I am about to go into an area of sewing that scares me for some reason. Making simple pieces of lingerie is no biggie, I mean, a couple triangles and elastic…voila! lingerie.
This, however, goes beyond that. This is bra making. That one item of underthings that 99% of women rely so much on that they would spend hundreds of dollars on each year alone.
I had gone fabric shopping in Hamilton, ON with a friend a few weeks back. If you have been following my posts you may remember my mentioning this trip. We stopped at The Bra Makers Supply, a tiny ‘shop’ in an office like setting that was like a candy store of fabrics and bra notions and findings. It was fun and at the time Beverly had me feeling very comfortable, even excited, about this little project I wanted to do.
I think I left things too long and I’m nervous about it again. So tonight I finally decided enough is enough and I have to just do it. So the pattern is done and the fabric is cut, there is no going back!
I had originally intended this for one single post but have since realized that it would be one really, really big post! So I’m going to break it up and hopefully that will keep me motivated to finish.
Here’s how I did the pattern. On the advise of Beverly, I did not take my old bra apart. Instead I clipped the elastic from the top of the wire casing of one side so I could take the wire out. I then printed off the wire chart from The Bra Maker’s Supply website so I could compare the size of the wire and then if this foray into bra making is a positive one, I can easily order new wires and keep making bras!
You can see that the wire from the bra is a 42 long. Obviously this doesn’t correspond to the tagged size of the bra since it was a 36D.
Beverly suggest this next step be done on foam core board but I did it on my ironing board. I used 81/2″x11″ sheets of regular paper to make the pattern. Then I placed the wireless cup on the paper and carefully pinned around the edges of each bra section. This was actually a little trickier than I assumed it would be but I did the best I could. I lost the photo’s of this process but basically what you do is lay out your un-wired bra cup on a piece of paper on the foam core board. Then you place pins around the perimeter of each section of the bra. The bra may need to be stretch slightly to get the appropriate shape. When you remove the pins there will be an outline of the section which you then make into your pattern piece.
I then measured certain areas of each piece to compare to my new pattern pieces. I made just a few corrections so this seemed to be a fairly acurate way to make a pattern. Alternately you can very carefully take apart one cup of your bra, lightly press (without stretching) and just use that for your pattern pieces. Grainline needs to be marked as well. This can be tricky if your bra is not made from a fabric that has an obvious grain line. From what I can tell with my bra, the grain goes in the width-wise direction of both the top and bottom of the cup. From searching online about grain, a couple of places show the grain going width-wise for the bottom cup and lengthwise for the top cup. I can only assume that this depends on your fabric and style of bra so be sure to check yours carefully if you plan to attempt this.
Once that was done I added 1/4″ seam allowance and cut out my pattern pieces. The shapes looked weird to me so I cut out the cup pieces in a scrap of broadcloth I had and pin basted just to make sure that it actually made something that resembled a bra cup. Everything seemed to be fitting just fine so I again double checked all my measurements to be sure the pieces would fit when they were sewn together.
I gave myself the green light and cut out my pieces. I made sure to match my grainlines (which I’m really hoping are correct) and now all I need to do is sew everything together. 🙂