As some of you know, I am just a slight bit lingerie obsessed. And, I sort of like to make bras. The difficulty in having a sewing blog is the ‘show and tell factor’. I mean it’s fine to model a dress but what do you do with bras? Hang them up on a hanger? Put them on a dress form and fill them up with padding? Lay them decoratively draped along a table or in my case – wooden floors? Or do you model them?
And what do you do with the racey lacey bra’s – I’m no lingerie model and I have employers who would not look too favourable (at all) on me for modelling them. But how else are you supposed to show people the fit? And not attract the perverts at the same time?! Well, I’m kind of stumped on that one… So, if you could help me decide how to photograph my bras in future by filling out this small poll, I’d really appreciate it.
Today’s Bra is the Kwik Sew 2101. Which looks a lot like this:
Yep that’s the one, the blondes with the bad attitudes, power posing in their undies.
Oh yes, and I will probably regret this later this but here’s a trip down memory lane for you circa 2010 – My first attempt at bra making (made with a bra toile kit) and first attempt at K2101. I think this is actually my first attempt at even making anything. I won’t be offended if you think me crazy for trying to make a bra first before I ever made a skirt or a dress…. Yes, I’ve heard the expression ‘you shouldn’t run before you can walk’ – But that will NEVER stop me :-). You see, I told you I was obsessed with underwear! I didn’t even know what a seam allowance really was. Hence the horrendous mess you see underneath – And a permanent blot on my sewing CV…. Oh the shame!!
A good few years later and some other bras in between, I finally decided to return to the Kwik Sew nightmare. And, funnily enough, now that I actually know how to sew and choose the right size – My finished bra doesn’t look anything like the one above and it was pretty easy to put together!! It also fits (But please note, as we are all shaped differently, I consider myself lucky in that regard. We don’t always manage to get a good fit first try).
And here’s how I did it:
I used a convenient little bra kit purchased from what was originally called the Sewing Chest but is now Bra Maker Supply. I bought this one years ago but they still sell similar and there are lots of other places that sell bra kits online now too. I used this supplier just because it’s in the UK. It’s pretty convenient to have all the right things in one package though. Seriously, has anyone tried hunting down rigid sheer nylon down Goldhawk road? It’s a mission finding something remotely similar!
For the underwires, I had none at home that were the right fit, so I used some from an old bra of mine that I was getting rid of.
Contents of my bra kit
The finished version:
Alterations: I altered the bridge piece of the bra and then hoped the cups would fit well. For more information on how to alter your bridge – This eBook by Norma Loehr – Demystifying Bra Fitting & Construction has a good section on it.
I made a 38D, as this is the sister size to my RTW bra size of 36DD. And I also made some other minor alterations with the straps, elastic insertion and underwire casing. Mainly because the instructions and me did not see eye to eye on certain parts of bra construction. I’m lucky that I have experience in making bras and therefore know what to do but I can see how it could be pretty confusing for a beginner. No wonder my first attempt was such a mess!
Saying that, it would be remiss not to let you know I did mess up the 3 step zig zag on this bra. Thankfully you can’t see it but it took me until I was about 2/3 of the way through stitching the elastication to realise why my 3 step zig zag stitch was off. On my Bernina, the stitch picture of a 3 step zig zag is incredibly vague! I didn’t bother to unpick as I would have been doing that for forever!
Wing View & Elastication
One thing I would change though is that this pattern recommends tricot for the cups but no rigid liner or stiffener. I guess this is personal preference but for me I like a rigid cup much like my RTW bras, so next time I will be lining it with a rigid nylon lining. I can’t remember where else I read about this recently, but I’m sure I’ve read recently on somebody else’s sewing blog their lament on fabrics available to the home sewer for making up bras and the difference in materials in your RTW bras. I have to agree, the stuff we have available is not as good as the RTW and is often hard to find.
I love everything there is about sewing - oh, except for cutting out fabric....
I'm the creator of Elise Patterns - an independent lingerie sewing pattern company - based in London. When I'm not doing that, I can sometimes be found writing on my personal sewing blog - Handmade By Freya.
I appreciate all of your lovely thoughtful comments and opinions! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read what I write.