How to Sew Yourself a Bra

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I am wearing a non-standard bra size which is not available in Germany in case I insist on a modern/ lacy/ not-you-grandma style within a limited budget. I usually order my bras from the UK where sizes for full-breasted women are a lot easier to find. But when it comes to stylish soft bras, things get a lot more complicated.

As this year’s WGT is approaching and I plan to wear some tops with extra large armholes, I need something nice to wear underneath. While browsing sewing patterns, I stumbled upon Emerald Erin’s Jordy Bralette which is a pretty simple design that showcases your cloth perfectly. I turned a non-stretch, olive cotton sateen into a stunning result that sadly is unwearable.

The two cups are attached to an elastic band which is closed with hooks and eyes on the back. In my opinion, this construction makes the pattern not suitable for larger breasts as it lacks the support needed. The straps cannot compensate this. Another weakness of the pattern is that you can of course try on the cups before attaching them to the underbust elastic and straps, but you will not know if this bralette works for you until you have finished it. What a pity!

Before I could work myself up into frustration, I decided to try out Madalynne’s Barrett Bralette pattern. Before starting, I had done a little research if it was suitable for larger breasts and had found some projects that looked quite good. First, I cut and sewed the cups only from leftover scuba cloth. The largest size had a good fit, but the scuba did not give enough support for a 34F bra size. Next, I sewed the cups in a glittery, black cotton sateen containing 5% spandex. This cloth is totally not intended for lingerie, but was the perfect solution to my problem. As the barrett pattern is designed as a pull-on bra without back closure, I had to improvise a back closure due to an intended lack of elasticity. This meant finding the right back band length for my hook and eye closure (the 3XL back band was way too long!) and reshaping the back band to fit the side cup seams on the one side and my closure on the other. In fact, I just drew a line and cut away a triangle for a fast and easy solution. And here it is, my custom-sized, dark disco bralette.

I know that there are a lot of visible mistakes. I also could have added a lining as the pattern suggests, but this version will do for the moment. There still is room for improvement, but I have enough fabric left to sew myself another one. This, by the way, leads to my conclusion on how to sew a bra: just start and iterate the fit until you like it. And please, start with leftover fabric as the first try might not necessarily lead to a wearable result. 🙂

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