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
- Introductory Post
- The Schedule
- Pattern Options, some Q&A
- Materials and Supplies You’ll Need
- The Bra-making Flickr Group
- Interview with Norma of Orange Lingerie
week one: measuring and testing the pattern
week two: fitting & style changes
- Fitting Alterations for the Cups
- Ask the Expert: Fitting Questions for Norma
- Basic Style Alterations
- Major Style Alterations to Cup Seaming
week three: sewing our bras
- Final Pattern Tweaks and Cutting out Your Bra
- Assembling Cups and Linings
- Assembling Band, Sewing in Cups and Elastic
- Interlude: Bra Straps
- Finishing Elastic, Channeling, Hooks
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!