Bra Making Kits Update

Bra making materials may be difficult to choose. Therefore, we have made your life easier and picked up the materials into our Basic Kit for Bra Making and Basic Kit plus ready for your use. In addition to the kit, you only need the underwires.

THE BRA MAKING KIT MATERIALS

Now, we have updated the Basic Kit and the Basic Kit PLUS. The picot edge elastic has come back as an edge elastic. It bends nicely along the curve of the bottom edge.

kits bra making materials

Both kits contain enough materials at least for two bras up to size 80DD-95C (BK) and 100F (BK plus). The consumption of the foam is even more flexible. For instance from the foam piece of the Basic Kit you get cups of the pattern DL04 for 6 bras in the smallest size and 2,5 bras in the largest size.

bottom edge elastic under the underwire casing
In the information page we have added instruction how to calculate the height of the band at the lowest part of the cup.

We do want the underwire casing and the bottom edge elastic to be layered as in the picture on the left.

COLOURS AVAILABLE
Basic Kit for Bra Making ivory and black
Basic Kit plus ivory, white and black

Our new pattern is finally out!

marianneGood news everyone! The former #3226 has been updated into #DL04 and it’s better than ever! The new downloadable pattern is really versatile, not only does it work perfectly as a bra, but also makes a beautiful bikini top (I just spent a week under the warm Cyprus sun and I can assure you – the pattern is absolutely gorgeous as a bikini top).

The two part cup is amazing for mixing patterns and colours, or creating fuller look with some stripes like I did. So it’s totally up to you, do you want to make yourself a flattering bra for everyday wear, maybe something lacy and romantic, or your new favourite bikini top for the summer! Or then just make all of them and more… The panties in the picture are made with our #DL21 Panties pattern.

The pattern will be available in the following sizes.

70: B, C, D, DD, F 75: A, B, C, D,DD, F, G 80: AA, A, B, C, D, DD, F
85: A, B, C, D, DD 90: A, B, C, D 95: A, B, C

Currently there is only a few sizes but we will be adding more next week. Get yours here!

bra pattern dl04

At the end of 2015…

marianne

We thank all our dear customers and wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year filled with creativity and inspiration!

Make Bra Team

PS. Orders will be shipped normally 21.-23.12 and 28.-30.12 during the holiday season this year.


JUNE NEWS

Great news to our customers outside Finland!

We have recently changed our logistic services to PostNord. This means lower shipping fees and the tracking ability even for the smallest orders!

For example, the shipping for a package which weighs 1-2 kilos, was previously 36 euros when shipping to the USA, and now it’s only 26 euros and it’s trackable!

Ulla bra pattern released!

non wired bra pattern
Now we also have a non-underwired bra pattern, Ulla, available!! At the moment the largest size is 110D, but the size range will be incredibly wide, up to 110H.

Ulla pattern has a three-part cup and optional side bones. The cups are not separated, which creates a fresh youthful look.

ulla cups

ULLA BRA IN PROCESS


We have also created a kit for this Ulla pattern, which contains all the materials you will need to make the bra, except the cup cover fabric that you can choose yourself.

You can order this downloadable pattern in single size or multi-size version. As you may already know, multi-size patterns come with three sizes. You just choose your size, and get one smaller and one larger cup size as well. Click here to order yours!

A pattern update, from #2610 to #DL03

DL03 orange bra
We have just updated our popular bra pattern #2610 to #DL03. It is now downloadable and we enhanced it with these beautiful and supportive fabric straps which we have previously used in our pattern #4011. As always, it’s fully customizable so you can use any fabric you prefer.

Be creative!
We made two versions, one with this pink rosy jersey and the another one with black and white dotted jersey and they both are so pretty and comfortable!

DL03 dotted bra

Have a nice time sewing bras!

-Annele

Meet the Make Bra Team

Running Make Bra requires a lot more work nowadays than in the early stages. Helping hands are needed once in a while. I’m going to highlight three of the most meaningful women behind Make Bra and tell how each of us keeps Make Bra moving forward.

From left to right; Annele, Eeva and Anne.

meet the make bra team

Annele – the Founder and Owner of Make Bra

It’s me, being present on a daily basis. My typical day starts with checking and answering emails, preparing the orders to leave and doing some paperwork. If there is any working hours left, I’m developing new models and patterns. Designing could be done day and night, and you certainly do, can’t help it. But, at some point you need to get the hands involved and make ”real things” so that you get something out from your head spinning ideas. ”Real things” make the patternmaking quite a process, however! In a nutshell: bouncing between a computer and a sewing machine. Impossible to be stuck in the chair for too long…

The emerging pattern is tested and evaluated in many stages. First, a paper version of the cup, pattern pieces taped together. After several cut and tape versions, the pattern will be tested as a foam lining version. Usually after several foam lining test versions one of the patterns proves to be worth testing as a whole bra. The bra will then be test fitted on a real person (or two, or three, or four…). If everything turns out fine the new, well fitting, beautiful pattern is born. If not, you may need to return to the point one and start everything from the start again. Pretty much from scratch.

An older lady, who was running her own lingerie business only few years ago, told me that you need at least twenty test fitting sessions before the bra pattern is ready to go. I cannot deny that. Therefore, I’ve been lucky to found two other talented women who lighten the workload and help me find time for the task I love the most – patternmaking.

Next lady here is Eeva

She is responsible for the marketing and collaboration issues at Make Bra. If you contact us via Contact page (marketing and collaboration), you will discuss with Eeva. She is active in social media and follows the blogs related to lingerie making. When she comments on the blog, she makes it under her own name (Eeva, Make Bra). (When I post comments I sometimes forget myself – I may occasionally think my name IS Make Bra.)

Eeva is also behind our newest designs, Bralette and String Set (free pattern) and the Petite Bra. She had a clear vision how they should look like and that put me into a long cut-tape-sew-fit process mentioned earlier. Still it was a nice experience to implement the design made by somebody else for a change.

Eeva and I operate from Finland.

The third VIP is Anne

Anne lives in America and runs her own blog clothingengineer.com. We met online more than a year ago. She asked me a pattern size which wasn’t available yet. I visited her blog and was fascinated for her ability to write instructions (she writes about sewing, not only lingerie making). She guides you through the sewing process calmly and gently, like taking you by hand and saying let’s do this, everything will go fine.

So, I asked her to make the sewing instructions for us too. She agreed and now we can enjoy her clear and detailed style at Make Bra. Her handiwork so far are: Full Band Bra – Instructions, Sewing Petite Bra #DL05, Sewing Bra #DL02 and Finishing the Bra

Now it’s time to hear what Anne has to say.

Hello everyone!

I’m a 29 year old webmaster and have been sewing for just over nine years. I started my blog, clothingengineer.com, in early 2013. My main focus is making garments that fit well and suit my lifestyle. Much of what I know about sewing was gained from reading the blogs of other sewists, so I try to make my blog posts as detail-oriented as possible.

I was thrilled when Annele asked me to help her with the Make Bra instructions because bramaking is something people often think of as being intimidating or difficult. This is my chance to prove that it doesn’t need to be! I love sewing lingerie because it is creative, fun, and not extremely time-consuming.

Besides sewing I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my family and fiance. I also love my ”collection” of pets, which includes two ponies, three cats, one rooster, seven chickens, four geese, two rabbits, and a Great Dane puppy.

New Downloadable Bra Pattern Released

Make Bra’s size selection expands – Petite Bra #DL05 pattern jumps in!
It covers sizes 65A-C and 70AA-B. It is downloadable and prints on both A4 and letter-sized sheet of paper.

Petite Bra #DL05

bra pattern DL05

The Petite Bra #DL05 has a two-part cup and underwires. There is a suitable place for a side boning at the point where the front and wing meet, even though you do not necessarily need further support in this model.

You can easily make the straps removable if you prefer to wear the bra strapless or straps crossed in back. If so you need the hooks at the ends of the strap and the folded strap elastic pieces on the upper edge of the cup and back. The back curve of the band has to be straightened as well. There is an alternate line on the wing pattern for that purpose.

The Miracle of Easy Sewing

At first glance Petite Bra #DL05 seems to have a full band, right? In a way it has, even though it has only a wing pattern. At front the band and the cup form a coherent whole making sewing process super easy. You don’t need to reconcile two differently curved pieces.

View the detailed sewing instructions for Petite Bra #Dl05.

Sew Your Own Thigh Highs

Let’s make some playfull, fun and super easy piece of lingerie while waiting for the new bustier and boyshorts patterns and how to videos. It’s so relaxing to sew something not so demanding for a while. In these exemples we have two different kind of stockings; one made of the sheer 4-way stretchy mesh and another made of jersey with elastane. Elastane is important part of the mix, it makes the fabric recover from stretch.

seam stockings

Make Bra Thigh Highs pattern is one size. It’s medium. So, how to determine your size? You can either make a test stocking from the fabric you choose or leave extra width and lenght on the pattern for fitting alterations. In that case you should baste the back seam. The stretch of your fabric affects so much to the pattern fit that it’s better to find out the right size by experimenting.

If you need to alter the size it’s very easy along the center front line and horizontal lines. To increase the size add more space between the pattern pieces and decrease it by overlapping the pieces.

The seam allowances in the pattern are 6mm (1/4″). It’s recommended to sew the seams with a serger. The zigzag stitch is perfect for the upper edge elastic attachment. The fabric must be 4-way stretch and the most stretch is better be crosswise. You can use many different kind of stretchy fabrics for this stocking, from woolen knit to sheer mesh, and everything in between as long as fabric has elasticity enough.

red-stockings

How to hold the stockings up then? If you make a sheer seam stockings with elastic lace cuff, you should use a garter belt in order to keep them in place. Thicker, not so slippery stockings are held up on their own if you make the upper edge stiff enough. In the red-black example there is an elastic tape 2,8cm (1 1/8″) width inside the cuff which keeps the stocking stay up. The fabric not being too slippery helps as well.

This stocking is very comfortable to wear if you put it on right. See the first picture. The back seam reaches the floor, but you don’t stand over the heel seam.
If seams are set correctly, you don’t even feel them. Very comfortable. Enjoy!

Sewing the Thigh Highs

A Printed T-shirt Turns into a Bustier Bra Top

The Idea for the Makeover Came From…

printed-t-shirt

…a 3D printed denim-jacket-over-a-top style T-shirt.

And, the Result Was…

bustier_top

…a “denim” bustier bra top. The pattern used for cups was Make Bra’s balconette style bra #DL03.

denim_bustier_front

The bustier has both front and back bonings. The bones at the back are inserted into the hook and eye tapes.

denim_bustier_back

How do you like this? Was the printed T-shirt worth reusing?

A Rose Gardener’s Bra and Brief Set

Today I’m experimenting how a georgette fabric works as a bra and brief material. A primary reason why I picked up this particular fabric from the fabric store were these beautiful roses. A lot of them in different sizes and shapes, bringing a real challenge to the design. Freedom to choose the most beautiful ones. I love this part of the process. And, roses.

The Georgette Fabric

Let’s examine the fabric a little more detail. In my point of view it’s challenging to use because it doesn’t particularly stretch, but still moves to all possible directions when handling it. It is even hard to keep in place when cutting out the pieces.
Georgette fabric is made of synthetic or natural yarns. This one is polyester and therefore you don’t need to pre shrink it. By the way, have I ever mentioned that you should always pre shrink non stretch natural fibers used by lingerie making? Otherwise, your efforts will be wasted if a shrinking process occurs during the first wash.
Ny Fashion Center’s Fabric Glossary, a great source for all kinds of fabric information, describes georgette fabric as follows: “A woven fabric created from highly twisted yarns creating a pebbly texture. It is thin and semi-sheer and is characterized by its crispness and exceptional strength”.

Preparing the Cup Cover

a rose gardener's bra and brief
Georgette fabric is easily fraying and therefore it is wise to minimize the amount/length of seams if possible. I lapped the upper parts of center and middle pattern pieces in order to get a unified upper edge.
At the lower edge of this block is left only a dart then. It’s important to sew the end point of the dart round enough, so any lumps doesn’t appear around it. This block was cut on the bias grain and the side panel of the cup on the straight grain. (The cradle area on the straight grain).
Because of fraying I didn’t trim the seam allowances at all, just flattened the seams by ironing. Didn’t top stitch the seams either. I like the look more that way. I’m not sure, however, if it was a good choice in terms of washing. We’ll see that later…
The next time I’m going to use this kind of fabric I’ll leave wider seam allowances around the cup. It would be much easier to handle it. Because of frying, again.

Decorating the Briefs

rosy-briefs
It’s difficult to use a non stretch fabric as a brief material because garment must be so highly elastic. In this case, I embedded a few roses on a small area at front. The piece is bias cut giving the most possible stretch when putting the briefs on. It’s easy to understand that horizontal stretch is most important.
I also decorated front piece with the narrow vertical stripes. Normally I would have used a pre folded fabric trim inserted into a seam. But it’s impossible to handle this “lively” fabric that way, so I zigzagged a bias cut trim at place (right in pic) then folded and ironed it (left in pic). When the seams were finished by an overlocker (serger) a small amount of it remained visible.
I tried to help my old PFAFF Select 1530 sewing machine to perform the waist elastic sewing by adjusting the stitch length longer. This machine has served me in a wonderful way especially in lingerie making, but now it has become old and sluggish. Adjusting the stitch length was a big mistake. A loud ripping noise was heard while putting the brief on. Thread was broken at several points and I needed to unpick all the remaining stitches. I hate unpicking stitches, especially zigzag stitches. Then, I decreased the stitch length again to retain more elasticity and started over.
So a new sewing machine desperately needed here! Do you have any suggestions, especially for lingerie making? Which machine you’d suggest? Please feel free to boost your favorite.

The Result

The rose gardener’s bra and brief set looks rather pretty, feels great when wearing, but what happens when the set will be washed the first time? And even in the washing machine. Do the seams stay unbroken? You can read and see the answer after a week. I keep us in suspense until then!
Patterns used: Bra Pattern #DL01 and Panties Pattern #DL21
The week has passed since this post, so it’s time to show the bra < brief set after washed in a washing machine. Go to page two and find out!

1 Comment

Annele October 18th, 2013 at 04:07

Kathy commented on the sewing machine issue via email. With her permission our discussion moved here.

Kathy:
Hi! The best sewing machines in my opinion are Janome. They are good
for really delicate work as well as their being able to sew heavy
fabrics as well. Get the even feed or walking foot to go with it. Best
wishes! Kathy from Arizona, USA your repeat customer! :)

Annele from Make Bra:
Thank you for your opinion Kathleen. I must admit that Janome is totally unknown to me except as an industrial sewing machine. I think it has been ineffectively marketed here in Finland. Inspired by you I visited Janome’s site and found a huge amount of machines in different types and price ranges. Do you know if the way of feeding (even feed foot) is the same from cheapest machine to the most expensive? What is your favorite model?

Kathy:
Dear Annele,
I have the Janome MC 10001 –a gift from my parents. Now it is outdated. I have successfully used the even feed foot or walking foot on the Janome MC 10001 and the New Home 2015 which is a model from the 1980’s. The New Home company in the USA was bought out by Janome in the 1960’s I think. Janome has many different machines in many different price ranges. I would think a good machine would be the Janome 9900 which is a new model that is capable of doing sewing, machine embroidery and quilting. A less expensive alternative is the Janome 300E (I think). I have heard good things about that model. The Janome 9900 and Janome MC 10001, as well as the New Home 2015 (a mechanical sewing machine from the 1980’s) seem to be able to handle both fine fabrics such as chiffon and organdy as well as heavy fabrics and leather.
I hope this helps you. If you don’t have a Janome shop or dealer in the Finland you may end up paying extra for customs and VAT however. :(
Thank you!
Kathy

Annele from Make Bra:
Thank you Kathy for enlightening comment.
Janome sounds like a really interesting machine. We have a dealer here in Finland as well and I’ll definitely visit them and take a “test drive” with some models. The fact is that my future machine won’t need to cope with every type of material and situation imaginable because it’s all about lingerie here.
No time for anything else (and I’m totally happy with it!). :)

New Bra Pattern Released, #DL02

Finally, downloadable pattern #DL02 is published. Drafting process took much more time than I anticipated. I hope that it will be for your advantage, Dear customers!
Many thanks to the “Fitting-Sisters” who fitted and commented the trial versions of #DL02. Christel in Germany, Marianne and Helena in Sweden, Sointu and Edith in Finland. Special thanks to Marianne (her blog Knit and Purl Happenings) who gave her contribution in a form of both sewing and fitting the trial versions. Many, many versions.

The Pattern

bra-pattern-DL02
It was larger size pattern’s turn to be released this time (talking about cup size). Sizes start from 75G and end to 100F. New in this pattern is a separate PDF file including general information and a construction guide. In this file all important titles act as online links. Open the guide in Adobe Reader and follow the links to the detailed sewing instructions on Make Bra’s site while sewing. That is what I call modern sewing!

The Instructions

elastic-trim-finishing
Instructions are worth visiting even if you are not going to make this particular model. There are many finesses which you can apply to your own projects.
In a model on this page I have made an extra decoration on vertical seams and straps with a narrow elastic trim. That means you don’t need so much fold over elastic in order to finish the edges. The trim is sewed in two steps in place. First, over the seams of the cup (leave 1-2 cm unsewn on upper edge!). Second, after attaching two pieces of FOE, on the edges of the straps.
By the way, for you who are not so familiar with attaching the fold over elastic, there is a handy tip for making it in the instructions Sewing Bra #DL02!

Built-in Bra Prom Dress

Vilma

Built-in bra is a good option for all kinds of party dresses, especially for those without sleeves or straps. A custom-made dress can really stand out with the sewn-in cups in your own size. In Vilma’s dress we used the bra pattern #2610. Photos Lotta Hyytinen.

Why Built-in Cups?

sew-in-bra-cups
We had three main reasons why. First, the bodice stays in a right place and the bra doesn’t peep out at any point. Second, with the sewn-in cups we got the bodice form we wanted. And last, the draped design was easy to implement onto the cups.

Cups + Lining = Light Corset

upper-part-inside
The cups are attached to the lining, the combination which forms a light corset under the bodice.

In this picture you can see how the boning tunnels are placed in order to get an even support. Note also the horizontal elastic which starts under the lower part of the cup and ends to the center back.

To Be Sure the Dress Stays in Place

waistband
Vilma’s layered skirt is floor length. Although the uppermost tulle layer is light, the whole skirt is quite heavy. The force of gravity pulls it down while the strapless dress cannot resist it effectively. So, we ensured the dress stays where it should with an elastic band around the waist. Elastic must be quite tough. The bra closure with three adjustments possibilities at the ends gives some ease if needed.

The magic waistband prevents your dress from slipping down and enables you to celebrate with confidence!

A Little Foam Lining Story

This post gives you information about the foam lining for sale in Make Bra online store. The foam lined bra cup is there for support and shape. Not to mention a good look and feel!

Material

foam-lining-for-bra-cups
Our foam has only a very minimum give and therefore forms a good base for constructing whatever cup cover you prefer on it.

One of the most common misunderstandings is that foam lining acts like a padding. It doesn’t. It doesn’t increase the breast volume. In newly made bra it may seem slightly puffed, but after wearing it for a while, excessive puffiness fades away.

You can still use it as a padding. In that case overlap foam lining pieces in a place where extra padding is needed. Stitch the layers together piece by piece.

Cut and Sew

The foam-lined cup is formed out of one-two-three-or-more pieces. Its task is to move your breast tissue in the desired direction depending on the shape of the cup. To the center, up forward, down. Feel free to make your own improvements and changes to the cup. It’s easy. Use the existing seams or make new ones. Try different adjustments and see the effects. Imagine that it’s a kind of a sculpture.

Join the foam cup parts together with a zigzag or 3-step zigzag. Zigzag seams can be finished with a narrow tape. However, the seams of our foam merge together forming a beautiful, solid cup and therefore it is better to leave the finishing tape off. The lighter the seams are, the smoother the shape and the more invisible the seams will be.

After joining the parts together, the cup may seem to be a bit angular. Don’t worry, because this effect disappears after few hours of wearing the bra. The same miracle happens when you put on a bra that has just been washed – the shape returns quickly. I really love that feature. If angularity bothers you in the first place, you can gently steam iron over the seams through a cotton cloth. Be careful not to flatten the cup! And not to burn your fingers!

Wash

The foam lining doesn’t demand any special washing treatments. The same detergent and temperature can be used as you normally use when washing your underwear. After washing, pull the cups into shape when the bra is still wet.

I always wash my bras in a washing machine. That being whispered, I recommend that you do your laundry in a way that seems the best. I use washing machine because of the bra science: I want to test the materials. Okay, I’m too lazy to wash them by hand. But, please don’t blame me for advising you to wash your lingerie in a washing machine. The fact is that the materials of your underwear tell the rules.

As mentioned before, foam lining is a master of retaining and returning its shape. And it’s not the first one to wear out, neither in use nor in wash.

Art Deco Style Bra

I’ll show you here my newest sewing project with the pattern #DL01: an art deco style bra. It was made for a customer who gave me a free hand to decide how to use three fabrics. Dotted, striped and plain black. The art deco style wasn’t our goal … the result surprised even ourselves.

Fabrics

patterned fabrics
The dotted and striped fabrics are manufactured by Nanso. Nanso produces high quality tricot fabrics for their own use, but sometimes you can find their left-overs at local fabric stores. This, let’s say T-shirt tricot, is my favorite as a cup cover material because it’s thin and stretchy just in a right way. You are free to lay out pieces the way you prefer, no need to take any grain-lines into consideration. It’s a pleasure to work with it.
Lycra was used for the bra band wings and striped tricot for the cradle.
Tip! When you are targeting dots or other designs together on fabric in order to cut out two symmetrical parts, use a window for your help. Fold the fabric and put it against the window. Designs can be seen clearly when the light comes through (by day, of course and with very dark fabrics, of course not :))

Sketching

scketches
To figure out how to combine these three fabrics I made some sketches. In this drawing you can see the effects of different layouts. It seems like the focus of the bra would be different in every alternatives. Despite these drawings and after few spoiled cuttings I ended up to the conclusion in the picture below.

The Bra and the Panties

art-deco-style-bra
panties+bra
A custom made bra wouldn’t be perfect without matching panties. These Tap pants (Pattern #DL21) are great under your clothing because they land so low underneath the cheeks that the panty lines stay invisible. In my opinion, they are extremely feminine too.
These small pieces of lingerie blend the early 1900s and the present in a wonderful way. I think they look gorgeous on modern women like my client! I hope she’ll be satisfied.