I made a bra! I had always thought this was something that was a waste of time, would be too fiddly and too difficult to fit. However recently, for some weird reason, the idea popped into my head and I just couldn’t get it out until I had given it a go for myself.
To give me a fighting chance of it fitting correctly, I used one of my well fitting bras as a pattern. Using the tips from Susan’s Measure Twice/Cut Once blog I carefully unpicked half of my bra leaving the other half so I could see how it went back together again. (the bra was old and manky but still fitted well).
The pieces are quite small to work with and the seam allowances are teeny tiny, mostly about 6mm, but the construction was generally quite straightforward. With the other half of the bra left intact, it was relatively easy to work out the order of construction and all up the process took about 4 hours. Not bad I thought, especially for the first one. Even better, the fit is perfect!
The insides of the bra are not finished but as they are all of stretch fabric there are no fraying issues. I topstitched all the seams also for a professional finish. My original bra had some kind of stabilizing tape on the seams that covered the seams, but I couldn’t find this in the store.
I bought all my supplies locally at Make It Fabrics who have mostly everything I could want, although sometimes finding just the right colour is tricky which is why my elastic on the back is a slightly different colour. It was all I could find and at the time I didn’t know what I could or couldn’t change.
Most of the construction was done in straight stitch, except for the elastic which was sewed in a triple zigzag stitch.
What I learned for next time:
- ensure the bridge (middle bit) does not stretch at all, this affects whether you have cleavage or not!
- make sure the power mesh is cut the correct way around, it seems to stretch one much more than the other
- the stretch of the shoulder straps is important. My original elastic hardly stretched and so the sliders kept moving
- bras are super fun to make and rewarding, I can now use all the colours and laces!!
- now that I have one I will experiment with different fabrics. The cups of my original bra don’t stretch much so is there any reason I can’t use cotton?
- apparently I have no shame, putting my underwears on the internet for all to see!!
Generally I find bra shopping to be really difficult in “normal” stores at least. My cup size is too big for the straight sizing range, but my back and shoulders are too narrow for the plus sized ranges.
I will definitely be making more, in fact I have already cut out my next one! Not only are they fun to make, the price savings alone make it worthwhile.