Types of Bra Patterns you can sew

A look at the various different types of bra patterns and styles you can sew for yourself, and where to buy them.

Did you see my earlier article about sewing your own bras and underwear?  We’ll be running a series of interesting articles on this subject and I’d encourage you to give it a try – honestly bras are a lot easier than you might think!  Here’s our earlier introductory article in case you missed it. What you need to sew a bra…

What you need to sew a bra. Start of a new lingerie sewing series - looking at machine and stitches needed, patterns, basic supplies and other equipment.

Types of Bra Patterns

There are quite a few bra patterns available to the home sewist. In this post, we’ll look at different types of patterns. We’ll also look at which pattern you might want to choose for yourself.

Underwired or Non-Underwired

The first two categories are similar to what you’ll find in Ready-to-Wear – either underwired, or non-underwired. Let’s look at the non-underwired category first.

Non- Underwired Bra Patterns

Non-underwired bras are often called soft-cup bras or bralettes because they have nothing hard (like a wire) and they also give a softer more natural shape. This type of bra is best for a smaller busted woman, say A or B cup, however, they can be worn by a woman with a larger cup size if she is self-supporting.

Here are some examples of a soft-cupped bra or bralettes:

This first bra you can see is non-wired.


This is Ohhh Lulu’s Bambi Soft Bra. You can see how very soft both the shape the bra is, and the shape it would give. Soft bras and bralettes, although incredibly comfortable and fine for smaller busted women, really won’t offer the support a larger-busted woman will need. You can find the Bambi Bra pattern at Ohhh Lulu’s Etsy Shop.

Craftsy’s Lingerie sewing guide features this Bambi with a step by step you might find useful. Get the free lingerie e-book download here.


Here’s another example:


This is the Watson bra and panty set. This soft bra does have more shaping too it and thus will offer more support, but again, as a general rule, these soft bras are best for smaller busts or self-supporting busts.

You can purchase the pattern for this bra set at Cloth Habit’s website.

Underwired Bra Patterns

Now onto Underwired bras. In this category of bras there are a number of sub-categories within it. We have pre-formed foam cup bras, cut and sew foam cup bras, cut and sew bras, full band bras, and partial band bras. That’s a lot, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at each of these.

Foam Cups

The Foam cup bras are most commonly known as T-shirt bras. Yes, you can make your own T-shirt bra! There are a couple of ways to go about this – you can buy pre-made foam cups and make your bra from there. You can also bye foam and cut the bra cup from that – that is called Cut and Sew. Both will give that smooth foam shape under your clothing.

Most bras with foam cups have underwires. Here are some examples of Foam Cup Bra patterns.

Here’s a pattern from Pin-up Girls. This type of pattern is the first type I mentioned – the one you by the pre-formed foam cups and insert them into the bra you’re making. This is available both at Bra-Makers Supply and their Etsy store.


And example of the second type of foam bras comes from MakeBra. MakeBra uses foam which is cut and sewn to make the foam cups. Here’s an example of their Ulla bra.


You can purchase this pattern and many others on their website.

The final bra patterns we’re going to look at are Partial Band and Full Band.

Partial Band Bras

The Partial Band pattern gets its name from the type of band it has – a band only partially going around the body. This type of bra has the band attached to the bottom of the cups but not under the bridge or center of the bra.

Here are some examples of this type of pattern:

The first pattern is Elan 540.


This is a front closing bra, and the band does not go all the way around in this. This type of bra is better for smaller bust, or self-supporting busts. You can find this Elan bra at Sew Sassy’s website.

Another example of a Partial Band bra is the Linda bra from Pin-up Girls.


This bra is a back-closing bra, but you can see the band attaches to the sides of the cups and doesn’t run underneath the cups and the bridge. Again, you can find this bra at Bra-Makers Supply or their Etsy shop.

Full Band Bras

A Full Band, like it’s Partial Band sister, is also just what it sounds like – a full band that wraps completely around the body with no breaks in it – the only break being where the bra fastens. Full Band bras are usually for the more full-figured women, but are also a great option for the small-framed woman who is fuller busted.

There are a lot of Full Band bra patterns. So many, it’s rather hard to choose just one or two, but I’ll try.

A very popular pattern by Orange Lingerie (available in their Etsy shop)is the Marlborough pattern.


You can see on this bra the band runs continuously from one side where the closure is to the other side. This type of the bra style is the most supportive.

Another example of this (and my favorite pattern) is another Pin-up Girls pattern – the Shelley pattern.


In this photo, you can see clearly how the band runs all around the bra – thus a Full Band bra.

If you’ve thought of making a bra, but haven’t dove in yet, I hope this article encourages you. There are so many more patterns out there too. Here’s a link to where to buy bra-making supplies all over the globe:

Big list if suppliers for bra making and lingerie, fabrics, patterns and other materials

All photos belong to their respective pattern companies.

Happy creating!

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I’ll be back again soon to share more with you about sewing your own bras and lingerie.  In the meantime, check out Deby’s previous bra sewing articles, to see how she got on with her first bras.

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Hi, I'm Michelle. I'm married and a mum to two grown boys, and a pup. I love sewing, I love making things myself. I think I've tried to make just about everything from clothing, to jewelry, to cosmetics. Some of those things have turned out better than others, and some of those have become a source of great joy for me. I have a blog where I share some of the things I make: Michelle's Creations.


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7 Responses to Types of Bra Patterns you can sew

  1. Lori Strout says:

    I have sewn about 10 bras for myself and others, what I want to know is, can I sub one bra cup for another in the same size? I have seen the tutorials for cutting a new line by sewing up a cup pattern you already have and cutting it apart on a new line and then adding seam allowances. Is that the only way?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      The other way is making a pattern from a sloper and then grading it.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Lori. Yes you can swap cups out. Before you sew, make sure the seam line is the same length. You’ll need to make an adjustment depending on whether it’s too short or too long, but it should be close. If it’s not really close, it won’t work.

  2. Debbie says:

    Great article and reminder. I purchased the class and still need to order the kit…I stay so busy I totally forgot about it! I have such a difficult time finding a good bra that I’ve decided to try my hand at making my own.

    Thankfully, we have so many resources here in the US and I live very near a lace supplier called Lace Heaven. They do mainly mail order and carry a lot of elastic for lingerie.

    Thanks, again, for the lovely article. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


    • Michelle says:

      Debbie, I’m really glad you liked the article. I was the same – I had a really hard time finding a bra to fit, and in a price range I was willing to pay. Happy sewing!

  3. mjwiebe100 says:

    Love this post, thank you! Lots of good suggestions and links! Just one comment: the Ulla bra is MakeBra’s non-wired bra! They have several other styles, all of which have underwires. I love their patterns for the support they give for a more fuller bust. Just FYI! 🙂

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