Bra-Making Class Report

I took a bra-making class at A Great Notion in Surrey, BC recently! I receive their catalogue and flyers in the mail and often read through the list of classes thinking ‘hey, that class would be fun!’ When the December flyer arrived, during the excitement of setting 2014 goals, I signed up for Bra Making! Caroline did the bra-making class with me as well. And it was so much fun! It was two full days long, all day Saturday and Sunday, and in the end we both finished two bras. Two entire bras! One day for each bra.

The class was taught by Johanne Brousseau, an expert bra-fitter and sewing instructor. I’d highly recommend taking a class with Johanne as she’s extremely knowledgeable, friendly and encouraging.

The very first thing was getting fitted, which meant taking off our shirts and bras with the instructor and getting fitted for the right band size, wire size and cup size. A bit unnerving, taking off your shirt for a stranger, and having them press a wire to your chest, but I love that we got the right fitting size from the very start.

Here is my first bra!

pin-up girls classic bra

And here is my second bra!

pin-up girls shelley bra

Ok, the details. The first bra is Pin-up Girls Classic Bra 1230, using a Bra Kit in beige. I made a 32C and made no alterations.

pin up girls classic bra 1230It fits very well and for the first time, my underwires sit flat against my body. My bra doesn’t try to slide up when I lift my arms.

pin-up-girls classic bra 1230 (4)

I thought the full band – elastic going all the way around the body under the cups – would look matronly, and perhaps it does compared to a sexy fashion bra, but it’s soooo comfortable! Full band, all the way.

pin-up-girls classic bra 1230 (8)

For the second bra, I got adventurous! I decided to try the Shelley pattern also from Pin-up Girls, add foam to the cups, and use lace.

pin-up-girls shelley bra  (5)

To be honest it was a lot to take on for the second bra. The foam wasn’t easy to sew in, because of the lace panel, so I had to improvise how I attached it to the fabric cup. The first bra pattern would be better to sew with foam because it’s an all-fabric cup. I think it’s probably better to add one new thing at once, either lace or padding or trying a new pattern. But I couldn’t resist this gorgeous fabric kit in red and cream lace. It’s so pretty! This is the sort of bra I would admire in the store, if it existed, then choose a sensible beige or black.

I wanted a matching red elastic kit but settled for the cream colour. Now that it’s all sewn up, I love the contrast of the ivory and red together!

pin-up-girls shelley bra  (7)

In the photos, the red bra is definitely prettier than the beige one. The lace makes a huge difference! So does the bright happy colour.

pin-up-girls shelley bra  (3)

I want to compare the two patterns even more, and try making a Classic Bra with foam cups, and make a Shelley without foam. Then I’ll have both patterns in foam and non-foam for a true comparison. So far I actually prefer the classic bra fit and feel. But I love the look of the lace and the bright red of Shelley. And Shelley makes me look bustier – but I can’t tell if it’s the foam cups or the shape of the cups that’s giving it more oomph. That’s why I’m going to make a few more as experiments to determine which is my favourite. Wear them several times and decide if the fit needs changing. And once I’ve figured out which pattern and fabric combo feels the best, time to make all the bras!

pin-up-girls shelley bra  (6)

Thoughts about bra-making:

  • It’s not as hard as it looks! It’s just different. Using the right findings and elastics makes it easy to get a professional-looking bra.
  • There is no pressing or serging! Which makes it faster because you don’t need to leave the sewing machine.
  • Taking a class was a wonderful way to do it. You have the reassurance of someone to ask, right there, if you get stuck or want to make sure you’re doing it the right way. Unpicking tiny stitches on thin fabric is no fun. (I did it a lot on my second bra.)
  • We’re really used to – or I am, anyways – round padded cups that give even the smallest chests a melon shape. The foam dome, as Norma from Orange Lingerie calls it. So it’s different to see a soft-cup bra on me. It gives a shape more like my bra-less shape – pointier, less rounded and smoothed out. However, it’s really nice to wear a lighter bra! I never noticed but a padded bra can be heavy. And hot in the summer.
  • When sewing bras, keep your hands moisturized so you don’t snag the material. When I inserted the underwires on bra #2, I scratched the cup fabric with my rough hands. It’s not the end of the world but it’s a bit discouraging to snag your project before it’s even finished.
  • Buying a complete bra supply kit makes it easy to ensure you have all the right parts.
  • One good thing about being a small bra size – you can get more that one bra from one kit! I think I’ll be able to cut at least 2 more bras from each kit fabric; I’ll just need more elastics and hooks.
  • There’s a bra-supply company located in Canada! Bra-Makers Supply is in Hamilton, Ontario. How exciting to be able to order within my country and not have to pay international shipping and potential duties.
  • Even when you think you know a lot about sewing, it’s refreshing to take a class and keep on learning.
  • Making your own anything is the best way to get a perfect fit, and customize the style. And it’s really rewarding to be able to cross ‘find bra that fits’ off your life list.
  • Now there is no reason to throw away any scrap of fabric, ever, if there’s enough to cut bra cups!

Caroline and I are both super excited to make more bras. As soon as we got home from the workshop, we both went online and ordered more supplies for future bra projects. So much fun!

Have you made a bra? Many bras? What’s your favourite pattern, and where do you like to buy supplies? Any tips for newbie bra-makers?

, , , , ,

105 Responses to Bra-Making Class Report

  1. Woolbothy March 10, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    Great looking work! Thanks for sharing this. In 50 years of sewing, I’ve never made a bra. Mainly because I thought it’d be a hassle to get all the bits. What an inspiration you are! Now I want to give it a go, especially as I never like the fit of RTW bras.

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      It probably is a hassle to get all the bits, if you source them individually. I haven’t compared the cost but even so, I’d rather have all of the supplies I need. I like when things are easy! A kit is a great way to go. There are some from a Dutch ebay store that include enough materials for matching panties too! I like that idea and if you compare the cost to RTW, it’s way cheaper. ($30 for a bra and panties plus shipping? Not bad!)
      http://www.ebay.ca/itm/271380408085?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

  2. Emily March 10, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    Amazing job – I love that you’re still expanding your horizons and trying new things! The lacy version is gorgeous. I had never thought to make my own underwear, but I’m seeing so many folks doing it lately that I just might have to jump on that bandwagon…

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Thank you! I probably wouldn’t have tried it this year if it wasn’t for the class. Even with the red one there were points of frustration that if I’d been alone, I might have stuffed in a drawer and moved on. I’m glad that the class environment made me push through – and the fact that Caroline was next to me and I couldn’t be a quitter! :)
      Sewing bras and underwear is great fun! Underwear is quick and bras are just amazing that we can sew them ourselves.

  3. Deborah S March 10, 2014 at 6:46 am #

    What a great review. So much so that I wanted to book onto the course straight away. You can’t imagine my disappointment at discovering that the course is located in Surrey in Canada and not Surrey in UK (just up the road from me).
    Thanks for a great blog!

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Oh no! Sorry to lead you on like that. :) It’s funny that we have the same city names over here as in the UK. Lots of street names, too! I often want to use them for pattern names but then I realize we’ve just copied the original one from the UK.

  4. Elisabeth March 10, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Now that’s a challenge I’ve never considered! It looks difficult.
    As you say “making your own anything…”, so I wont say it’ll never happen.

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      It looks more difficult that it was, I swear! The nice quality materials make a difference. I’ll post more about bra-making as I get into it – this isn’t the last bra-related post!

  5. Andrea_R March 10, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    I would totally do this! I’m hard to fit and would love to take a class to learn, rather than fumble through on my own.

    Alas, that sort of class would be hard to find here. :-/

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      I think everyone is hard to fit off-the-rack! In our class there were women of all sizes and ages, all there to learn to make bras that fit them exactly. Amanda linked to this list of instructors around the world here (google map here: http://goo.gl/maps/3ilrS). so depending on where you live, there may be someone close by!

  6. Jessica March 10, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    Lovely bras! And I’m jealous that you got to take a class; I would need to travel for that. I bought all of the materials necessary to make the Pin Up Girls Classic about a year ago, but have been a combination of too scared (that fabric is expensive!) and too distracted by other projects to start. Since I have a small band size and large cup, I’ve been getting into buying better fitting, more supportive bras (mostly Panache) in the last few months, so I’m thinking I need to actually take the bra-making dive sooner than later!

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      It’s not that scary! The scariest part is the unfamiliarity. It’s a new type of project, but not super hard to sew. The fabric is expensive but you may be able to get a second bra out of the kit, or a partial bra at least!
      With bras, you kind of have to make one, and then adjust for your second, and adjust again for your third. It’s the sort of thing you need to make before you know how it will fit and feel to wear. Which is kind of liberating, actually, you don’t have to get it perfect the first time. Good luck! It’s just fabric, give it a go!

  7. Miss Celie March 10, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    These are gorgeous! I’m jealous of your red and white one especially. I need to branch out with my bra patterns. I’m going to Amsterdam this fall and am going to buy a slew of complete kits while I’m there from Kantje-Boord. Great work!

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      I re-read all of your bra-sewing posts after taking this class! You’ve done beautiful work. I think once you get a pattern that suits you and feels comfortable, it’s nice to be able to sew it up multiple times and know it will fit! Amsterdam seems to be a hotspot for sewing lingerie, I wonder why? Enjoy your trip!

  8. Yvette Ramsdale March 10, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Those came out really nice. I’m Jelous. I’ve been wanting to take a bra class, but there is none in my area. I wish someone would do an online course on video. That would be amazing

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      That would be really helpful! There’s a video from the Bra-Makers supply people that covers how to sew a bra, but it’s not online.

      • Debra L March 12, 2014 at 1:17 am #

        About six months ago I asked Craftsy (http://www.craftsy.com) if they could create a bra making class. Maybe other interested Sewaholics would like to make the same request?

        Having said that, I had a try myself and it was much easier than I expected. I got distracted by other things but seeing Tasia’s lovely bras is inspiring me to try again.

  9. Sheila March 10, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    So pretty! I have several bra patterns in my stash that I’ve been meaning to try out, but they intimidate me, so I haven’t. Maybe buying a kit and taking a class would be a good way to get over my fear of the unfamiliar.

    Slightly off topic, if you are looking for new pattern ideas, I would love, love, love to see a pattern for a pretty sleep chemise (it could maybe also include options for cute bottoms and a tank-length top?) Think Eberjay style,but with cup/band size options for for those of us that are more than a B, and – most importantly – built in support and containment (while still looking attractive), so that the ladies look good before I get into bed, and stay out of my armpits while I sleep ;)

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      A kit is a great way to do it, no worrying about having the right sliders and hooks and elastics. There’s a lot of different parts that make up a bra, it’s nice to know someone has done the sourcing for you and all you need to do is assemble it!
      Thanks for the idea – would you mean a slip with underwires>? Or more of a shelf bra? This might work for you – http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Naaipatroon-O2-voor-HEMDJE-en-ONDERJURK-Merckwaerdigh-/270779460270?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_146&hash=item3f0bb6aaae
      I’ve been looking at the Merckwaerdigh patterns after checking out other sewing blogs, it has a slip with underwires that might suit your needs.
      I’ll need to experiment more with lingerie and I’m definitely looking forward to it!

      • Sheila March 12, 2014 at 7:38 am #

        I so agree with you on the appeal of the kit and having all the bits needed to just dive in and get the project done . I also wouldn’t end up with a bunch of extra supplies taking up precious storage space if i decide that bra-making just isn’t for me.

        I can’t believe you took the time to find a pattern to match what I was looking for. Definitely above and beyond – Thank you! I will have to look a bit more closely at the pattern details to see if it will work, but on the surface, it is definitely the closest I’ve seen yet. If it’s not perfect it might still be close enough that I can make it work. Again, thank you :)

  10. Maureen Russell March 10, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    I too took the bra-making class from Johanne – what a fabulous instructor who helped all of us in the class feel that we were bra-making queens. I LOVED having a bra that finally fit me properly. The sewing process isn’t really difficult if you have any sewing experience at all. I love that I can now make my own well-fitting bras for a fraction of the cost of store-bought AND I can have whatever colour and lace combination I can dream up!

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      That’s awesome! I totally agree that she made us all feel like we were bra-making superstars. Great to hear the class inspired you to keep on making bras!

  11. Becky March 10, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    I’ve never made one, and am a little intimidated at the thought–mostly because I get cold way too easily to go for bras that don’t have at least a little padding! (TMI, maybe? Sorry!) I would be interested to try it sometime, but it’s very unlikely that a class for something like that would happen around here. So I’d have to figure it out by trial and error, I think.

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

      There’s never TMI with sewing, it’s all facts and measurements here! Or I think so, anyways. It’s not as big of a deal now, as it’s winter and we’re all layered up, but might be more of a concern in the spring and summer. Of course I think the layer of foam added to the cups would help with that.
      There’s some great information on the Cloth Habit site here http://clothhabit.com/tag/bramaking/ and I’ll post more as I learn more too! If you do get the chance to take a class, hands-on learning is great. The bra-makers supply company also offers books and CDs which look pretty good.

  12. Amanda March 10, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    Wow, I think undressing in front of a stranger would challenge even *my* lack of modesty. But, it would be worth it for the learning and final outcome. I just checked Bra-Makers Supply’s website (I’ve purchased from them before) and I noticed they have teachers trained in their method outside of Canada (google map here: http://goo.gl/maps/3ilrS).

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Yeah, it was rather uncomfortable, the idea of it, but the actual fitting wasn’t that bad. The possibility of getting a great fitting bra was more important than the few minutes of being undressed, you’re right! Neat to know they have instructors outside of Canada – so many!

  13. Jessica March 10, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Ooooh … those are gorgeous! The Shelley is so beautiful, but I have to say, there’s something to be said for a comfortable, nude, workhorse bra! Ali and I are always trading sewing inspiration – and she started making bras last summer and loves it – so it’s fun to see you get into bramaking as well! Gives me an even stronger itch to try :-). She mentioned that a number of sewists like bra patterns with a vertical seam vs. horizontal seam – and I see that the Shelley pattern has a little vertical seam in the bottom? Maybe there’s something there?

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      That’s what I’ve read too! I think the vertical seam would lay flatter too, and possibly be lifted into place by the strap. I can see why people would prefer that type of seamline. I think the lace and the colour makes a big difference to Shelley’s appeal too. (And also, she has a name rather than just Classic Bra, maybe that makes her more alluring as well?)
      Bra-making is great fun. This is just the beginning of my bra-making adventures I’m sure!

  14. French Toast Tasha March 10, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Lovely job! I totally agree about making your own anything. I love making my own undies for just that reason. I’m not into underwires (I don’t need them for my figure, and I don’t like how they feel) but I’ve been experimenting with soft bras. It’s surprisingly hard to find a RTW one that isn’t boring or very “sports bra,” so of course I’ll try making some.

  15. Loretta March 10, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    Tasia, you are sooooo adventurous! I have a sister in law who makes her own bras, but I don’t know anyone else in my acquaintance who does. Good for you! Your sewing is amazing.

    • Tasia March 10, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      Thank you! I swear it wasn’t that hard with the guidance of the class. I’m so inspired to make more!

  16. Pamela @ Johnny Mango Seed March 10, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Impressive!

  17. Tilly March 10, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Love these! They look seriously impressive, Tasia. I really struggle to find bras in my size so perhaps making my own is the solution! xx

  18. Maaike March 10, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I’ve been admiring Very Purple Person’s beautiful bras for some time now, but always felt intimidated. A bra-making class is the perfect way to dip my toes in! (Hmm…strange analogy, but you know what I mean I hope!). Love the bras you made – an everyday one and a Saturday night one. :)

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      A class is a great way to test the waters and learn! It’s great to set aside the time to learn and experiment.

  19. Lauren March 10, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Ah I would love to learn how to make my own bras. It’s traumatizing going bra shopping and it would be awesome to make my own in any color other then cream, black, and white haha. The red is gorgeous! I must find a class near me!! Great post thanks for sharing!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      So glad you found it interesting! I don’t think anyone likes bra-shopping, and if you already sew it’s easy to add bra-making to your skills.

  20. Louisa March 10, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    A couple of years ago I bought both of Beverly Johnson’s bra-maker’s manuals, the Classic pattern and 2 bra kits from Bra-makers Supply. It took me a lot of hard work and experimenting to get a good pattern for a bra that fits but it was so worth it! Regular bras don’t fit me at all and I hate the ones with padding. I used to hate underwires too but now with a bra that fits properly they don’t dig in. Yay. I actually ended up with a bra that looks similar to the Shelley – just before they came out with that pattern for sale.

    Now I need to get more fabrics and notions to make several more bras so I can throw out all my old purchased ones. (But not before I harvest the findings!) I totally agree with you, Tasia. Bras are fiddly but not that hard once you get the size and shape right. And practice makes more perfect. My last one is definitely my best one!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Oh me too! Must make a week’s worth of bras and toss out the old ones. It’s great to hear you got a good fit after a lot of hard work and experimenting!

  21. Sally March 10, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Lovely and you’ve achieved a very professional finish for your first bras! You don’t happen to know where we can buy good bra-making kits in the UK do you?

  22. Anna March 10, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Your bras looks lovely! I actually just made my first Pin-up Girls bra this weekend as well. It wasn’t too bad too make and I told myself it had to final and complete by the end of the day on Saturday. Will have to play around with the fit/cut, but it looks like a real bra. Haven’t posted it yet on my baby blog, but will soon. I can’t wait to make some more pretty bras just the ones in the store. Way to go!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks and congrats on finishing your first bra! That was my thought exactly – it looks just like a store-bought bra! It’s exciting when it’s partially sewn and you can see it looking just like a real bra.

  23. Sheryl March 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi,
    I too, have made a bra. I love your red one especially the one with the side panel 4 piece red one (if its different than the other). I am busty, 36 F. I took a class in the states with Ann St. Claire in Oklahoma City, but she is from Kansas. She has videos, fabrics and ALL the bits n pieces and sells them in kits. There is nothing like the feel of a bra with cozy channeling (underwire holder). I have bought other fabrics from her also. Wonderfully helpful people. I know it’s a distance for my my northern sew sisters, but you can get her kits, lace, lingerie and regular fabrics with great customer service. I’m uh….forgetful sometimes, so DVD helps a lot when I forget something. Take the class, even if yr not small busted, you will be glad you did. I hope to travel to Kansas in the next few months…sorry to drone on. NeedleNookFabrics.com

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Great to hear there are also classes in the states! I thought there would be. It’s wonderful when the instructor comes with videos, kits, books, fabrics, everything you might want!

  24. CGCouture March 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Gorgeous! I’ve taken a bra making class with Anne St. Clair, but I haven’t made any in a while because I’ve been unhappy with bras that don’t do the lifting and push-up that purchased ones offer (well, they offer them to people with smaller cup sizes than mine, but that’s a gripe for another day). I’ll be interested to see if the Shelley is the bra pattern I’m looking for to get the pushup effect I’m after. :-)

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:16 am #

      Yes, these are not the lifting and pushing-up type of bras. However I found the Shelley pattern, with the foam lining, does create a more full shape. I think it’s partly the foam but might also be the design of the seaming. It probably won’t give you the pushup effect though, I know what you mean!
      This one might work better for you http://clothingengineer.com/2013/03/merckwaerdigh-pbh30-push-up-bra/ – she says it does amazing things for her cleavage!

      • CGCouture March 18, 2014 at 7:09 am #

        I looked at that Merckwaerdigh pattern, but it doesn’t go up to my cup size. :-( Thanks for the suggestion though. I went ahead and bought the Shelley anyway, maybe I can figure out how to tweak it to push up more. Or at least get the side support I need to keep things centered. :-)

        • Tasia March 18, 2014 at 8:50 am #

          Aw, sorry! I didn’t check the sizes. I have noticed that the Merckwaerdigh patterns don’t go up as high in the size range. Fine for small cups like me, not good for bustier women.

          For side support, we learned in the class (or Caroline did, anyways) about adding a ‘sling’ to the side cups for pushing things to the middle. http://sewaholic.net/bra-making-class-carolines-experience/ you can see it in her photos of the inside. That might help!

    • Sheryl March 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Less stressful for sure. She measured us and then told us what size we would wear. She then drew the pattern pieces for each person. Gave our kit and unopened pattern. We only had to cut it all out. She encouraged us to write notes on our bra pieces and I sure did. Most of us sewed the beige with no frills. Now I’m saving my ITY knits scraps for the outer bra and matching panties. Love my bra!

    • Sheryl March 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      The original bra I made, CG, was the bra for the smaller girls, but I mentioned to someone that they have larger bra’s with more support with the underarm support kind of like her red one, called Queen Elite. Some ladies had one breast quite a bit smaller or issues, so she showed them how to put a foam substance (I didn’t pay attention) and mentioned some people want more support so they were putting something like a 1/2 shoulder pad underneath that causes the “girls” to lift in the cups. I just took the class recently. So I haven’t made any with my scraps yet. I was also told, you can use quilt scraps, but the tricot for the lining. Her second red bra looked like it had the side panel and the 2 pieces in the lower 1/2 of the cup that Tasia made. Now I want a red bra with beige lace or black lace…..I’m dreaming.
      Cheers!

  25. Melanie March 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Wow. I’m impressed! They’re both beautiful but I especially love the red one! This seems so far outside my ability level, though it’s tempting. I spend a bundle on bras (Prima Donna, from Belgium) because the fit and quality is outstanding. I’d have to do a lot of practice before I could come close. I went to the link you posted about the Dutch ebay listing of bra kits and saw that they also have bra patterns. However, they recommend lingerie sewing experience before attempting the pattern I liked.

    Have you seen the slip and panties set that Gertie at blogforbettersewing.com designed? I’m thinking of following that sew-along for an introduction to lingerie. A little less intimidating!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Thank you! The Merckwaerdigh patterns recommend lingerie-sewing experience because the instructions are rather short and don’t include diagrams. The Pin-up Girls pattern has really great instructions, thorough with diagrams for each step. If you try the Pin-up Girls pattern first, then you’ll have all of the clues to make a pattern with vague directions. I think so, anyways!

      I picked up one of Gertie’s kits to sew the set as well! I think it would be a great introduction to sewing lingerie and applying lace and elastic, in a more forgiving stretchy garment.

  26. Gina March 10, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    I have made the Shelley twice. I find that full banded bras are far more comfortable and easier to make. Floating cups are difficult to make identical in the center front. I have found that Merckwaedigh patterns are beautifully drafted. I will look forward to more of your bra-making posts!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:12 am #

      Thanks for the tip that floating cups are difficult to make identical, I might not have thought of that! I’m surprised how much I like the full band bra. I’m looking forward to trying a Merckwaerdigh pattern and sharing more bra-making experiments!

  27. Rachel March 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Those look amazing!!!! And theta re my size should you feel like sending them to the U.S…., just kidding! Real ly fabulous job. I should give bra-making a try!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      It’s a really fun thing to sew!

  28. Shannon March 10, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Wow, these look great! I’ve seen the courses offered at A Great Notion and I’ve considered signing up for one, but never have. After seeing how much you got done in only two days, though, it seems like it would definitely be worth the time… it seems as if it would probably take me less time to make a bra that fits then find one in a store. I should look into this in the summer!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      It’s totally worthwhile if you have any interest in sewing bras! Yes, I was really impressed with how much we all accomplished in two days. Everyone (I think?) completed two bras, and one woman even went home the evening of the first class to sew up an extra bra, so I think she made three! Rumor has it that Johanne is retiring and is coming back to teach one last class (she’s from Ontario) so sign up as soon as you can if you’re into it.

  29. Sheryl March 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    One more thing….I called and asked her. 6 bra kits with the all the bits is $20 for fashion fabrics and its $16 or $17 (forgot for soft tricot). $20 shipping (but u can divide that between the 6 kits)?soft beige tricot. I’m going to use my left over tricot from class for inside 4 more bras and use left over fashion fabric or silk for the outer. I don’t use the silk for matching panties! I will post some pics tomorrow. Even if u don’t buy from her, you might like the ideas.

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      That’s a great deal, $20 for 6 bras! It’s probably the one type of garment that might save you money to make yourself. :)

      • Sheryl March 13, 2014 at 7:11 am #

        Don’t forget the shipping. Tricot is $16-17, fashion fabric $20, then shipping $20. Needlenookfabrics.com. You can contact her you are from Canada and I sent you. If you don’t, that’s ok, too.

  30. Kat March 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Fantastic. I also took a lingerie making course once where we did bra making and I agree, it’s really not that hard – you just need a few techniques and you’re off to the races. I also agree about the soft cups. I usually also wear padded bras (which I incidentally do like better for the nice shape they give me), but a soft bra was really nice and comfy to wear – I like it for the weekends :) Nice work – your bra looks really pro

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      Thank you! It’s neat to see how many people have taken a similar course.

  31. Norma March 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Welcome to the wonderful and addicting world of bra making! Such beautiful bras!

  32. lynl March 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    Congratulations but beware: lingerie making is soooo addictive! I live fairly close to Bra Makers Supply so I get all my supplies from there. Before Elingeria went out of business I would swoon for hours at their offerings but felt in my heart I must support business at home. Plus, BMS is great! At first blush you don’t think much of duoplex but after washing it softens up so nicely and I love using the double power kint for bands! At first I remember thinking this stuff is nothing like RTW fabrics but they are so supportive yet soft and comfy I can’t even remember RTW. I make all my own now. Even though they don’t look like much on the table the Pin-Up Girls line really give the best shaping. I took photos only for myself wearing different patterns and these really gave me the gest look. Also like Kwik Sew 3300. The BM manuals, both 1&2 give great instructions on how to modify the Classic pattern to virtually any other style you can imagine…and have some ideas photos in each book. Really, if your Classic fits perefectly, get the manuals and go to town! Have fun!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      I’ve been really pleased with Bra Makers Supply so far, how lucky to live so close! Shipping is expensive so it’s nice to save on postage. Thanks for the comments on duoplex. I felt the same way, that it wasn’t very exciting, but I’m really enjoying wearing the bras I’ve made. Good to know it softens up. That’s actually a really great thing then, if it stays stiff to sew with so it’s easier and then softens to wear.
      I’ve heard many recommendations for the Bramakers Manuals, they’re so expensive though! Yet everyone who has them says they’re worth it. Thanks for the comment!

  33. Cathy March 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Looks gorgeous! I’ve never attempted to make a bra but it is something that I have always wanted to do AND if you can sew one then so can I ;)

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:00 am #

      You bet you can! :)

  34. Carley March 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    Tasia! Those are gorgeous!! Now you have me inspired to take that bra class. I’ve looked at it many times and just not done it. I did lingerie many years ago, but never a bra. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 9:00 am #

      It’s an awesome class! If you want to do it through A Great Notion, call them and tell them you’re interested as apparently there’s been a waiting list for the bra class before. Johanne is retiring soon, so get in before she stops sharing all of that wonderful knowledge. :)

  35. Annette March 10, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Tasia your bras look gorgeous. I have been making my own bras for about a year. Yes they are addictive. I make mine out of woven fabric, if the fabric is lightweight or lace then I line with tricot. I use Bra Makers for all of my findings, elastic & band fabric. Initial cost is spendy but when I can make 5 or 6 bras then the cost is way less than a RTW. Plus I can get fancy lace and any color I want.
    Getting the fit just right took some time but was so worth it. Comfort and having one of a kind bras is fun too.
    Hope you have fun making different bras and finding the ones that work best for you.

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Annette! I want to try using woven fabric as well, since I end up with lots of little leftovers after garment projects. Do you use woven for the whole bra or use stretch for the back band? Do you find your clothing ‘sticks’ to the woven fabric of the bra? We were warned that if we use cotton for bras, our blouses may stick to the fabric of the cups and require adjusting.

  36. Laura Mae March 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    What stunning work – they look beautiful!!

  37. Jenny March 11, 2014 at 4:06 am #

    Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6_Wp_btwQk is a video from Jalie for making bras. One day I will make one!

  38. Joyce Hamilton March 11, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Great bras! I’d love to take a bra class from you/with you sometime! I do have a question for you though. You said you sewed a “c” cup. What cup size are your patterns drafted for? Since you say for pear shaped, I guess I thought you drafted for a smaller cup size than the usual.

    • Tasia March 11, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Joyce! There are varying opinions on this but here’s my explanation. Bra size is different than the way cups work for patterns.. there’s more to factor in with bras. The cup in bras decides the size of the wire, which is the base of the breast. Say you were to draw a line around the base of your breast, where it comes off the body. That’s where the wire should go, even if the bust isn’t large, sometimes a larger cup size is necessary to fit around each breast. The amount that the bust sticks out from the body is called projection. So someone may wear a wide wire size to fit around the base, but not have a lot of projection. The difference between high bust (above the bustline) and bust (around the fullest part) determines pattern cup size. It’s the difference between under the bust and the bust that determines cup size. And if you’re small around the ribcage, the smaller you are the bigger your cup size might be (for a bra). For example, a 34B cup, same size breast, would also fit a 32C on a narrower back, a 30D on an even narrower back, or a 36A on a wider ribcage. All of those imaginary women would have the same general cup size for their bra, but different bodies. And it also depends on how tight you want to wear your band, too. I have bras that are a 34B and 32C, they both fit but the 34B’s tend to ride up in the back band, even on the tightest hook, because the band is too loose. I could probably wear a 30D if I wanted a tighter band too. Which is crazy, I’m not very busty at all, but it’s not about the size of the bust, but the relation of the cups to the band.

      This guest post by Novita illustrates this well – http://www.craftsanctuary.com/2013/07/guest-post-very-purple-persons-novita.html

      Fascinating isn’t it? I hope I’ve helped to clarify!

  39. Tiffany March 11, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Very nice bras! You convinced me to take the leap and try making one for myself. I’m going to check out those kits.

  40. Hope March 11, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    That looks like it wasot of fun, I have always wanted to take a bra making course. I actually live in Hamilton and have seen that Bra store several times. They actually teach classes there and are world renound! People come from all over to take their course. One day if I can save up the funds I totally want to do it to. Looks like you learned a lot :)

  41. Turina March 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    They look wonderful, I definitely love the red one for it’s pow! But the beige one looks so profesh it is def my fav :)

    I never made under garments, because I was afraid they would look homemade, but might have to find my own lingerie class after seeing your beautiful bras!

  42. Helen March 12, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    Those look amazing!
    I received a mail last month which had a bra making course on and I’m quite tempted to give it a go. I have never tried to sew any type of underwear before.

    If anybody’s interested it’s in Manchester UK and run by Lorna Knight who does the chanel jacket on Craftsy. A couple of years ago I did the coture bodice course with her and she is lovely.

    http://www.lornaknight.com

    • Helen March 12, 2014 at 5:35 am #

      typo above! Couture….

  43. Angela March 12, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    A bra-making class, what a great idea! I’ve been wanting to try making my own undergarments, but have been intimidated and confused by some of the tutorials I’ve found online. I think a class would be a great next step. Thanks for sharing!

  44. Dana March 12, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

    Oh my gosh! I have been wanting to take a class on how to make bras and underwear. It seems like such a complicated but super cool project. I wish there was somewhere her in northern California that offered such a thing. :) Maybe I’ll have to take a trip up to Canada. ;)

  45. shannon March 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Inspiring! You’re the reason I’m going to learn all the things, Tasia. I wouldn’t be working on my first sweater if it weren’t for you. I so appreciate your laid-back, everything-is-figureoutable nature.

    You’re fab!

  46. Sandra (Sewist-Stitch) March 15, 2014 at 3:08 am #

    Over the past 6 months I’ve been accumulating bits and pieces to begin bra making, but as of yet I haven’t even begun. I think I’m too afraid about getting the size right. You were lucky to have an instructor to help you get the fit correct the first time.

  47. Amanda March 18, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks for sharing your experience! :) I had no idea such a thing existed so close to home – now I want to take this class too! ^__^ Two bras in two days is pretty awesome, and yours look great! :)

  48. sherri March 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Did the classic full band bra use regular length wires or long wires? I would love to make my own bras.

  49. Colleen March 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    I just had to come and see if you blogged about your beautiful bras, Tasia! I was in the class you took at A Great Notion, and I’ve been bitten by he bra-making bug too :) There are so many beautiful fabric kits to play with.

    Like you mentioned – so many of us were there specifcally because we are hard to fit RTW, and Johanne’s experience and knowledge made all the difference. I am so glad I took the class!

    Another bonus was meeting you and Caroline and learning about your patterns….. I have three now and I love your design style!

    Thanks for all that you do to encourage us home-sewists to stop hesitating and second guessing ourselves….. as you say – sewing something for ourselves is so rewarding!

  50. Amy March 25, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    ahh, a subject close to my heart. It never stops being fun, either!

  51. Teresa April 15, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    I am so impressed. I am a very large busted women. I live in SoCal and am in need of good solid supportive bras. I will be looking for a teacher here. Thank you for sharing this experiences.

  52. Becky April 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I wear size 32C. It is so challenging to find this size at all. I literally have 2 bras right now plus one strapless. I have to wear sports bras sometimes because I don’t do laundry every day. I have only been sewing less than a year but would love to be able to sew my own bras! Thanks for sharing about your experience with wearing them on today’s post. I hope the lace one is comfortable for you now without the stay tape.

  53. scooter April 20, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    The hilarious thing about this is that out of 90 some odd comments, I think maybe one person said they were happy with their current bras. Who on earth are the industrial bra-makers serving adequately?!

  54. Nancy S. April 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    I tried to sign up for email subscription but got a message that it was not enabled. That has been happening a lot lately for some reason. It seems to resolve if you remove the gadget and reinstall. Thanks.

    • Tasia April 21, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks Nancy! I did some updates last week so it un-linked the email options. It should work now, sorry for the hassle!

  55. Tracy June 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    I am SOOO excited – I am signed up for the weekend class in September 2014!!!

  56. Margaret Akinrinade August 12, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    How and where do I attend the class of bra making, it will be a dream come through for to go about it. please get me inform on how to go about it. Thanks………..margaret

  57. Brenda Yue October 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    How can I join the bra sewing classes.

    • Brenda Yue October 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      How can I join the bra sewing classes

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Making Clothes Again | lazylinchen - March 24, 2014

    […] it helped that the sun had been shining for three days in a row. Or maybe it was Tasia’s post on her bra making class. Or the fact that, despite the sun, it is still too cold to wear my “swirly top” (as […]

  2. We will overcome! | Dressing the Role - March 24, 2014

    […] number from the awesome blog “So, Zo, What Do You Know?” Especially after reading about Tasia’s bra making experience and seeing Thread Theory’s fabulous new pattern, the Comox Trunks, I had the sudden strong […]

  3. Hiatus Update and Bra Making! | Tailor-Made - September 24, 2014

    […] class after seeing Tasia of Sewaholic post about her bra-making experience with Johanne Brousseau here. I struggle with buying bras that fit at a retail level, so I was definitely interested in taking […]

Leave a Reply