Sewing a wired bra... at a lingerie sewing retreat!
Last weekend I was delighted to host 24 ladies at the inaugural Lingerie society sewing retreat. The venue was the delightful Mercure resort in Gerringong, one and a half hours south of Sydney. We sewed, ate and drank like queens, made new friends, and talked a lot! There was of course a lot of sewing chat, particularly lingerie making, which is of course a big passion of mine. I was excited to take the PFAFF creative 3.0 out for a spin in the wild and show off what it can do. Of course, it didn't disappoint.
I chose for my first project of the weekend to make a wired bra using a liberty tana lawn. The bra was lined with a soft bra tulle and uses a power mesh fabric as the back band. So the machine has to cope with quite a few different fabric weights, as well as elastic application, all of which the creative 3.0 did beautifully.
Let's take a quick run through the process.
I've used a new pattern from The lingerie society, the Evie bra. Its a quick sew with simple construction, a great pattern for a beginner wired bra maker or the experienced lingerie sewer alike.
Firstly I cut out all my pieces in my Liberty outer fabric and soft bra tulle lining.
The next step is to sew the cup seams in both your outer fabric and your lining. This is a simple two-part cup with a centre seam. Take careful note of your orientation so you don't sew the cups together upside down! I use a 2.5mm straight stitch for this.
Once your cups are assembled it's time to construct the band. I used the burrito method here. Lay your back piece on top of the front, with the right sides together, then bring the lining to lay on top of the back piece with the right side of the lining facing the wrong side of the back. Stitch these using a 2.5mm straight stitch. When you turn the fabrics out you will have a nice, enclosed seam.
Now it's time to sew your cups in. Start from the centre front and stitch each cup in using a 2.5mm straight stitch. Once your cups are in place, it's time to add the elastics. First up is the bottom band elastic. This is typically a 15-25mm picot elastic. It's applied in two passes. The first is a standard zigzag, place the picot on top of the right side of the fabric, picot edge facing to the top of the bra, with the fluffy side up. Stitch along the edge with your zigzag stitch. Once you've done that, it's time for the second pass. Flip the elastic to the inside of the bra and change your stitch to the triple stitch zig-zag, stitch the elastic down. This stitch gives a really lovely flat, firm finish, whilst maintaining the stretch.
Next, the underwire casing goes in, stitched to the seam allowance of the cups, then sewn down to the bridge. You can also insert your underwires now.
Now to sew the elastic to the upper edges. This is a similar process, using two passes, but this time we use a straight stitch for the first pass, and a standard zigzag for the second.
Leave a little extra picot at the strap attachment point to thread your rings through for your strap attachment.
We are almost there! Next up is the straps. Thread your strap elastic through the slider and stitch down onto itself, I use a tight zigzag for this, decreasing the length and width by 1.5mm to create a satin stitch. Thread the strap elastic from the back to the front through the ring, then back through the slider to create an adjustable strap.
Now to stitch the strap elastic to the back band and sew on the bra back. I use a standard zig-zag to sew the strap elastic down and a tight stitch zigzag for the bra back.
And that's a wrap! Another wired bra is sewn.
The thing I love most about making my own bras is being able to make them to fit perfectly. A well-fitting bra is truly a wonderful thing!
Julia Mulcair is the owner of Pitt Trading, an Australian online fabric store and the lingerie society, a monthly subscription service for lingerie sewers. She grew up around fabric, and has been sewing for 30 years.
Julia focuses on garment sewing, with a particular love of lingerie making. She shares her makes on Instagram and YouTube and is always working on the next lingerie design!
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