It’s our last day of the sew along! I hope you have enjoyed making your own lingerie as much as I do! Along the way I’ve covered many lingerie sewing techniques, materials and some of the “whys” behind them. I hope these give you confidence in sewing your next lingerie projects!
Today we are going to put the finishing touches on the bra by adding the straps and attaching the hook & eye.
Adjust the Back
Hook & eye closures come in a few different widths, so your chosen closure may be slightly smaller or slightly bigger than the pattern’s. On a scoop back strap attachment, this is easy to adjust near the end of the bra. It’s simply a matter of changing the point where the strap elastic joins the center back.
Place your hook & eye closure next to the end of the band. Mark a spot slightly under the top of the closure.
Trim away the excess, curving gradually into the original strap point at the top of the band. Repeat the same step for the other side.
If you are using uncut hook & eye tape, simply cut your tape to fit over the center back.
Attach the Straps
From the right side of the bra, line up your strap elastic with the cut edge of the fabric. Stitch it in with a small to medium width zig-zag, taking a few backward zig-zags at either end to secure.
Sew this elastic in flat without pulling or stretching. The zig-zag should be on the inner side of the elastic, toward the bra. I use a 3.2 width, 2.0 zig-zag.
Underneath the strap, away the excess fabric close to the stitches.
Secure the Strap Rings
Thread the top of the cup through your strap ring and from the wrong side of the cup secure the fold with two lines of stitching. Remember how I left some extra elastic hanging off the end of the cup? This gives me something to hold onto and keep the fold taut as I am stitching:
Secure with a small straight stitch, about 1.5 to 2.0 in length. To make stitching easier, stitch one forward line of stitches, turn the work around—just like I did when I assembled my straps—and stitch the second line back over the first. If you are having trouble with this bulky fold slipping out of place, try starting your stitches in the center of the fold, rather than the edge of the elastic. Use the handwheel for assistance.
Trim away the excess fabric near your stitches.
For the scalloped lace cup version, the steps are the same. Since the width of the strap fold will vary based on the size of your lace scallops, that extra elastic hanging off the end is convenient for giving you more “loop length”.
Attach the Hook & Eye
Start by sewing in your eyes. From the left side of the bra with the right side of the band facing up, slip your eye closure over the ends.
Hook & eye tape have little “envelopes” which slip over the ends of the bra band. Sometimes these envelopes will be heat-sealed, and to make attaching easier, pry them open. The envelopes will overlap your fabric by about 1/8” to 1/4”.
Set your stitches to a small zig-zag. I use a a 1.5 width and 1.0 length. Slip your eye tape over your ends and arrange them under the presser foot. Line them up in such a way that the left side of the zig-zag will end just near the edge of the eye tape. Stitch across the tape, securing with backward zig-zags at each end.
Tip: It helps to go slowly, and to start stitching a little bit away from the end of the tape, then backtacking. In the above photo you can see that I arrange everything while the foot is still up. Once I get it all into the proper position, I keep both hands on the layers and drop the foot with my knee lift.
Attach the hooks to the right side of the bra, with the wrong side and the hooks facing up.
The hook side is tricker because the hooks will be so close to the foot. If your machine has the option to move the needle position, this will come in handy. Move your needle all the way to the right and set the stitch to the same zig-zag you used for the eyes. Arrange the layers carefully underneath your foot and slowly stitch across the tape.
If your machine does not have a needle-adjusting option or you can’t get close enough to the edge of the tape without hitting the metal hooks, try switching to a narrower foot and use a straight stitch instead. Use a small stitch length, about 1.5-2.0 in length and backtack at either end to secure.
And you’re finished! Congratulations–you’ve made a bra! (Or two.)
Have you made a Watson set? Show it off! You can upload your project photos to the Cloth Habit Flickr Pool, or on Instagram, use hashtags #watsonbra or #watsonbikini. I’ll be featuring some of your work in a blog post next week!
Thank you all so much for sewing along, and for all your helpful comments, questions and shares here and in the FB group!