In Which My Sewing Plans Take a Total Left Turn

I’ve been pretty minimal in my sewing plans this year, especially after my energy levels were knocked down a peg from my bout with the plague. I’ve been pretty focused on the idea of making a button front shirt (still in progress), and I’ve got a dress pattern on the radar for an upcoming event. But aside from that I haven’t really been too fixated on any one particular sewing project this year.

Of course, there are always things on the long term sewing goals list. For me the things that keep showing up on that list are the elusive well-fitting button-front shirt, a corset, and a couture level coat. Of course, I think we also all have things we swore we would never sew. For me, when I first started these were jeans, a quilt, and bras. So far I’m 0/3 on the long term wishlist but I’m 2/3 on the never-would-I-ever list… so from this I think we have all learned that we should never say never. And this is even more true because my new project is going to be *dun dun duuuuuuunnnnn* a bra.

Now, I can’t quite claim to have come to this project entirely organically. It was actually the furthest thing from my mind when my sister brought up that after her dress project and seeing how she could modify things to fit so differently from RTW that she really wanted to sew a bra and develop a well-fitting bra pattern for herself. Of course, bras, having been on my “not interested” list for so long, were something of a mystery to me. But I do love a good research project, so I sort of fell down a bra-making research rabbit hole the past few weeks.

Controversial though this may be, I still have a subscription to Craftsy, which actually came in quite handy as there are several fabulous bra-making classes on the platform. Also, surprisingly, it’s possible to add up to 3 users per account, which means my sister and I can both watch classes on the platform guilt-free, which really helps to justify the cost. Anyway, I feel like I went from total n00b to bra-making savant in just a few hours of video watching (though, of course, I have yet to *actually* sew anything…). And somewhere in the middle of all of this I went from being the “helpful research assistant” to “Team Build-a-Bra” pretty quick. The engineering of it all truly is fascinating, and there are a lot of interesting techniques involved in the construction. I’m now oddly obsessed with the differences between full and partial band bras, style modifications, fit alterations, and fabric choices. Plus, sewing small pieces needed for a bra sounds much less exhausting to deal with than yards and yards of fabric for pants or a dress. And when “energy level” has been a major part of the “do I want to sew today” equation, that’s no small thing.

So, anyway, my sewing plans have taken a hard left turn from wherever they were going and are now headed straight into Brasville. My sister and I have decided to do this as something of a just-for-us-sew-along, though we plan to be using different patterns as a starting point. But a lot of the steps will probably be similar, and it will be good to have a sewing buddy to bounce questions off of. While all of the Craftsy classes use the Pin-Up Girls Classic Bra as the starting point, neither of us really like that style of bra, so we both decided to start with something closer to styles we already like (she will be using the Freja and I will be trying the Ruby; we both want to try the t-shirt bra pattern at some point but decided to leave foam cups until after we have a bit more experience…). While having so many fitting and alterations resources that are directly applicable to the Classic pattern would be great, I also think that the general principles could be applied to any pattern, really. And if we are going through the efforts of making and fitting patterns, it might as well be to try to achieve something closer to a the actual end goal of a style that we would actually like to wear.

There are, of course, so many random notions needed for bra sewing that aren’t part of the normal garment sewing supplies. We decided to get kits from Gigi’s Bra Supply to get us started more quickly. I think once we have a better idea of what we like, want, or need, branching out in terms of fabrics and notions will be fine, but for the first go-round it was nice to be able to get a lot of the supplies in a handy pre-bundled and color matched kit. Of course, it’s probably not the most “fun” in terms of wild design ideas, but it is probably the most practical in terms of getting started and learning new techniques.

Anyway, I now find myself impatiently waiting on the delivery of several postal parcels. And in the meantime, somehow, rather unlike a single garment project that gets made up and either worn or not, this project feels a bit more like the start of a longer journey. Especially with interesting techniques for cut-and-sew foam, pre-formed foam cups, and uses of interesting fabrics, plus pattern alterations for style changes, there really is so much we can try and explore down the road. So hopefully this will be a fun project to kickstart the sewjo, and might lead to a new kind of sewing obsession for me, even if sewing a bra definitely was not on my 2022 Sewing Bingo Card.

12 thoughts on “In Which My Sewing Plans Take a Total Left Turn

  1. Ooh exciting! I’m in the camp that has never tried sewing bras and I’m looking forward to hearing all about your experiences. And I know what you mean about needing energy to wrestle big bits of fabric. I’m making a coat for the other half right now and it’s so heavy.

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  2. Bra making is on my “I really should” list, but small fiddly things always frustrate me in sewing and I feel like bras are just a collection of small fiddly things. The idea of trying to attach thick elastic to little bits of delicate fabric, or make those very narrow channels for underwires, or figure out the correct needle and thread types to sew through the multiple layers in a hook and eye closure gives me anxiety. But I LOVE seeing other people’s bra projects and they are always so delighted with their results! It’s so tempting. Maybe one day.

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  3. Fascinating! hope you keep us posted as you go along sewing the kits.

    I’m currently working on sewing a sports bra from Lingerie Secrets, a pattern I’ve had for years that I was to intimidated to try:

    Even this fairly simple pattern is a challenge. So far, Ive made two of them, trying to get the fit right. Getting closer, but not there yet. Will keep trying, because it would be so great to have a pattern that really fits!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too caught the bra making bug recently! I had picked up the PUG classic bra on a lark from a local store, since it was reduced to clear. From looking at the pics, it would not have been my preferred pattern, but I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive it is. Since then I too have ordered all the ingredients and more patterns and was thrilled to receive them yesterday. Hope you enjoy your journey! Abbey

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, check Emerald Erin she is wonderful for bar supplies, inspiration and advice. Also check LizSews on Youtube. Liz is an EXCELLENT resource. I too am on my journey to sewing my first bra. GH


  6. Plans? Who needs those? Actually, mine were completely derailed from my bout with the plague over the summer, too. Haven’t sewn much at all since then. Hope this brings back your sewjo!

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  7. Super cool that you will do this together! It will make the fitting easier.

    After my reduction, I thought I would make all the bras. But I lost interest pretty quickly…good to know about the Craftsy classes. I scored a 12-month membership for pretty cheap for a machine knitting class. I’ll check out the bra fitting to see if I can muster up the energy. I bought a TON of supplies, laces, etc. a couple years ago when I had a little scare after my derm wanted to biopsy a new mole (it was nothing, whew).

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  8. I don’t remember if Gigi includes wash-away thread with her kits or not but I would suggest you try your fitting sewing with wash-away thread. I know on the Craftsy classes Beverly Johnson says not to use it but I found that thread made it much easier to reuse the elastics and hook and eye pieces than unpicking them. Since you can’t check your fit until the whole thing is complete the elastics are wasted if it doesn’t fit. Then you need to place another order and wait for it to come. She has a store but I don’t. One other thing I would suggest is to make a fitting band first. That is just the band without the cups. Get that fit right with the wires in and then work on the cups. If you make the seam allowance a quarter inch wider at the wireline and leave it sticking out you can baste in a cup to see if it fits. Just be sure your stitching line is accurate. In August Bra Builders has sponsored the International Bra Sewing Bee for the last three years. It is really fun and so many classes with good information. I have learned so much at the Bee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I was eyeing Bra Builders but I was thinking to order from them after working through the kits and fitting issues before splurging on fancy fabrics and designs. Good to know about the August Bee for next year though!


  9. I’ve made a couple, I even took a class, but I was never patient enough to get it right. Now that I have a few more years on me I should try again. It’s harder to get excited about it when you fit into at least one RTW style fairly well. Best of luck to you and your sister, I’m interested in seeing what you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

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