Sunday, April 28, 2013

Brassieres Away!

All my nursing bras went kaput at the same time. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I made the Seamless Pledge for 2013, so I had to either buy bras at a thrift store or make them myself. While scrounging around for bras at thrift stores in my size and then altering them for nursing access sounds like a blast, I opted to make them myself. This is something I wouldn't have fathomed doing myself before I got into reading sewing blogs. After seeing so many women crafting gorgeous bras, I couldn't resist, especially after wearing the following for the past 16 months:

Bravado Nursing Bra

It is probably the most comfortable bra in the world. It also happens to be one of the ugliest. I'm glad to move on to sexier pastures. Until next baby, dear ugly friend.

That is why I purchased a pattern and a bra/panty kit from Merkwaerdigh on Etsy. Her designs are really pretty and varied and she has cute kits for a decent price. I chose the BHS10 pattern because it came with 5 different bra options and I was loving the racer back style and the lace look. 

Merkwaerdigh lingerie
BHS10 Merkwaerdigh

I chose view C. It's a wireless soft bra with lace panels. Combined with the stretchy lyrca fabric from my kit, it is not the sturdiest, but it's great for lounging around the house and yard or sleeping in. I scavenged the nursing clasps from a now retired bra. I went rogue on the straps and fashioned them so they could be adjustable and also accommodate the nursing clasps. The straps seemed pretty flimsy in the finished product, so I scavenged the straps from another bra, trimmed it with picot elastic and sewed it under a portion of the existing strap. It made it a lot more supportive and comfortable. 

purple lace bra
Wish I had a dress form to show the shape better.

 bra diy

In hindsight I probably would have chosen a different pattern for my first bra sewing effort. The instructions are not great for a beginner bra sewer and I was at the larger limit of their cup size.  My rtw nursing bras come in small/med/large/extra large, so I wasn't sure what my rtw cup size was post pregnancy. After trying on some rtw bras at the store, I found that I was 34D (I previously wore a 36 B). I was not expecting that. Fortunately the fabric I received in my kit had generous stretch, so the fit worked out in the end. I did a few toiles with less stretch and they were a tad small. 

sewing lingerie
Looks much prettier against the light.

Here's the part I'm most excited about: I combined sizes and did a 34D for my left side and a 36D for my right side. Yup, my breasts are different sizes. It didn't even cross my mind that I could combine sizes when I decided to make my own bras. I had the epiphany when I was trying on the toile. With most rtw bras, if my right breast fits perfectly into the cup, the left side will gape and if my left breast fist perfectly, my right side is smushed and bulging out of the cup.  Ladies, if you have different sized breasts and you own a sewing machine, I would encourage you to start making your own bras! This has been a life changing sewing project for me!

 Now that I think of it, I guess you could buy two rtw bras in different sizes, cut them in half and sew the different sizes together. . . but bras are expensive, yo. Unless you could find someone with the same problem who's the same size, except mirror image to you and split the cost. Joking, joking.

Love the lycra print, but not sure I like it paired with that shade of purple. Too contrasty. 

My new bra has some questionable sewing going on. . . a few wonky stitches, tension problem areas, badly done decorative straps, and a a big pucker by the closure area. I also didn't attach the upper cup lining to the lace. I thought I'd share that to "keep it real", as it's easy to hide shoddy work in photographs. I also want to keep track of how I'm improving in my sewing skills.

I need a sturdier bra, so I'll be searching for patterns to accommodate that. I also need to sit down and really dig into some bra making tutorials. Anyone else thinking about making their own bras?


  1. I've started making my own bras and am very satisfied. Your first effort looks fantastic. I've recently started dyeing my own fabrics. Super fun.

  2. I can't believe that's the first bra you've ever made! Very impressive :) I hadn't ever really considered making my own before - I thought they'd take forever to master - but you've inspired me! I'll definitely check out that Etsy shop. Thanks!

  3. Well done, I love the colours of your bras! I'm working on bras too, it's very addictive!

    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to visiting your blog.

  4. WOAH. mind blown. going to do this. I found this by searching for bras on google :P