A Bra! (Otherwise Known As "Things I Make When I Should Be Studying")


Since starting to sew there have been many things that I told myself that I would never make either because I had no interest in making them or because they looked too hard.  Quilts.  Too boring.  Bathing suits.  Too complicated.  Shorts.  Too many fitting issues.  And yet time and time again, I've found myself making the things that I was sure that I would never make.

What can I say?  I'm a fickle human being.

So surprise, surprise, I made yet another thing that I told myself I would never make - a bra!  Now I should point out that it ain't perfect and I still have some fitting issues to work out, but look - it actually looks like a bra!  I've never been so proud of something that doesn't really fit.

Okay, now on the details.  After much internet surfing research I settled on making the Marlborough pattern which is a recently released pattern by Orange Lingerie.  I had read many great things about the Pinup Girls patterns but in the end I decided against it for two reasons, one being that the design is a much fuller cup than I'm used to wearing and I was worried that it would look too matronly on me.  The second reason is that after spending too much time reading about bras and breast shapes I became convinced that I may have a shallow bust which basically means that I don't have enough breast tissue to fill out a full cup.  Is this more information that you ever wanted to know about my breasts?  Yeah, I figured as much.

Anyway, that's how I decided to go with this pattern (plus, I like the little lace detail).  As for the supplies, I ordered a kit from Sweet Cups Bra Supply which is a US affiliate of the Canadian store, Bra Makers Supply.  They sell a fairly limited amount of items, but they do sell underwires and kits and you don't have to pay international shipping, so yay!  (Also, just a FYI that they're planning on having a 20% off black Friday sale).  The lace was purchased from this etsy shop

Once the kit arrived it was on to making big decisions like what size to make. I ended up not following the sizing directions on the pattern because I was coming up with weird size recommendations.  In the end I went with what Nordstroms measured me to be a couple months ago - a 32C.  I also made sure that the underwires that correspond to this size fit my breasts well, which they did.  I cut out this size without making any modifications and went to work.

All things considered, the actual construction of the bra wasn't so difficult, although sewing the channeling on was a pain in the butt and I ended up having to rip it out once.  Also, ripping out stitches on this fabric is a major pain in the butt.  I also ran into problems with the supplies because the kit is designed to be used with the Pin Up Girls Classic bra pattern where the front fabric goes halfway up the straps so you need less strap fabric.  As a result, the kit included half as much strap fabric as I needed so I fudged it with some leftover elastic.  Not a great solution, but it worked okay in a bind.  Also, the kit rings and slides are for 3/8 elastic, but the pattern calls for 1/2 rings and slides.  Not a huge deal, but just something to be aware of.

As for fitting issues, I think the first thing that I need to do is widen the bridge a bit.  I think that making that modification will make the cups fit better.  The band is fairly tight right now and adding to the bridge will probably help with that issue as well.  I should also probably pinch out a tiny bit of space in the top of the cup to prevent gapage.  Hopefully those modifications solve all the fitting issues.  The hard part for me was that I really couldn't assess the fit until the bra was entirely done and by that point you can't really fix anything.  Oh well.

I'm definitely intrigued by the whole bra making process and I'd love to have at least one bra pattern that fits me well.  I'm guessing that it'll probably take me another bra attempt or two to get there so watch out for some more bras in the future.

PS - Oh, and did you see Cloth Habit's new bra pattern.  I may just have to try my hand at this pattern too!


  1. Ooh nice! My first bra took like 12 attempts, so I think you're on the right track! And THANK YOU for sharing about Sweet Cups Bra Supply - I love Bra Makers Supply but have been hesitant to pay the huge shipping fees!

  2. A friend of mine was just noting that everyone on the sewing interwebs seems to be making bras these days! That looks totally profesh. And it sounds like you won't need to make too many changes to get a perfect fit next time. Like you, I've been in the 'never do that' category about bras but... the idea of sewing something custom-fit is kinda appealing. I have narrow, sloping shoulders so really, really have to shop around to find something that I don't have to be hitching back up all day. I think part of what is daunting about bra sewing is that there is literally no part of it that would currently be in my stash. I guess that's why the kits are good.

  3. Seriously - this is super impressive! It looks both very posh and very professional.
    I am coming around to the idea of bra making too (slowly, slowly....) - it is so hard to find a RTW one that actually fits. But like Jane, the thought if having to buy all the bits is slightly overwhelming. Maybe I should start with a cossie first.... :-)

  4. You're right, that is the best looking, most professional sewing fail ever. If it doesn't fit such that you'd never wear it, you should Ebay it. I swear you'll earn more than it cost you to make it!
    Brave sewing and very well executed, I take my hat off to you. (and leave everything else on!)

  5. Well, it looks absolutely perfect - not on a person, anyway! As others have said, bra-making has never specifically appealed to me, partly because I actually DO have the perfect bra, which I have four of in black and beige, and wear every single day and switch out. Which probably sounds boring and very non-sexy, but (1) I am picky and it works; and (2) how sexy do you expect a 38 year old mother of two to be, anyway? get off my back!

    That said, I will not say "never" because I know all too well the draw of a weird, possibly useless, strange obsessive sewing project when things get stressful. I bet if I started back to school, I'd sew a ton more! But faced with Christmas and the prospect of sewing gifts, I stop sewing entirely. Go figure.

  6. I am more than a little in awe!


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