If anyone is interested, this is how you do this particular cup seam modification.
First start with the lower cup and power bar pattern pieces. Remove the seam allowance and elastic allowance.
Line the Lower Cup pattern up with the Power Bar pattern, matching the notch. Then draw a curve extending from the pattern notch as shown in red.
These are your new Lower Cup and Power Bar pattern pieces. (BTW, I’m not sure that piece is a power bar anymore. Can anyone with bra making expertise weigh in on what that piece is technically called? Side upper cup?)
Add the seam allowance and elastic allowance back and you are now ready to sew!
For this modified Marlborough Bra, I also decided to apply the bra channeling on the outside. I’ve seen it done on RTW bras, and I wanted to give it a try. The process is straight forward. Sew the bra cups into the frame with the seam allowance on the right side. Then apply channeling as you normally would on the right side of the bra. I thought this was a pretty cool technique.
Have you ever tried applying channeling on the right side of the bra? How did it go? Did you like the result?
Welcome to the second post of “The Complete Guide to Bra Making” series. This post will cover all the in person Bra Making classes that are currently available.
There are many advantages to taking an in person Bra Making class. Some advantages include higher level of attention and guidance from an instructor and immediate answers to questions as you work on your bra projects. Plus, there is a social aspect: taking a sewing class with people who have similar interests is incredibly fun.
Note: I am not affiliated with any of these companies or individuals and am not being paid to list these classes.
Bra Making with Madalynne
Philadelphia, PA Description:Madalynne offers one-day bra making workshops in her beautiful studio in Philadelphia. Depending on the session, students will either make a full band underwire bra or a halter soft bra. Please note that this workshop will only over construction, not fit. (Note: Sometimes you will find me hanging out at these classes and helping Maddie teach.)
Bravo Bella Bras
Fresno, CA Description: Bravo Bella has a two-part basic Bra Making course. In Bras 101, students will learn to fit themselves and make adjustments to a pattern to customize the fit for you. You will learn about fabrics and findings and cut out the altered bra pattern. In Bras 102, you will learn the process of constructing a bra. You will leave the class with a completed bra and a well-fitting pattern.
If you are ready for more advanced techniques, you can take Bras 201 and Bras 202. In Bras 201, you will take a basic pattern and learn how to create a demi bra and diagonal-seam cup. Explore health needs bras, including nursing bras and mastectomy bras. You will even look at techniques to turn your bra pattern into a swimsuit top! Bras 202 has two portions. In the first portion of class you will learn construction techniques for health needs bras and different finishing techniques. During the second portion the class you will get started on an advanced project of your choice. Learn how to choose different construction techniques to create the look you desire.
Bravo Bella also offers bra making retreats! You will leave the retreat with a great fitting custom pattern, two completed bras, and the skills to continue on your bra-making journey for years to come.
Camp Workroom Social – Bra-making with Amy Chapman (available Oct 14-17, 2016)
Claryville, New York Description: Learn to sew and fit a custom bra with Amy Chapman of Cloth Habit. In this class, students will create a lovely, supportive, underwired bra using an exclusive pattern designed by Amy. Learn professional sewing techniques and the basics of bra fitting with the aim of developing skills that empower creative decision making in future bra projects. While this is not a fit-focused class, Amy will demonstrate the key areas of fit and share practical, unique methods of adapting bra patterns to shape and measurements.
Craftwork Somerville – Weekend Workshop Bra Construction (available May 14th & 15th, 2016)
Somerville, Massachusetts Description: Please join us for an amazing two day workshop with Norma Loehr, author of Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction and the vision behind Orange Lingerie. In this class students will learn how to fit and construct their own custom bra. Expert instruction in bra-making using techniques that will produce results that look store-bought, not homemade. Students will learn how to select fabrics and notions for bra-making and how to alter the Marlborough Bra pattern for a better fit.
West Jordan, Utah Description: Jeannette Antry of Jnetti Stitches offers Bra Making 101 and 102. In Bra Making 101, students make a fully lined underwire bra using either a custom made bra pattern or established two or three seamed pattern with design changes that you want in your bra. In Bra Making 102, you learn bra design changes, and to deal with complex fitting issues.
Needle Nook Fabrics
Wichita, Kansas Description: Anne St. Clair teaches bra making courses in her Kansas shop and around the U.S. Anne St. Clair, often called “The Bra Lady,” will draft a personalized pattern for each participant. Each participant will also receive a kit with enough materials to make three beige bras. The workshop consists of a personal fitting so your personal pattern can be drafted to your exact requirements, then an evening lecture in which Anne will teach participants about proper bra fit and measurement, and a sewing class the next day in which Anne will instruct participants in sewing one bra. Participants can then sew two more bras with the remaining materials in the kit. (Note: class schedule and availability is difficult to find…it is better to email Anne to figure out where and when she is teaching.)
Seams Like Home
Description: Seams Like Home offers a 2-day Bra Making class called Bra Making 101. During the first class, students will do measuring, prepare the pattern and learn the basics of the Bernina sewing machine. The second day will be devoted to learning the materials and constructing your fitting bra.
Sweet Cups Bra Making Supplies – Boob Camp 2016 (available May 2nd – May 6th, 2016)
Salt Lake City, Utah Description: Beverly Johnson, our favorite Fairy Bra Mother, has agreed to come down and teach an American Boob Camp! Treat yourself to 5 whole days of sewing. Please note: This is an advanced class series. You must have experience making several bras before coming to any of the classes. (Bras made from the Craftsy class are fine.) You will also need to bring your own traced pattern to all sessions you sign up for.
Hamilton, Ontario Description: The Fairy Bra Mother (Beverly Johnson) offers a host of classes ranging from beginners bra making classes to special bra classes (mastectomy bras and cut and foam bras) to advanced courses for professional bra makers. There are classes that cover bra pattern drafting and grading. She also runs Boob Camp, which consists of five days of uninterrupted bra making!
Mrs. Weaver’s Finest Unmentionables
Calgary, Alberta Description: Mrs. Weaver offers beginner and intermediate level bra-making classes. They are two-day workshops. In the beginner’s class, you will learn to make your own bra from a hand-drafted pattern tailored to your individual body. You will then progress to making a long-line bra at the Intermediate level. Further topics will include: power bars, how to work with lace and sheer lining fabrics, how to do a straight back instead of a scoop back and how to use boning for extra support.
Saskatchewan Stitches Conference (available May 26th – June 4th, 2016)
Saskatchewan, Canada Description: Beverly Johnson teaches a variety of Bra Making classes at the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference. You will take a beginners bra making class, and then you can progress to a four piece designer bra and a cut and sew foam bra. There is also 3-day Bra Camp option, where you work on an intimate apparel project of your choice.
Toronto, Ontario Description: Seneca College offers a class on Corsetry and Bra Making. Students apply basic sewing principles and techniques to the creation of bras and corset foundation garments. Students are introduced to methods of pattern-drafting and construction techniques for a selection of styles. Emphasis is on custom fitting challenges and determining the proper style to meet the individual’s comfort and functional needs. Access to a zigzag machine is required. Note: There are prerequisite courses that you need to have completed before you can take this class.
The Emerald Studio
Belleville, Ontario Description: Erin of The Emerald Studio offers a range of classes, from beginner bra making classes to more advanced classes that involve lace, foam, and more. She also teaches bra drafting and a bralette class.
The Make Den
Toronto, Ontario Description: The Make Den offers an Intro to Bra Making class, where you will construct a bra with optional underwire and no padding.
Uplift Custom Bras
Oakville, Ontario Description: Uplift Custom Bras offers a 2-day class that focuses on personal bra-making . Classes are small, so you get lots of personal attention. Your teacher will do all the fitting, so you can concentrate on learning how to sew your new beautiful, and comfortable bra.
Birmingham School of Sewing
Description: Birmingham School of Sewing offers a one-day Bra Making course. In the one-day Bra Making course, you will learn how to stitch using stretch materials such as power net, how to apply elastic and lace edging, making bra cups, making bra straps with rings and sliders, how to insert underwires. You will make a complete bra. You will leave with your finished sample bra to use as a reference for future projects when you make bras in different sizes.
Bristol School of Sewing & Textiles
Bristol, UK Description: Bristol School of Sewing & Textiles offers a 2-day Bra Making course. Learn how to make a beautiful bra that fits you using delicate lace fabrics, stretch powernet and elastics. During this invaluable 2 day course, you will use a commercial bra pattern to make a sample bra cup which will be fitted onto the body and adjusted to perfect the fit. After adjustments, your final pattern will be drafted. You will have the choice of making a bra with or without underwires.
De Montfort University
Leicester, UK Description: De Montfort University offers a master class in Basic Bra Pattern Cutting and Construction. This master class is an introduction to basic bra construction for industry and freelance beginners. Students will learn knowledge of suitable fabrics and components for basic bras, pattern cutting skills for the product, and sewing construction experience for basic bras.
De Montfort University also offers a Bra Making Advanced Course, where students will understand and gain experience of, industrial machinery specific to lingerie manufacture. Students will gain an appreciation of advanced pattern shapes, fabric types and uses, and lingerie components and application. Students will produce advanced lingerie styles to a professional standard. Finally, students will understand construction methods and variables such as elastic tension and areas of additional support, plus advanced construction methods for lingerie.
Elise Patterns – Sewing Bras (available May 14th, 2016)
Carmarthenshire, UK Description: Students will make a bra using Elise Patterns’ new bra pattern. Sewing machine, patterns, and materials are provided.
Leicester, UK Description:English Couture offers a basic Bra Making course and an advanced Bra Making course. In the basic course, you will make a simple underwire bra. In the advanced course, you will learn basic fitting alterations. You will also learn how to change the style of your bra, such as converting a partial band into a full band, altering your bra to a balconette style and how to work with power bars. You will also make a sample with a partial lace upper cup and padded lower cup.
Amsterdam, Netherlands Description: Kantje Boord offers a number of variety of bra making classes. There are beginners bra making classes and classes that cover how to make balconette bras, padded bras, push up bras and more.
Linschoten, Netherlands Description: Lifjgoed offers a variety of classes, from beginners bra making classes to workshops covering mastectomy bras and bras with molded cups.
Lingerie Master Classes
London, UK Description: Lingerie Master Classes offer a 2-day introductory course to bra making. Students will learn the skills and techniques involved in underwired bra making. Students will also learn how to work with very fine lingerie fabrics (including specialist trimmings/ laces and power nets) and how to achieve professional finishing techniques. Lingerie Master Classes also offer an advanced 3-day course where students will assemble 3 different styles of underwired bras: padded bra, push up bra and balcony bra.
London College of Fashion
London, UK Description: London College of Fashion offers a number of courses on bra making. There are classes that cover bra design, structured bra making, bra pattern cutting, bra grading and how to start your own lingerie label.
Various cities, Finland (Classes can be held in Tempere, Oulu, Helsinski, or Turku) Description: Make Bra offers a basic bra course, where you will learn how to make a foam-lined, underwired bra that fits. They also offer a MonoBra course, where you will make a non-underwired, soft bra. This course is for women who have gone through mastectomy.
London, UK Description: Morley College offers a course called Lingerie: Making Bras and Underwear. You’ll learn to adapt a bra pattern to a long-line/backless style in your size. You’ll learn to toile and fit your pattern. You’ll learn how to adjust and amend the pattern to fit. You’ll earn how to use appropriate methods and materials for structure and support. You’ll learn to handle and sew challenging materials and elastics.
Sew Easy Bristol
Bristol, UK Description: Sew Easy Bristol offers a Bra Making Class and a Bullet Bra course. In the 2-day Bra Making Class, students will use a commercial bra pattern to make a sample bra cup (toile), which will be fitted onto the body and adjusted to perfect the fit. You will learn how to cut out your bra and become skilled at using specialist construction techniques to enable you to work with these tricky fabrics. At the end of the second day you will be the proud owner of your first custom-made Bra!
In the 2-day Bullet Bra course, you will learn how to make a 1950s inspired Bullet Bra to fit yourself. This course is a ‘must’ for those of you who like the vintage look.
Stitched by You
Hampshire, UK Description: Stitched By You offers a Classic Full Bra class. You will learn the professional methods of construction, then using the bra you have made in class we will discuss the pattern alterations needed to get your next bra to fit YOUR unique body. We are treating this a skills based class as normally your first bra will not be a perfect fit and will need a few tweaks we which go through thoroughly. Your bra made in class will then act as a toile for your next bra.
The City of Liverpool College
Liverpool, UK Description: The Bra Making course is designed to introduce beginners to the skill of bra making. The course covers basic pattern cutting skills, grading (as all bra patterns start at 34B) and construction skills.
Warriewood, Australia Description: Booby Traps offers Bra Making workshops that are designed to teach students about bra fabrics and how to sew a structured bra. Students have the option of making a soft bra, a molded cup bra, or an underwire style bra. Students will be using Booby Traps’ own bra patterns for their projects.
Description: Kangan Institute offers a course titled “Making Lingerie” which will explore a variety of sewing and pattern making techniques used in lingerie design and manufacturing. You will learn basic patternmaking principles required for stretch fabrics. You will learn the use of specialist machines and sewing techniques for lingerie production – zigzag, overstitch. You will also make patterns and samples a Brief, G-string and soft cup bra.
Sew Happy Workshops
South Kingsville, Australia Description: Sew Happy Workshops offers a Bra Making class where students will learn all the secrets about under-wire bra construction. Nothing has escaped this course; laces, fabrics (and their stretching factor), threads, bonding, padding, elastics, boning and overall general finishings. Obtain the best professional advice in trimmings, sewing and lingerie stitching. Know the different components of your bra; casings, closures, straps and underwires.
Final Note: In order to keep this list complete, I will regularly update this list as new bra making classes are being offered. If you see new bra making classes pop up or if you are launching one yourself, please feel free to comment below so I can add it to this list and keep it up to date. Thank you!
I want to start this series off with online courses, because they are readily accessible to anyone around the world. The beauty of online classes is that they are not location specific and you can start to learn the art of bra making in the comfort of your home. Most online classes nowadays also offer lifetime access, so you can constantly refer back to the content.
(Note: Signing up for any of the classes by clicking on my links will result in a small commission for me. Thank you for your support.)
Create custom-fit bras with your home sewing machine.
Choose the perfect fabric, pattern and size.
Create the cups, add the straps, sew the side seams and attach the cups to the bra’s frame.
Apply elastic to the bottom bands, top bands and neckline.
Build structure with an optional underwire.
Make basic fit alterations such as adjusting the strap length or fixing a gaping or too-snug band.
My Notes: I personally own Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit and this is the class I recommend to all beginner bra makers. Beverly Johnson does a great job breaking down the art of bra making and provides very in depth explanations for all the steps to make an underwire bra. This is a foundational course and you will be able to tackle more advanced bra projects using the skills taught in this course. In addition, you can interact with Beverly Johnson and other students if you have questions or suggestions.
Use a well-fitting pattern to design, draft and make your own bras.
Turn a full-band bra pattern into a partial-band bra.
Change the neckline and design the straps you want.
Modify bra frames and bra backs.
Support and complement your shape with power bars.
Alter a bra pattern to fit asymmetric breasts.
My Notes: I also own Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques and it is the perfect next-step course if you are looking to further develop your bra making skills. My favorite lessons are the ones that cover partial band conversion and cup seam modification.
Add lace to cups, bridges and partial- or full-band bras.
Use cut-and-sew foam for versatile styles, shapes and sizes.
Create a balconette and demi-cup bra.
Choose, fit and place pre-formed foam cups in your bras.
Cover your cups with wrinkle-free fabric and lace.
My Notes: Surprise! I also own Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond. This class is excellent for learning how to apply lace to bra making. Beverly teaches you how to manipulate lace for the most flattering results. You will also learn how to change your bra into a balconette or a demi-cup style. Finally, this class is perfect for those of us who are interested in using foam in their bra projects.
• Draft and sew three bras styles: full coverage bra, demi and a bralette style
• Learn how to add padded cups, underwire and boning.
• Find out how to alter bra patterns for large and small sizes.
• Draft slips, camisoles and petticoats
• Learn how to draft basic panty blocks in three styles: hipster, vintage style and bikini
• Learn how to add trims, lace and elastics to panties.
• Plus, what tools and supplies you will need for lingerie making.
My Notes: I have not personally taken or tried this class. The format of this class is “On Demand”, and the website specifically states that there is no live support or interaction with the instructor. If anyone has taken this class, I could love to hear your thoughts.
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Final Notes: This list is only complete if I regularly update it as other online classes pop up. I will keep my eyes peeled for new classes, but if you see any new ones or if you are launching one yourself, feel free to comment below and let me know so I can keep this list up to date!
Obviously that is not the most comprehensive answer and I thought I could do better. So I decided to assemble this guide. I hope this series is helpful to anyone who is looking to get into Bra Making and I hope it is still a useful resource for those of us who are more advanced bra makers!
In the coming weeks, I will publish the posts in this guide and link them to this page for easy reference. If you have any suggestions on what topics to cover or what needs improvement, feel free to share in the comments below!
So this is a second try of the Merckwaerdigh Triangle Bralette for myself. (You can ready about the first try here.) I reduced the volume at the apex by 1/4″ and graduated to 0″ on both ends. I added a bit of height and width to the triangle pieces so it provides more coverage. The verdict? Still a bit too voluminous in the over bust area. Hopefully the next one will fit perfectly after I make an adjustment to the pattern.
Did you know that Merckwaerdigh now offers PDF Lingerie Patterns in her Etsy Shop? I recently brought and downloaded the Triangle Bralette Bikini Pattern found here. I made the XS and used elastics for the bra band and straps instead of using the pattern pieces that came with the pattern.
For sizing reference, I’m about a 30AA/30AAA. I can still pinch out extra volume at the princess seams, so I think the XS will be a good fit for ladies who are about a 30A-32A. I also don’t think that the XS cups offer enough coverage (it’s pretty skimpy)…I will probably add more height and width to the pattern pieces for the next iteration.
Front bra closures! How do we feel about them? Personally, I think this will probably be the first and last time I will install a front bra closure for my personal projects. It looks okay flat, but I don’t like how it looks on the body. What are your thoughts?
The matching hipster pantie is a free underwear pattern by Make Bra. For such a dainty bralette, I was tempted to make a matching bottom in a dainty silhouette (think a thong or a tanga). I don’t really like to wear thongs or tangas and much prefer the coverage that hipsters, bikinis, or boy shorts provide, so I decided to try the hipster pantie.
And I have to say, this hipster pattern is the real MVP! The fit is spot on and the cut is flattering. The only changes I made was to grade it down to a XS (pattern is sized S-L), maintain the Size Small front and back rise and then I was off to the races. I have made a total of five hipster panties as of this posting (!).
Happy Monday! I am really excited to announce that I’ve added these sewing themed zip pouches to my shop. They measure 9.25″ x 5.5″ and will comfortably carry your sewing supplies (including 8-in Gingher scissors with its guard). They can also be used to carry make-up, pens & pencils, or travel essentials. Click here to shop.
They come in two colors: black and natural with 5 zipper color options each. They are the perfect addition to your sewing arsenal and an excellent gift for anyone who sews.
Honestly, who can’t use more sewing paraphernalia? 🙂
I am giving away a “Sewing Notions” Pouch on Instagram! Head to Instagram to enter this giveaway. The giveaway will end next Monday April 4th, 11:59 EST. Good luck!