertine or running stitch on a Bernina). I have even sewn one on a 45 year old mechanical Elna. Most machines can handle it. Totally go for it-it’s so worth it…and fun to boot!

On , Kristy K said:

It’s on the project list! Thank you!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Nope! Just used my regular machine. I don’t think I even needed any specialty feet that I recall.

On , Chelsea said:

Ooooo! Potential!!! I have tried to make my own bras using a purchased bra as a pattern… I won’t be trying it that way again. I was sooo discouraged after the big flop, that I was afraid to spend any money on a pattern for fear that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off…. Yours turned out so nice, I think I might try this pattern…. Yeah, I can do it!!!

On , Jessie said: | jessies-confessions.blogspot.com

I’ve been too scared to try and now I’m getting inspired. I bought this book, Sweet Nothings: Handmade Camis, Undies & Other Unmentionables. By Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader. Not many useable bra patterns (as in I am very well endowed too) but a lot of inspiration and other things and I’m sure some of the techniques are the same.

On , Popbabe7 said: | themagnificientblogofpopbabe7.blogspot.com

I also got this book for Christmas (or was it my birthday)? There are some good ideas in there- can’t wait to have a go.

On , Saskia said: | simoneannemone.blogspot.com

what a beautiful bra you have made​​.

In the Netherlands you have Danglez (www.danglez.nl). She also has patterns for a good bra. Also Merckwaerdigh (www.merckwaerdigh.nl of on Ebay.nl) has beautiful patterns and materials.

On the blog of Sigrid (www.sigridsewingprojects.blogspot) is also much information about creating lingerie

I also take a while lingerie. On my blog you can read more about. I also have some tutorials on it.

Self lingerie making is so fun to do it.

Saskia
(sorry, my English is not very good).

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Wonderful links, thank you! I actually am working on a Merckwaerdigh pattern right now, for a slip with built in underwire support. I will let you all know how it goes when I’m done.

On , michelle said:

You should check out makebra.com. its European. But she definately knows what shes doing and has many beautiful patterns up to size K. Lots of tips too. I am going to try one of her patterns. She also sells supplies.

On , RobinDenning said: | alittlesewing.blogspot.com

So pretty! I have the exact same one, because I bought that pattern and that kit in pink too :)

You might like:
http://www.bracomponents.com/

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Nice, I found that site just last night actually! It looks like they have great stuff, though much of it seems to also be out of stock.

On , Jennifer B said:

I love making bras! I used to spend over $100 on each bra and I can get a much better fit with the same materials by making them.
Link to one I’ve made:
http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/60441

http://www.elingeria.de/ is the place to go for patterns and the best fabrics and elastics. They have a lot of the European patterns in one place – many more pattern pieces in a bra than Americans are used to so they fit better. The Pin-Up one was a good start though! Gorgeous!
http://www.fabricdepotco.com/ is in the USA so shipping is cheaper. Their prices on Simplex, etc. are better than anyone else by far. And they have everything in one place, except good patterns. It’s a little less convenient because you have to call in to order, but the owner is extremely helpful and knowledgeable and I generally get my order quickly.
I’m looking forward to seeing more inspiration for sewing lingerie and interesting material sources!
Good luck!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Thanks Jennifer, those are awesome tips! I also just read your review on PR, also extremely helpful. Also, my favorite bra is also a Prima Donna bra, so I take your recommendation very seriously.

On , melissa said: | fehrtrade.com

I’ve made quite a few bras so far but the fit is SO difficult to get right, made worse because you can’t check the fit until the very end. Happily, my last two have been totally wearable (and pretty), but I’d be sure to let beginners know that it’ll probably take a few bras before you get a really good, wearable, and comfortable one. And this is coming from someone for whom 99% of sewing patterns fit right out of the box without any alterations!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Good point. I found this pattern a good fit right from the envelope, but I’m sure everyone is different, especially when it comes to bras. I wouldn’t say this one is perfect by any means, but I saw it as a jumping off point anyway, so as not to be too disappointed.

On , Lauren said: | lladybird.wordpress.com

Ooh I love the idea of making my own bras, but I’ve always been hesitant because I like some push-up in my bras and I really side-eye the padding that is available. I’m a fairly standard bra size (as in I can easily buy something that fits at V’s Secret or Nordstrom), so I’ve never *needed* to make my own undies but the idea is definitely intriguing! Especially when you buy one and realize you essentially paid $80 for the tiniest piece of satin polyester lol.

Tell us more about this bra! Is the pattern size the same as your RTW bra size? As a larger-busted lady, do you find it supportive enough? Was the construction easy (or interesting!)enough to justify making more? How much fabric did you end up using to make one bra? This is so interesting to me!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

So many questions! Yes, the pattern size was the same as RTW for me, which is 34D, but bordering on DD. Like many women, my boobs are not the same size, so one cup does fit slightly better than the other, but this is true for RTW bras also. I don’t know what the solution to that is, since making the cups in different sizes seems weird.

The support is really good. From what I understand, much of the support in a bra comes from the band, so I would recommend a full band style like this for bustier women. That means that the band extends all the way under the cups.

The construction is not difficult, and I imagine future ones will go much faster. It’s helpful to practice a few techniques, like sewing elastic edgings, but I’m very excited to make more! It made up pretty quickly, I’d say a few hours spaced over a couple days of leisurely sewing.

It takes VERY little fabric. The expense and hassle is all in acquiring the correct supplies, from elastics to underwire to the specialty tricot you need. Originally, I was excited to use up my bits of leftover stretch silk and the like, but the fashion fabric is but one small piece of the puzzle! This is why a kit was really useful for the first one.

On , Nicole said: | biketopus.blogspot.com

I’ve definitely considered making a bra with two different cup sizes — I have more than a full cup size difference between my boobs, so one side of my RTW bras is always too full or too saggy and sewing a D/DD bra seems like the perfect solution! I haven’t tried this with a bra yet, but I have tried a lopsided FBA on close fitting garments and I think it works quite well. To me, my lopsidedness is much less noticeable in a lopsided garment because there aren’t any drag lines or wrinkles drawing attention to the difference between my boobs.

On , lyn l. said:

Hi Sarai,
I took a class with one of Beverly Johnson’s teachers and she put the narrowest darts on the cup that was too big. The dart (or darts) go on both the upper and lower cup, are fullest at the apex and taper out to nothing on the other seams. Does that make sense how I have written it? The Bra Maker’s Manual also gives a whole host of common fitting problems and fixes.

On , lyn l said:

Oops-forgot to say the darts went on the pattern pieces (before you cut-just folded over and taped down) so the fullness stays where it needs to on the fabric and comes off where it’s best.

On , Inga said:

Oh, what a pretty bra! To this day I’ve never made undies, although I’m very interested in and have already bought some patterns and little fabric. Quite accidentally I have that pattern in my stash and now, and that’s all your fault (:) ), now I’m going to try it out.

I have a question, Have you sewn it with or without a wire ? (underwire? sorry…I just don’t know, what’s the correct word, because I’m not a native English speaker).

Thanks for the inspiration!

Greetings
Inga

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I made it with underwire, Inga. I’d like to try a version without, since I love non-underwire bras just for wearing around the house for a little support under my pajamas or whatever.

On , lyn l said:

Great bra, Caitlin! Congratulations! I also use the Pin-Up Girls patterns and get my supplies from Bra Makers Supply (as I live close by!). I have also enjoyed the Linda partial band bra and the Sharon front closure bra. I bought the CD from BMS called Designer Bras Made by YOU and it is a powerpoint slide presentation showing how to change the patterns to give you much more variety-fabulous! Love the Judy bra with power bars! I also bought the manuals 1 and 2. Number 2 gives much more options for personalizing and an entire chapter on using lace for beautiful but still supportive bras. Enjoy your resolution but be warned: lingerie and bra sewing is addictive!!

On , Seraphinalina said: | seraphinalina.blogspot.com

I’ve made many bras, generally very pretty but only one that I really liked the fit for. I think you have to have a passion and perserverance to make bras. Like in store, not all patterns are made for your particular shape. I posted pictures of some of the bras I’ve made a bit ago. http://seraphinalina.blogspot.com/2012/01/these-are-bras-i-know-i-know.html I’ve had good service from sewsassy. K-Line is another good source for bra information in general, she has a real passion for pretty little under things. http://line4line.blogspot.com/

On , Amanda said: | symondezyn.wordpress.com

I find this quite interesting, as I’m also a ‘busty gal’ lol, and I’ve moved to buying my bras from a European company who sizes and fits bras much better than their North American counterparts. The tradeoff is that they’re quite expensive, and while I’m getting support and a nice fit, I rarely find anything extra pretty or fancy in my size. Don’t get me wrong – basic black is nice, but it’d be nice to have something a bit more “WOW” as an option :)

Do you find your bra to be supportive enough? Flattering? How long did it take you?

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I love European bras too. I’d really like to have some in the style of some of my Belgian bras, but in pretty and interesting fabrics.

It’s quite supportive and flattering, at least under clothing. :) I worked on it over a couple days, it probably took me a few hours all together.

On , andrea said:

Toronto has this fantastic ribbon store (http://www.mokuba-ribbonline.com) that offers over 27,000 variations of ribbon, bias tapes, edges and lace. They easily have the most fantastically overwhelming selection (you can browse for hours!) and they carry a lot of ribbons for lingerie trim.

Here is the link for their NY store: http://www.mokubany.com

On , K-Line said: | line4line.blogspot.com

I’ve sewn numerous bras. They look great on a hanger. They do not fit me well. As a person with a small back and large breasts, I find that the materials available are not up to the architectural challenge. Note: I’ve deconstructed RTW bras from Freya and the wires and other pieces are far better than what I’ve been able to find at any lingerie supply store. On the topic of finding larger cup bras for reasonable prices – they’re totally out there. Ordering from Figleaves or online from some of the UK vendors (who actually design large cup bras with sexiness as well as architecture in mind) can be very reasonable in price. Of course, they’re not at US dept. stores, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t increasingly readily available. I’d love to make bras that actually fit me as well as the gorgeous RTW offerings I’ve got, but it hasn’t happened yet. Happily, I have some really great lingerie nonetheless!

On , Jen said: | mommymadebyjen.blogspot.com

I second the plug for figleaves.com for finding pretty, large cup size bras. Herroom.com is great, too, because they really explain how bra fitting works and they have a chart comparing brands by cup size – it’s amazing how differently some of them run. I’ve yet to make my own bras for the exact same reason that you mention -I’m afraid I won’t be able to make one that will support me. And that’s important when you’re a euro-size 36G/american 36I. In addition to Freya, I also recommend Panache and Fantasie.

Do any of the patterns go that big, anyway? In the past I’ve only seen patterns sized to a DD cup.

On , Jennifer B said:

American patterns mostly end at DD. European ones can go really small in the chest and higher than GG. Elingeria is the best source for those.
It’s all about support fabrics for larger sizes. Simplex to line the cups, use bra strapping for around the chest. With a muslin or 2, your bras fit a million times better than bought, last longer and cost $20 or less to make. (And I was a Prima Donna addict. Expensive habit!) And you can make any pretty colors you want. All the frills we can’t buy in odd sizes …

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I agree, there are really nice options out there! And I actually don’t mind at all paying a higher price for a bra that works well and looks good. But there’s still something that excites me about making my own, for some reason.

On , Millie said: | bred2make.blogspot.com

How exciting! I have the other version of this pattern, the one with no band under the cups (the Linda)…I love it. It is so adaptable. I can’t wait to see what else you make!

On , Jaime said:

I have sewn several bras and have a custom fit pattern from Anne St. Clair. She is based in Wichita, KS, but travels all over. Her rates are very reasonable if you are able to get a group of people together to make bras, her workshop is fantastic!! I work at the Bernina Store in Kansas City and we have had her up quarterly for the past year and her workshops fill every time. I know that she does get out to Oregon from time to time. Here is a link to my blogpost after I took her class the first time.
http://patchworkarchitect.blogspot.com/2010/09/bra-class.html

She has great supplies and really nice underwires and elastic and she will ship. The only difficult thing is that she doesn’t have a website to really merchandise these things, so I recommend just calling her store. She is super helpful. http://ndlnookfab.blogspot.com/

Also, threads magazine recently had an article on bra making.

On , suzy said: | floatingworldviews.com

I haven’t sewn any lingerie yet, but Novita’s blog has been making me want to try it. She has lots of links to patterns and suppliers too. http://verypurpleperson.com/2011/12/peach-and-grey-bra-lingerie-set.html

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Oh yes, Novita has made some amazingly lovely things! Really inspiring.

On , Gina said:

So glad to see this post. I have been making bras on my Viking Topaz 30 and it is well up to the task. Sew Sassy is great for materials and findings. I use a pattern that reverse engineered from RTW. Sigrid has several tutorials she has gathered. Each bra you make will be better than the last.

On , Jennifer Vance said: | JennysTreasuresForU.etsy.com

I sewed a crepe de chine silk bra by hand,which was kinda a flop.It was very pretty,but in addition to not getting the fit quite right for me,my boobs grew like a cup size during that time!lol.Still,I’m pretty proud of it.I’ve been wanting to try making a few more,and see if I can get it right this time.I have some soft knit material I was thinking of doubling and using.It’s kinda like the fabric that is in the bras I already wear,but thicker.Right now the only bra I like is from Walmart,actually.A plain cotton stretch unpadded wired bra.Since they are cheap and I don’t buy many at a time,wearing one or two over and over,they get uncomfortable pretty fast.But…I decided I would take the old bras apart,and use the underwires and other things to try making my own bras!The bra I made before didn’t have underwire,so I think this will really help in fit.I didn’t wear underwire before,either,since I couldn’t find a comfortable one.
I tried a padded underwire bra from Maidenform,and try as I might,I can’t stand wearing it for more than a few hours. :( And it doesn’t even have as much padding as other bras! So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I could use for padding without it being too much…I was almost thinking of trying some kind of batting?lol.But my mom has a bra from like…6 years ago that is lined with like batting stuff.Maybe silk batting?just a thought.
I want to try making bras with a ton of different fabrics…silk stretch charmeuse ,hemp and cotton jersey, and silk jersey knit,just to name a few!I also think it would be neat to layer tulle (maybe silk tulle,which you can find enough to use as an overlay on a bra here~ http://www.etsy.com/listing/80155731/silk-tulle-44-wide-x-14-yard-from
It also comes in black) over silk charmeuse.
Though the silk jersey is really the one i think would be amazing..it’s pretty expensive,but probably more than worth it.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’m using silk jersey right now on a bra-slip I’m making from a Merckwaerdigh pattern. I’ll line the cups, but cover them in the jersey, and the rest of the body of the slip is silk jersey as well. I think it will feel amazing.

On , Jennifer Vance said: | JennysTreasuresForU.etsy.com

I think it will,too,that sounds really nice!I hope you do a post about that sometime when you’re done. :D

On , Jennifer Vance said: | JennysTreasuresForU.etsy.com

I just went to Fabric Mart to look for some fabric,and thought someone might like this.
http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/xcart/CUG1040-Black-lace-nylon-lurex-56-Wide.html

On , Latrice said: | sewtell.wordpress.com

I would love to make my own bras. I fit into that small band, large cup category. So I can only get my nice bras at Nordstroms from European bra companies for more than I really want to spend. Yes, you can find some nice deals online but since all bras are not created equal, I don’t feel too comfortable ordering bras online.

It would be nice to see more homemade DDD and up bras on the sewing blogsphere.

On , Rebecca said:

For anyone in the UK, try this site for bra and corsetry accessories: http://www.fabulousfabric.co.uk/

I went on a bra making course there quite a few years back and it was rather good.

On , Dixie said: | dixiediy.com

Wow, I feel like I’m having deja vu because just yesterday I was looking at that Bra Making site and considering buying a kit. It’s great to see a finished version and a good review of the pattern, thanks!

On , Sarah said: | rhinestonesandtelephones.blogspot.com

Oooh, it’s so pretty, Sarai! I think I see polka dot and chevron print bras in your future!

On , Amy said: | clothhabit.com

I made this pattern with the same kit and it’s such an easy way to start! I found it very easy also to adjust one cup to be a smidge bigger or smaller, just slashing a bit at the top of the upper cup that needed to be changed. I also tried to make the same pattern from one of e-lingeria kits here. They have the most beautiful laces! I noted this but the bra fabric in the e-lingeria kits is 4-way stretch nylon jersey, which ended up making the cups much roomier than the tricot from in the Bra-makers Supply kits, and might not be enough support like powernet for bigger sizes. Anyway, I definitely recommend the Linda bra as a starting pattern because I think the instructions are much more detailed than Kwik Sew’s or Merckwerdigh. I agree with the others to approach the first one more like a “wearable muslin” if anything, because it takes a one or two times to get it all just the way you want it.

On , Robyn said:

I used the same Beverly Johnson Pin-Up Girls pattern for my first bra, and I bought her book (she also gives design classes). The book is really useful if you want to change the direction of the stretch for different types of support. She also tells how to design sport bras, minimizers, insert power bands, and other great information. Even though it seems expensive, it’s worth the money – with the pattern, the book, and a kit, I spent less than 2 of my favorite bras. The fabric in the kit is actually enough to make more than one bra. I also like the Kwik-Sew patterns for partial band or underwire. It is hard to tell how it’s going to fit until you’re done, but since it doesn’t take long to make one, it’s not the end of the world.

Christine Jonson sells really nice powernet and she’s having a big sale right now – http://www.cjpatterns.com.

On , Justine said:

Your bra looks fantastic! I have been looking at making my own underwear for awhile now but have had trouble finding the fabrics and and all the findings that go with it. Thanks! These kits look like a great way to start.

On , ChristineG said: | thereallifehome.wordpress.com

Thanks for the terrific post! I’d love to learn this skill, too and Bra-Makers Supply is less than an hour from where I live. I have often thought about taking a class, but I think I’ll probably just try the pattern you suggested and a kit! Thanks for the inspiration.

On , ChristineG said: | thereallifehome.wordpress.com

One question — did you just use the pattern instructions or is it necessary to invest in the manual from Bra Maker’s Supply? I am on a limited budget and am a fairly competent seamstress, but new to lingerie sewing.

On , lyn l. said:

Hi Christine,
If I could make a suggestion, I did find the instructions on the pattern fabulous-well written, logical and well illustrated. I own the manuals as well but only looked at them after making the bra to see about refining my skills, not necessary at all to make your first bra! I recently purchased a CD Beverly sells that retails at $30 CAN (I live closeby, too) and I find it really helpful because I am such a visual learner. It is a powerpoint slide presentation with each step photographed, similar to Sarai’s wonderful tutorials, if that will help you. It’s called Building A Better Bra and goes step by step on the classic full band bra. I also bought Designer Bras By YOU (same idea but shows the partial band bra and how to make variations).

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’ll pretty much echo what Lyn L said. I don’t have the manual, and think the instructions included with the pattern are absolutely top-notch and will get you through just fine.

I haven’t seen the manual yet, but I’m in line for a hold at the library, so I’ll be able to evaluate it in time. :)

On , Selene said:

I’ve sewn a few bras, and they’re actually really easy. Getting the fit right is the hardest part, although getting all the materials together isn’t exactly a walk in the park. I had to buy from multiple sources to get everything I needed. The Bra-Makers Supply kits are great, though, and Beverly’s patterns are fantastic and very well written and illustrated.
You all might be interested in an article in the current issue of Threads magazine on bra making. It only covers the basics, like what kind of materials you need and how to get the right size and the basic process, but for beginners who have no idea how to start, it’s pretty good. The thing is, you can’t assume that your ready to wear bra size is the size you need to make in any of the patterns. Heck, 85 percent of women are wearing the WRONG bra size anyway, so if you make your RTW size and it’s wrong in the first place, your bra will turn out doubly wrong!
But it is fun and a great challenge!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Yeah, it could be a good idea to start by getting a professional bra fitting. I had one recently and it was really easy and not at all intrusive.

On , Heather said:

oh wow it looks a lot like a factory made bra!

I know this is weird but, for clasps I just take them from old bras that Didn’t fit right or you know DIDN’T FIT RIGHT lol…But I also just drafted my own pattern(I have a size that is pretty much impossible to find in the US) and made special moulded lightly padded cups…It’s essentially the same way you make shoulder pads only a lot more stitching and not nearly as much batting lol.

For fabrics I actually just went to http://fabric.com/ They have really good deals on specialty fabric and lot’s of sales.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I’m thinking about doing this too! I have an older bra that has become all stretched out and unsupportive, so I thought I’d take it apart and cannibalize the hardware.

On , Maya said:

Heather, I’m so interested in how you made padded cups! I’ve never made shoulder pads before, either. Is there a tutorial out there you could point me towards? :)

On , knitmo said: | portraitofawannabedomesticgoddess.blogspot.com

I am a difficult size to fit and European companies and the Internet make it easier to find bras that fit better and are generally attractive. I still want to make my own and have them fit right. I’ve been doing some research and once my two-sew pile is a little leaner, I’ll be placing a couple orders — the kit looks particularly interesting.

On , Nicole said:

I’m a beginner who is comfortable sewing things for the house and bags. How tough is it to sew a bra as my first garment? Does anyone have an additional recommendations? I’d like to buy a kit and the pattern for the classic bra, but don’t want to leap in over my head.

On , jenn said:

I’ve only made a couple so far but I am determined to master it. What I am desperately in search of is a resource that explains how to alter bra patterns. I am a 30B – unfortunately this size is as hard to find a sewing pattern for as it is to find in a store! I’ve gotten close with my own alterations so hoping one day I’ll have the perfect pattern.

On , Amanda Lehto said: | tomgirlapparel.com

Hi Jenn! I make bras in size 30B, check it out…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/94006174/bra-with-velcro-back-closure-size-small

On , Clare said: | azigzagpath.blogspot.com

http://www.foundationsrevealed.com/bra-making
I’ve not tried bra making myself yet so don’t know how you’d go about getting components but the site I’ve linked to above does regular articles on the topic which you might find useful.

On , Scruffybadger said: | scruffybadgertime.co.uk

Wow! I’m so impressed that you are trying to make your own bras – with underwires and all that hardware too.

On , Sherri from Florida said:

I really like this idea of making my own bras. I looked at the kits online and now I’m confused about which pattern size to order. I’m normally a size 34DD, and the sizes go from a D to anE cup. Where is the DD cup size? Should I go up to the E cup? If you have any suggestions I would really appreciate it.

On , Shannon said:

I’m so glad you posted this. I’m also a 34DD, and finding bras that are supportive and cute is a total pain. I’ll have to try this pattern at some point.

On , Selene said:

Shannon, the E cup is equivalent to the DD in most patterns. it’s usually only RTW bras that use DD as a size. I have the same cup size and in some brands I take a DD and in others an E.

On , Carolyn said: | brocadegoddess.wordpress.com

Do you know about the blog Miss Celie’s pants? She JUST today posted a new page of lingerie supply links:

http://missceliespants.com/lingerie-swim-sewing-resources/

She’s been battling bras the last couple of years and has bravely persevered until she got it right for herself!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Wonderful! I must round up all these great links you guys are posting.

On , marsi said: | mklittle.blogspot.com

Nice job! I’ve never tried sewing lingerie before. Although I did make a bustier several years ago in which I used boning. But maybe I’ll give this pattern you’ve suggested….after I finish all of my unfinished projects. ;)

On , Malin said: | mulligam.blogspot.com

Lovely! I have that bra pattern but it’s not my favourite. I sew a lot of lingerie. I’ve done that for 10 years now. I would never buy a bra again, because the fit will never be the same. A friend of mine, Lisa, she makes lingerie patterns but they are in swedish. I love her patterns.
http://www.lgsomnad.com
Mostly I buy my supplies from her but sometimes I buy from ElingeriA.
http://www.elingeria.de/catalog/index.php/osCsid/efdc3f68c3aebacd0d3983f06484ffe6
It’s great fun to sew your own lingerie.

On , Ida said:

http://spitzenparadies.de/ hasn’t been mentioned as far as I see. They have really nice patterns, kits and lace!

On , Ida said:

… and there is another store in Germany: http://www.sewy.de/

On , amy k. said: | angrychicken.typepad.com

wow!! I can’t believe how much info is in these comments. making a cup of tea now and taking notes–thank you.

and the bra is so lovely.

On , Sherri from Florida said:

Shannon, thank you for the information on the DD to E cup. I really appreciate it and this helps me buy the right size.

On , Maddie Flanigan said: | madalynne.com

Sarai,

I wrote on your previous post about bras but wanted to comment on a job well done for sewing your first bra! It was so great to read about someone who has the same interest in bras as I also wrote a post about the construction on bras on my blog. I only hope that my first stab at sewing a bra is as successful as yours!

here is the URL to the post I did on the construction of bras
http://www.madalynne.com/?p=8050214

On , Veronica Darling said: | veronicadarling.blogspot.com

OMG. Like totally OMFG!

This is a HUGE inspiration Sarai! I’ve always thought about making bras (because the good ones are so costly) and I cannot WAIT to try this pattern. I also hope you’ll create some patterns yourself!

Leah Push Bra

[...] Adventures in bra making | Coletterie Leah xx. Reply. On Feb 9th , LEE LEE said: What kind of sewing machine did you use to sew the bra? I want to learn how to sew bras so I can get a good fit( am busty also). It will save me money and it will be fun to have some pretty ones . Reply. On Feb 9th , lyn l said: . Ooh I love the idea of making my own bras, but I've always been hesitant because I like some push-up in my bras and I really side-eye the padding that is available. I'm a fairly standard bra size (as in . [...]

On , Jennifer said:

Lots of comments so if this has already been mentioned please forgive me repeating it, but… A woman named Anne St. Clair (aka, The Bra Lady) is a noted expert on bra construction and travels all over the U.S. giving workshops. She is from Wichita, KS where she runs a fabric store that specializes in lingerie and stretch fabrics and notions, The Needle Nook (http://ndlnookfab.blogspot.com/)

If you live in the western Kansas region a local shop in Hays, KS, Sew Easy Stitch Lounge, (http://seweasystitchlounge.com/) will be featuring St. Clair the weekend of March 9 and 10th in a bra-making workshop.

Anyway, it’s a very interesting subject. It only stands to reason that something as “intimate” as a bra is going to do its job much better if custom made than if purchased.
Cheers!
Jennifer in Kansas

On , sewing spots said: | thesewingspot.blogspot.com

I’ll reiterate that Anne St. Clair of Needle Nook Fabrics not only has supplies, but teaches classes and has a book about bra making. I learned how to make bras 2 years ago from her, and I have to say that they feel wonderful. She was able to see how the samples fit and then make adjustments on her pattern so that my bra pattern fits *me*. It is totally worth taking a class from her (or someone else) who is an expert on fitting. Of course, the instructional knowledge is a huge help, too! Her website has a listing of her upcoming classes. Sadly, I don’t think she will be instructing during the annual ASG conference which is in Houston this year although she will be there as a vendor.

On , april said:

a great dyi tutorial i found to make a bra.

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=355718.0

On , Sara said:

Would love to be able to make my own bras. I fall into the small band size/large cup size category so buying is ridiculously expensive, but I have yet to find a pattern that has a small enough band size (28″). Does anybody know of any out there?

On , Amanda Lehto said: | tomgirlapparel.com

Hi Sara! I can make a bra for you with a size 28 band and cup size A-E.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/95925635/bra-with-velcro-comfort-closure-size

On , Annele said: | makebra.com

You made a beautiful bra Saraine!

I have been working with lingerie patterns and bra making more than ten years now and launched my own web store related to the subject half a year ago http://www.makebra.com/.
My sewing method differs a bit from those most common ones because I use a foam lining as a second layer beneath the cup. It gives great support and a beautiful shape for the cup. The foam lining also equalizes the shape and size of your breasts.
There are three different style of bras in my shop at the moment: a balconette style, a push-up style and a full cup. I have promised to publish a new plus size bra pattern in the winter -12 and now I’m beginning to hurry to keep my promise…

On , Annele said: | makebra.com

Sorry…spelling mistake…I meant Sarain

CREATE | Pearltrees

[...] Adventures in bra making | Coletterie [...]

Bras: Construction

[...] here to see Sarai’s of Colette Patterns adventures in bra [...]

On , nikki jones said:

i was wondering how to email you guys . i had a question about something. thanks.

On , Myrah said:

Hi, Sarai! I’m trying to make myself a bra but I’m 40 double J cup! I can’t find patterns for my size I’ve been ordering my bra’s from the UK online for past 5 yrs. & I would really like to make my own flattering, colorful bra’s. I was looking at vintage patterns for a long line. Help I need a JJ pattern.

On , Delia Ryan said: | twitter.com

I am also a 40 JJ have you had any luck finding patterns/supplies for your bra making? I can’t even find underwire but I think I might be able to copy a bra that I already own for a pattern x

On , Kara said:

I find great supplies on Etsy. Try fabricdepo on etsy. The have loads of lace & lingerie eastic as well as other pretties. :)

On , paulina said:

Witam serdecznie pisze w swoim ojczystym jezyku. strasznie zazdroszcze posiadania ksiazki beverly johnson mam problem nie mozna jej kupic na ebay czy daloby rae ja zeskanowac za nie wielka platnoscia przy pomocy paypal pozdrawiam

On , Rose Ponizil said:

Hey there, just came across your post while looking for bra making classes. Have you ever taken any workshops in bra making? I am a swimwear designer and draft all my own patterns but have quite a bit of difficulty finding training/classes in this area. However, bra makers supply does offer classes that look quite intriguing. I am always on the search for any kind of intensive design/pattern making/bra making course. Cool blog! I always love finding other young sewing enthusiasts :)

On , Jean Hadley said:

I have been making bras for 15 years and now want to get out of the business. I have a lot of fabrics,patterns and findings, as well as books that I have collected over the years. I would like to sell them. If you are interested please contact me at the above e-mail adddress for a complete list and a price.

On , Marianne Fröding said: | froding.blogspot.com

http://Www.makebra.com
The best bra ever. It is true loce to sew her pattern and they fit as a glove.
Im an 95G.

On , Nina said:

Does anyone have experience in making this type of bra for a mastectomy? I have made the prosthesis, actually 3 different sizes for different bras. I would like to make one that fits and is comfortable and I don’t have to change the makeshift boob for different styles of bras. I am a bustier person on the one that I still have. I have sewn in a backing to make a pocket for the prosthesis, it works, but sometimes can get uncomfortable with the ready made bras. (the more expensive ones anyway). Thanks for any help. Nina

On , Nanette Littlestone said:

Do you make bras for other people? I’m very small-busted and am looking for a very simple padded bra to wear under t-shirts. Or do know of anyone else who makes custom bras?

Many thanks,
Nanette

On , Milly said:

Is this bra comfortable? I’m concerned about the seaming across the cup. Does it itch?

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