How to Sew Bras That Fit

Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Sewing | Comments


sew bras that fit

Sewing your own bras can be a worthwhile endeavor. After all, the bra you wear can make a huge difference in the way your clothes fit or your comfort level throughout the day. But even if you are convinced you want a completely handmade wardrobe, from your skirt to your underthings, there’s still the question of how to sew bras that fit.

Here are some tips to sewing a great fitting bra:

The first step is to get an accurate measurement of your band and cup size. You can do this yourself or pop into a lingerie shop to get measured. Don’t be surprised if the resulting size is different from what’s currently in your underwear drawer. Your bra size can change, particularly if you’ve gained or lost weight.

Once you have your measurements, begin your pattern search. Many of the major pattern companies have bra patterns, and you can also search online for patterns from independent designers (you might even stumble across a freebie). You probably already have an idea of what style of bra is best for you (full-coverage vs. demi cup, underwire vs. non-underwire, etc.). But it’s also worth trying out other styles, as well (once you’ve made your first bra, you’ll find that others come together in a couple of hours, so time and money-wise you won’t be out too much on a bra you end up not liking).

Bra-making is definitely a “try on as you go” process. For your first bra, you’ll want to make a “muslin,” only you can’t actually use muslin since it doesn’t have any stretch to it. Test your bra pattern using the same materials you plan to use for the finished product. This is a key step in learning how to sew bras that fit. Fortunately, bras don’t use up too much fabric, so you won’t feel like you are wasting your resources when making your muslin.

Once you have the bra cups constructed, you’ll want to check them for fit before continuing. If you’ve made the correct size, the cup will cover your entire breast (you’ll want to allow a tiny bit extra for seam allowances), with no spill-over at the top (but no excess fabric, either). If you can pinch extra fabric, make note of how much so you can adjust the cup accordingly. Be sure to check both breasts. Few women are symmetrical. If there’s a big difference you might want to make separate pattern pieces for each side (one of the advantages to sewing your own bras!).

You’ll also want to check how the band fits, although you’re less likely to need major adjustments in this area. The band shouldn’t ride up in the back; if it does you might need a larger cup size. Lengthening or shortening the band length is an easy adjustment.

The final piece of the fit puzzle are the straps. They shouldn’t dig into your shoulders or fall off. You don’t have to make the straps adjustable, like a ready-to-wear bra, if you prefer not to.

The advantage to making your own bra is achieving the perfect fit, so don’t give up until you get there! If you’re ready to dive in, don’t forget to check out this post on sewing with lingerie fabrics. Plus, for even more fitting tips, check out the online Craftsy class Sew the Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard.

Have you sewn your own lingerie before? Do you have any other tips on how to sew bras that fit?

You might also enjoy sewing with chiffon and tips for sewing with spandex. Come back to the Craftsy blog on Monday to learn sewing tips for turning inside out!

Comments

  1. Deby says:

    Can we have a full class on making your own bras please/ I am so confused about all of the materials needed and how to get a good fit on a bra (I’m sure I’ve never had one that fits properly).
    And the construction and fabrics are different to regular sewing – please Craftsy – can we have a class? I’ll be the first to sign up.

    1. Malia Oswald says:

      Ditto!!

    2. Malia Oswald says:

      I would also like a class on making bras.

      1. melissa says:

        DITTO~!!!!

      2. Donna S Lucas says:

        Me TOO!

    3. Sylvia says:

      I would also like to have a class on making your own bras.

    4. Linda says:

      I’d do a class for this too!

  2. AnnTerry says:

    Yes, I’d love a class on bra making and sewing swimsuits for plus-sized bodies.

    1. Pat Stinson says:

      Yes, a bra class and a bathing suit sewing class for plus size would be awesome!

  3. Kristi says:

    I agree. Please post a class on bra sewing. I spend over $60 on each bra that I buy since they only make my size in the UK. I would love to be able to make my own and spend a little less and get great colors and perfect sizing.

  4. Kristina says:

    I agree with Deby! If there is such a class, I bet it is going to be successful! :)

  5. Sandra says:

    I second Deby…and I’ll be following her heels at signing up for a “how to make your own bra” class!

  6. Brooke says:

    Get Beverly Johnson to make a class! I would buy it!

  7. carmel williams says:

    i want one patterns please

  8. Chloe Collins says:

    I second (Deby) comment above. It would be nice if there was a class specifically for making bra’s.

    Here to hoping you have a great day.

  9. allyson says:

    I would also like to have a class on making your own bras.

  10. Barbara says:

    I’ll be the second to sign up. I have never even thought of sewing my own bras. It sounds very interesting.

  11. Cindy Worthley says:

    A bra class would be cool…

  12. Toni M Jones says:

    Yes! And I’ll be the second one to sign up. It would be fantastic to have a bra making class on Craftsy. I have made a bra from a Bramaker’s Supply pattern and kit. It turned out far better than a store bought bra even though it was my first attempt. I will certainly make my own from now on but I’d love, love, love to have a Craftsy class on bra making!

    1. Jha says:

      Are you referring to the Bramaker’s Supply in Hamilton, Ontario?! Their Bra Maker’s Manual is also really excellent!

  13. Stephanie says:

    The proper fitting bra should put the girls at a 50/50 position between the “corner” of your shoulder and your elbow. No more than 60/40% if you are exceptionally blessed.

    The right fit can make you look 10 POUNDS thinner, in an instant.

    The “shelf-life” of a bra is about 3 to 4 months, and that is if you have at least 2, and don’t wear the same one 2 days in a row.

    ~~~Tips borrowed from the late and fantastic Charla Krupp, and her 2 books.~~~

  14. Aggie says:

    Agree… We need bra or full underwear making class.

  15. Bettina says:

    yes, I totally agree with Deby, a bra making class would be great! (maybe with a bonus panty to match with :) )

  16. Beth says:

    I’d really love to see a class on bra making as well. I’ve been attempting to learn this skill from some books but a class would definitely be better. When it comes sewing, books can only do so much.

  17. ruby t says:

    I too, would like to see a class on this.
    Let all of us know if you get one going. It would be such a awesome project and
    I would get one that has all of the features I like/need in the same bra!

  18. Lois.Holman@gmail.com says:

    Yes please. I have made several attempts at bra making and would love a class.

  19. Kathryn Dane says:

    I once took a face-to-face class in making bras. It was a quite interesting even though it was just a demonstration class. I did make several attempts to make a well-fitted bra, but found the supplies and materials difficult to find (before online stores). The most difficult item to find is underwires with the correct contours.

    That said, I would gladly sign up for a custom bra-making class, if offered in the Craftsy format.

  20. Kara says:

    I also want to add my vote for a bra making class

  21. Doris Bussey says:

    I would love a bra making class, I would also love an underwear class. I have become allergic to latex and it’s almost i,possible to find underwear without Latex in it. I f you do they look terrible and they charge a unbelievable price! Please help us!

  22. Kathy A says:

    Class on making bras…PLEASE!!! I am in between sizes & cannot find a comfy & well fitting bra to save my life!

  23. Jean says:

    Definitely need a class for large sizes. I have myself and 2 daughters to sew for. Need F cups.

  24. Lise Waring says:

    I took a bra-making class at the American Sewing Guild’s annual conference one year – it was taught by Ann St Clair of Needle Nook Fabrics in Kansas http://ndlnookfab.blogspot.com/ – she would be well worth taping

  25. Jean Mulford says:

    Anne St. Clair teaches bra-making at Needle Nook Fabrics in Wichita KS. She also does workshops around the US. She has a website and she ships supplies. I’ve taken her class, and I’ve made several bras. They fit and feel better than any bra I’ve ever bought. Now I’m starting to make bras for my daughter, who needs a 44B, which no manufacturer makes.

  26. Dibs says:

    Like every other person above, I would pay for a bra making class without blinking.

  27. Patricia New says:

    I second, third, etc. that a class would be wonderful! Thank you so much for the wonderful classes that you have so far. I enjoy them tremendously. I have learned so much from Craftsy!

  28. Eleanor says:

    Ann St Clair has done workshops at various sewing conventions. Perhaps she would do a class. I know someone in my American Sewing Guild that has taken her class and now makes all her own bras.

  29. JuliaSophia says:

    I would instantly sign up for a bra-making class, and I agree with Bettina, a bonus panty would be great. As expensive as a GOOD bra can be (up to $100 + ) excellent fit and overview of the best fabrics to use (allergic to latex) would make a fabulous class.

  30. marla says:

    I would LOVE a class on Bra making! Lets get to it Craftsy!!!!

  31. Brenda D says:

    I would absolutely LOVE to join an online bra-making class!! Please let me know!….

  32. Marci Milus says:

    I have taken Anne St. Clair’s bra workshop and the best things about it would be hard to duplicate in an on-line class – although it would be fantastic if possible. First, she brings fitting bras in every imaginable size – you can determine the proper size to start with easily. Second, she can look at you, in the fitting bra that is closest to what you need, and immediately tell what changes need to be made to fit your unique figure (and then drafts a pattern for you that incorporates those changes). I took a one-on-one class from Anne at her shop many years ago (10?) and she is fantastic to work with, as are all the ladies that work for her. Be warned, you’ll be surprised by what size you actually should be wearing!

  33. Diana Jackson says:

    I too would LOOOVE!!! it if CRAFTSY offered a bra making class. It would be so wonderful to make my own perfect fitting bra. Please, Please consider our requests…

  34. Julie says:

    Oh gosh, YES! I just found your website because my mother, my sister and I all have tremendous problems finding well-fitting bras and since there’s a lot of weight to support, especially with my sister, the bras don’t last too long. My sister and to a lesser extent I as well have to shop for bras internationally and the time put into finding good bras again and again (no large manufacturer brands fit for either of us) and half the time, we run around in bras that barely fit, but are the best we could get under the circumstances. I REALLY hope you’ll offer a bra-making class! I just browsed your other classes and I’d totally go for it. Please consider.

  35. Jackie says:

    I also would love a bra making class on Craftsy. Please consider this.

  36. kelly says:

    Class please!!

  37. Abeer Baara says:

    To whom this may concern:

    It is with great pleasure that I introduce Abeer Bara’a to you, and inquire about the possibility of receiving information related to bra design and production for her local company, Beit Al’Arousa.

    Ms. Bara’a is a prominent female business owner in Nablus, Palestine, where she runs a premier bridal and formalwear shop. After working with Ms. Bara’a at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, where she participated in an intensive entrepreneurship and startup incubation program, I am assisting her in locating resources that can help her incorporate bra design and production into her business.

    As quality patterns and training courses on bra manufacturing are not widely available in Palestine, I would greatly appreciate if you could provide guidance, information, and/or advice to Ms. Bara’a that might further her ability to produce fine, quality bras for her shop. Specifically, she is looking for sewing patterns and training opportunities.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Cayce Pack

    Women’s Empowerment Program Coordinator.

    Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.