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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!

Sewing the Thigh Highs

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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 #DL03.


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?
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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!
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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!

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A Little Foam Lining Story

This post (edited on 27.8.2018) 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!


Our foam has a subtle mechanical give which makes it very comfortable to wear. At the same time it still makes a good base for whatever cup cover you prefer.

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!


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 said, 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.

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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.
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How To Make an Easy Test Bra

We all have a little different figure even if we would have the same bra size. That’s why it’s wise to make a test bra first. By fitting it, you will see what pattern adjustments might be needed. This post shows how to make a test bra easily, fast and at an affordable price. There is no need to attach any elastics or other niceties at this stage.

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 center back.Use a bias binding as an underwire casing material. You can also simply leave the bias binding out and attach the seam allowance of the cup to the bra band by sewing it along the outer edge of the seam allowance, to create a tunnel for the underwire.

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 test version is ready!

A tip for fitting a test bra: lift the straps a little by hand because the bra band made like this does not provide any support.

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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!
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Sewing Project: Rosy Bra of An Old Curtain


Cute rosy bra made of an old curtain found at a flea market. The fabric is quite thick, but the type of weave makes it very adaptable. The pattern used is a balconette style bra (#2610) and the straps are from the pattern #4011.


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More Bra Sewing Tips (for you using pattern #4800)

This bra for larger sizes is made in a similar way than the full band bra. Note when shaping the cup like advised in the full band bra instructions, do the same on the strap area. The fabric doesn’t fall over the edges of the lining much because the strap area is so narrow.
Two other important points:

1. Supporting Tape
Before you attach the lining pieces together, sew the supporting tape underside the upper edge of the side part of the lining (3). It reaches up to the end of the strap in this model. Zigzag both edges of the band to the lining. The supporting tape can be whatever thin, non-elastic band, not wider than 1,5cm. This is a small detail, but the effects are huge.
2. Bra Strap Back
The adjustment part of the strap can be made in this way too: it is integrated up to the center-back of the bra band.