Remember that awesome polka dot silk crepe that I used to make a tie neck blouse a couple months ago?
Well. I love that fabric and I HATE wasting anything – but thankfully, there’s a solution for using up those tiny pieces of gorgeous silk that might otherwise go unused. Lingerie! 🙂
Lingerie is also a really fantastic option for giving yourself an excuse to buy really tiny pieces of expensive fabric (see: the floral lace bra I made last year). This is not necessarily the case with this particular project (as I said, I had leftovers – and this silk wasn’t terribly expensive to begin with, around $16/yard), but it is worth mentioning. And I don’t know about y’all, but I can ALWAYS use more bras!
Especially when they are silk and they have polka dots and red accents! Ooh la la! 😉
The pattern I used for this bra is the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. This beautiful balconette pattern works for both foam cups and fabric cups, and features self-fabric straps and a really nice rounded shape (it’s not quite grapefruit-stapled-to-your-chest à la Victoria’s Secret, I might add. This shape is a little more natural). I’ve made it a few times in the past, and it’s a favorite of mine 🙂 I made the size 30D.
In addition to my polka dot silk crepe from Mood Fabrics, I also used black power mesh for the back band, sheer cup lining for the bridge and cradle, and black foam bra padding for the foam cups. Most of this stuff was already in my stash (I’ve been collecting for a hot minute now!), but I get the majority of my bra making supplies from Tailor Made Shop and Bra Maker’s Supply, both which I highly recommend! By using foam cups and lining the bridge and cradle, this leaves my outer fabric options practically limitless. With that being, when I am presented with any option I want… I always choose silk 🙂 Have you ever worn silk lingerie? It is heavenly.
Sewing a bra isn’t really any more difficult that most other projects, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
– Use the right needle for your fabric! For this project, I needed a 70/10 microtex when putting all the silk pieces together, and then a lightweight stretch needle for attaching the elastic, and THEN back to my microtex to do the hook and eye. You’ll know if your needle isn’t right for your project – you’ll see skipped stitches or big holes in your fabric!
– Lingerie uses a lot of teeny little seam allowance, and delicate fabrics can easily be snagged and sucked into the machine. Stick a piece of tape on your machine to use as a seam allowance guide (even if this are already on your throat plate, the tape can give you a longer guide to work with) for those little 1/4″ seam allowances. When starting a new line of stitching, hold both of the thread tails (needle *and* bobbin) and gently pull them as you begin stitching. This will guide the fabric along so it moves and doesn’t get sucked down. Once you’ve gotten a few stitches going, you can let go of the threads and continue to sew as normal.
– This goes with any project, but be accurate with your cutting! Lingerie is designed to fit the body very closely, and those 1/4″ seam allowances leave very little room for error. Make sure your grainlines are straight and that your cutting isn’t including or removing an extra 1/8″ here or there. You’d be surprised at how much those add to make your bra not fit.
– While you can’t really iron a bra (the topstitching includes in these patterns is there to keep the seam allowances where they need to be, so don’t skip that step!), do keep an iron on hand. You’ll need it to steam the elastic so it shrinks back down after the bra is completed. Sewing the elastic tends to stretch it out, and your bra will fit much better when the elastic has shrunk down to it’s original size.
I know a lot of people find the process of sewing lingerie really fussy, but I personally like all the tiny pieces and need for accuracy! I love that I can use even the tiniest pieces of my beloved fabrics and laces, and the options for mixing and matching (both with fabrics and elastics) is so much fun! If you’ve been thinking about trying your hand at a bra – I highly recommend it! It’s not nearly as scary and difficult as it looks, and a good pattern will hold your hand through the process 🙂 Personally, I like the patterns are Orange Lingerie – the instructions in particular are just wonderful!
And you know what? I’m pretty sure no one else has a bra that looks like this – at least not in silk, anyway 😉