Creative articles about sewing

Make Your Own Bra Part II

Welcome back. This week we will actually assemble our bra for which I guess you have already gathered your supplies by now. If you want to read part one again just click here.

Assembling your Bra

Bra pieces Lay out all the pieces you need. This way you don’t get confused along the way…
Walking foot You start by assembling your cup. I used a walking foot which keeps the fabric from slipping too much. But it will work without one as well, don’t worry.
Topstitching the cups … then topstitch the cups on each side of the seamline catching the seamallowance underneath.
Strap attachment 1 Attach the straps to the cups and topstitch both seam allowances to the cups.
Side band Sew the back band to the bridge…
Side Band 2 … and topstitch the seamallowances to the front piece.
Bra without elastics Sew in your cups… it looks difficult, but it’s actually very easy. Trust me.
Underwire casing 1 Sew in your underwire casing. Only attach it to the seam allowance of the cup.
Underwire Casings 2 This is what it looks like. The casings should be longer than the seams. So: Do as I say and not as I do…
Underwire casing 3 Topstitch the underwire casing from the right side of the bra.
Bra band1 Now it’s time to sew on the bra band with a regular zigzag. You will need to take two turns at it. The first one will be from the outside with the plush side to top and the picot facing the cups. Then you fold the elastic over (like in this picture) and do a second row close to the edge with a three-step-zigzag.
Bra band 2 your bra should look something like this now…
Bra band 4 You repeat these steps for the underarm and neckline section. On the neckline section you could also use some trim that you like but it should be stretchy for comfort.
Bra almost finished We’re almost done now. See how quick that was? Add some bar tacks to the bra casings in the center front.
Back band 2 Before you sew on your strap elastic make sure your band fits into your hook and eyes. If not – don’t panic you can just trim it off in a slight curve.
Strap Attachment 1 Now it’s time to sew on the straps. For this you could use a straight stitch but I definitely recommend using the ‘lightning stitch’ on your machine if you have one.
Strap Attachment 2 … the other side will be sewn on to the cup strap with a regular straight stitch.
Hook and Eyes Attach the hook and eyes being careful not to sew over the metallic pieces. For this you would use a zigzag and if you have it use the satin stitch of your machine. It will make your bra look like RTW.
Bar tacks Topstitch your second row of the bra casings. insert the underwires and do some bar tacks at the ends…

Aaaaand your done! Trim the ends off and add some embellishments to your taste.

And my personal recommendation: Do a small debriefing and take notes. What went wrong? What went well? Which stitches did you use? What do you want to practice, etc.? You can read more about this topic on my blog.

Adjusting the fit

For the fit of this pattern (The Classic Bra by Pinup Girls, Beverly Johnson) I needed to make the following adjustments:

  • shorten the band by one inch (2.5cm)
  • choose a different underwire that is shorter at the ends (at side of armpits)
  • take width out of the bridge, 1/4 inch in total, so I shave of 1/8 inch (3mm) of the pattern piece. It will make a huge difference
  • reducing the curve of the lower cup about 1/8 inch (3mm) for personal preference. Take out a small wedge on the upper cup pattern piece (about 1/4 inch, 6mm)
Alterations From top to bottom: back band (reduced length), lower cup (shaved of some of the top to make it look less perky), upper cup (shaved of a little from the bottom and took out a wedge at the top)

It sounds like a lot, but to be honest with the first band adjustment the fit is already better than what I get in RTW. What you need to bear in mind if you want to make adjustments, is that you should go about them by starting with the band, then the straps (e.g. if they fall off your shoulders) and then the cups. Most adjustments can be solved without even touching the cups. Mine are made purely for preference and I think because my cups (lycra) do not have lining they are still too stretchy for this design.

If I had chosen a more stable material I think I would have gotten away without having to do any adjustments. For this test bra however, I just shortened the band by folding it over and now it’s perfectly wearable. The next one will be spot on though…

Bra band fitting This is the first fitting. Now imagine you were to pull on the back band slightly you can already get a good idea about how the soft wrinkles will disappear…

Again you guys this is just an intro to get more sewing people to sew their own bras. Let me know if you’d like any more infos on certain aspects. I am thinking about doing something similar as the very talented Emerald Erin did: Sew a bra every week for a certain amount of time. Because I feel the urge to practice and perfect this.

After all, it’s the garment closest to us women and we wear it every day… Why not put a little more effort into it?

Finished Bra

… just a muslin but still pretty!

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: walking foot
Used Products:
BERNINA 350 PE
BERNINA 350 PE

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