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 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,, 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

Petite Bra Pattern

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.


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!

A Printed T-shirt Turns into a Bustier Bra Top

The Idea for the Makeover Came From…


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

And, the Result Was…


…a “denim” bustier bra top. The pattern used for cups was Make Bra’s balconette style bra #2610.


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


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

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.

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?

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!

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

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

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


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?

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

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

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!


The surfaces of the foam are different. Both the fuzzy and plain surfaces can be used against the skin. It is a matter of taste.

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 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. Roughly spoken, 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. You are free to make your own improvements and changes to it. It’s easy. Use the existing seams or make the new ones. Make different adjustments and see the effects. Imagine that it’s a kind of 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 seam 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 a bra. The same miracle happens when you put on a bra just been washed – the shape returns quickly. I really love that feature. If angularity bothers you at 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!


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 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.


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 :))


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

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.

Fitting the Bra Strap

The good fit of a bra depends on size and model of a cup and a band. It depends on length and positioning of the straps as well. Any of these on failure may lead to poor fit. In this chapter, we focus on placing the straps using the trial version of a new model #DL01 (downloadable pattern) as an example. For visualising any fitting problems it’s recommended making a trial version of a bra at first (How To?). It saves your time, money and nerves in the long run.
It is assumed here that the cup size is correct; we do not really change it although some little darts may be added.

Straps Towards the Center

move the strap
The straps can be too far from each other in a pattern relative to your shoulder-shape or you’re not filling out the top of your cup. Both cases can cause your straps to slide down your shoulders. Bringing them little nearer each other may help.
Cut the strap off the cup and pin it a little bit nearer the center. That could cause another problem though. The A-area (marked in picture) could become too loose. If so, pin in a dart to correct a gaping area.
Pattern adjustments:

Wider-Set Straps

move a strap
In case the upper edge of your cup sits too tight on you, forming another pair of breasts over the cups, moving the straps a little farther away from each other could help.
Be careful not to set them too wide, lest they should begin to fall off. Unlike the previous example, the B-area (marked in picture) may start gaping. To correct that pin out the excess fabric along the vertical seam.
Pattern adjustments:

Tips for Fitting a Trial Bra

Strap Length
If you fit the trial bra on your own, adjusting the length of the straps may be difficult. I suggest that you pin the straps on the back of the bra band first and then adjust the length on the front as shown in the picture.
Bra Band
As you may have noticed the trial bra band has no elastics and therefore doesn’t tighten the edges like it should. That should be taken into consideration especially when judging the fit of the cup. After you have tighten the straps, you should gently pull the underarm hem of the band in order to receive a real shape of the cup. The arrow shows where and in which direction.

News and Ideas

Dear customers and all the other lingerie making enthusiasts who have been given me feedback, thank you so much! Your wishes, your concerns and your grateful attitude towards this site has encouraged me to continuously make my best!

About the patterns

Many of you have requested for the printing option of patterns in our web shop, meaning that after paying you’d get the email telling from where to print the pattern. It really is a sensible way to deliver and receive patterns. Fast and cheap without any delivery costs. Now your call is answered…

In the picture on the right there is a new model so far called #XXXX. It was at first designed for Make Bras one-year birthday which passed a pair of weeks ago and here are we now…the birthday cake candle is still not extinguished! This #XXXX will be the first printable pattern in Make Bra web shop, available on Monday, October 15th.

#XXXX story will be continued later with the lower part pattern to which you can then attach the bra pattern purchased. And, what will it be then? It will be a basque or light corset, whatever you’d like to call it.

Smaller sizes of pattern #4800 have also been highly desired. It was originally designed only for larger sizes, but due to high demand for smaller ones it has been renewed to include them too. At the same time, larger size patterns have been updated to be in line with the others. Both the new and updated patterns are available in Make Bra web shop on Tuesday, October 9th. (promised to some of you on Monday, but an obstacle occurred, sorry about that)

On Tuesday I’ll post more about the adjustments made to the pattern. If you own pattern #4800, you can check if those alterations would benefit you. In case you would like to try them out, please ask the updated version by email! Only the updated parts of the pattern will be sent. Tell where you purchased the pattern and in what size you would like to have the update.

Idea of the Month

Grace emailed me an idea that I think deserves to be shared.

She wrote: “I have a problem with most bras, in that they fit well when I first put them on, but if I move around much, things tend to settle in a way that leaves me sticking out the top of the bra. Four boobs, not good. A larger cup size simply fails to support, but I’ve found that if I cut the sticky bit off the top of a hold-up stocking and sew that along the top edge of each cup, they stay put all day, only two boobs, even after bending down to tie my shoes. Well worth doing for ladies like me with, er, mobile breasts.”

Thanks Grace for a great idea, I think that the elastic silicone tape makes the trick, it really is worth trying! This is recycling at its best! Hold-ups turn to stay-downs. :)

How To Make an Easy Trial Version of Bras

We all have a little different figure even if we may have the same bra size. That’s why it’s wise to make a trial version of bras first. By fitting it, you will see what pattern adjustments might be needed. This post shows how to make a trial version of bras easily, fast and at an affordable price. There is no need to attach any elastics or other niceties at this stage (except in this particular model #4800, you could see and feel how “strong weapon” the support tape is by attaching it even if only to another cup)

trial bra
bias tunnel
bra back

Use a foam lining or some other non-stretch fabric as a cup material.

Bra band can be made of a cotton fabric or similar.

Cut the bra band wings much longer than marked on the pattern at centre back.

Use a bias binding as an underwire casing material.

Pin the strap elastics in place and tie bra band wings as a bow. Don’t tie too tight as this will ruin the shape of cups.

And voilà, your trial version is ready!

Tip for fitting a trial version: lift the straps a little by hand because the bra band made like this does not provide any support.

Cup Cakes:)


foam lining
plastic bones
hook&eye tape
bra fastener


Cut the bra band out of a fabric as two separate pieces (not on a fold). If you make a strapless bra like this one, straighten the upper edge of the band. Make the two halves of a bra ready as advised in full band bra instructions.
Before threading the underwires in, attach a hook&eye tape on place and push a boning in both of them. Close the ends of the tape sewing by hand.
Although the bra has a front-closure it still has fastening on back as well. And, why so? It’s because of the adjustment and convenience in use.
So why have a front-closure at all? Because it’s a pretty detail, it gives great support especially to a strapless bra and you can use it if you prefer!