Soft Cup Lace bra tutorial from “Stitch to Style”

Week 3 is lingerie week on The Bee, has it inspired you to sew up your own bra?

This fabulous soft cup bra, is a great introduction to sewing bras if you’ve never tried it. You don’t have to worry about a tricky under wire insertion, and if the contestants can sew it together in just a few hours then why not have a go? The Pattern is available exclusively in the latest Sewing Bee book- Stitch to Style, and if you read all the way down to the end there’s a chance to win a copy!
Soft Cup Lace bra tutorial from "Stitch to Style"

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

Cutting the scallop edge

Step 1: Joining the 2 lower cup pieces.

With the right sides together pin and then sew the 2 lower cup pieces together. Sew with a 6 mm seam allowance, and a straight stitch.
Joining the lower cups of the GBSB soft cup bra

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.

joining upper cup to lower cup

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.

Seaming the cups together

Joining cup sections 2

You should now have something resembling a pair of Bra Cups!

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra-Stabilising the front edge with clear elastic

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

GBSB Soft cup bra- lining up the front band

GBSB Soft cup bra- joining the lower band

GBSB Soft cup bra- attaching lower band

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

GBSB Soft cup bra- mounting the power net

GBSB Soft cup bra:mounting back straps

Step 7 : Attaching front cups to back bands.

With the right sides together, pin and the sew the 2 back bands to the front cups at the side seams. Sew with a 6 mm seam allowance as before

GBSB Soft cup bra:joining the side seams

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra: measuring the picot

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra: attaching picot elastic

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra: seam allowance on the picot

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra:picot trim

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

GBSB Soft cup bra:strap holders

Attach these to the tip of the cups, and top-stitch in place

GBSB Soft cup bra- attaching "o" rings to cups

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra: straps step 1

Take the opposite end of the same length of elastic and feed it

through the 0 rings.

GBSB Soft cup bra: strap step 2

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra:strap slider

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.

GBSB Soft cup bra:attaching straps to the back

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.

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Try basting the fasteners into place with a straight stitch before securing with a zig zag

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Ta Dah! You’re all done

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Competition now closed

Want to win a copy of “Stitch to style”?

Answer this question

“What town in the UK is associated with Lace”

Winner is Kelly Long!

14 Comments

  • The Thrifty Stitcher

    04.07.2016 at 14:47

    Hello,

    Apologies for delayed announcement!

    The winner is Kelly Long, please get in touch via e mail so i can get your copy sent out!

    Congratulations, hope you all enjoy the final tonight!

    CL :)

  • Katie M

    02.06.2016 at 00:11

    Both Honiton and Nottingham seem to be famous lace-making towns. I absolutely adore this soft cup bra. I have a daughter approaching her teen years and I’d love to be able to make her simple training bras, so I’d be very excited to win this book. I also have the last two sewing bee books, and they are terrific resources.

  • Sue Thorne

    01.06.2016 at 22:49

    Honiton for handmade bobbin lace or Nottingham for machine made lace which was made on an industrial scale

  • Jessica Szturmann

    01.06.2016 at 15:47

    I wonder if Robin Hood wore lace, casue both things are connected to: Nottingham :-)

  • Yvonne Blagden

    01.06.2016 at 12:29

    Nottingham is the answer you seek for lace association

  • Faith A.

    01.06.2016 at 09:31

    Nottingham!

  • Asha Cameron

    01.06.2016 at 00:42

    I believe the town associated with lace is Nottingham:).

  • Poli Paterson

    31.05.2016 at 21:31

    Nottingham is well known for its lace industry. Unfortunately there isn’t any factories left they have all been turned into overpriced apartments. Which is such a shame. As I used to work in a lace factory to put myself thru college until it was closed and manufacturing was moved to Polland. It’s a disgrace to Lace.

  • Debra fletcher

    31.05.2016 at 20:16

    Nottingham
    Please consider me for prize draw

  • Jill James

    31.05.2016 at 16:46

    Can’t wait to try this pattern. The answer could either be Nottingham or Honiton depensing on what type of lace you are looking for. Honiton lace is handmade and Nottingham lace is machine made. So for the purposes of this answer I would say Nottingham!

  • Justyna Fenrych

    31.05.2016 at 16:28

    I had to go on a quest to see which town is associated with lace, quite the history lesson! I’m going with Honiton because of Queen Victoria’s wedding dress :) Lovely pattern – I’d love to try and make it!

  • Jennifer Tamminga

    31.05.2016 at 14:33

    What a lovely little pattern! Honiton is associated with Lace making in the UK :)

  • Kelly Long

    31.05.2016 at 14:07

    I am much larger than a B cup but this is a really lovely design… oh and I believe Nottingham. X

  • Chantal Lapointe

    31.05.2016 at 14:00

    Nottingham is the answer to your question! I would love to be able to watch the show in Canada. For now, I have to satisfy my curiosity by buying the books. This soft lace bra tutorial makes it look easy enough for me to try it. Thank you!