Monday, June 29, 2009

Basics - Part One


To get started making anything, you'll need a pattern. There are many companies that make bra patterns both here in the US and abroad. Each pattern company uses sizes that are relevant to the country of origin. If you're using a Sewy pattern from Germany, then most likely you will be using metric sizing. If you're using an EZI-Sew pattern from New Zealand, then your pattern will have the type of sizing used in Australia and NZ. If you're from the US and have never used foreign patterns before this can be a bit confusing, especially for something that you've never sewn before. Since I am gearing this blog mainly towards the North American readers, I will recommend patterns with US sizing.

What patterns are avaible in US sizing?

There are three companies that I am aware of with US sizing: Kwik-Sew, Elan and Pin-Up Girls. Kwik-Sew and Elan are fairly easy to get - do a Google search for those, and they'll show up. You might even have a fabric store in your area that sells Kwik-Sew. To see styles (and purchase, too!) of both Elan and Kwik-Sew, you can either go to Sew Sassy or to Fabric Depot. The Pin-Up Girls patterns can be ordered from Bra Maker's Supply in Canada.

What kind of pattern should I buy?

Well, most importantly, it depends on your size and need for support. Most patterns are drafted for A through D cups, with or without wires and with a full band or partial band under the cups. Patterns in size ranges for DD cups and beyond usually have a full band only under the cups and wires. One major difference is the types of fabrics the pattern is drafted for. The larger the size, the more support is need from the cups and band. In these cases, the fabrics need to have no stretch or minimal stretch. For smaller sizes and styles, fabrics with more stretch is used and the patterns are drafted to allow for stretch in the cups. Beyond considerations for support - which is why you're wearing a bra in the first place - then the choice is yours for the look of the final product that you'd like. Don't forget that you can change the look of a basic pattern by placement of lace and other trims.

Now, I have a question for you. I *might* have an opportunity to make available a certain pattern line. I was thinking it would be nice to offer a bundled kit for those beginners who would like to give this whole idea a try. I would like to offer a beginner's kit with a pattern, a white kit (fabric/notions/wires) for use in making a muslin/trial bra, and then a colored kit (fabric/notions/wires) for making another pretty bra. You'd have everything you'd need except for the sewing machine and thread. In the end, you'll end up with at least one wearable bra, and maybe two if the white one works out! What do you think? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I'm all for a kit of that sort. I love the fabric kits in the etsy store but had no idea about where to get a good pattern so I was a bit discouraged from trying to make my own bras.

  2. Yes, yes, yes to a kit w/pattern, as long as there's a bit of a choice as far as the style. I'm thinking of us less endowed souls that don't need/want as much coverage. I personally find the fuller coverage doesn't fit as well. Sorry, TMI?


  3. Yes, I would commit to buy this kit - but I will need some talking through the fitting and sewing process - and especially some help in fititng. Even in rtw bras I struggle with sizing.

  4. The beginner's kit sounds great; I'm not entirely happy with the first pattern I tried and want to try another bland and basic one before I get one of the dyed kits.

    Would there be an option for beige or black for the trial bra set? Even if that cost more, that would be nice to have as an option.

  5. Please yes. More patterns would be FANTASTIC, and the double kits wouldn't necessarily only be for beginners. I always find myself in need of both light and dark lingerie so would continually be in the market for a combo kit.

  6. I looked at Elan, Kwik-Sew, and Pin-up Girls and among those three sets of patterns I only found one that I would make: a partial band that goes up to my size (40G/H). If you offered kits that included patterns it probably wouldn't be that one bra! But I would buy fabric kits if they would have enough to make that big a bra.

  7. Don't know if you're still thinking about this other pattern you might supply, but I would love to get the Danglez patterns stateside. Thanks!