Sewing: Basic Bra Making Tutorial Part 1 of 2

This is my first Blog Tutorial, I hope you like it. I look forward to your comments, input and questions.

A few years ago I took a Bra and Corsetry making course with a friend.

Few of my friends know I make a good many of my own undergarments, things wear out and I needed to make some replacements. It has been suggested that this would make an interesting post. Normally I can make a pretty fancy Bra in a few hours.  I usually make a couple at a time. Truthfully, it’s not rocket science. If you can sew, you can do it too. Parts can be ordered on-line, purchased at your local fabric store or hardware can be scavenged off old bras. 

   However I have discovered, it takes a lot longer when you are trying to explain what you are doing and photographing the process at the same time… I hadn’t anticipated that.

So here we go 

  Basic Bra Making Part 1

Yes it is a good idea to start with basic sewing skills before you take this on.

Having said this, really it’s not difficult. Most general fabric stores carry the patterns and supplies you will need. You can also order fabric and notions from a supply house like Bra-makers supply.

What you will need to make your own Bra.

1) Measurements!  Most people get this terribly wrong.

Read this Article: Bra fitting: Finding your perfect size

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not entirely the cup and straps that stabilize your bust. The band below your bust and the back structure are integral in the support system. The cups reduce bounce and the straps should be carrying a minimum load. Kind of like a bridge, if the foundation cannot support the structure things go horribly wrong.

I sold foundation garments in a specialty store years ago. The difference between a Bra that fits and one that barely fits is night and day!

2) A Pattern: There are lots of patterns out there. However like the off the shelf bra, they don’t all fit the same. Decision time, Wire or no Wire?

I suggest that we start with a simple pattern and compare it to a bra you wear and fits your measurements. You may need a sacrificial victim.

Eventually with practice you will be able to draft, make adjustments and produce your own pattern, once you get the general idea.

 We are going to start with a simple wireless bra.

Not sure this one is still available, it was in my pattern stash.

Not sure this one is still available, it was in my pattern stash.

Kwik Sew 2375 I have used this one before. It’s simple and works up fast.

If you are buying a pattern, look for one with your size, and simple construction with simple lines, to start.

 I always redraft the pattern in tissue. The pattern pieces are small and edges of the small pieces can become even smaller after cutting, so the size on the pattern changes. A trick I learned when I started making for myself.

I reuse good patterns, so I'm more careful with them.

I reuse good patterns, so I’m more careful with them.

There are actually only small amounts of fabric involved in making a bra.

3) Supplies: You could go out a purchase all the hardware to make your first Bra, or take and old worn our bra and selvage the bits and pieces you will need. This is your first effort…

I needed: Thread, back bra hook and eye fastener, (2) rings, (2) Sliders, shoulder strapping , 4.5 yds-3/8″ wide plush lingerie elastic, I buy a 1/3rd of a yard of fabric,  you can get a couple of bras out of it. You will also want a ballpoint sewing needle for your machine. (Use your own pattern for your list, This was the list for my pattern)

4) Fabric and Elastic: This is important! Use a firm knit material, look closely at your pattern. There will be several types of elastic required to make your bra. If you get the wrong stuff your bra will not fit properly and be uncomfortable.

Fabrics: Fabrics made for Bra making are not the only ones you can use. Tricot, lace, stretch satin, cotton/Lycra, and all-cotton knits and wovens. When making bras, you have the freedom to choose bright colors, jacquards, or plaids, if you like. It’s good to start with a stretch fabric like two-way stretch nylon/Lycra satin, which makes fitting easier and is more forgiving. Use your best judgement and suggestions on your pattern to guide you.

Note on stretch fabrics: DOGS = Direction of greatest stretch. When testing for bra fabric stretch a 10″ length of fabric along a ruler till it resists.

10″ stretched to 13″ = 30% stretch / 10″ to 14″ = 40%

Don’t use more than 40% stretch – less stretch firmer bra cups, better for larger sizes. I prefer 30% stretch for more support.

However I have used Chinese silk brocade in peacock colours, tricky but awesome!Looked something like this, required some bias cutting, a little more advanced sewing.

For our purposes I am using A (40%) stretch floral Jacquard a small amount of net, a stretch lace about 6″ wide and a (30%) stable tricot.

The tricot came from Fabricland, the foral jacquard was from Bra makers supply. Both were in my stash.

The tricot came from Fabricland, the foral jacquard was from Bra makers supply. Both were in my stash.

The lace was leftover from a project, made as a bridal gift.

I am applying soft netting behind this stretch lace to reduce the amount of stretch.

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Sewing Tip #1: When I am using a new pattern, I do a dry run of one cup in the intended fabric. Both breasts are not the same, you will need to try both sides flipping the cup inside out for one side. Mark any alterations that maybe necessary to get a good fit on this sample cup.

Pattern layout:  Ok, stretch fabrics tend to stretch more one way than the other. So getting the pieces in the right directions is key here. Pins must be sharp for satins, dull for knits and they will not go in easily cross grain or against the grain. Test pins to see if they leave holes in the fabric. I usually pin along the 1/4″ selvage edge.

Warning: things are going to slide around. If this is a problem cut the pieces separately, one at a time. This is not like dressmaking, pieces are small and fiddly. Be careful to match fabric pattern in mirror image exactly. The tissue allows you to draw outlines of detail points to match pieces for both halves.

Cutting: These are small fiddly pieces, that slide around. I use a rotary cutter and a mat. For satins, I sandwich between tissue paper and cut one piece at a time, with pins in the selvages. I often line my cups with soft knit cotton for more comfort. With stretch fabrics, special care is needed to have the fabric totally relaxed when cutting.

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Ok I’m going to stop here, so you can catch up. A simple pattern some fabric and fixins, and we will meet here next friday and sew this baby together!

If you order your stuff from Bra-makers supply you can have it midweek and be ready for Friday. They do a bundle with fabrics, elastic, Hook/eye tape, sliders and shoulder strap in a variety of colours for $28.00 Cdn. (pattern not included) I highly recommend this as this option gives you the right materials so you know what to look for when shopping for supplies elsewhere.  Patterns are also available from your local fabric store just look for something with only a few pieces for your first bra.

I am really looking forward to posting pictures of your lovely creations! 

Some great on-line advice about Bra Making.

Bra Making Basics PDF (fantastic advice!)

How to sew Bras that fit (You need to read this)

Sewing Lingerie fabrics

Free Soft comfort fit pattern for small sizes

Free Satin Bra pattern in 3 sizes

Sewing support.com

Threads: The Bra Dilemma solved

Kwik Sew Bra patterns

Butterick #B5662 Corset/Busk 

The reference book I use – Making Beautiful Bras by Lee-Ann Burgess you can get it through Bra Makers Supply.

FO’s 2013 = 90  

WIPS 2013 = 10

Used of 38 purchased patterns from Rav = 9 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 = 77

Sewing FO’s = 3

Books 2013 = 28 + 1 = 29

Thanks again for visiting,

cya next week :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

Find me on Ravelry.com and also my Etsy shop

Oh and FYI I have 50% off Back to School Sale at my Ravelry Shop, now we all have so much time with the kids in school. Sale lasts to the end of the month. 3 months till Christmas people!

FO Friday: Wedding gift Done!

FOfriday

Took a hard fall yesterday, so today is not so good. I will probibly be much better after a couple of days. However the wedding shawl is done and a week ahead of time. I would happy dance if I could move :0)

From Dawn Till Dusk shawlette / scarf  

16" x  68"

16″ x 68″

A closer view

It's so soft, the silk and alpaca is awesome!

It’s so soft, the silk and alpaca is awesome!

Even closer

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(2) Quick Knit Baby Shrug (s) For the Craft Sale next Month

Finished 2 this week

Finished 2 this week

Tea Sprout Drip Catchers  These are for the craft sale

My mother is a china artist. I love this pot...No it doesn't actually drip :0)

My mother is a china artist. I love this pot…No it doesn’t actually drip :0)

Found on ravelry: for those with ebooks,

eReader Pillow Prop by Elizabeth Arundel

Another useful tutorial:  Italian cast on by oftroy

Blog visiting: Soper Creek yarns by Tina My LYS is expanding, Yay!

This weeks musical interlude: 

The Night Pat Murphy Died by Great Big Sea Another Cdn band

Current WIP List (13)

    1. Mile a minute afghan 1st crochet project 25% done  
    2. Sassy Summer Satchel MayKal  Haven’t started yet
    3. Piles of Smiles socks a new pattern I am working on 40%
    4. Camellia shawlette – A wedding gift (due May 25) 5%
    5. Top Down Swing PulloverBoth sleeves done 80%
    6. Beryl BlanketLong term project  (60 hexs)
    7. Box of Boxes Blanket Long term project  (17 squares)
    8. Easy Peazy Shawlalmost 90%
    9. Ruffle Scarffor the fall Bazaar so no hurry 80%

FO’s 2013 = 42 + 5 = 47

WIPS 2013 =  16 – 3 = 13

Used of 37 purchased patterns from Rav = 8 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 = 34 + 5 = 39

Books 2013 =  16 + 1 = 17

Thanks again for visiting,

cya next week :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

Sea of Dreams KAL: Blocking with Blocking Wires

Really great artical. Blocking makes all the difference to many projects!

polkadotsheep

So you have finished your Sea of Dreams Blanket, now what? Well, with lace, it is especially important to wash and block your knitting.

What is blocking anyway? When you block a knit object, you are shaping it out to specific dimensions or until it has the look you want in the finished object. Blocking is worked with a damp object. For lace, blocking is so important because it looks all rumpled and you can’t really see the pattern when you take it off the needle. When you stretch the lace out you can see the beautiful work. The way to do this is wet your work and then stretch and hold it in place until it dries. The result will be an object that looks like you imagined it to in your mind’s eye.

I talked about washing your knitting in this post. Washing your blanket will be…

View original post 411 more words

FO Friday: And this was supposed to be a quiet week!

FOfriday

DH’s Birthday, Maplefest (annual local event), Chapters book browsing, seeing Iron Man 3 (which was awesome!) watching Leafs tear your heart out, Craft group, lunch with the girls, Knittin club and Physio followed by lunch out with MiL (who has completely recovered, yay)  and through all this I am beavering away on my Dawn till Dusk Lace shawl, this has indeed been a humdinger of a week…

I’m in the middle of a pile of projects, embarrassed to say nothing done this week. Well started weeding the garden, we dug out 2 dead bushes and filled the planters with fresh soil… and making plans for the big event for my DS (more to come on this next month).

I adopted a couple of new books this week :0)

The Knitting Stitch Bible by Maria Parry-Jones

you can never have too many stitch dictionaries!

and Take-Along Knitting

Found on ravelry: Damask by Kitman Figueroa I liked this so much I bought the pattern one day I will knit it.

I have been enjoying reading other people’s blogs, I’m going to start linking to some you might enjoy too :0)

Blog visiting:  Peacefully knitting with Tina

Inspiration to add to my large collection of what happened next in the Austen novels.

What am I reading? Mr Darcy’s Diary by Maya Slater

Picked it up as a discard from the local library. Very entertaining so far.

Another useful tutorial:

Toe-up socks 2 at a time by Tii Casa (part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

This weeks musical interlude:

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by the Arrogant Worms another great Canadian band! :0)

Current WIP List (15)

    1. Mile a minute afghan 1st crochet project 20% done 
    2. Piles of Smiles socks a new pattern I am working on 30%
    3. Sssydney and friends two more to do
    4. Camellia shawlette – A wedding gift (due May 25) 5%
    5. Top Down Swing PulloverBoth sleeves done 80%
    6. Beryl BlanketLong term project  (60 hexs)
    7. Box of Boxes Blanket Long term project  (17 squares)
    8. Easy Peazy Shawlalmost 90%
    9. Ruffle Scarffor the fall Bazaar so no hurry 80%

FO’s 2013 = 36

WIPS 2013 = 15

Used of 37 purchased patterns from Rav = 8 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 = 34

Books 2013 = 15 + 1 = 16

Thanks again for visiting,

cya next week :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

FO Friday: Looking forward to a weekend of Firsts!

FOfriday

TGNP (Thank God No Physio) today!

Saturday promises to be a lot of fun.

Bonnie and I are heading into Toronto for the DKC Knitters Frolic!

This is a first, because I have never been on a road trip with my friend Bonnie! I will report on this Wednesday…

First Communion of my Cousins little girl. Here is her gift.

Handmade Catholic Rosary.

Handmade Catholic Rosary.

First Birthday of her little brother. Here is his gift.

Size 2 for 1st Birthday :0)

Size 2 for 1st Birthday :0)

and  there will be a large family party on Sunday.

Finished a few friends for Sssydney!

Sssydney's friends

Sssydney’s friends

and an XL Coffee Cup Sweater 

Doing these for the Craft sale in June.

Doing these for the Craft sale in June.

Both Sssydney and XL Coffee Cup Sweater are my freebies on Ravelry.

The usual installment of found on Ravelry: Milly by Vanessa Ewing  would look rather nice over a tank top.

and I came across this rather good Crochet Tutorial for Mile a Minute Afghans. I am going to start linking anything I find that might interest you… Look under Techniques and Video Tutorials :0)

Current Book: Badger’s Moon by Peter Tremayne

The Sister Fidelma stories are set in the middle of the 7th century, mainly in Ireland. She is a Celtic religieuse, a legally recognized lawyer and sometimes Judge. So far I am really enjoying it. There is an interesting and informative introduction which explains the Celtic legal codes of the time.

Current WIP List (12)

I am starting to note how close to done my WIP’s are.

    1. Sssydney and friends six done a few more to do
    2. Camellia shawlette – A wedding gift (due May 25) 5%
    3. Top Down Swing PulloverBoth sleeves done 80%
    4. Beryl BlanketLong term project  (60 hexs)
    5. Box of Boxes Blanket Long term project  (17 squares)
    6. Easy Peazy Shawlalmost 90%
    7. Ruffle Scarffor the fall Bazaar so no hurry 80%

FO’s 2013 = 30 + 6 = 36

WIPS 2013 = 13

Used of 37 purchased patterns from Rav = 8 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 =  33 + 1 = 34

Books 2013 = 12 + 2 = 14

Thanks again for visiting,

cya Friday :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

WIP Weds: The War continues…

tami_wip

Sssydney the sssnake and friends 

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XL coffee cup sweater – to be one of many for Craft sale in June

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From Dawn Till Dusk shawlette / scarf April Kal

Really lovely lace yarn. Using thread for lifelines.

Really lovely lace yarn. Using thread for lifelines.

A non-knitting project, a Catholic Rosary for a first communion on Sunday. I was at the LCS with my diagram collecting all the odds and ends for this project, a women looked at me like I didn’t know what I was doing…she was totally right! lol

Making Catholic Rosary

Making Catholic Rosary

The Catholic Rosary has 10 beads (decades) and 5 decades, between the cruciform beads.  

I have only made Anglican/Protestant Rosaries in the past.

So after lots of research I took a stab at it.

This is a Protestant rosary. Unlike a Catholic Rosary, there are 7 beads (weeks) and 4 weeks between the cruciform beads.,. The Catholic Rosary has 10 beads (decades) and 5 decades, between the cruciform beads. A crucifix or cross ia acceptable on an Anglican Rosary (cross is more common)

This is a Protestant rosary. Unlike a Catholic Rosary, there are 7 beads (weeks) and 4 weeks between the cruciform beads.,. A crucifix or cross ia acceptable on an Anglican Rosary (cross is more common)

Knitting technique video link:  Tubular Bind-Off from VeryPink Knits Just love her instruction videos!

Found on Ravelry: Philosophers Walk Socks by Lesley Melliship one talented knitter, this is her 1st pattern on Ravelry and it’s a freebie

Current WIP List (13)

I am starting to note how close to done my WIP’s are.

    1. Sssydney and friends one done a few more to do
    2. XL coffee cup sweater for Church craft sale
    3. Camellia shawlette – A wedding gift (due May 25) 5%
    4. Top Down Swing PulloverBoth sleeves done 80%
    5. Beryl BlanketLong term project  (60 hexs)
    6. Box of Boxes Blanket Long term project  (17 squares)
    7. Easy Peazy Shawlalmost 90%
    8. Ruffle Scarffor the fall Bazaar so no hurry 80%

FO’s 2013 = 30

WIPS 2013 = 12 + 1 = 13

Used of 37 purchased patterns from Rav = 8 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 =  33

Books 2013 = 12

Thanks again for visiting,

cya Friday :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

FO Friday: Meet Sssydney!

FOfriday

Here is Sssydney, I’m still working on his family…

Currently he ssslithering up a pencil, but he could wrap around just about anything.

Currently he ssslithering up a pencil, but he could wrap around just about anything.

These guyz work up really quickly!

Here is the Sydney snake and friends pdf

and Hubert the Briar Bunny has returned from his trip to the Yarn Challenge at the LYS

DH started calling him Hubert, he hasn't commented so I guess that's his name ;0)

DH started calling him Hubert, he hasn’t commented so I guess that’s his name ;0)

Knitting technique video link:  Emily Ocker’s circular cast on, I used this for both Sssydney and Hubert

Found on Ravelry: Frigging Princess by Anna-Lena Thiel This one just tickles my fancy :0)

Current WIP List (12)

I am starting to note how close to done my WIP’s are.

    1. Sssydney and friends one done a few more to do
    2. Camellia shawlette – A wedding gift (due May 25) 5%
    3. Top Down Swing PulloverBoth sleeves done 80%
    4. Beryl BlanketLong term project  (60 hexs)
    5. Box of Boxes Blanket Long term project  (17 squares)
    6. Easy Peazy Shawlalmost 90%
    7. Ruffle Scarffor the fall Bazaar so no hurry 80%

FO’s 2013 = 29 + 1 = 30

WIPS 2013 =  11 + 1 = 12

Used of 37 purchased patterns from Rav = 8 (29 to go)

Stash Used 2013 =  33

Books 2013 = 12

Thanks again for visiting,

cya Friday :0)

I’m off to visit Tami’s, then on to my blogwalk

come join me in the blogpond :0)

WIP Weds: Sprouting Sleeves

Well the Operation is over! Hopefully we will have MiL home today. She is doing fine.  Four small holes and no gallbladder, she has already returned to her usual fiesty self.

Well, the you know what hit the fan today…

– MiL is still in the hospital, lots of pain!

– My Dad has a foot that is broken in two places, 6 weeks on crutches

– DS’s blood sugar was 21 yesterday and this morning still 10.5

Can we start wednesday over again this one sucks!!!!

I have been working away on  “Sprout – Growing Roots”.

I decided to make a modifications to the Raglan portion of the pattern. The increase rows in the pattern asked for either Kfb, M1 or Yo. I opted for Kfb, however on the right side of the cable there was some unattactive laddering.

Hunting around I found an old Latch Hook (which I am adding to my knitting tool kit) and picked up the ladder and tidied up the increases.

 I think this really improved the appearance of shoulder seams.

New and improved raglans!

Book: Nero Wolfe: The Door Bell Rang by Rex Stout

I’m a big fan of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin! This book is a great read, as usual against all odds Nero catches the murder and Archie is his charming wise cracking self. I’ve always had a crush on him :0)

FO’s 2012 = 26

Patterns from my own Library = 5

WIP’s 2012 = 7

Stash used 2012 =  38 + 1 = 39

Yarn Diet target  21 balls used (diet over Yay!)

Stash Purchased 2012 = 54 + 3 = 57

Beryl Blanket Hexes = 46

Books =  16 + 1 = 17

links for my blogwalk join me in the blogpond :0)

WIP Weds and Friday’s at Tami’s

FO Friday: What this little sweater taught me…

Hello, it’s Friday again. First of all I’m still on my Yarn Diet! (week 1)

Finished Puerperium Cardigan in 6 days, what a delightful sweater to knit.  I altered the pattern a little using worsted instead of dk, which took this from a 15″ chest to a 20″ chest. I made it a little larger so it would fit a little longer.  Little man is so little right now, at only 14 days old. I’m hopeing that this sweater will still fit in the fall.

What I learned from this sweater: I sometimes have moments of illumination, this sweater had the curse of not finding the right buttons. I finally settled for these buttons. When it came time to sew them on I really took a close look at them trying to decide how to orient them. I put the button down to thread the yarn and the button flipped over and the back side was just what I hunted high and low for… on the card you couldn’t see the back. This button suited the yarn perfectly!

Surprise buttons!

This is a top-down sweater. I knit it from collar to heam placing the sleeves on waste ribbon. I use very narrow ribbon to hold stitches, it is cheap, it’s easy to pull out and it doesn’t leave tell tale fuzzies. I then attached the buttons, then divided the remaining yarn into two balls with special attention as to the direction I have been knitting on the ball.  I measured the diametre of sleeve opening (times 3 = 1 row), times 5 = 4 rows garter st + 1 row cast off + 6″ for tail made slip knot on both balls. Rewind balls and knit sleeves. Little complicated but guaranties sufficent yarn for both sleeves. Note only wasted 8″ of yarn!

Puerperium Cardigan – Finished!

Update Current WIP List

FO’s 2012 =  24 + 1 = 25

Patterns from my own Library = 5

WIP’s 2012 =  9 – 1 = 8

Stash used 2012 =  33 + 1 = 34

Yarn Diet target  21  – 1 = 20

Stash Purchased 2012 = 54

Beryl Blanket Hexes = 46

Books =  16

links for my blogwalk join me in the blogpond :0)

WIP Weds and Friday’s at Tami’s

Technique Video Tutorial: Afterthought Heel openings.

Designing socks lately, the question of “Afterthought Heels” has come up. Hunting around I found some pictures and video tutorials with detailed instructions on how to open the stitches to make the heel. I will post further information on optional “Afterthought Heel” types.

Using waste yarn by jlwinpa (picture from berrysmom.blogspot.com)

Step 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK6F_xAuVCA&feature=channel

Step 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ldHqhjUFZ0&feature=relmfu

Step 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbGJudBQa6U&feature=relmfu

Step 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JiPNFhknJk&feature=relmfu

Step 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATuElCkMb-c&feature=relmfu

Step 6a: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b83fQpzDRsY&feature=relmfu

Step 6b: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBNWi7faCwk&feature=relmfu

Step 7a: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww5HV6i6Rj0&feature=relmfu

Step 7b: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtU5-jG4t18&feature=relmfu

Sock Surgeon’s afterthought heels by TelmaQ – no waste yarn

(picture from curlerchik.blogspot.com)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bC8WcAmmnv0&feature=related
:

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