Archive for the ‘bra’ category

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo – March 8, 2013

March 10, 2013

Day 2



All I’d plan to buy was three more pieces of lace.  Of course, I got more than lace 🙂

Here are all of the pieces of lace I’ve purchase over the last two days.

brown navy black lace

brown navy black lace

Black – day 2 purchase.  Navy and Brown  -day 1 purchase

white red plum lace

white red plum lace

Plum and white – day 2 purchase, red – day 1 purchase

Lace pieces

Lace pieces

I couldn’t resist these pieces of lace.  I can just see then as embellishments for a bra.  All lace was purchased from Luc Smiers Fine French Laces

Jalie 2921 and Christine Jonson 1219

Jalie 2921 and Christine Jonson 1219

jacket sleeve interfacing

jacket sleeve interfacing

I bought these two patterns Jalie 2921 and christine Jonson no. 1219.  I’ve wanted Jalie 2921 pattern ever since I saw all of the reviews on patternreview.  Christine Jonson no. 1219.  This looks like an easy summer wardrobe.  I purchased these patterns from Carol Steinbrecher for Conselle.    I also purchased a yard of this interfacing.  Carol uses it on jacket sleeve hems.

I’m done with the expo for this year.  I noticed at lot of sewing vendors did not attend this year.  I hope this isn’t the shape of things to come otherwise they should rename it the Original Quilt Expo.


January 19, 2011

I took a break from the trouser sewalong this weekend to do a little bra sewing.


Things didn’t go well.  The bra didn’t fit…AGAIN.  I’m so frustrated!!  Is it the underwire?  Is it the pattern?  Sigh.  I feel there’s a secret to it that I don’t know.  I’ve got to order more bra making supplies so I’m going to put bra making aside and continue with my trousers.


Photo Credit:  xkcd:  A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Close but not too close

October 22, 2010

Bra number 3.

I think I did a much better job of sewing this bra  HOWEVER COMMA it still doesn’t fit. Sigh.

The things I changed:

  • One size larger – Cup size
  • Used medium weight powernet in addition to lycra fabric for band and side cup
  • Downward hike adjustment (1.5 inches) for band.  This worked wonderfully.  My band is wider and more comfortable now.

Fitting issues:

  • I think the cups are still too small.  The underwires stick out from my chest. When I make the next bra, I’ll be using the largest cup size!  I hope it fits. See bullet point 3 in other issues.
  • I don’t seem to get much support from the straps.  They are too far apart for me.
  • I used 3/4 inch plush back elastic for the band.  I added the correct seam allowance on all the pattern pieces but the band folds. I think 3/4 inch is too big and I’ll use 5/8 inch elastic the next time.

Other issues:

  • I’ve been using double fold medium weight Lycra for the cups.  The cups are too stretchy.  I’ve ordered a Basic Bra Kit from Needle Nook.  The Lycra is heavier.  I’ll use a double layer for this fabric for the next bra.
  • The lower cup seems to have too much height.  I don’t want to change the pattern yet.  Changing to the heavier lycra might take care of this.
  • I’m so glad that I bought a variety of under wires.  When I used one set of under wires, the top of the band pulled away from my chest.  It looked as if the cups were too small.  On a whim, I tried another pair of under wires and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  I’ll use the Flex-Lite Under wires Item 927-22 (48B,46C, 44D, 42DD) from Sew Sassy Fabrics.  Might need to change my construction  and have the channeling go all the way to the under arm elastic. My channeling is a little too short.
  • I don’t know why I didn’t sew the elastic correctly for the rings in the back.  Maybe I was just sleepy.  It’s never wise to sew when sleepy.

You know, sewing the bra isn’t all that hard.  Getting a bra that fits.   Well…that’s totally different 🙂  I’m not giving up.

I believe I’m going to break down and buy

It’s Alive!!!

October 5, 2010

I didn’t create a monster but I just finished sewing my first bra and I felt a little like Mel Brooks in Young Frankenstein.

Here’s my creation.

Take 2  of my first bra

It doesn’t fit but it looks like a bra;>    I really didn’t expect that my first attempt at making a bra would fit.  That would have been a miracle.

I believe I need to go up a cup size because the bridge doesn’t lay flat against my breast bone.  The Powernet that I bought at Gail K’s isn’t the same as the sample I received from FabricDepot Co.  It’s lighter.  So, I don’t think I’m getting the support that I need.

I’d like to thank Heather because without her, I’d still be stuck on sewing the elastic to the bra straps.

The dreaded straps

I’ve written notes all over the pattern instructions.  I don’t want to have to figure out how to sew a bra  again.  I will definitely sew this bra again.  I really need to order more supplies like Powernet and Tricot.

I ordered a bra kit from Fabric Depot Co but I don’t want to use it yet.    I’d rather wait until I get a better fitting bra.

A few things I will do different:

1.  Reduce the elastic length in the bra straps by 15% instead of 20%.  My straps were awfully curly.

2.  Use heavier tricot for the cups.  The tricot I used was doubled and it still was too stretchy.

3.  Heavier Powernet (medium) for the band and bridge.  I will also order some heavy Powernet for the side cup.  My favorite bra has a small area of  heavy Powernet on the side cup.

4.  order way more supplies because I can see this being an addiction 🙂

Sewing Lingerie – The books

October 1, 2010

These are the books I’ve purchased to help me sew my first bra.

Intimately Yours: Bras that Fit is a good book for the beginner like me.  It was the first book that I purchased and I used it along with the pattern instructions to complete (sort of) my first bra.  I really wanted to take Anne St. Clair’s Bra making class at the American Sewing Guild Annual Conference in Atlanta in August.  I think I’d be much further along if I had.

Making Beautiful Bras is a great book full of technical details like how to create a pattern from an old bra, how to alter the bra for a better fit.  This book has 202 pages and is full of tips to make your bra sewing easier.  I really like this book because it covers everything from what needles to where and how to stretch to elastic for the bra band.

Sewing Lingerie (Singer) doesn’t have information on bra making but some of the techniques for making lingrie that could be applied to sewing a bra.   I’ve only had this book for a day so I haven’t really used it yet.

There is one more book that I plan to order and that is The Bra makers Manual by Beverly Johnson.  I’ve read really good reviews about this book and I want it

I’ve started sewing the second bra and things are going well.  I had to stop because I’m traveling for business.  But when I get home, I’m heading straight to the sewing room.

I can see how sewing bras can be come addictive.  So many colors and fabrics and the best thing is the bras will actually fit me!  Woo-hoo!

Hot Mess!

September 28, 2010

Bra FrontBra back

A hot mess is the result of my entry into bra making.  I’m not upset.

This is why I prefer to make a muslin for new sewing patterns.  I know there is a high probability that I’m going to mess up somewhere in the garment construction process.  Sometimes the mess is caused my me  (yeah,  I know shocking!!!) and sometimes the mess is caused by an error in the pattern pieces or the pattern instruction.    This time the mess was ALL my fault.  I’ve never sewn a bra so I didn’t understand the details of the construction process.

The pattern I used is Danglez DB3E and I love the style of this bra.  I can see me making a lot of pretty bras with this pattern.  It’s written in ETA : German Dutch but ElingeriA provided the English translation.  Even with the translation, I was sometimes confused by the terminology.  For example, the instructions state:  Pin the cups into the back band rounding’s, right sides together and stitch it with a straight stitch.  “Roundings” threw me.  Fortunately, I had a two pieces of reference material.  Sigrid’s tutorial and the book Intimately Yours:  Bras That Fit by Anne St.Clair.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  The “roundings” are the concave curves for the bra cups in the back band.


The next order of confusion was converting metric to US units of measure.  It wasn’t hard, it just took time to do the conversions and of course I missed a few and had to stop sewing to do the math.    I made a lot of notes on my pattern instruction sheets.

The major errors were:

1.  I used the wrong size elastic for the bra band.  I used 3/4 inch plush back when I should have used 3/8 inch plush back.  3/4 inch elastic was recommended on Bramaker’s supply’s What do I need to make a bra? handout,  5/8 inch elastic was recommended in Anne St. Clair’s book and 3/8 inch elastic was used on my most comfortable bra Fantasie Kara Underwire Balcony Bra 2091.  The pattern doesn’t specify a the width for the lingerie/picot elastic.  So I just added 1/4 inch seam allowance and started sewing.  Disaster!

The elastic is way to big!

That’s a whole lotta band showing.  Not the look I was going for.

Now that I’ve (mostly) sewn a bra, I will use Heather’s Bra band tutorial to determine the seam allowance for a wider band.  I wouldn’t have understood the tutorial before making this mistake.  I didn’t grasp the whole upside down elastic placement.   I do now :).  The sewing sequence on the pattern is (roughly) as follows:  sew bra bridge to bra back, sew upper and lower cups, sew cups to bra band, sew channeling, sew bra band elastic.  Heather’s tutorial flips the last two.  You sew the bra band elastic then sew the  channeling.  I’m so doing that.  See number 3 for details.

2. Bra cup caught on the bottom of the band.  It’s really easy to catch the bottom of the bra cup when sewing the channeling.  So. very. easy.

Top stitching bra bridge and channelling

3.  Top stitching and edge stitching the channeling gave me fits!  Please note:  there’s only supposed to be 2 sets of stitches(one on each side of the channeling).  Do you see the two stitch lines on the right and the three stitch lines on the left?  Insert a lot of curse words here!  I’m trying Heather’s sequence the next time.

4.  Elastic for Side cup and top of back bra band is not one continuous piece of elastic.  It’s two.  Notice what happens when I tried to sew one continuous piece of elastic.  That little peak on the top of the band is supposed to be more of a curve.

My beautiful drawing (ha!) above shows where the two pieces of elastic should have been.

5. I can’t read!  Notice the elastic between the pink and blue markers.  The instructions state:

Measure the length of the bra band bottom from center back to center back. From this length you deduct 20%.  The length that’s left is the length of the picot/lingerie elastic that you cut off for the bra band bottom.

Here’s what I read

Measure the length of the bra band bottom from center back to center FRONT! From this length you deduct 20%.  The length that’s left is the length of the picot/lingerie elastic that you cut off for the bra band bottom.

THIS. DOES. NOT. WORK. AT. ALL.  The sad part is I didn’t realize I’d made a mistake until I was looking at Heather’s bra band tutorial  for the gabillionth time days later.  Sigh!

6.  I began reading the instructions for the shoulder strap.  I read them again and again  and again until finally brain just shut down.    I had to walk away from the sewing room at that point.  I started stalking visiting Heather’s website, Sigrid’s website, Debbie’s website and Tina’s website.  Searching from pictures of Danglez DB3E bra straps.  It took a while but I found one on Heather’s site.   I finally got it.  Measure from the start of the partial shoulder strap (when the blue pen is pointing) to end of the shoulder strap (the part that is away from the side cup).  See below.

I’m still a little confused with the application of the shoulder strap.  Do you just zigzag the other side of the strap?

At that point, I knew I had to start another muslin.  There were way too many mistakes in my first attempt.  I did learn a lot from the experience.  One tip that I got from Tina was to use temporary fabric adhesive.  I bought 505 Spray and Fix Adhesive from Intown Quilters.  I’ll use it to baste the Powernet to band and two pieces of fabric for the cups.

I will be making another muslin soon.  I traced and cut out one size up (cup and band).  I will cut out the fabric tonight.  I hope.

This experience has taught me one thing.  I’m a visual learner when it comes to sewing.  I might make a tutorial with the instructions of this pattern because what if I forget what I’ve done.  I’m SO going to do that with the next muslin.

I’m going to keep the hot mess.  I’ve already marked it up.

Stay tuned


September 23, 2010

I sewed on the channeling of my bra.  The process went well.  It wasn’t as scary as I thought.

Channeling is a long, flat tube which is sewn to the bra band and cups.  You insert the under wire inside of it.  It’s important to sew the channeling very close to the seam line of the cup.

In the photo on the right – This is the top of the bra bridge, on the left are the seam lines for the cup and the channeling.  You can’t see the channeling for the left cup.

In the photo below – Again, this is the top of the bra bridge. I’ve flipped the channeling over.  The channeling looks tilted in the picture but it’s really straight.

Next up, sewing the elastic on the bra band.  I would have started the process except (it wasn’t me) someone forgot to order plush back elastic for the bra band, cups and straps!  I ordered elastics from Sew Sassy tonight 🙂

I was inspired by Tina today.  She made three awesome bras.  I really liked the different techniques she used for the tops of the bra cups.  I would have never thought to use fold over elastic.  I’m so glad her blog is in English.  I’ve been using Google Translate and while it’s good, it doesn’t always present the inferred meaning of a phrase.

I’ve been attempting to read sewing blogs written in Dutch and German.  I’m so envious of the selection of fabrics and notions for bra making that is available in Europe.  It’s amazing!  Look here and here.  There seems to be more classes and workshop for sewing lingerie in Europe.  Read about it here…don’t forget to use Google Translate 🙂

Adventures in Bra Sewing

September 22, 2010

So after drooling over Debbie Cook, Sigrid, Heather and Tina bras, I decided to give bra sewing a try.

I ordered Ann’s book “Intimately Yours” ,

ordered Danglez DB3E from Elingeria (she’s great! and excellent service),

ordered bra notions from Sew Sassy (got my order in 2 days…sweet!)

and went to GailK’s for powernet and tricot.

Here’s where I am.

Danglez DB3B

I’ve sewn the upper and lower cups, side cup, bra bridge and band.  The pattern instructions are okay but there are no pictures.  The owner of Elingeria sent me the pattern instructions in english (Thank goodness!).  The book helped alot but I also found wonderful information at Sigrid’s tutorials website, Debbie Cook, Sigrid, Heather and Tina blogs, and  Bra-Makers Supply blog.

Next, I must sew the channeling.  I’m not sure that I ordered the correct size  underwires.  The one pattern instruction sheet that wasn’t translated into English was the underwire sheet :(.

I’m guessing that  Bügel  translates to underwire in German.  I took 3 years of German in high school but I don’t think we learned these words.  If anyone speaks German, please help me out here:

BH-Gröbe  – what does this mean?

Bügelgröbe  What does this mean?

There’s no fitting as you go when sewing bras so you must make the bra to see if it fits.  I didn’t do my best sewing with this bra.  I’ll be more careful cutting the fabric next time.  For the lower cups, I’m using 2 layers of tricot and 1 layer of knit interfacing.  For the upper cups, I’m using 2 layers of tricot.  For the side cup, I’m using 2 layers of tricot and 1 layer of knit interfacing.  Maybe I should have used powernet instead of knit interfacing.  Hmmm.  For the bra bridge and band, I’m using 1 layer of tricot and 1 layer of powernet.

Well, I’m tired.  I’m going to sleep.

Until later..peace