One of the things that I’ve done quite a bit of lately is making my own bras. It’s one of those things I wanted to do ever since I saw an article in Threads magazine on the subject several years ago. This particular post focuses on the two that I’ve had the most success with, and those are 1) Orange Lingerie Marlborough bra and 2) Pin Up Girls Linda and Classic bra.
For the most part, bra sewing is pretty easy. You’ll be using a 1/4″ seam allowance no matter what pattern you use, so it’s important to make sure that you do maintain that amount throughout your sewing. Stitching a little bit off can result in the bra not fitting properly.
Above: Marlborough bras (Orange Lingerie) floral is unlined; pink is padded
Above:Pin-up Girls bras both unlined, Green is the”Classic”; floral is the”Linda”
There are plenty of resources out there on how to measure yourself, so I won’t go into that here. I will say to follow the pattern instructions when it comes to how to measure for the best fit. And just like garment sewing, forget about your RTW size because it could be different. So, just be open to that.
I found that it’s best to have all of your supplies ready (underwires, channeling, bows, hook/eye, etc.) cut and in a bag so they’re easily available before you begin. Getting those supplies is the hardest part since you can’t go into a regular fabric store and buy everything you need, so pre-planning is important. I have bought bra kits and bra foam from different resources. I have also purchased fabric from fabric.com [insert link] that is great for this.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell right-side from wrong-side depending on the fabric being used. So, I use stickers on the right side consistently until I have enough sewn to make it clear what’s right from wrong.
Also, it’s very important to make sure you have a right and left side cut and sewn. I can’t tell you how many times when I first started doing this that I had sewn the cups together, only to discover that I had two right sides! The only way to fix that mistake is to remove all the stitches and do it over again. But don’t get discouraged. Just like anything else, it takes some practice to get your stitching even and to get both left and right sides even. But the great this is, once you find the pattern (or patterns) you like, you can add bra foam (adds better coverage/modesty to the bra depending on the fabric) or use a variety of different fabrics to really have your own customized bra collection.
Most important follow the directions and have some fun! Making your own lingerie doesn’t take much fabric (or too much time) so if you have all of your supplies, you can do this in a few hours.
Here are a few of the places I’ve used to purchase my fabric and supplies: (*I am a fabric.com affiliate)
I have bought channeling, underwires and foam from different sources.
Lastly, really think about the look and feel you want. I like more full coverage so these patterns have worked for me. I also like the support they provide. Bralettes don’t offer much support, but they are cute and quick to make so keep that in mind. I also like the coverage that foam provides so this is good for T-shirt bras. And just like garment sewing, make a muslin first. You could save yourself a lot of heartache!
I hope all this information is helpful. So many sewists say they want to make there own bras/lingerie and never get to it. I was that way for years. Now that I feel much more confident about it, I keep trying new materials in combination with foam, without foam, color combinations, etc.
Have fun and happy sewing!