I have finally had time to completely review my Bra Making knowledge, the rather helpful advice over at Cloth Habit, buy some equipment and generally take stock to move forward with this project. Why is this so daunting?! I have attempted bras’ before, I am constantly making other pieces of lingerie, and with over 20 years of sewing experience I should not be this afraid! Man up, Laura!!
As I think I have mentioned before, instead of drafting a pattern myself, this time I have opted for a store bought Pattern (Elna No.645), and I have to say it has proved annoyingly easy to make up… annoying because now I feel even more of a light weight for not manning up sooner!! I shall be drafting my own Pattern as soon as I am happy with my construction abilities however; I have actually already been drafting Bra Patterns all day with a Private Student! We have been happily drafting, designing and demystifying Bras all day before she embarks upon a Lingerie Intern Ship (if you are interested in Private Tutoring contact me at email@example.com). Our next lesson is on Friday but, despite finishing up at about 7pm, I couldn’t quite leave it and I have been happily engrossed in Bra making ever since, so I thought I’d share my progress!!
I have decided for the first attempt to make up the size of Bra my measurements dictate, completely and with no fitting. I wanted to make a Bra from start to finish, without hesitation, so as to consolidate all of this fact finding, previous experience and current insights I have been building up. Having a stash of great fabric helped as I was able to choose a delightful Shell Pink Silk which, even if the final Bra doesn’t fit, will look stunning when finished and completely spur me on to further creations! I can then use it to draft a newer version of the Pattern, with fitting adjustments to make up.
I traced off the Elna pattern, as instructed, so that any changes I make to personal fit will not mean I can’t use the Pattern again. The pattern includes sizes from 32A through to 42D, so hunting the pieces out was the first challenge!
Tracing off a Pattern is a useful thing to do, it completely familiarizes you with all of the Pattern pieces, any notches or markings, helps you consider grain lines as well as conserving the original.
After cutting out, the first thing to do was to neaten the top of the Top Cup. Using a little trick I learnt from Cloth Habit, I used a strip of light weight Fusible Interfacing. Sewn non-iron side down, the seam is then trimmed back (to reduce bulk), the Fusible Interfacing is then rolled over to the back and ironed down. To assist me in this I pinned the piece in place to the ironing board, then ironed. This is a simple, yet effective trick which stops those little finger burns!!
This means that, from the front, no seam or neatening is visible! Marvellous!!
Now, I wanted to get a little jazzy with this Bra, simply because I want to learn as much as possible from this make. So, to the Lace shelf in the Midnight Workroom! Yes… … I have a Lace shelf, and it is varied and many coloured! I waited until I had neatened the top edge of the Top Cup, so that I could mount the lace without worrying about judging the Seam Allowance. Clever, no?
Despite thinking I would like to have the scallops of the lace peeping out over the top of the Cups, I preferred this way, showing a little of the Shell Pink Silk. To attach the Lace to the Silk, I set my Sewing Machine to a narrow, small Zig-Zag Stitch and in key places- mainly the very top of the Scallops- made a couple of stitches on the spot. This method sinks nicely into the background of the Lace, but doesn’t stitch the Lace directly to the Silk. I am not too sure, but I didn’t want to stitch the Lace completely down because the Lace and Silk may want to move separately from the Silk when I am wearing the Bra.
Matching all of my notches religiously the next job was to sew the Top Cup to the Bottom Cup. Pinning carefully, and very slowly with the edge of the fabric in the air despite the extreme curve this was completely manageable. Bra Seams are only 6mm, which allows for extreme precision, and I am finding having a smaller Seam Allowance is extremely beneficial when sewing such tight curves.
I then attached the Back Band, and inserted the Cups in to the Bridge and voilà! Here is my Bra so far… …
I am super pleased with the result so far. In trying it on- not very accurately without straps!- I can already see that the cups will need to be re-shaped and possibly the Side Seam too however; as an exercise in Bra Making this has been extremely informative. It is nice to finally put all of my information I have gathered and previous knowledge to good use!
Because I have chosen to make a Fabric Bra, the Back is Lace only, which has some stretch to allow for movement when wearing. Tomorrow I shall be purchasing the elastics and straps needed to finish the Bra, and I literally can’t wait!
Look at these gorgeous creations from one of my favourite Lingerie companies, Buttress & Snatch… …
This is what I aspire to!