Bra-making Sew Along

During our sew-along, we walked through the process of fitting and sewing a basic underwired bra pattern. We took our time so we could get to know the patterns and learn how to make design and pattern changes for style.

Update: This sew-along ran in January 2013, so the Flickr group is now closed. All the tutorials and sew-along posts will still be here!

All the posts related to the sew-along are listed below. Scroll further down for a few FAQs.

schedule and posts

week one: measuring and testing the pattern

week two: fitting & style changes

week three: sewing our bras

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FAQ

Note: When shopping for underwires, buy more than one size! For insurance. This was the biggest thing we learned in the sew-along. Many found they needed a different wire than the one they’d bought or been wearing. Every wire seller has different styles, lengths, widths. Don’t expect the wire you purchase to be identical to the size and shape you’re used to wearing in your favorite bra, so it’s always good to try a few sizes to be sure. This page has links to underwire charts from various sellers around the web.

Where can I buy lingerie supplies?

This prep post has some information on basic supplies and traditional bra-making fabrics. For a listing of lingerie suppliers, I couldn’t make a better list than Dixie’s Big Fat List of Bra-making Supplies, which she has frequently updated.

Where do I sign up or enroll? Do you have a website where I can join?

The sew-along was be posted as a series of tutorials over a period of three weeks. We’re finished now, but this will always be here for you to follow at your leisure! You’re free to email me or leave comments if you have any questions along the way.

What pattern should I use?

Make sure to read the post on pattern options so you know what kind of bra we were making.

If this is your first bra, I highly recommend one of the styles by Pin-up Girls/Bra-makers Supply or Elan. The instructions are great for first-time bra-makers! Both are among some of the better-drafted bra patterns. The Pin-up Girls patterns in particular have the largest size range. (I have no affiliation with any company.)

A pattern with good structure and drafting makes a great basic “block” which you can learn to alter.

What kind of sewing experience do I need?

Making a bra requires some basic sewing experience, because you will be working with a lot of elastic and tiny, very curved seams. And because it is such a close-fit garment, some experience with fitting helps! But the great thing about making a bra is that it helps with your sewing accuracy and creativity in so many other areas!

Comments

  1. judy January 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Hello, I am looking for week 1 posts? Have I missed them?

    • Amy January 9, 2013 at 12:20 am #

      Hi Judy, nope you haven’t missed anything. Anything I’ve posted is linked above in the schedule… keep checking back on my home page to see if it’s been updated!

  2. debm January 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi! I just learned about the bra-making sew along from the message board on Pattern Review. I’ve been planning to tackle lingerie for over a year, so this is perfect timing (especially since I’m already doing the sewing for a year challenge and it’s time to restock lingerie without the option of shopping!).

    I have a Kwik Sew KP 3300 underwire pattern, plus an Élan pattern (not sure of the model number). I have tricot, stretch lace, lingerie elastic, lingerie straps, power net, even an assortment of underwires in my stash, just waiting for my mojo to engage. Thank you for the help and guidance!

  3. Sharon January 9, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    I’ve learnt about this from a couple of Australian bloggers, Carolyn and Robyn and between them they have made me realise that I need to learn to sew my own bras, so please count me in. I have a Booby Traps patterns B003 (Australian company) and also plan to purchase the KS3300.

    I am really looking forward to this and appreciate all your help and guidance.

  4. Norma January 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I just saw this sewalong on Carolyn’s website. Am I too late to join in?

    • Amy January 9, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      No, feel free to join along!

      • Norma January 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

        Thanks!

  5. Kbenco January 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I’ve come here from Carolyn’s blog too, what a great sew a long. I have several bra patterns but have not made one I’m happy with yet. I need some prompting!

  6. Merche January 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Hello! I´ve come here from Carolyn´s blog too! I´ve been planing to make underwear for some months, I have a kwicksew pattern that I think will do, some of the notions are tricky to find where I live but I can manage…can I join you?

    • Amy January 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

      Hi Merche, sure!

  7. Nessie January 11, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    Hi Amy, I would like to join in, (from Carolyn’s blog also).
    I have just purchased the Elan pattern, so am awaiting its arrival in my mailbox.

  8. Atty February 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Hi Amy I’m interested in making bras but I want to make ones with padded cups in them. Could you give me any tips on how to sew them in properly?

    • Amy February 11, 2013 at 2:12 am #

      Hi Atty, I didn’t cover foam cups in the sew-along but there are a few patterns that use them if you wanted to learn some techniques. I hope to post about some of my own experiments in foam bras soon, so keep checking back!

  9. Brenda February 26, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    I signed up for the bra making sew-along, but did not receive the first few lessons. Could you please email them to me? Thank you!

    • Amy February 26, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      Hi Brenda, the sew-along was posted as a series of entries on my blog. I don’t have a way of emailing them but each entry is listed under the heading “Schedule and Posts” on this page. You can click through the ones you missed.

      Another option is to subscribe to my blog via an RSS reader like Google Reader. It works a little bit like email and it’s the best way to subscribe to blogs so that you can view all past and current posts in one convenient spot.

      Hope that helps!
      Amy

  10. elise March 19, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    I received my Elan pattern yesterday ! Looking forward to the sew along !
    elise

  11. BikerGranny2 May 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Just purchased the Danglez patterns. Got two as I wasn’t sure of my size & it seems they are quitting business! Of course, the 50% off was great. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Amy May 24, 2013 at 12:20 am #

      Glad you were able to get one in before she closes!

  12. Lynda August 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Is this still going on? I just found it and am wanting to build my own bras since store bought ones don’t fit.

    • Amy August 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      Hi Lynda – the sew-along ran in January, but all the posts will stay up so you are free to follow whatever you’d like to! The Flickr group is closed.

  13. Laura August 27, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I am a little late to the party but I am going to be joining in soon!! Blogging about it on my website too… thanks for all the amazing advice, it’s quite fired me up!! xxx

    • Amy August 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Glad you found it! And hope you have fun on the bra-making journey!

  14. Brenda August 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Laura, what website do you have?

  15. Lynda August 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    thank you

  16. Buying Bra online October 1, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Hi , my name is janna , is still possible for me to join ??

    • Amy October 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Hi Janna, please read through this page – the Flickr group is closed & all tutorials will remain on my site.

  17. Colette January 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone here ever tried making a bra (foam or non foam) sewing by hand as opposed to using a sewing machine? I never actually learned how to use a sewing machine and want to know how much more difficult it would be to do.

    • Amy January 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Hi Colette, I would guess that depends on what kind of bra you want to make and your skills in various hand stitches. For a bra with elastics and elastic fabrics, such as those we made in this sew-along, you need to be able have a stretch-able stitch (zig zag). The stitches around the underwire and cup seams would need to be pretty secure and hard to do without a machine.

      But there are all sorts of bras–something like a soft cup bra made from non elastic material might be a better candidate for a hand-sewn bra. BTW, you don’t need an expensive or fancy machine to make a bra–I’ve made several on this inexpensive, simple machine. This would be very easy to learn on if you are interested in learning basic machine sewing.

      • Colette January 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

        I do quite a bit of hand stitching (clothing repairs, drawstring bags for SCA stuff) so have some experience with zig-zag stitches. I guess it probably wouldn’t take much to learn how to operate and thread a machine, but I’ve always enjoyed hand sewing and it would mean I could make lingerie for photo shoots while I sit in Tafe lectures without disturbing anyone. I’ll definitely check out the Janome Mini though :) And the fact that it goes slowly is probably a good thing for me ;)

        I think, based on your reply, that I might go ahead and give it a go, just to see whether it works out or not.

        Thanks :)

  18. sue June 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

    Hi, thanks so much for the info on bra making. I am making one this week.
    I love your blog and am going to follow.
    Please hop over to mine and follow me and like me on http://www.facebook.com/sewmanysavings

  19. Carol Roger July 13, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Amy thanks for sharing such wonderful bra making sew along. This sew along was easy to follow.

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