A brassiere, commonly referred to as a bra, is an article of clothes that covers, supports, and elevates the breasts.
The bra is considered a foundation garment, as well as an undergarment, because of its role in shaping the wearer's
figure. The bra was originally developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to replace the corset.
The bras are the most popular form of undergarment for the upper body, especially the lacebras and strapbra.
The brastraps ( brastrapholder ) and bracup should provide most of the support, rather than the shoulder straps,
which are responsible for a number of health problems .
When viewed from the side, the brastraps that runs around the body should be horizontal, should not ride up the
back, and should be firm but comfortable.
The bra underwires at the front should lie flat against the rib cage (not the breast), along the infra-mammary fold,
and should not dig in to the chest or the breasts, rub or poke out at the front.
The breasts should be enclosed by the bracup and there should be a smooth line where the fabric at the top of
the bracup ends.
There should not be a ridge or any bulging over the top or sides of the bracup, even with a low-cut style such as
the balconette bra. The most common bracupsize are a 32cbrasize and bra40a.
You love to sew and sewing your own bras or you have issues with ready-to-wear bras.
Sewing your own lingerie is very addictive, I have warned you.
How to start with making your own custom bra ?
I followed a bra making class and first I had to make my own patterns.
In the bra making class, I learned to alter my pattern to fit my body
I have a few basic lingerie patterns, they are exactly shaped for me.
Now I can choose from thousands of fabrics and elastics and have my unique lingerie.
First copy the pattern pieces out and don't use the original to alter your pattern.
You have a master pattern and the pattern pieces are copied out
and the copies only are altered. Please don't alter the originals, at some point
you will need them in the original form and if you haven't used copies you'll be stuck.
Bra making supplies;
Bra Back Closures, Braextenders, Bra Rings, Brastraps, Bra Hooks, Spaghetti Strap, Rings & Slides,
Nursing Bra Clasps, Plush Elastic, Brastrapholder, Bracup, Underwires, Channeling, Fabric Tricot, Sheer - Tricot,
Sheer Nylon, Sheer Polyester , lingerie Fabrics, Stretch Satin, lingerie Lycra® and Spandex.
International Bra Size Calculator
International Bra Size Conversion
Bra Size Information
I want to make a 2-piece bracup
This is my custom bra pattern, you can't use it, it is
specially made for me.
Google on lingerie or bra making and class.
It is possible to create a perfect custom bra. You have
to be willing to sew a few trials along the way,
to perfect the fit. After having got good bra patterns for your figure you will be able to sew luxurious bra
with perfect fit in a couple of hours.
Tip; Don't use expensive fabrics for the first 3
After you have learned the sewing techniques it may be worth while investing in more expensive fabrics and laces.
As fabric you can use normal lingerie tricot or jersey.
I suggest you use 2-way or 4-way stretch fabric.
Part of the bracup can be sewn of stretchy lace or lace fabric.
You can apply decorations, such as a bow, flower or lace appliqués.
If you are not using
power net for the T piece, you need to stabilize it if the fabric is very stretchy.
To get a firm band, the midriff part should always be sewn of double fabric.
Do stabilize the center piece so that there is NO stretch whatsoever.
Furthermore you need lingerie edge elastic. Consider
an alternative to use elastic of contrasting color,
that might be the only decoration needed for your bra.
If you use lace or lace fabric for some parts of the bra, it usually is advisable to strengthen its edge with
transparent elastic or very thin lingerie elastic.
Buy fabrics of a good quality, otherwise your bracups will sag.
And once you have used bra sewn to your own measurements, you never again want to wear anything else.
This is especially true with women who have a prominent bust and who need extra support for it but find it
difficult to get well fitting ready made bra ( RTW ).
You can copy your favorite bra.
Make a pattern from that favorite bra by "reverse engineering."
While there are methods for making a pattern from an intact bra, dismantling the bra provides a more accurate
reproduction. Remember to write the reverse of what you're doing when taking apart the bra (i.e., when
detaching the brastraps, write instructions for how to attach the brastraps). Google for dismantling the bra.
The sewing is not very difficult, but it can be frustrating at times. You do have to sew nearly the entire bra
before you know whether it fits (or not).
I want to make a custom bra with a bra band and a “cut-and-sew”
bracup (2 pieces)
there are basically 3 types of stitches,
Have a new stretch needle, a full bobbin of good quality thread
Trace out pattern
pieces to whatever you like to use.
Mark stretch and grain line directions and notches. There are only 5 basic pieces to my pattern.
Make sure you have the stretch going the right way
Label everything! How many pieces to cut and what the part is (Upper bracup, Bra Band, etc.).
Just add the seam allowances ( 1 cm ) and you are ready to go!
If my instructions are;
take 80% of this length and so and so on
Than divide this ( for instance elastic ) equally over the length,
because there is less elastic ( 80 % ) than length
Cut for the centre T piece ( front bra band )
stabilizer fabric (sheer
nylon) in this picture left side
bracups must have extra support.
If you want to line the bracups, cut out lining fabric, make sure the stretch
in the opposite direction
then lay the pieces together, wrong sides together and stitch on the edge, then treat as one piece.
Pin bracups wrong sides together, matching notches
You will use 1 cm seams throughout. Straight stitch together. I use length 2.0 on my machine
Stretch bracups when sewing the upper and the lower bracup together
Fold seam line to one side, here downside and then
straight stitch for the 2nd stitching. Trim away excess fabric.
If you want the seam to be very neat you can cover it with a very thin bias tape.
Sew side seams ( sew the side panel to the front bra band )
Stitching with a straight stitch
I put underwire casing over this seam as well,
cut 2 pieces of the casing just under 1 cm from each end.
I put some light boning in here for support,
which helps when there are wires and when you want to stop the bra from rolling up!
As you can see, I put the boning in the casing, cut of the boning at the right size
Make sure the bones are out of the way when stitching over the
casing otherwise you'll break your needle
Use Finger-pressing throughout -
Opening seam allowances with the thumbnail.
Use straight stitch to sew the underwire channeling (casing) ) precisely in the middle, on your seam
stitch all around, 1 time
at the left and 1 time
at the right side of the channeling
Trim away excess fabric, careful
Do stabilize the centre piece of the bra band,
so that there is NO stretch whatsoever. If you are not using power net for the T piece,
you need to stabilize it, with sheer nylon. I use Tule here in the Netherlands.
The bracups have to go, here
in de bra band.
First we have to finish the
top of the bra = bridge
Stitching with a straight
Like this, there is nothing
Fasten bracups to midriff
piece ( bra band ) ,
matching notches on bracup seams to midriff piece. pin down the first 2 cms in a straight line
At the other side of the bracup
Divide the fabric between these
2 pins, equally,
there is more bracup fabric than there is space in the band
Stretch bra band piece when sewing.
Sew very carefully, the stitch line must stay at same distance from and parallel to the bracup seam
The bra looks alright to me, so far
Take your underwire and underwire channeling
put your wire in the channeling
Cut 2 pieces of the underwire channeling
the length is the length of the underwire + 1 cm at each side remove the wire from the channeling
Sew the channeling on the bracup
edge seam stitches
Leaving some channeling past the bra edge free ( 1 cm above the bridge ) at the center
or if you prefer this
Along the bracup edge seam stitches
stitch in place as closely to the seam of the bracup, as you can,
stitching along the channeling seam allowance
Leave a tail of about 1 cm, so you can feed later the wire through.
The underarm edge will have the channeling “short” by 1 cm.
The underwire channeling (casing)
is in place
Trim away excess fabric,
do NOT cut the extra 1 cm of the underwire channeling (casing)
Leave this part of the bra, we
are going to stitch the elastic.
Before you stitch your elastic,
check the length of the
bottom of your bra band. Note how long the band is, than take 80% of this length for the elastic. ( lingerie elastic ).
Mark the centre of elastic to
Centre Front seam to give even placement of elastic on each side.
Pin down elastic following your pattern and measurements, at the bottom of the bra band.
Try to pin the elastic
1 cm below the underwire channeling (casing).
Use a zigzag W 1.5 L 2.0 for
first stitching, trim away excess fabric,
Topstitching - stitching with
a elastic stitch
on the outside. Fold ( turn ) and using an elastic stitch for the 2nd stitching ( topstitching )
Now we have to sew the channeling
the channeling must be at the center of the bridge; and just 2 channeling's wide, where my thumb is on the photo
Starting just on the inside of the bra, stitching with a straight stitch the inner curve down first, If you're adding
underwires, sew the channeling down so it also acts as seam tape on the bracup-to-chestband seams.
You'll want the inner curve stitching
to be along the bracup edge seam stitches
The second row of topstitching
can be done from the inside of the bracup,
the outer curve stitching to be about 1 cm away, on the chestband side of the bracups.
Or you can do that one on the outside of the bracup, staying parallel to the first row.
You’ll usually sew on the channeling guidelines that are woven into every channeling tube.
Being careful not to make the stitching too narrow for the wires to fit through so you get them inside.
Stretch as you sew.
In short; topstitch the channeling
two times -
but they must be parallel to one another!
In class I have learned to stitch on the outside of the bra, but I prefer to stitch on the inside.
This is how the front of the bra
look likes now, funny little pieces of channeling sticking out of the front
Underarm or armhole-and-back
Elastic length is aprox. 80% of the length of the bra underarm edge measurement.
Finally, finish the bracups top edges and the top edges of the back panels with edge elastic.
I have trimmed the edge first
for a smooth edge
Apply the elastic to the top (underarm)
edge of the bra,
the edge of the elastic should be next to the top end of the channeling.
The elastic should not sew through the channeling - sew with a zig-zag stitch, just above it.
When the elastic is turned ( folded ) and sewn for the second time, with an elastic stitch, you will sew
through the channeling and cover the raw edge nicely.
The elastics went on over the channeling and the boning and underwire channeling, went in.
The shoulder straps ( aprox.
50 cms each. including the back length )
Measure your bra back length ( blue line ) take a piece of shoulder-strap, the length must be 80% of the length
of the back + 2 cms
Stitching with an elastic
stitch and leaving 2 cms at the end
Attach the strap ring to the bracup
top at the blue arrow
Fold this 2 cms end under and bar tack it in place (2 rows of elastic stitches ).
This is how it look likes
Sew slides to the ends of
the shoulder-straps stitching with a zig-zag stitch
Putting elastic through
slide and ring to make it adjustable
Pull the other end of the shoulder-strap, the end without the slides, through the ring on the bra, at the back
with right side in front of you, from back to front, towards you,
Then through one side
of the slide en down the other.
Attach that same end of
the shoulder-straps on the front of your bra, at the blue arrow
take care not to twist the shoulder-strap
Sew shoulder-strap in the
direction of the blue arrow and at that point.
If your brastraps tend to fall off the shoulder all the time, adjust the pattern for the placement of the brastraps,
at the back, move it more to the midline. This stops them from falling down!
Fasten hook-and-eye tape or
other kind of closures to the ends of the
back panels. I use a 3-hook closure. Attach with a straight stitch first, (Hooks on the right, eyes on the left)
to hold it onto the bra back. Put the bra on and check the correct length of the closure, if correct, then zig-zag.
If not, adapt the back width and repeat above.
Very carefully stitch this
in place as close to the eyes as possible.
I use a zipper foot to attach the hook closure, I find the regular foot is too awkward to handle this task.
Attach the eyes and use zig-zag stitch.
This is where you
put the underwires in
The wires are in,
now we have to stop wires from popping out
And use a straight stitch
at each end of casing,
just before the end
Now you may cut the ends
of the underwire
channeling (casing) just under the edge.
Notice the underwire channeling
(casing) is 2 pieces
width at the center
Sew on a tiny bow
or tiny embellishment of
your choice to centre front seam
check the inside of my bra
( click on thumbnail to enlarge )
check the outside of
my bra ( click on thumbnail to enlarge )