Have you ever struggled finding a bra fits? Or one that helped you feel confident and comfortable in your own skin? You’re not alone, and I’m right there with you. I’ve struggled my entire adult life with bras, having an usual size (large cup size and small back size). Add breastfeeding into the mix, and it was a recipe for bra struggles.
In the past, I had actually completely given up on bras and resorted to making and wearing my own custom-made historical corsets on a daily basis. Yes, I do own several bras that are nursing accessible and, at least on paper, are my correct size. However, they just weren't my cup of tea in terms of how they made me look. In the past year, I have discovered that making my own custom-fit bras could be the solution to my problems of never being able to find a bra that suits and supports me.
So today’s video and article will be a hybrid of learning how YOU can make your own bras and the considerations that will help you on that journey, while taking you along for my journey of making my very own bra. This specific bra I will be making is a wire-free but very supportive bra that fits my unique size while being nursing accessible. But the principles we will be learning in this video can help you on your journey of making any kind of bra you desire.
Whether you're seeking a custom fit, aiming for a unique style, or simply looking to dip your toes into the world of sewing, crafting your own bras can be incredibly rewarding. In this article, we'll delve into the reasons why and how you can embark on this journey. Let's get started.
SECTION 1 - WHY MAKE YOUR OWN BRAS?
Why should you consider crafting your own bras? Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the benefits of bra-making:
There is nothing like the fit you can achieve by custom making your own bras. There are so many unique factors about our body shape that are simply not covered by commercial sizing. It's amazing what a difference it can make in how you look and how confident you feel.
You can make bras as fancy or plain, or colourful or lacy, as you want when you are making it yourself. You can also incorporate vintage elements into modern bras, which is currently my obsession.
Over time, crafting your own bras can be more budget-friendly than investing in high-end, brand-name options. Normally, with garment making, this isn't necessarily the case, but since bras require so little material, and high end bras can cost quite a bit, making your own bras is truly a money saver.
It can be incredibly empowering to be able to design and create your own lingerie.
SECTION 2 - HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BRAS
Now let's explore the 'how's' of bra-making.
Step 1: Gather Materials
Start by assembling all the necessary materials. The easiest way to go about this is to first find a bra pattern, and only buy exactly what you need for that particular pattern. There are also bra making websites where you can buy material kits for a specific bra pattern. If you are making an underwire bra, you will usually need to buy that separate from the kit, but on the same bra making online store. One of the best parts of making your own underwire bra, compared to buying one, is you can hugely customize the shape and curve style of the underwire you choose, to best work with your unique shape.
Main takeaway: If you're new to this craft, I'd recommend starting with a kit as it simplifies the potentially daunting task of finding the right supplies and notions.
Regarding fabric choices, in my sewing journey, I've experimented with creating vintage bras exclusively from woven non-stretch fabric, and I still love that. However, since having my baby and having gained some weight, I'm interested in trying the modern bra making fabrics, especially for the band, that can feel a little more comfortable. Woven fabric can always be a great option for the cups, however.
That's why today, I've chosen to craft my current bra project using a sturdy bra-making fabric known as duoplex, complemented by a power net backband for added comfort and flexibility.
Step 2: Choose a Pattern
One of the most important steps in bra making is selecting a suitable bra pattern, that fits your style and size. The good part is that there's an abundance of patterns available online, ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced, wireless to wire-free, vintage-inspired shapes to contemporary rounded cups. Many of these bra patterns also include over a hundred sizes, with all of the possible combinations of back and cup size. It all starts with knowing your preferences, and measuring yourself accurately. Whatever place you are buying your pattern from will have instructions on how to measure. One measurement that is not always included but is very helpful is called your "bottom cup depth (BCD)." It is measured in a well fitting, non padded bra, from your underwire line up over your breast, ending at your bust apex, which usually corresponds to where your nipple sits.
If you'd like to learn more of the nuances of vintage versus modern bra cup shapes and how they impact your overall appearance, I've got a dedicated article on vintage bras.
Step 3: Cut and Sew
Moving on to the practical side of things, it's time to cut and sew your bra! Simply follow the instructions provided in your chosen pattern. Usually, in bra making with modern fabrics, instead of the grainline being marked on the pattern, it is actually the "direction of greatest stretch". However, if you are using woven fabric for your bra, I lay the bias of the fabric along this direction, since that is the direction of greatest stretch. Cut the fabric pieces and methodically stitch them together, step by step. In my case, and in most bra patterns, the bra cups and other components gradually come together, the seam allowances are pressed open or to one side, followed by precise top-stitching. Remember to employ the appropriate needle for the task at hand—typically a stretch needle for bra-making fabrics. This ensures that your top-stitching not only reinforces the structure but also imparts that polished, professional look to your bra.
Step 4: Customize
Now comes the fun part—customization. This is where you can personalize your bra with lace, embroidery, or unique straps, making it a true reflection of your style. Additionally, your choice of elastic for finishing the edges of the bra can add a unique touch. Elastic serves a dual purpose: finishing the edges neatly and enhancing comfort and fit. Most elastics are attached using a zig-zag stitch or a similar technique, allowing the stitches to flex with the elastic.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
To finish up your bra creation, it's time for the finishing touches. This includes attaching closures, adjusting the straps for that perfect fit, and incorporating underwire if that's your preference. For those opting for underwire, a specialized underwire channel will secure it in place, ensuring it won't shift. In my specific project, underwires are not in the picture, but I have exciting plans for crafting an underwire longline bra in the near future. Stay tuned for that blog article!
There you have it, a starter's guide to crafting your very own bras. This is not only a practical skill but is also a confidence boosting form of self-expression. Whether you're a seasoned seamstress or a beginner eager to embark on this creative voyage, take that first step - you will be amazed at how simple and rewarding bra making can be! Thank you for joining me today, and may your sewing adventures be filled with joy and fulfillment.
Are you going to try bra making? Let me know in the comments section!
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