Saturday, June 2, 2007

Making a bra - 4

Edited to add: I've made a pdf file for these instructions. You can find it here.

In my last post, the bra was getting shape. Now it comes to finishing it. This is the part that takes the most time.

Wire casing/chanellingThe bra I'm making has wires. For that you need wire casing. You measure the size of the rounding of your cup (seamline!) and cut 1 cm extra for seam allowance and on both sides some extra length. On the picture below you see my wire casing, on the right the extra 1cm seam allowance is measured. This side goes under your arm. The other side is center front.
Wires are usually 2 cm shorter then the rounding of your cup (you have to stitch above them later to ensure they don't move out of the casing.

Pinning wire casing

Pin the wire casing on the stitched line of the cup. In my bra the wire casing is folded outward, so the seam allowance is folded under the casing like the picture. It could be the other way when your pattern folds the channelling towards the cup.

Stitch the wire casing on the edge, very close to the seamline of cup and band.

Don't stitch the last two centimeters of the wire casing under the arm. The elastic has to be folded on this part

Casing in the picture below is stitched.Just let the extra length attached for this moment. Certainly in center front my experience is that it is best to trim it later, as the topstitching still has to be done.

Measure elasticCut the length of the elastic for bottom and upper part of band and cup. Either mark the points with pins or with a erasable marker. The length is usually the length of the pattern parts -20%. but there are women who find this too much and take 15% off.

Pin elastic to underside of band and center frontI use a ironing ham to keep the lycra stretched while I pin. But an extra pair of hands works too. Another method is stitching the beginning stitched, and keep the needle down in the elastic and pin from there.

Sew the elastic with a zigzag stitch, trim the seam allowance, turn and topstitch with a multiple zigzag.

Important on sewing a bra is reducing bulk. In the following picture I have cut away a small part of the seam allowance of the seam of band and cup.

Now trim the seam allowance of the wire casing, and pin the wire casing from the front. Then edgestitch on the side of the cup, and then topstitch approx. 0,5 cm from the edgestitching. Be aware that in the space between edge- and topstitch the wire is added. So don't make it to narrow. This is tricky, even after making a lot of bra's, I regularly find myself ripping out the outer topstitching, because my wire won't pass :-(

Add the wires to the wire casing.

All that is left to do is adding hook and eye closing and the shoulderstraps.

Link to part 5


  1. I'm inspired--your instructions and photos seem very clear. As it seems that every rtw bra I like is soon discontinued by the manufacturer, I'm ready to try making my own. I'm planning to use a pattern by Beverly Johnson.

  2. Awesome Picture!!

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  3. Awesome Picture!!

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  4. Thank you for your great posts on bra-making - so helpful to me!

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