In 2013 I hosted the Bra-making Sew Along, and it has remained a popular resource for bra-making! The sew along ran for a little over three weeks, during which I walked through the basic process of fitting and sewing your own bra pattern.
During this sew-along, we worked with patterns with a full frame (also known as a “full band” bra). Some of the patterns I used for demonstration are no longer in production but since then many new patterns have come on the market, including my own line of bra patterns! With a little imagination, many of the steps in this sew-along can apply to any bra pattern.
No matter what pattern you try, bras require some time to fit and shape to your specific needs, so keep at it!
Week One: Prep
Pattern suggestions for basic underwired bra patterns.
Materials checklist and descriptions for bra-making.
Interview with a custom bra-maker taking part in the Bra-making Sew Along!
Week Two: Measuring and Testing Your Pattern
Find your starting size in a bra pattern.
Tracing and adding the seam allowances to a bra pattern.
How to make a simple muslin/toile to test the fit of a bra pattern.
Fitting adjustments for the band and frame of a bra pattern.
Week Three: Fitting & Style Changes
Learn some common bra cup-fitting alterations for volume or shape.
Tips on bra pattern fitting from Norma of Orange Lingerie.
Bra pattern alterations for style: includes tips for changing band width and neckline shape, and adding a third seam to a cup.
Bra style alterations: changing a cup pattern from a horizontal seam to a vertical seam.
Week Four: Sewing Your Bra
Cutting out a bra pattern, including some tips on cutting with lace.
Sewing the cups together with some tips on neckline finishing.
Assembling the band and inserting the cups.
Make your own bra straps–all elastic or spaghetti-style, front or back closure.
Time for all the finishing bits!
Highlights from the bra-making sew alongers.
Note: When shopping for underwires, buy more than one size! For insurance. See also: Fitting an Underwire.
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. It’s finished now, but the posts will always be here for you to follow at your leisure!
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. The great thing about making a bra is that it helps with your sewing accuracy and creativity in so many other areas!
What pattern should I use?
During this sew-along, we worked with patterns with a full frame (also known as a “full band” bra). Many of the steps here can apply to any bra pattern. No matter what pattern you try, bras require some time to fit and shape to your specific needs, so keep at it!
Can I make a foam bra?
Well, sure! But this sew along won’t show you how. For more information on types of foam bras and adapting underwired patterns to use foam linings, see my series Make a Foam Cup Bra.