Bra Making Class: Caroline’s Experience!

Tasia has already told you all about her experience with the bra-making class we attended at A Great Notion. I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about how it went for me as well!

photo-2At one of our meetings right at the beginning of the year, Tasia mentioned that she signed up for this two day bra-making class. I was instantly intrigued! I have spent plenty of time ouu-ing and ahh-ing over Amy and Novita‘s lingerie creations, and I’ve always thought that I would really love to learn to make my own lingerie someday. Someday being the operative word. I say that about a lot of things! I really thought it would be a big undertaking, and the idea of sewing such teeny underthings seemed intimidating for some reason. But I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and commit to a weekend of learning. I am so glad I went for it.

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We were each able to complete two bras over the weekend. After I finished my first bra at the end of day one, I was really excited. I didn’t think I would be able to pull off sewing an entire bra in one day. That included fitting, cutting our pattern and fabric, and lessons along the way. The teacher, Johanne Brousseau, was super knowledgeable and encouraging. It was really great to have her there to demo each step, and help us through the process. If we had a question, she was right there to answer!

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Getting fitted was a bit scary! We got to go into a private room with the teacher, and we were asked to remove our top and bra to be measured. She had all of the wires and cups ready to go and she tried them on me to be sure I was going to get the right fit. Then she told me which size to cut, how to adjust the pattern, and I was off! Johanne was super professional, and made me feel comfortable. She knows what she’s doing, so it was great to know that I would get the exact right size bra. Fast forward to the end of day one, and after we finished our first bra, we regrouped with the teacher to try on our bra in private and she looked for any fit issues or small tweaks that could make the fit perfect.

photo-1So my first bra, in the photos above, is the Pin-Up Girls classic full band bra from Bra-Makers Supply. This was the bra pattern that came with the class, and we were also given two kits (one white, one nude) to complete our two bras. The kits were also from Bra-Makers. My bra came together surprisingly well without any big mistakes or setbacks. After trying it on, I realized I am definitely not used to wearing a soft cup bra without any padding. There is no doubt that I’m busty but I still feel more comfortable with a layer of padding on my girls, it’s cold in Canada, if you know what I mean! I also personally felt the fit made my bust look a little bit on the pointy side. But it looked pretty good for my first try!

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So for my second bra, I wanted to use the same pattern and tweak the fit a bit to make it right for me. I learned how to add padding to my cups, which was really easy. I also curved the bust seams a bit more so that they were not quite as pointy.

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Here’s a shot of the inside of my second bra. All I had to do was cut the cup pieces out of padding, remove the seam allowance, and zig-zag my padding together. Then I laid my sewn fabric cup overtop and treated it as one piece. I also added a “sling” to the side of my cups – which is really just a folded piece of mesh fabric. This gave me a little extra support and lift.

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I’m a larger size than Tasia, and you can see how large my cups look in this photo! Wowie, right? These are full cups, though, something we don’t see often in ready-to-wear bras. I am going to try out demi-cups and lace combinations on my next make, I’m excited to explore some sexier combos! But I do love the coverage and support of this classic full band bra, and I think in a different fabric even this bra could be sexy.

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The whole energy of the class was really cool! I was really feeling the girl-power vibes in that room. There were beautiful women of all shapes and sizes. If you were comfortable, you were able to come out in your finished bra and show the class how it looked. It was really interesting to see the teacher critique each bra and point out fit issues and how to remedy them. Something I wouldn’t be able to experience if I had just decided to teach myself.

photo-4After the weekend was over I went straight home bought some supplies and kits from Bra-Makers Supply, and Merckwaerdigh. We have a gorgeous stretch silk charmeuse at Télio, and tons of gorgeous colors in stretch laces and organic cotton knits, so I am seeing some really lovely bra/panty combos in my future.

Most of all, I love that this is one more thing I can make instead of buy. After wearing my bras for a few weeks I can say that having a bra fit perfectly to your body is really pretty life-changing. I can’t wait to make so many more!

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29 Responses to Bra Making Class: Caroline’s Experience!

  1. Elena March 14, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    It’s been really great to hear your and Tasia’s experiences with the course. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m actually wondering about what sewing level you’d recommend for people taking this course. I’m interested, but two bras in two days sounds pretty challenging!

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      Hi Elena! The best guide I’ve heard is that ‘if you can set in a sleeve, you can sew a bra’. I think that’s a good way of putting it! I think if you are at an intermediate level you will be just fine. It’s a lot of inserting elastic, zig zag stitching, trimming, and a bit of easing around the cup curves. I would recommend checking out Amy of Cloth Habit’s bra sew-along to get an idea of what it all entails. A link to her blog is above in my post :)

      • Elena March 14, 2014 at 9:28 am #

        Thanks! That sounds very encouraging.

        • Tasia March 14, 2014 at 9:36 am #

          I agree! If you can set in a sleeve, you can set in a bra cup into a band.
          You do sew with 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowances, so that’s something new, but once you get started you get used to the smaller seams. Using a pattern like the Pin-up Girls Classic Bra is a good idea to start as the diagrams and instructions are very thorough. Good luck! ;)

  2. Hanna March 14, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    The bra look very professionally made. I’m super envious that you had an opportunity to attend such a class. I’m more and more excited to try out lingerie making for myself, although I’d have to teach myself, sadly. Fortunately, there’s a lot of help around the internet to guide me.

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Thanks Hanna. Yes there are tons of great resources that I’ve found online as well. I hope you try it, it’s really fun!

  3. Pamela @ Johnny Mango Seed March 14, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    Like! It’s especially fabulous to have something that fits you so well in such an important place!

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      Thanks Pamela, that’s for sure!

  4. Senlin Long March 14, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    I would love to know how to get her to the Atlanta area to teach this class.I would really like to take the class and I bet lots of others would also.

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      Hi Senlin! Actually, our teacher, Johanne Brousseau, mentioned that she will be retiring this year! She will be doing one more set of classes at A Great Notion in September, and that’s it! It’s too bad, as she really was great.

  5. Carol March 14, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Sounds like a really good class. I don’t see any classes/teachers in Washington State, so maybe some day I’ll take a trip across the border. On a side note. I keep seeing you guys referring to fabric from Telio and it always sounds gorgeous. Is this somewhere that anyone can order from, or are they wholesale only?

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

      Hi Carol. Yes, Telio is wholesale only. We are lucky enough to be working with them to get some great fabrics. However, they supply fabrics to tons of fabric stores across Canada and the US. So if there is something you see that you like, you could e-mail them at info[at]telio[dot]com to find out if it might be available at a retail shop near you, or online.

      • Amanda March 18, 2014 at 10:10 am #

        It would be super awesome if Sewaholic would consider selling some of their lovely fabric to us… just sayin ;) *wink wink*

  6. Tiffany March 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Good job!

  7. Sophie-Lee March 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Ah, I wish we had something like that here – I’d have to completely guess at what size to make and which wires to buy, etc. I’d love to make my own bras and have tried soft-shell ones but they’re not the most flattering on me – perhaps I should just suck it up and get a kid to try them out.

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      Yes give it a try! I’m sure you could find some great resources online about how to measure yourself. :)

  8. Siobhan March 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    That second bra looks fantastic. It’s so hard to find supportive bras for larger sizes with enough padding in the shops…maybe I’ll have to try my hand at making one.

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      So true! It’s a full cup and it has great coverage and support, something I have never been able to find in the shops. Give it a go!

  9. Dena Dietzel March 14, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I’m curious when making the bra how much do you think it cost you? Much cheaper than buying?

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      Good question! So far I have purchased kits from Bra Makers Supply and Merckwaerdigh (an ebay shop), they include enough fabric and findings (elastic, hook and eye, sliders and rings, etc) to make one bra, and the Merckwaerdigh kits even have some extra so you can make matching panties. They range in price from around CAD$26-28 + shipping. Not cheap, but I do think it’s reasonable for the quality and fit that you are getting. If you had to buy all of the supplies separately on your work, not in a kit, I’m not sure you could beat that price.

  10. Pamela @ Johnny Mango Seed March 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Wow, I just ran across this today, how fitting [no pun intended]: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2126584956/yellowberry-changing-the-bra-industry-for-young-gi?ref=live

    • Caroline Amanda March 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      Cool! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Tilly March 15, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    This is so inspiring, Caroline – I so wanna make a bra now! I got a fitting this week that changed my life – I’ve been wearing the wrong size for years. Problem is, there only seems to be one shop in the UK that does my size (Bravissimo), so I need to start making my own…

  12. Rebecca March 15, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    have loved reading both your reviews. I think it’s totally ideal to dedicate a weekend to learning something like this! The end results are amazing! So professional looking!

  13. Melanie March 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    This has been so interesting to read about. Do you know if they’re doing any classes this summer? I’m going to be in the Lower Mainland for August and would love to try this class!

    • Melanie March 16, 2014 at 4:18 am #

      Never mind. I just discovered that the woman behind Merckwaerdigh gives classes in bra-making in Rotterdam — a 25 minute drive from where I live. I’ll have to check it out!

  14. French Toast Tasha March 17, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    That class sounds like a great experience. Thanks to you and Tasia for being willing to post the bras you made, it’s really helpful!

  15. Amanda March 18, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I think I would be very nervous having someone get all up in my biz at first but for a great fitting bra, and the experience of learning firsthand it would be worth it! Your bras both look very profesh!! :)

  16. Michelle May 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Caroline, I’m so glad you enjoyed bra-making. I love it. For a while I had a love-hate relationship with it as I was hard to fit, but then nothing fit in the stores either, so… I pressed on. Looking forward to seeing more!

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