Thursday, 25 February 2016

Begins with B

There I did it, I pondered that photo for a while I can tell you but if you make a New Years resolution to make a bra then you have to go the whole hog just this once to show it actually fits.

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


  1. Another great finish, Jo! Thanks for taking the time to share your process and resources. xx

  2. Wow! Great post! I've been thinking of making a bra, not sure I ought to though, as I still have the fabric to cut for a pair of jeans I desperately wanted to make some time ago ..... there could be a queue of projects forming here!
    The modelling is ver brave of you .... much impressed!
    Barbara xx

  3. Wow, just amazing. I'm really impressed. That is just awesome, really. You're brave to photograph yourself in it too. Can I say that it looks great on you, or is that way too creepy? :)

  4. Great post Jo, really inspiring. I have tried a couple of soft bras with varying degrees of success ( mainly because I didn't invest in special fabrics and have been using scraps I think) but have been fascinated for a long time about more construction up top. I have the Watson bra pattern.... And also bought that Craftsy course! So with this kit... Maybe I should give it a whirl?! Your spotty bra looks like it fits really well and is finished beautifully.

  5. How utterly fantastic Jo!!! You are so amazing with your different makes. This bra looks so great, obviously fits you really well and is just all round fabulous - all around YOU! It really is wonderful to be able to make ALL of your own clothes in this way. Other than shoes I don't think there is anything that you couldn't make now!! xx

    1. Check out a blog called handmade by Carolyn - she is had made her own shoes and plans to make more! you are a mind reader.

  6. You never cease to amaze, that is an incredible make. Well done you, inspirational!

  7. You did a far better job than the contestants on Project Runway last night! Even the models with the pert boobs looked droopy in some of their creations...

  8. I have no reason to believe I could make a fitting bra anymore than buying one. I am apparently between sizes. The bigger one doesn't fit and the smaller one is too small but also at times too big as well (just for fun). I am on the smaller size and my options run out. Many times you see something and think 'I could make that'. But I don't think that about this. I think I would hate it and end up feeling completely abnormal. It's all so expensive as well for just tiny scraps of fabric. I might go back to the original idea and sew two hankies together and call it a bra but I am not called to do this.

    On the other hand you have done an extremely professional job of work. I think your sewing skills are as good as they get really. You seem to have both fitting issues and the sewing skills sorted out. I'm afraid the faff of fitting is something I really don't enjoy while I do the sewing part.

    Showing your bra is no different than a bikini and many people do that don't they?

  9. Wow! That looks fabulous! You've seriously nailed it. Well done!

  10. Wow! that's amazing, I have made knickers but not a bra, well donexx

  11. Jo it looks fabulous well done you

  12. Jo, your bra is brilliant. Now for me and my lack of chest and sewing skills, it might be a bit tricky, I wouldn't need that much fabric that is for sure. Well done,

  13. Well done Jo, you challenged yourself and did a fantastic job as well; the bra looks gorgeous! I LOVE the polka dot too, so cute!

  14. An amazing construction :-) Very impressive, Jo.

  15. Just so nice. Lovely work, design, choices and photographs. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  16. Very impressed by this make - well done!
    Caz xx

  17. Wow! A fantastic make - very professional looking!

  18. Well done. You did a great job and nailed the fit x

  19. Oh, wow! It's brilliant! It looks terrifyingly complicated at first, but you've made it seem so easy. I love the spotty fabric, it's a bit 1950s. All my bras are boring plain black or white. I think I need some polka dot action in my underwear drawer. xx