6 February 2015

The Beginnings of a Bra



Have you looked inside a bra lately? Like, properly looked?

Not in a rude way, I mean, have you looked at how it's constructed? I've been doing a lot of that recently, as I'm taking a bra-making course this term at Morley College. The course follows a section from the book Bare Essentials: Bras - Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design. We started by adapting the basic structured bra pattern to make a strapless design. We're now making a toile in our size, which we'll fit to our bodies next week (the pattern doesn't actually come in my size, so I'm making a similar size for now and will fit from there).


I'd never really thought about how much is involved in bra construction before, let alone all the different bits and bobs you need to make one - from different types of elastic to padding to power mesh to underwire casing to boning to sliders and rings and things. I found the shopping list of materials a bit overwhelming, but luckily my friend Freya knows about these things so hit me up with a supply from her stash last night (thanks, Freya!).

If you have any suggestions for great underwired bra patterns, resources or UK supply sources, I'd love to know. I can't wait to make my first bra, oh la la!

26 comments:

  1. I used to work for a company that created made to measure bras and the amount that goes into the fit and construction is amazing. I've always wanted to try my hand at making a bra myself but I'm an unusual size and haven't yet found a pattern to fit.

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  2. I recently purchased the Watson Bra and Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit with the hopes of creating my own bra and panties. It will hopefully be one of those things that will allow me to continue to sew lots without bulking out my closet too much!

    As part of some advice she was giving, she named a few places to get lingerie items in the UK. There was The Sewing Chest (http://www.bramaker.co.uk/catalog/), Vena Cava Design (http://www.venacavadesign.co.uk/Welcome.html), and English Couture (http://englishcouture.co.uk/). They all look really great. I can't wait to start making a bra!

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    1. That's really useful - thanks for the links, Jenna.

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  3. I promise, once you start bra sewing, you will be addicted!!!!! It is so much fun. I love those materials and colors you have here.

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    1. I know you're right... there's something very satisfying about cutting out teeny pieces of fabric :)

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  4. Jenna named the main UK suppliers and they are all good. You can get nice kits with everything supplied apart from the underwires, from Merckwaerdigh on Etsy. It saves you having to get lots of supplies, especially if you aren't sure whether you want to launch full scale into bra making.

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  5. I'm lucky enough to know the guys who own Vena Cava Designs and I can't recommend them enough. They are lovely people who are always willing to go the extra mile for customers and have a background in corset making so can answer lots of questions. They have a really good selection of patterns and findings on their site but if you can't find something drop them an email and they can usually order it. I'm avidly following all the bra sewing that's exploded across the sewing blogsphere and when I'm ready to take the plunge I'll definitely be giving them a call :)

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  6. I'd love to make my own bras. I actually do tend to geekily look at all the little bits in one and how it's constructed. I'm just interested in it for some reason. I know for me anyway, that extra layer of side panel in a cup is one thing I need and look for when buying new bras.

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  7. Hey Tilly,
    I'm a lingerie designer/maker and a contour fashion graduate, can't wait to see you make your first bra! They're tricky, but if anyone can make one, it's you. I'm sure you'll do great! Also that's a gorgeous lace! Good luck! :)

    xo

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  8. I purchased a bra making class on Craftsy.com recently. I'm very interested in see what you do with this endeavor!

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  9. I love shopping for bra fabric! Spend more time doing that than actually making them!

    Originally I took a well fitting bra apart to make my first. Then found this http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/developing-a-simple-bra-pattern-from-basic-bodice-block which is a great pattern for a simple, non underwired bra. It's a good pattern and have drafted it for friends, as they're more petite!

    If you're on the small size and like wearing non underwired bras it's great, personally don't use it as I wobble!

    http://tonisewsclothes.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Antonia, this is great information for me! Since my lumpectomy, I cannot wear underwire. Bra shopping is challenging for a B (right side)/D (left side) cup. Rather than succumb to more augmentation, I'm looking to create my own.

      Erica Mack
      Royalthreads@live.com

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  10. There's the Marlborough Bra by Orange Lingerie that's been getting a lot of good press!

    http://www.orange-lingerie.com/2014/introducing-the-marlborough-bra-sewing-pattern

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  11. Deby @ so-sew-easy.com recently wrote a post with a long list of suppliers all over the world :)

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  12. Love that lace and the colour of your fabrics! Bra-maker's Supply has a lot of underwire bra patterns in their Pin-Up Girls pattern line. They come in 90 sizes- so if you find it's hard to get your size- they probably have it. They also have a distributer in Sweden who ships patterns and supplies to the UK - 'B, Wear'. I'm sure you'll love bra-making, it's pretty much the only sewing I do anymore!

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  13. This is fascinating! For some reason I've never really put much thought into what goes into the making of a bra, despite wearing them for years. If the picture is really the colour and fabric that you're using, it looks like it will be a truly beautiful design. I'm excited to see updates from this project.

    x Kathryn
    Through the Thicket

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  14. Maculloch and wallis (Dering st. Off Oxford st) have a brilliant selection of lingerie bits. Habby heaven!

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  15. This is so cool - I have never made my own bra - personally it just seems extremely daunting for a non-sewer and I am intimidated! But what a fun project. Can't wait to see how it develops!

    Rae | love from berlin

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  16. Hey Tilly,

    Don't know if you got my last comment or not. I recently found te free online magazine seamwork. You can buy the two monthly patterns for 6 $. This months issue is about lingerie and the bra pattern only takes two hours to make.

    Read your interview in Victor. You inspire me big time. Thank you.

    Hanna

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    1. Ooh thanks Hanna, it's on my list to check out Seamwork, it looks great!

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  17. Weekend trip to Kantje Boord. I'm jealous that you could actually do it.

    http://missceliespants.com/2014/09/05/no-store-like-it-kantje-boord/

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  18. I've just started working on my first attempt too - and am now wishing I enrolled at morley. I bought a pin up girls pattern as it seemed popular in the blog world but whilst I fairly sure I made the right size (and it was surprisingly easy to sew) the shape is very wrong, but I'm determined to persevere. I ordered materials from sewing chest who were very helpful, but finding matching/a range of coloured notions seems very difficult. Good news is I noticed there are a good range of power meshs in Simply Fabrics. I look forward to seeing how you get on.

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  19. I have a page on my blog with a list of resources- UK and EU who send to the UK at affordable cost!

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  20. I would love to be able to make my own bras as it's not often you come across 30Es!! :( emilyjanewebb.blogspot.co.uk xx

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  21. I made my own bra using a pattern from makebra.com a while back. I need to make some adjustments to the pattern for next time though, as I got the sizing a bit wrong, but it was very satisfying to make!

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  22. How was the course? would you recommend it?

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