Sewing lingerie is an intimidating project for most sewists. But if you’re comfortable with your sewing machine and have some successful projects, bra-making can be a very rewarding challenge!
To make things easier for beginner sewists, we’ve gathered all the necessities to get started. This includes fabric bundles with different patterns, lace trims, and other supplies.
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To make a bra, you’ll need several different fabric types. Some bra making supplies are more special than others, but each is useful for its purpose. You’ll also need a few sewing notions to get started. For instance, you’ll want a set of pins that won’t punch holes through the fabric. You’ll need a few different sizes of scissors, too. You’ll want a pair of scissors with a duckbill shape for grading seams and reducing bulky areas, as well as a 28mm rotary cutter for maneuvering curves.
When it comes to fabrics, cotton is the standard for everyday bras. It’s soft, absorbent, and comfortable to wear. For more special occasions, choose a silky or satin fabric.
Although lingerie sewing can seem daunting, it is doable for any sewist who understands the sewing process well. It’s important to use the proper patterns and fabric for your size to make a bra that fits.
Choosing a more beginner-friendly pattern can also be helpful. It can eliminate the need for underwires or foam cups and may allow you to make a bra that is more easily wearable right away.
It’s also a good idea to invest in extra bra supplies, like power net and stretch mesh (for cup lining), as well as lace, tulle, and fold-over elastics (which are soft on one side). Unlike the stretch elastics you might find in panties, these elastics are designed to handle more tension.
You can purchase these bra-making materials in many places. Large fabric stores, craft shops, and some online retailers specialize in lingerie fabrics and supplies. You can also purchase these supplies from small online marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay.
Whether you are an experienced sewist or just getting started, having the right sewing machine needle on hand for your bra-making project is important. Using the right needle for your fabric type will ensure you don’t rip or skip stitches and get a beautiful finish.
There are many types of needles, so choose the one that’s right for your project. For example, a stretch needle has what’s called a “scarf” on end, which allows it to pass close by threads without missing them, making it perfect for use with stretch fabrics like lycra or power net as well as two-way stretch knits and elasticated synthetic or lace fabrics.
A ball point needle is a good choice for knit fabric and rib knits such as jersey, pique, cotton knit, or fleece because it has a more rounded tip that pushes the fabric fibers apart rather than cutting them – this helps prevent the fabric from becoming ‘laddering’ when stitched. You can also use a leather needle (known as chisel point needles due to their pointed shape) for genuine leather, suede, and difficult-to-sew fabrics like spandex and lycra.
A good quality thread is essential for sewing a bra. It can be used to sew all of the parts of a bra together, including the strap elastic, underwire channeling, and clasps. This project requires precise cutting and sewing, especially using stretchy fabrics. A rotary cutter and plastic cutting mat can make this job much easier.
A lint-free thread is also important when sewing with light colors. This type of thread will become virtually invisible on a light fabric, which is great for lingerie sewing.
Other supplies needed to make a bra are bra tulle, bra mesh, hook & eye and slide fasteners, strap elastic, metal rings and sliders, and fold-over elastic. You can get some of these from large craft stores or online marketplaces. Alternatively, you can salvage some of these items from old bras that no longer fit. You can also find these items at specialized bra-making and lingerie shops. Most of these shops offer kits with basic bra-making materials and have a selection of bra patterns.
Whether making your first bra or adding to your collection, choosing the right fabric is essential. Choose a lightweight, stretchy fabric with a good drape and fit. You can use a non-stretch knit-like duplex for a more stable, supportive bra.
Depending on your style, consider picking lace trims to add a feminine touch to the bra. These can be used for the straps, hems of the under bands, or as finishing on other bra areas. You can also choose woven lace elastics for a more decorative finish.
Precise cutting and sewing are essential for bra making. You’ll work with small pattern pieces that will come together better if cut and sewn accurately. Also, many bra parts require working with thick fabrics. A 28mm rotary cutter is recommended for this as it can maneuver tight curves.