Week 3 is lingerie week on The Bee, has it inspired you to sew up your own bra?
Image © Jenni Hare
First up, you’ll need to get yourself a copy of the book, and trace off the pattern in your size. The bra is for an average B cup, I’ll be sharing post later this week for how to adapt this pattern if you’re bigger than a B.
Read the book for fabric quantities and a supplies list. You’re going to need stretch lace with a scalloped edge : bra findings : clear elastic and picot edge plush elastic, along with a bra fastener.
Follow the cutting guide in the book to get all your pieces cut out.
CL’s cutting tips:
Mark the middle point of the upper cup pattern piece and use this to make sure your scalloped edges are perfectly symmetrical. I line up the mid point of the pattern with the middle of a scallop, and then made sure to do so on the opposite side.
Try using bridal or lace pins, they are much finer than regular dressmaking pins with a super sharp point that shouldn’t snag the lace
Step 2: joining the upper cup to the lower cup.
NB- It’s important to ensure that you line up the lower cup, so the smaller sections are in the centre!
Pin and then sew the upper cup to the lower cup, again using a 6mm seam allowance and a straight stitch.
The edges are curved along this seam, so take your time to pin well and “ease” the 2 edges together. It’s a good idea to pin the two outer points and centre, and then fill in between.
You should now have something resembling a pair of Bra Cups!
Step 4 : Attaching clear elastic to the scalloped edges.
Since the clear elastic didn’t photograph well, I’ve used an illustration here. The clear elastic is designed to stabilise this edge, so cut your piece of elastic the same length as the front scalloped edge, and sew on with a triple stretch stitch.
TIP: have a little practise with some scrap elastic and lace, to work out the best width and length for your triple stretch stitch.
Step 5 : Attaching the lower front band.
This is probably the most fiddly part. Make sure to line up the centre of the cups with the middle part of the band, they can overlap a touch at the centre. I found it easier to work from the cup side, and pin one side at a time before sewing. Use the same 6 mm seam allowance as before
Step 6 : Mounting the back bands onto the power net.
The back straps will take a considerable strain when the bra is worn, so to stop them stretching out of shape they are mounted onto power net or power mesh. This firm net has some stretch, but is much more stable than the fine lace, so by mounting the 3 layers together the back straps will retain their shape and your bra will “hug” your body. I have hand basted together but if you’re brave you could machine baste, just make sure the tacking is within your 6 mm seam allowance
Step 7: Attaching the picot edge plush elastic around the top edges.
Picot edged plush elastic is a great way of finishing off the edges of all sorts of lingerie not just bras. Once you’ve got the knack, you can use this in all sorts of ways. This elastic has a plush or satiny side which is the side you want next to the skin. It needs to be cut a little shorter than the edge it’s being applied to. Measure your bra and cut the elastic 5 % shorter than the actual length.
Pin the elastic right side up, evenly along the length. Since the elastic is shorter, you’ll need to stretch a little as you pin and sew. The decorative picot edge of the elastic faces into the body of the bra, with the shiny, plush side up.
Since there is only a 6 mm seam allowance, it’s important that you don’t assume the edge of the elastic lines up with the edge of the bra! The cut edges are slightly offset on the underside.
As you sew on the Picot edge plush elastic, you’ll need to stretch it slightly into order to fit into the longer lace edge. this takes a but of practise but, it’s not hard. Use the tails as you start sewing to anchor your sewing.
Once the picot edge plush elastic has been attached, turn over the work to secure it in place from the right side. You’ll need to set your sewing machine to a triple stitch, and sew the edge close to the picot edge, making sure there’s no folds of lace as you sew. Might be worth have a practise!
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Step 8: Attaching picot edge plush elastic around the lower edge.
Attach the elastic to the bottom edge in the same way as the for the upper edge. I used a slightly wider elastic on my bra sample, to make sure the lower band was really firm.
You should end up with the edges looking like this- just the little picot edging, peaking above the edges.
Step 9: Making the elastic straps.
Cut 2 x 4 cm pieces of the bra strap elastic, and slide through the 2 “O” rings, to create the holder for the slidable straps
Attach these to the tip of the cups, and top-stitch in place
Take one of the longer lengths of elastic and one slider. Feed one end
of the elastic through the slider so that it’s looped around the central
post. Topstitch it in place.
Take the opposite end of the same length of elastic and feed it
through the 0 rings.
Bring it up and feed it back through the
slider. Go from underneath, up and over the central post, back down
and under the other side to create an adjustable strap.
Repeat for the second strap.
Step 10: attaching straps to the back band
On the wrong side of the back panel, measure 7 cm out from the edge.
Ensuring straps are not twisted, Fold under the raw edge of the strap and topstitch it in place both at the lower edge of the band, and the upper edge of the band. I found it easier to topstitch with a triple stretch stitch from the right side
Repeat on the other side.
Step 11: adding the back fasteners.
These come as a little envelope opening. Tuck the back straps inside and pin into place. Make sure to put the hooks onto the right half, and the loops onto the left half, If you’re not sure go and check a bra in your drawer.
Try basting the fasteners into place with a straight stitch before securing with a zig zag
Ta Dah! You’re all done
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