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I love to sew

I love to sew

Monday, March 25, 2013

Embroiled in Bra-making

I'm still in the middle of learning everything I can about making bras. Maybe I should rephrase that and say learning everything I can about fitting bras. Sewing a bra is actually very easy but as in most of sewing it's the proper fitting that leaves us scratching our heads. Below is my latest version of Kwik Sew 3300.



Last week I made three bras. Two were keepers and one went the way of bras that just don't fit...in the trash. I did salvage the closure and the strapping elastic. I did learn how to successfully change a full band bra (Queen Bra Elite) into a partial band bra. It was very easy once I understood the difference between the two. It was very comfortable even after wearing it all day.

Sewing a bra is relatively easy. Fitting a bra can be a monumental  Unlike our beloved Big 4 pattern companies, there are no uniform  measurements or "blanks" from which they pull information for pattern making. I am by no means an expert but I do know how to do research. After all I did graduate college with a 3.875 GPA and Summa Cum Laude!

I have learned that getting the perfect-fitting bra takes time...lots and lots of it. There is absolutely no way to know whether the bra is going to fit until the entire bra is completed. Always, always, always use the suggested fabric for your bra. Changing the fabric can change the entire fit of the bra. Ask me how I know! There do seem to be some shortcuts for a toile bra, but I prefer making the "real deal."

Can we talk band size? Where in the hell did the notion of adding 4" to your rib cage measurement come from? There is quite a bit of elastic and powernet on a bra. I think there is more than enough ease without adding 4". I recently had a conversation with a high schooler. She wears about a size 4. She had been "professionally measured" at a size 38D. No freakin' way. Sure she had large breasts but she was a tiny little thing and her rib cage could not have measured more than 32"!

In the last two months I have spent about $200 on bra making supplies. Has it been worth it? Of course. The thought of having bras that fit better than anything I can find in the store makes it all worth it. I spend about $40 each for the bras I usually wear and yes, I buy more than five bras a year. Last night I painstakingly figured out how much each component of a bra costs:

    • Fabric for cups and straps     $1.60
    • Power net                                .70
    • Hook and eye closure               .37
    • Wire channeling                       .76
    • Elastic                                     .89
    • Underwires                              .55
    • Rings and adjusters                 .40
    • Total                                  $5.27
Five dollars and twenty-seven cents for a custom-made underwire bra! It's absolutely worth it. I will continue   to try for better fitting bras. So far the Queen Bra Elite is pretty near perfect fit with the Kwik Sew 3300 being a close second because it just pretty! I have to start making matching panties as well. Stay tuned for more bra-making post.



20 comments:

  1. I just purchased ks2374 to make my first bra. Would you mind sharing where you purchasedyour powernet and under wires?

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    1. I've gotten most of my bra making supplies at Sew Sassy. They are very reasonable priced and my orders arrive in a very timely manner. Luckily taking the Anne St Clair workshop steered me in the right direction. I wouldn't have had any clue about what size wire to start with. Do your research be for ordering any wires. Also you won't need more than a dozen wires. As you wear the bras out be sure to salvage your wires.

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  2. I have to give you a hand because you are making some beautiful bras! To me bra making is right up there with home dec sewing, something I'd rather buy than sew, so I'm in awe of your journey!

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    1. Carolyn I hate home dec projects but am loving the bras. My goal is to make everything I wear.

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  3. I know you don't need me to tell you that your new addition looks utterly store bought. I commend you.

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    1. Thanks Faye. The ought to with all the practice I'm getting.

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  4. I need to jump on this and soon. I am working the same tired bras and they are well past their bedtime. I tried shopping for bras, but it is so tiring. I have the materials, I just need to sit down and do it.

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    1. Sewing the bra is the easy part. Fitting the bra is a whole other subject. Good luck.

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  5. I'm so glad that you're continuing to sew bras. A few of my friends in my local ASG are going continue our journey to sewing great fitting bras. Your current bra looks wonderful :)

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    1. My goal is to never buy another bra. Thanks for your nice comment.

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  6. It is wonderful that you can make bras that fit and make the matching sets. I'm enjoying your journey.

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  7. I think you need to start thinking about either doing a series of video tutorials or writing a manual on bra making and selling your knowledge. It is valuable!

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence Rhonda but I don't know nearly enough to take on such a task.

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  8. BTW, I love this white one. It's really pretty

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  9. I agree with Rhonda - maybe you can share what skills you learned about fitting.

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  10. Thank you for providing the component pricing breakdown. That's really helpful. One day I'll tackle making my own bras.

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  11. KMG: I want a different cup shape as well (vs the queen bra elite)...I took the QBE cup pattern - because it fits perfectly - and used the cloth habit blog post about the vertical seam hack....I have the cutest balconette bra (& pattern!) now! Try it... Cloth habit gave great instructions on how to do a few different hacks and they so far have worked great for me!

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  12. I'm glad you stopped by and commented on my blog! Your price break down is very helpful. I'm trying to figure out what I need to buy now and it's very overwhelming, especially since I don't want to go overboard with cost.
    I'm looking forward to reading all of your posts about bra making. I need all the insight I can get. :)

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