Bra pattern tales

Kwik Sew 3300, Cloth Habit Harriet bra and Emerald Erin’s Black Beauty bra are 3 patterns I’ve just made a few bras from to work through my lingerie stash.

My version of Kwik Sew 3300 is an old version and has the instructions to create your own underwire channelling. The error in this pattern is the channelling only reaches the base of the back bra band. The channelling should be long enough to reach the top of the back bra band.

Anyway, I’ve made this pattern before so this version this story begins when I shopped at the West Ryde store of The Sewing Basket. I was able to shop there one Saturday morning and they had a white lace bra kit from Booby Traps for $5. These bras kits are new to me, ie, I’ve never bought one before.

This was an old kit and when I checked the elastics, the wide plush elastic, the elastic was not worth using. It was so old, the elastic had perished.

I’m adding swimwear elastic to the top of the lace cup

As you can see, the white lace is a classic style so I still wanted to sew it up. In previous bra versions, I use the 36B size and I’ve removed some fullness in the top cup pattern. The other adjustments I’ve made is removed some fullness at the side of the cup and the bridge piece is skinnier than the pattern piece.

Completed bra

In addition to replacing the plush elastic, I added a centre bridge flower embellishment I bought from The Remnant Warehouse. This bra has a combination of white and off white bits and pieces. The cups are lined with a white tricot knit.

I then only had a bit of white lace left over so I stash dived and found a few bits to make another version of this Kwik Sew pattern.

A mix of bra stash bits

I used the white lace for the bridge and the upper cup piece. I found a white mesh with spots I bought from Pitt Trading. The rest of the black bra base were pieces I bought from The Remnant Warehouse.

I was really pleased to be able to more bra notions and hardware from my stash.

Now I’ve recently made a Harriet bra.

Test version

This first Harriet was again made from my lingerie stash. The fashion fabric is a woven mesh with no stretch. I added a cute blue picot elastic along the top of the cups for a pop of colour. I think all of these pieces for this test bra were bought at Pitt Trading.

The work on this bra is not my finest but it’s a test version and I have since taken some fullness out of the bra side piece. It was too long for my shape. I’ve used 36B for this bra pattern.

bra lining

This lining is from a bra kit I bought from Susan Goodwin of Measure Twice Cut Once. She used to sell the most amazing bra kits and this was the last one that I had purchased from her at the time.

Before I used this bra kit, I checked the elastics and only one of them was a bit weaker than the others. I used the weaker elastic to trim the top of the bra.

Denim blue bra

The only additions to this bra were these tiny dark blue flowers that I bought from The Remnant Warehouse. I chose to use the bra lining for the bra bridge and then it looked a bit plan so I added three tiny flowers.

After not taking FOE elastic on the weekend where I made the first 3 bras, I finally did finish this test Black Beauty bra by Emerald Erin.

Black Beauty bra test version

I have quite a bit of this rose knit so I wanted to make a see-through bra. This knit has a lot of stretch in it so it will be great for making the matching pants. However the cups need to be stable so I’ve lined the cups in a transparent white tricot.

Bra band was too long

Once I was able to finish this test version, I added the hook and eye piece to check the bra band length. As you can see, compared to a ready to wear bra, the band is too long.

test bra comparison to ready to wear bra

I hadn’t finished the bra straps as this stage because then I would have needed to unpick so much more, trying to adjust the bra band to fit.

From the variety of elastics in this bra, you can see how much is actually in my bra stash. I pick up bits and pieces from various shops when I see them and I remember the lingerie fabrics I have to match notion colours with.

First black beauty bra

It’s come together well. The top of the bra elastic was a boo boo on my part. I’ve now slimmed down the bridge pattern.

I sewed the channelling into the cup where the pattern recommends sewing the channelling on the bra band.

I’ve also taken some length out of the upper cup pattern and some room on the cup, under the arm. Now this pattern is good to go for a few more versions.

Getting bras to fit

Now that I’ve endured making my very first bra years ago, getting bras to fit is a very personal and emotional topic for many sewists I know, so my initial bra making angst wasn’t ‘all about me’.

Making clothes can bring up a lot of personal issues about how you feel about yourself so by the time you decide to make a bra, all of those issues come to the surface.

Do you have a bra kit that didn’t work. Have you been to a bra making class and it was a complete fail? Do you have a bra making stash that keeps growing? You are in good company.

The only reason I’ve been able to pull myself out of that bra making disappointment is because I had the individual help of a sewing friend at a sewing session. They gave me their time and compassion to figure out where I got stuck and helped me figure out what I had to do next.

Now I have the knowledge to be able to work through new sewing patterns. The basic order of construction are fairly similar –
1: sew the cup pieces together
2: sew the bra cradle pieces
3: sew the cups onto the bra band
4: sew on the channelling
5: finish sewing on the bra band elastics
6: sew on the bra straps
7: sew on the hook and eye pieces (without breaking your sewing machine needle)

Happy bra sewing.

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