New Year – new resolutions. Do you have any sewing resolutions for this year? I have two – I want to learn how to use my new serger and I want to learn how to sew bras, and make one that actually fits and that I would want to wear (and be seen in!)
Now let's be honest about my sewing – an accurate fit has never been super important to me. Most of us wear ready to wear clothes and get used to how a standard fit we buy off the rack rarely fits us properly as a custom tailored garment would fit. So I'm not too worried about getting the perfect fit when I sew – I'm still new, I forgive myself.
But when it comes to a bra, getting it to actually fit is a bit more important. Well, a lot more important. More important than how it looks even. You may have read that about 80% of women probably wear the wrong bra size, and this is something I struggle with too. So I was hoping this class would help me on both counts – learn to sew a bra and make one that actually fits properly.
In this class, our teacher encourages us just to measure, pick a best pattern size and then just sew without attempting any fitting. Fitting comes later once the first standard fit is sewn…
This is what I started with
I bought a ready-made kit which contained the fittings, elastic and fabrics I needed. It took all the guesswork out of it for the first time, meaning I could just concentrate on the sewing and fitting and not worry that I had the wrong parts or the wrong elastic.
Review of the Craftsy Sewing Bras class
Lesson 1 – meeting the Fairy Bra-Mother, measuring and sizing, and all about fabrics
Wow, you can tell instantly. This lady knows her stuff and knows how to teach it too. You can tell she's taught this class in person plenty of times. Everything is well thought out, well planned, well explained and indeed she deserve her nickname! And what a sweetie she is too.
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Not too much chitter-chatter – just an intro and then straight to business with the pattern and the measuring. The pattern isn't included with the class, because there are a lot of patterns and designs out there to choose from and a lot of sizes etc. She uses her own designed pattern in the class but mentions others you might like to try too.
You can also buy a starter pack from her website, especially for the Craftsy class, and its that kit that I'm using here for my first trial. It includes the standard starter pattern, all of the fabrics (enough for 3 bras), a full set of all the trims and elastics and all the hooks, clips and little bits and pieces you need. Plus of course the underwires.
Lesson 1 is the only one that uses a live model, for measuring. All other fitting adjustments are shown on a mannequin.
There are really good explanations and examples of the right kind of fabrics to use, and what not to use. How to measure stretch and what level of stretch is right for what sizes and what areas of the bra. Wow so much info. I already feel like I've learned so much and its only lesson 1.
Lesson 2 – the pattern, cutting out and sewing the cups and frame
Goodness, we're moving along to sewing already! Not a moment of this class is wasted. This lesson is just jam packed with action and teaching.
She shows us step by step how to do EVERYTHING, and explains it all as we go. What I love – “don't do your best work on this bra”. She lets us know that its ok if this isn't perfect for the first time. This first bra is just to check fit and to learn the construction and techniques. If it fits – wonderful, use it. If not, then we can use this first example to make all of our fitting adjustments.
We learn about one piece of new equipment that you might find useful in sewing bras – the ‘knob'. This helps with pressing the seams open on the inside of the cup before top stitching, and is the top of a newel post screwed into a block of wood. This is it you see in front of her – you can of course use a ham too.
I certainly got some strange looks at the hardware store as I held up the round pieces of wood to my chest to pick the one that best matched the size of my boobs! Honestly – sometimes I have no shame. I've got to that age where I don't care any more. My husband has learned not to question things, and simply gave it a quick once over with the sandpaper, screwed it to the base and handed it over. Thank you darling.
The lessons are highly detailed and she works on the bra right along with us. We see her cut, and sew each step. The camera work on this class is perfect. She also uses a nice bright pink contrasting thread so we can easily see the stitching lines.
Here are some of my in progress shots of the construction process. In fact, I didn't remember too take many photos, because I was so engrossed in the process and the whole thing came together so quickly, that I didn't even pause! Bras are small, don't use much fabric and are a quick sew. I like it so far.
(The little green dots are stickers to help me remember which is the right side of the fabric. And yes, that's Oliver biting anything that dangles.)
Lesson 3 – the straps, elastic, trim and closure
More of the same good stuff. We learned how to add the elastic, where to stretch and where not to and which stitches to use.
My stitching wasn't as good as it should be – my glasses are at the optician waiting for new lenses and I was using my old back-ups specs. All that white stitching on white elastic, on top of white fabric and I should have got my stitches a bit closer to the edge – but well, its just a first test and a learning process. I'll know better next time how close to the edge I need to sew.
Lesson 4 – hardware and finishing
Covered in this lesson, stitching the underwire channeling, making and attaching the straps, and attaching the back fastening hooks.
At the end of lesson 4 our first bra is completed.
So here is my first ever bra. Looks amazing. I'm really proud. Hubby said, “Wow it looks like a real bra”. That's because it IS a real bra I snorted.
But does it fit? Let's look at that next time when the class moves on to fitting adjustments…
Want to sew your own bras too – check out the Sewing Bras, Construction and Fit class here.