Get Started: Bra Making, A Simple Guide for Beginners
How to sew a bra? To most sewists, bra-making seems to have a cloud of mystery surrounding it. It’s something that appears too complicated to tackle, yet it draws you in with the promise of better-fitting bras and beautifully lacy lingerie for an affordable price.
It’s true that bra making is probably not the best first project for a true beginner to sewing. But if you’re confident on a sewing machine and have a few successful projects under your belt, making a bra is actually quite achievable.
We’re bringing you the information you need to get started on your lingerie-sewing journey with confidence. Everything from planning your first bra-making project, to selecting a pattern, to gathering supplies is covered in this guide. So, let’s get started with how to make a bra.
Planning Your First Bra Making Project
Every sewing project starts in the planning stage – and this stage is especially important for projects that you’re just a little bit nervous to start.
Do You Have the Right Sewing Skills to Sew Lingerie?
A great place to start when planning your first bra making project is with assessing your current sewing skills.
Here are a few key skills that you’ll definitely use while sewing lingerie:
- Precise cutting and sewing. Bras require some small, fiddly pieces that will come together better if they’re cut and sewn accurately.
- Working with stretchy fabric. Bras are often made with stretchy knit fabrics, which can be challenging to sew if you’ve never worked with them before.
- Sewing through thick fabrics. Some portions of a bra, such as around the underwire channeling and the clasps, can be thick and difficult to sew.
- Pattern fitting and alterations. Most people will need to adjust any commercial pattern to get a perfect fit from their bra, so pattern fitting experience is helpful.
While having these skills already in your toolbelt before learning to sew lingerie can be helpful, it is not necessary! You can learn these skills as you sew your first several bras – just remember to be easy on yourself and don’t expect perfect results on the first try.
How to Choose a Bra Pattern
Selecting the perfect first bra pattern is really a personal choice. The most important thing is to choose a design you like and are excited to sew. Bra making can be tedious and long, so if you choose a pattern you don’t love just because it looks “easy”, you’re more likely to give up at the first sign of trouble.
That being said, if taking on a complicated pattern makes you too nervous to even begin, selecting a simpler style (that you still love) can be helpful. Choosing a design with no underwires or foam cups can make the bra making process easier.
5 Simple Beginner-Friendly Bra Patterns
We’ve compiled a short list of 5 beginner-friendly bra and bralette patterns to get you started on the search for the perfect pattern. However, make sure to choose a style you actually like!
- Watson Bra & Bikini Pattern from Cloth Habit
- Sierra Wrap Bralette Pattern from Madalynne Intimates
- Classic Full Band Bra Pattern from Pin-Up Girls
- Mystic Bra Pattern from Orange Lingerie
- Jordy Bralette from Emerald Erin
Supplies for Bra Making
If you’ve been sewing for a while, you’ve probably got a good selection of sewing notions and supplies already on hand. But you may find that you’ll need to add a few items specifically for your new bra making adventures.
Of course, you’ll need a sewing machine! Making bras and lingerie doesn’t require any special type of sewing machine – just about any old machine will do. As long as your sewing machine can sew a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch, it can work for bra making.
To make sewing knits, elastic, and foam easier you may want to purchase a walking foot for your sewing machine. This nifty foot feeds the fabric from above, helping the feed dogs to guide shifty fabrics through your machine easily.
For most lingerie sewing projects, regular all-purpose polyester thread works quite well. However, if you plan to sew a fancy lingerie set with very fine fabrics like silk or satin, try using silk thread instead.
You’ll need a few different types of needles for successful bra making. Universal needles, stretch needles, ballpoint needles, and microtex needles all come in handy for different fabrics that are common in lingerie.
Since many bras require stretch fabric, make sure you have a set of ballpoint pins on hand. These pins won’t punch holes through the fibers of a knit fabric. A set of silk pins can also be useful when working with very thin fabrics.
As with all sewing projects, a good pair of fabric shears and pair of thread snips are essential. A cutting mat and rotary cutter are also very useful for bra making. A small sized rotary cutter, such as an 18mm or 28mm, is especially great for cutting those small, curved pieces used to make lingerie.
Finally, almost any bra making project will require bra findings. These are all those little clasps, sliders, underwires, lingerie elastic and other materials used to make a bra. Make sure to check your pattern instructions before purchasing supplies to ensure that you get the right items!
Where to Buy Bra Making Supplies | Favorite Sources for Bra Findings
Finding the perfect fabric, elastic, and other supplies for your lingerie sewing needs can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this list of awesome sources for bra findings and supplies.
We hope this overview on how to make a bra has been helpful and you’re ready to give it a try. For more ideas on how to get started with your sewing projects, visit our sewing resources page. We add quick start, tutorials, and fun project ideas all the time.
Happy bra making!