Bra making 101-making the pattern

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!

DSC_0258You 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. 🙂


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by j. shafer on June 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    thank you for sharing your bra making experience. i too have spoken to beverly at bramakers suply, she is awesome. i have just placed my first bramaking order, with bra makers supply, and i too am excited about making my first bra. more so i can’t wait to see if i can actually do it. by the way i was just woundering, are you in canada, or usa?

  2. Posted by Punkn on June 12, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog, hopefully my bra making adventure will go well and inspire others to give it a try too! at the very least it should be good for a laugh.
    I’m in Kitchener, ON Canada

  3. Hi, Good luck with your bra making you seem to be on the right track. Please visit my website. On the right i have started a section on bra making, lots of general information on and most importantly info on bra wires, whihc you may find interesting!

  4. Posted by Beth on November 10, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Funny I ran into your blog. My clientel over the last 30 years have been of late having issues with Bra’s and the way that they are made these days. My out of the box idea was to begin measuring clients and specialy designning bras to fit their bodies. However, I am at a loss of where to begin. I do have the Bra Maker’s catalog. My ladies some need to be in triple ‘F’s and they are wearing D or DD.

    Any suggestions?

  5. Posted by Punkn on November 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    if you are near or can get to Hamilton, Beverly at Bra Makers teaches a one week course to make plus size bras and I’m sure it would help immensly. If that’s not an option for whatever reason, my personal suggestion would be to measure your ladies, determine their actual bra size and then order a pattern from Bra Makers. You can then adjust them for perfect fit as patterns rarely fit perfectly as is. My other suggestion is to send an email to Beverly, she is a wealth of information and can definitely direct you in how to get started. Her contact is on the website. Goodluck! I’m sure these women will appreciate a proper fitting bra. 😀

  6. Posted by dorai on April 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    very goood

  7. Posted by Naser on December 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I want to learn the pattern making techniques and also sewing. Please send me instructions.

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