Introduction: How to Make a Brassiere

About: I am a designer!
After making this, you may never be able to wear store-bought again! It is a little fiddly and exacting, but once you have the knack of it you will find making this bra so rewarding not to mention cost effective. The finish is of a much higher standard than you could buy, (unless you’re paying a small fortune!). You will also end up with a perfect fitting bar, very comfortable! You will need the bra block to create this. I recommend using Winifred Aldrich’s Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear or Ann Haggar’s Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear to make the blocks.

Step 1: 1.Cut Your Pattern Pieces.

You will need:
1.half a metre of satin fabric, (use a good quality one not a lining satin)
2.tailors tacking thread
3.size 70 machine needle
4.regular hand-sewing needle
5.matching cotton thread
6.sewing machine
7.bra block pattern
9. steam iron
10. bra rings and sliders
11. elastic and/or ribbon for bra straps (alternatively make your own using the same fabric as the bra)
12. thimble
13. measuring tape
14. ruler
15. pins
16. fabric shears
17. paper scissors
18. felt pen
19. bra wire casing
20. bra wires

1.Cut your pattern pieces.

You will need the basic bra block for this tutorial. I followed the instructions of Ann Haggar’s pattern cutting book and altered the front seam for uplift and shaped the top cup. I have also chosen to use the side support seams. You can cut them in together with the front piece if you wish, but I chose not to, partly to save on fabric and partly because I decided a seam here would look nice!

A very important point: Cut all pieces on the bias. This will make them fit much better without stress lines.

Cut two of each piece. I have used the same fabric for the outer bra as for the inner, if you want you can chose a different lining, or why not get really experimental and use different fabrics for each piece! When cutting lingerie I cut an 8mm seam allowance.

Step 2: 2. Stitch You Garment Pieces.

First of all, stitch the cups. Stitch top and bottoms together. You will end up with two sets. Press to set the stitches. Press the central seam allowance of one set up and one set down. Top stitch close to the seam then trim the allowances to 3mm.

Pin opposing cups right sides together and stitch along the top seam. Press the seam.

If you are using the side support seam, stitch the back strap to the front piece. Press the seam to set the stitches, then press the seam open and use a clapper to make the seam flat. If you wish you can do as I have done and top-stitch the seam allowances down. Trim the seam allowance close the the stitching.

Lay the two main bra pieces right sides together and pin. If the seam allowances don’t match exactly, don’t try to make them or you will end up with extra fabric on one side. Instead, trim the odd one down to fit. Again trim the seam allowance to about 3mm. Press.

Step 3: 3. Turning to the Right Side and Pressing.

Turn your cups right sides out. Hand roll the seams out. Try spraying a little water from your iron or a bottle onto the garment to help you do this effectively. Press and use the clapper, only on the very edge of the seam, try to avoid the main part of the garment.

Repeat this process when turning out the main bra panel. Press one seam at a time, don’t try to do both! Use the clapper to make the seams sharp.

Step 4: 4.Inserting the Cups.

Gently allow the cups to fall into their natural shape. Decide which side is inside and which is outside and allow the cup to fall concave to that side. Pin to hold in place. If one sides seam allowance no longer matches that of the other, trim it down. In the photo you can see the inside cup needs trimming down a millimetre or two.

Now gently ease the cups into their place on the bra. Start by pinning either end in place, then gently ease the cups in. You may need to go round once then go back again. Because you have cut them on the bias this should be fairly easy to do. Try not to stretch the fabric too much.

Step 5: 5. Stitching the Cups.

Carefully stitch the cups in, stitch from the inner cup side as opposed to the inner band side. Allow the cup to curve upwards as you stitch, don’t pull it flat, only when really necessary to ease the cup onto the band. Take it slow and try to feed the band through flat so it doesn’t pucker by accident.

Trim the seam allowance to between 4-5mm. Gently steam and press with the point of the iron.

Step 6: 6. Trimmings and Straps.

Top stitch two rows around the cups on the right side of the bra.

Hand stitch on any embellishments such as bows. Apply the straps by folding under the raw edges and overcasting around the fold to the inner bra.

Backstitch the bra fasteners to the ends of the straps.

Step 7: 7. Bra Wires.

Finally, pin a length of bra wire casing up to the seam allowance of the cups. Overhand both sides to the inner bra fabric only. Overcast the ends together after inserting the wire.

Step 8: And You're Done!