I was very excited when my Minerva parcel arrived this month, a bra kit - but in all honesty I didn't know if I could make a wearable one? I used a pattern called Kwik Sew K3594. The kit included a pattern, dotty stretch cotton (20% stretch), bottom band plush elastic, top band elastic, shoulder elastic, slider and ring pack, back fasteners and finally some power net.
You HAVE to make a training bra. You can't just make the most comfortable bra ever by having a go and thinking of Jesus. I am not showing you the first one as it is covered in felt pen markings. I photocopied the pattern so that if I cut the wrong size I could re cut and try again. I made my first one in the stretch cotton and normal elastic saving my plush elastic for the next one. I cut rings and a back fastening off an old bra for my practise one too. It was not my best sewing, hence you won't see it, I was just finding fit and skills needed for a good one.
So how do you make a bra? Is it hard? Are you crazy? I hear you ask.
Here is a photo diary of my second attempt.
1. There are only 4 pieces: upper cup. lower cup, a frame and two straight straps so it was easy to cut out. After my first one I decided to split the frame into cotton around the bust and power net under the arms and back. I sliced the pattern added 1cm seam allowances and cut it out of the two fabrics.
2.Choose your size and cut it out following both grainlines; direction of stretch and direction of grain. You can use scissors but I treated myself to a small rotary cutter.
3. You must cut notches so that you can ease the cups into the frame evenly. You can see here where I spliced the frame into two pieces.
4. Join the two frame pieces back together then top stitch twice away from the net. Sew upper and lower cup pieces together then top stitch both sides of the seam.
5. Ease cups into the frame and sew centre seam.
6. Not included in this pattern or kit but I added underwire channeling to the frame seam allowances.(I watched a tutorial online)
7. Now add bottom band elastic with plush side up, then trim spare fabric away and turn elastic to do a three step zig zag to show on the right side.
It looks like this.
8. Add underarm and top elastic with picot edge turned out on the second pass of the garment through the machine.
9.Top stitch under cup seam down. (mine had channeling on)
10. Sew on rings, shoulder elastic and back fastener, the latter was the hardest part of the whole thing believe it or not!
11. Sew on straps, thread through sliders and add a bow. Optional: take a slightly-not-sure-picture of yourself in the bathroom and plan the next one!
I was inspired by Carolyn at Handmade by Carolyn to have a go and challenge myself to try this out this year and I am glad I gave it a whirl. This is a great pattern and kit for your first attempt. I am going to try out some more stretchy fabrics now that I have loaded myself with the skills but the cotton was a really stable choice for learning.
To help me along, I also bought an online bra making class from Craftsy by Beverly Johnson. I succumbed to this class when everyone was ill over Christmas and I was bored out of my tiny mind. I watched the seven lessons and thought 'I could do this' I highly recommend this online course it is well paced, clearly presented and for me it was half price at Christmas.
So there we have it. There will be more but maybe not always photographed on me! I forgot to say something... This IS the most supportive bra I have ever owned.
Thanks for looking! (strange) Love Jo xxx