Hello my (bra-) sewing friends…
After my last post about changing the bridge and frame of a bra, some of you have contacted me with some questions on how to start your bra-making journey. You can find a general overview here. However, some of you might feel a little overwhelmed which is why I have five quick tips for you for bra-beginners.
Generally I recommend your making process with finding the appropriate pattern, studying its instructions and choosing your size according to the designer’s measurements on the pattern. Then you’ll know exactly what items, fabrics and findings you’ll need.
Wire or no wire
Depending on what you’re looking for in a bra or bralette you’ll have to decide if you would like a bra with a wire or no wire. Underwired bras have a bad reputation, because people tend to find them uncomfortable and constricting. I find, however, that this es because a lot of women wear the wrong bra size…
Fullband or partial band
The band is carrying most of the weight in a bra. There are different styles of bands. From full to partial bands. Since partial bands require slightly more precision I recommend that you start with a fullband pattern.
The more seams you have in a cup the bigger is your margin of error. With a lot of pieces you run the risk of confusing pattern pieces and because brafabrics can be flimsy of inprecise seams. So I recommend you start with a two piece cup. Do bear in mind, though, that you’ll have a 2D pattern piece that needs to fit a 3D bust. The bigger your bust the more difficult it’ll be to achieve the perfect fit. If you are on the bigger side this issue will be accentuated, so chose a pattern that has a split bottom cup.
Choice of Fabric
As a general rule in bramaking (some bralettes might be different) the front needs to be stable and the back needs to be stretchy. Also, choose knitted fabrics for bramaking, since they won’t fray. If you’re desired fabric is stretchy you’ll need to stabilize the front with bra lining. This will lead to more pieces and two to three layers of fabric which can be confusing. So for your first bra, go for a stable knit fabric like duoplex or simplex. Try to avoid making your first bra entirely out of lace even if you’re tempted. You can, however, chose to make your uppercup with a lacy overlay… (depending on your pattern).
Findings for your bramaking project
Findings are relatively cheap and fairly simple. But when you’re just starting out the different types of elastics might be confusing. So it makes sense to buy a complete bramaking kit or (my favourite) a bra findings kit. Remember to add some wires to your purchase, though.
I gathered some bra patterns from different designers that are appropriate for first timers.
- The Classic Bra von Pinup Girls Patterns – two piece cup, full band – for bigger sizes as well
- The Boylston Bra von Orange Lingerie – three piece cup, full band
- The Watson Bra von Cloth Habit – Soft bra, two piece cup, full band
- The Black Beauty Bra von Emerald Erin – two piece cup with an external power bar that you can omit, full band
- The BH Isabel von Sewy (in German) – three piece cup, full band
You’ll find starter kits on the internet, especially on etsy. Additionally I I have had very good experiences with these sellers.
Bra kits for first timers
- Sewy (You’ll have to choose the closure first and then add the findings option)
- Emerald Erin
I hope this will help you on your way!