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View Full Version : Sewing a bra... help!


RockABuyReen
04-02-2010, 05:44 PM
My girls are huge... like embarrassing huge. I even buy my bras outside of the US cause finding a 34-36 M? is near impossible, especially if I want something somewhat pretty. I end up paying around $50 for a 36 HH or J bra from the UK, which in my opinion is way too much, especially since they never fit quite right.

So basically I have 1 bra that fits okay, and I can use to breastfeed in. 1 more that doesn't do a great job, but is my back up and a total pain, literally, to breastfeed in. So today as I was slaving away in the backyard, my under wire popped out... of my 'favorite' bra. :censored:

So there's the long story, the short is, I'm fed up and want to learn to make my own bras... I'm looking for help here, tutorials, books, links anything. I'm ready to research and get this going.
I have saved a few under wires from my dead bra's... and am sure I can find any other pieces to construct a bra easily... it's just the how to... where to measure (the how to measure your bra size charts are NOT correct AT ALL, if I followed that I'd be wearing a pointless dangling mess) anyway... I need to know how to get the right shape, how to avoid cones :blink: I know how to turn a bra into a nursing bra, just hadn't got around to 'fixing' my other... now I may have to .

I'm seriously considering making a paper mache of my bust so I can have a 'model'. I really don't want to cut up my bras, cause I only have... 1.5...

any help would be greatly appreciated

mamarose22
04-03-2010, 11:23 AM
I really don't have any advice on sewing your own bras, however sometimes you might find a corset shop that makes custom made bras. I can't say that it would be cheaper than what you have been paying, but they would fit better and certainly last longer.

Angela
04-03-2010, 12:55 PM
I tried finding information online a few months ago about that! My problem is the opposite though. They don't seem to make inexpensive pretty bras for small women. :sad: I gave up my search. But I do recall seeing that a pattern company (Simplicity maybe?) has patterns.
I don't know if that helps at all.

UndrThTblNDrumng
04-03-2010, 02:17 PM
here's some links to get you started :) This has been something I've been researching for a while:

lots to read here but it's a collaboration of a lot of info: http://www.funhouse.com/babs/UnderwireFAQ.txt

all sorts of links to places to go: http://sewing.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=sewing&cdn=hobbies&tm=10&gps=51_238_1436_699&f=10&tt=14&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.andsewitis.net/braclass/class_start.html

I've been told that this book is like the bra makers bible. You can get it via PDF if you need something a little cheaper but you're not able to print any of it: http://www.bramakersmanual.com/

I hope those help to get you started.

mamakaty
04-03-2010, 02:59 PM
I don't know anything about sewing a bra, sorry, but I do know about wearing a hard to find size. Have you heard of any of these stores??

http://www.biggerbras.com/

http://breakoutbras.stores.yahoo.net/index.html ( I ordered nursing bras from here. Angela, they also have smaller sizes too...you might look around.)

There's another one that I've purchased online from, but can't seem to find the link. If I do, I'll make sure it share it as well.

I agree that bras are expensive, but when you do find one that actually fits properly, it's worth it! (but yes, I've spent way too much $$ on bras that don't fit...ugh). You're right, a lot of the size charts aren't right either...

Good luck!! I hope you are able to find some information that helps you!!

weareborgswife
04-03-2010, 03:17 PM
Watching this thread with interest as I am in the same boat as Angela... On the breakout bra site, I measured a 30 A... and they didn't have any that size :(.... I have looked for some in the juniors dept BUT they don't have long enough straps. I have been contemplating making my own for a while... may have to give it a try!

mamakaty
04-03-2010, 03:39 PM
Found the other one!

http://www.birthandbaby.com/

mamarose22
04-03-2010, 04:04 PM
Watching this thread with interest as I am in the same boat as Angela... On the breakout bra site, I measured a 30 A... and they didn't have any that size :(.... I have looked for some in the juniors dept BUT they don't have long enough straps. I have been contemplating making my own for a while... may have to give it a try!
You could extend the straps, by adding a piece of elastic to the part of the strap (in the back) that it is stitched to the bra.

weareborgswife
04-03-2010, 11:02 PM
You could extend the straps, by adding a piece of elastic to the part of the strap (in the back) that it is stitched to the bra.


That was my thought... I will see what I can find (maybe find a 2nd hand one cheap to try it out on).

mamarose22
04-04-2010, 09:05 AM
You don't have to buy a second-hand bra for the straps. I'm sure you can find "soft" elastic in the width of your bra straps at Joannes or Walmart or any other trimming/notions store. Many years ago, that's what I used to do when the elastic in my bras would stretch out.

Angela
04-04-2010, 10:01 AM
That was my thought... I will see what I can find (maybe find a 2nd hand one cheap to try it out on).

...and if you meant, buy a second hand, cheap bra to test the straps on, I would say DON'T DO IT!!! Because it will end up being perfect and you won't want to wear some crappy, second hand cheap bra! I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy an expensive one for trying it on, but have you got one you don't wear much already lying around?

That is a good idea though. My daughter has one she really likes, but the straps are too short. I think I'll try that with hers. (except that hers is a convertable so it might be more of a challenge.... or maybe that will make it easier, who knows)

weareborgswife
04-04-2010, 10:08 AM
I guess I meant to see how the sewing process went and that way I wouldn't mess us something that I paid $$$ for :)... I would think the convertable one would be easy- just take off the end pieces and sew them back onto the new elastic, and attach.

amandasews
04-04-2010, 02:38 PM
Good luck with bra sewing! I'm not brave enough to try it.

Here's a tutorial for making a nursing bra from a regular bra: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/braconvert.html

Amylouwho
04-05-2010, 07:39 AM
I never considered making my own. I have an issue myself...I'm fairly large chested, but since I'm short, and small framed (although chunky! LOL) my shoulders are small...so I get a bra to fit my ta-ta's, fit around but then, the straps are set too far apart, so regardless, they fall off...no matter what! I try racer back bra's, and again, I'm short, so they 'show' at the top where they come over the shoulder area...unless I wear a turtleneck...which isn't happening here in FLORIDA! LOL I've tried criss-cross straps, same issue, the neck line of my shirts still don't hide the strap coming over the top! It's crazy! I did find one line of bra's where the straps started closer to the closure, but like all else, they were expensive! It's so frustrating! Not sure what is worse, shopping for bra's or bathing suits~ LOL

DangerMouse
04-05-2010, 08:04 AM
Use a seam ripper and carefully "dissect" one of your old bras. Iron folds flat.
(save underwires and hooks/latches for new.) Make patterns from the pieces. Choose comfortable materials and go for it!
I've done repairs on my wife's bras plenty of times. I'm sure I could make them from scratch easily enough. And if lil ol' ME could do it, I'm sure you gals could do way better!

DM

Angela
04-05-2010, 08:07 AM
Besides giving birth, is there anything you haven't done DM? You continue to amaze me!
I figured that the men were avoiding this thread :laughing:

DangerMouse
04-05-2010, 08:18 AM
Heck, it's cloth... cloth can be sewn. I sympathize with some of you, I can't wear certain socks, pants, shirts, and/or fabrics! 99% of my wardrobe is cotton.

DM

Amylouwho
04-05-2010, 08:28 AM
I'm also always amazed at DM! LOL I think I'll try to put my straps in a different 'location' by taking them off and repositioning them...hand't even considered it till I read your post DM...you are my HERO today!

Angela
04-05-2010, 08:32 AM
That seems like such an obvious solution Amy, but I never thought of it at all! And I had already read something about straps earlier in the thread! I hope it is that easy!!!

DangerMouse
04-05-2010, 08:57 AM
I see no reason why it would not work, and with the strap adjustment it should be much more comfortable for you when they are in the correct spots. I might suggest safety pinning the straps, try it on, move straps, try again, etc. until comfortable, then sew.
Those seam rippers have been my "best little friend" on more than ONE occasion! LOL

DM

Amylouwho
04-05-2010, 09:07 AM
Me and my seam ripper have been almost intimate in the past! LOL Sometimes, I get really going on a project and later realize that 'oops' it is backwards or something horrid...I'm still learning!!! LOL

DangerMouse
04-05-2010, 09:14 AM
Yup! It's one of those 'go to' tools that it's always nice to have when you need it!

DM

mamarose22
04-05-2010, 09:28 AM
If anyone is inclined to attempt making their own bras, I would suggest a fabric that has a bit of give in it; perhaps a blend of spandex and some other fiber.

Kymy
04-06-2010, 04:00 AM
I feel your pain... I am a 30I at the moment & NOT preggo or nursing!!! I have done a lot or research & tried a few things but gave up. Even in RTW bras I don't find enough support in the plain fabric or lace kind! I prefer a thin molded (not padded) seamless t-shirt bra & I can't sew those!

I used to cry about the $ of the bras, but honestly I buy 1-2 a year on sale that are good comfy supportive bras & decided I was worth it. I have found that I dislike the ones I can find in my size in the $50 price range. Most of mine are sadly $60-$75 though I get them on sale for $40-$50 sometimes. It's worth the investment for me because between the cost of supplies & the time it would take it's just not worth it for me personally.

This is an AWESOME US site that carries lots of Euro & UK bras. They also allow returns :). I have gotten my favorite bras on sale for a decent price in the past & they often have free shipping or other specials. I think they carry up to a 36N? The don't have many options in that size right now but they get more at times. http://www.barenecessities.com/

I understand with your size being even harder to find wanting to try to sew them. The hardest thing will be finding a pattern or book that goes up that high in sizes... I had a hard time finding anything that went over J. If you do have a bra to spare taking it apart may be the best option.

Good luck!

Kymy
04-06-2010, 04:01 AM
If anyone is inclined to attempt making their own bras, I would suggest a fabric that has a bit of give in it; perhaps a blend of spandex and some other fiber.

As someone who is very busty I can say that a lot of the fabrics with stretch don't offer enough support for me, but then again I am an I, so that could be part of it!

downrightart
04-06-2010, 04:55 AM
I wanted to see how the Bra Dilemma was coming along and darn if DM hasn't chimmed in with some helpful hints! :laughing: How wonderful! Have you decided to change your user name to Mighty Mouse? :001_tongue:


I have nothing to offer, but my support! And I hope you solve it with just that!:thumbup:

Angela
04-06-2010, 10:31 AM
I have nothing to offer, but my support!

Pun intended?
:laughing:

DangerMouse
04-06-2010, 10:44 AM
I have nothing to offer, but my support!

HEY! That was MY line! READ YOUR SCRIPT!

DM

UndrThTblNDrumng
04-06-2010, 11:21 AM
I wanted to see how the Bra Dilemma was coming along and darn if DM hasn't chimmed in with some helpful hints! :laughing:

I was totally wondering the same thing :lol:

DangerMouse
04-06-2010, 11:50 AM
I knows what I knows and I does what I does. It's pretty basic physics actually.
I could look at a woman in a bra from the back side and tell you why her straps are wrong and show the best position they should be. The shoulder strap would then be much more comfortable and once adjusted for the 'frontal weight', it should be just fine.
I think if I designed one for a larger woman though, I'd start by using wider, padded, (across the top of the shoulder at least) adjustable straps, and to me, it just makes more sense to have the hooks/latches in the FRONT! What do you gals think?

I still can't find the folder with my clothing sketches yet. You gals will like them, maybe even get an idea you want to make! The bikini is cool.....

DM

DM

UndrThTblNDrumng
04-06-2010, 12:04 PM
but you seem to knows and does everything!

I have no idea as far as your suggestions... I'm at the far other side of the specturm to be able to give an opinion... but front clasping is good, it's just not as adjustable as back.

Kymy
04-06-2010, 01:54 PM
I knows what I knows and I does what I does. It's pretty basic physics actually.
I could look at a woman in a bra from the back side and tell you why her straps are wrong and show the best position they should be. The shoulder strap would then be much more comfortable and once adjusted for the 'frontal weight', it should be just fine.
I think if I designed one for a larger woman though, I'd start by using wider, padded, (across the top of the shoulder at least) adjustable straps, and to me, it just makes more sense to have the hooks/latches in the FRONT! What do you gals think?

I still can't find the folder with my clothing sketches yet. You gals will like them, maybe even get an idea you want to make! The bikini is cool.....

DM

DM

I loved front hook bras when I was smaller, unfortunately with big boobs they are to close together to have a front hook! As for the straps... in a properly fitted bra (90% of women where the wrong size!) the straps are only supposed to only support 10% of the weight. The proper band is supposed to be snug on the first or middle hook if new that way after a few weeks you can tighten it. It should be snug enough not to ride up but not so tight as to have 'back boobs' or muffin top. If a women is wearing a bra with a properly fitted band then the smaller straps work just fine without digging into the shoulders!

Personally I hate wide padded straps, they make me feel much, much older then I am and aren't needed if the bra is fitted properly (whether had made or from a store).

I do agree that they don't always put the straps in the best places though, & none of them are the same!

Amylouwho
04-06-2010, 04:04 PM
I agree with all said! LOL The thing about the wider shoulder strap, again~ I'm short...is that if it's wide enough for comfort and for 'heft'...ahem...then it takes up half my shoulder! LOL I can't cut a break! I looked at one of my decent bra's...the brand is Olga. I got two variations, but one I like much better. I think I will go back and try on a few others. I want to get fitted properly, but the only place I KNOW that does it is Dillards..which I don't frequent...but guess I should. I try on several at a time, get discouraged and leave...or worse, buy one that I know I won't like later! I LOVE the Tisha bra...(LaMystere...SP??) I had one for two years, that I wore almost every single day. I would only 'not' wear it while it was being laundered...I wore that puppy OUT after 2 or so years. It was $50...now they are more I think...but I may have to break down and invest. They do last and are very supportive.

DM~ You should go into business...we could come up with an awesome name for you...."All knowing Crafty-King"...."Know it all Guy"...LOL You do seem to have a knack for the 'common sense' approach to things...pat yourself on the back... :)

Amylouwho
04-06-2010, 04:05 PM
OH and the front closure thing...I used to have one or two...loved them..however, once I got larger, they seem to almost 'pull' the um...'girls' apart...creepy looking!

downrightart
04-06-2010, 04:36 PM
Yep, pun was intended. :whistling2:

I knows what I knows and I does what I does. It's pretty basic physics actually.
I could look at a woman in a bra from the back side and tell you why her straps are wrong and show the best position they should be. The shoulder strap would then be much more comfortable and once adjusted for the 'frontal weight', it should be just fine.
I think if I designed one for a larger woman though, I'd start by using wider, padded, (across the top of the shoulder at least) adjustable straps, and to me, it just makes more sense to have the hooks/latches in the FRONT! What do you gals think?

I still can't find the folder with my clothing sketches yet. You gals will like them, maybe even get an idea you want to make! The bikini is cool.....

DM

DM

Anyone else pick out all the racy words DM used in this post? :laughing:

DangerMouse
04-06-2010, 04:39 PM
Racy what now????

DM

downrightart
04-06-2010, 04:43 PM
Racy what now????

DM

No, no, no. It's Tracy. :whistling2:


Hehehehehe.....

DangerMouse
04-06-2010, 04:47 PM
ummmm, OK, time to put the bottle away.....

DM

downrightart
04-06-2010, 04:54 PM
ummmm, OK, time to put the bottle away.....

DM

LOL! I am wired. Or should I say underwired?

Amylouwho
04-06-2010, 10:17 PM
Bahahaha~

femerithian
04-06-2010, 11:46 PM
don't know if anyone mentioned this, but if you can find some cloth that's basically like the material that the bra, you can use the bra that fits you as a sort of pattern, just make sure to make the pieces a little bigger 'cause your going to need to have area to sew, or else it'll come out too small.

At least that's what I'd do...

Kymy
04-07-2010, 01:31 PM
I agree with all said! LOL The thing about the wider shoulder strap, again~ I'm short...is that if it's wide enough for comfort and for 'heft'...ahem...then it takes up half my shoulder! LOL I can't cut a break! I looked at one of my decent bra's...the brand is Olga. I got two variations, but one I like much better. I think I will go back and try on a few others. I want to get fitted properly, but the only place I KNOW that does it is Dillards..which I don't frequent...but guess I should. I try on several at a time, get discouraged and leave...or worse, buy one that I know I won't like later! I LOVE the Tisha bra...(LaMystere...SP??) I had one for two years, that I wore almost every single day. I would only 'not' wear it while it was being laundered...I wore that puppy OUT after 2 or so years. It was $50...now they are more I think...but I may have to break down and invest. They do last and are very supportive.

DM~ You should go into business...we could come up with an awesome name for you...."All knowing Crafty-King"...."Know it all Guy"...LOL You do seem to have a knack for the 'common sense' approach to things...pat yourself on the back... :)

I had a Tisha too before I lost weight & went down band sizes!!! I think they are $62-$76 depending which of the 3 styles you want, but if they fit well totally worth it in my opinion!!! Sadly after loosing 40lbs I am too small around for their bras :(, they smallest they go to is 32! Having a petite frame & a big chest is the worst combo when bra shopping.

Amylouwho
04-07-2010, 02:09 PM
Yep...but I gained 40 this time! LOL

DangerMouse
04-07-2010, 03:45 PM
don't know if anyone mentioned this, but if you can find some cloth that's basically like the material that the bra, you can use the bra that fits you as a sort of pattern, just make sure to make the pieces a little bigger 'cause your going to need to have area to sew, or else it'll come out too small.

At least that's what I'd do...

Yes, but you're pretty talented that way too. You have an "Artist's Eye"!
For beginners, it still makes better sense to use a seam ripper and dissect an old one that you loved and duplicate it. That way your pieces will be exact. Po)

DM

28peppermintgrove
04-08-2010, 06:59 PM
Love this thread. I have never contemplated making my own bras, but I am now!

UndrThTblNDrumng
04-09-2010, 01:49 AM
don't know if anyone mentioned this, but if you can find some cloth that's basically like the material that the bra, you can use the bra that fits you as a sort of pattern, just make sure to make the pieces a little bigger 'cause your going to need to have area to sew, or else it'll come out too small.

At least that's what I'd do...

and to jump on that, you can make a pattern by tracing each piece onto butcher paper or something of the likes, that way you don't have to keep deconstructing bras when you need a new one. And then you can take your "pattern" and alter it :)

RockABuyReen
04-10-2010, 02:44 AM
All these responses and I thought I was all alone... just not set to get updates I guess... d'oh...
Taking apart my bra to use it as a pattern a can't happen right now, I only have two that 'fit' and neither one actually fits anyway. Guess I'm just nervous since I haven't done this before and if I ruin one bra... I'm only left with one bra. So I'll do a little more research before I tear one up :D I'm a reader, so once I've researched myself crazy I'll just dive in :D I'm thinking I'll have to use one of my bras, because there are no patterns that will go up so high. I'm thinking of buying a pattern for reference of the actual construction, also I could then see how they determine where they expand and how much for each cup increase. One thing really throwing me off is the difference in UK and US sizes. I'm so used to buying and wearing the UK bras, I'm not completely sure what I am in US. I remember being a 34E a few years ago and the US size 34DD's seemed smaller in the cup, so I switched almost completely to UK sizes then.

I'm particularly interested in this site at the moment:
http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3729/the-bra-dilemma-solved
and just checking out this:
http://www.bramakerssupply.com/site2009/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=7&cat=Full+Band

For bras the last few years I've used:
http://www.bravissimo.com/default.aspx
and my favorite:
http://www.brastop.com/Sets.aspx?SetDepartmentId=33

I will now actually come back and check this thread more often... and update... now that I see people are actually reading, and responding to it... I feel like a dunce :D

mamaslittlemonkeys
04-10-2010, 04:33 PM
I found this http://www.ehow.com/how_4864314_own-bra.html

Amylouwho
04-10-2010, 06:09 PM
Boy, they make it sound easy! LOL I honestly don't think I have it 'in me' to make my own bra's. I'm just learning to make simple things...simple sundresses, curtains, skirts...bra's aren't on that list just yet! :)

RockABuyReen
04-12-2010, 04:27 PM
So after giving the link for Brastop, I did a little looking, and can order bras shipped for about $50 so I'm going to, and then I will take apart one of my older bras that kinda fits... and will give this thing a try :D

Luv2BCrafty
07-31-2010, 06:01 AM
Making the extenders would be much easier than making the whole bra. What do you think?