Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adventures in Bra Making Part II

Well, this sure was a bust! Looks nice though, doesn't it?

Too bad it doesn't all. 

The frustrating thing about bramaking is that you don't know whether something fits until it is completely finished.  The 34B white Marlborough that I made at Camp Workroom Social was a bit too small. Wearable but not perfect.  Norma noted that my cup size was between a B and C and advised that for my next bra (the black bra), I cut out a 32D.

Sometimes we must take two steps backward...The 32D doesn't fit at all around the band, though it appears to fit in the cups.  Even with a bra extender I can hardly wear it for 5 minutes!  Although the 32D black bra is unwearable, the sewing experience was still valuable. I really worked on better understanding the construction of the bra and made a ton of notes and changes to the Marlborough construction sequence, etc.with help from my sewing instructor Sharon.

Courtesy of the remnant bin at Sposabella! ($10 for the 3!)

I am bound and determined to make a bra that fits!  Especially now that I have invested so much time and money in the process.  Next up is a 34C using a remnant from Sposabella.  Here's hoping that third time is the charm!


  • Don't forget to trim down the finished seam allowances after topstitching!  In particular after steps 3, 7, and 8 of the Orange Lingerie instructions.
  • The Orange Lingerie instructions have you measure out the wire casing along the actual bra cup and add 2 inches (step 12).  This means that 1 inch of casing is sticking out both at the center front of the bra and at the sides.  Once the bra is complete, you cut the casing flush with the bra center front.  After following these instructions, I found that the center front casing was peaking out a little bit from the bra center front in my white bra. For the black bra, I placed the center front casing about 1/8" below the center front and angled it slightly toward the center. When I sewed the casing, I was sure to angle in toward the centerfront and pivot before sewing the next casing/cup combination.  This resulted in a finished bra that didn't have the casing peaking out the center front.  Much better! 
  • The Orange Lingerie instructions had me clip the curves along the bra cup seam allowance.  Later, I would need to sew the underwire casing to the seam allowance.  It would have been helpful to have the uncut seam allowance when sewing the underwire casing to the seam allowance so that the underwire casing  has more seam allowance to "grab onto." Next time, I will not cut the curve of the bra cups.
Sewing Sequence
  • Complete the cups in full before attaching elastic to underarm (13A) and bottom band (13B).  Using the Orange Lingerie instructions, I skipped step 13 and instead completed 13A after step 19.

  • Attach the ring to the elastic first.  Next, create the strap elastic and place it through the ring.

  • Demiwires:  The D cup underwires are a bit too large so I never put them into the casing of the 32D black bra.  I really prefer the look of demicups, so for my future C cup bra I am going to order demiwires from BraMaker's Supply.  Demicups (also known as "half cups") are shorter than the full underwire and are often characterized by being the same height at the front and the sides. See detailed explanation here
  • Thick vs. thin straps/elastics.  When I sized up to the D cup, I also sized up in the elastic (from 3/8" to 1/2") and the bra straps (3/8" to 1/2").  As Norma explained, this is intended to provide more support.  She suggests the larger straps/elastics for all D cup and higher.  I really don't like the look of the larger straps and intend to go back down to 3/8" for my future C cup bra.  


  1. Oh, boo! It's so frustrating to put so much effort and optimism into garments that don't work. You're right, though, they *are* beautiful! Sending you good vibes--the third time will totally be the charm.

    1. Thanks Sara! The bra making is on hold right now. It was just so discouraging. But I need to get back to it b/c I refuse to buy what is out there--it's all either poor quality or $$$$$.

  2. Wow, this is beautiful! I am so scared to try bra making... it's really intimidating! I'll be keeping an eye on your progress here!