The loveliest thing about sewing your own bras is being able to use beautiful materials – as I explained in my guide to lace, there’s lots to choose from! Cutting patterned, scallop-edged lace takes some planning in order to get the best results. Here’s an easy tutorial to show you how to cut a lace bra.
How To Cut a Lace Bra
Cutting: You can use fabric scissors or a small rotary cutter.
Marking: You will need to mark notches on your fabric; it is important to do this accurately to ensure the correct fit. You could use tailor’s chalk or pencil, but here we use disappearing fabric markers. The purple pen disappears after a few hours; the blue pen needs a few drops of water to disappear. More experienced bra-makers may prefer to snip the notches instead.
You will also need fine dressmaking pins and snips – as well as your bra pattern. Here I’ve used my Chelsea Bra sewing pattern.
After sewing a toile of this pattern, I made some alterations to the cup pieces, which are marked in red below. I pinched out some volume from the edges of the cups, and lowered the top line so that it was better proportioned against my chest
1. Pattern Placement
The first thing to do is to assess the pattern of your lace, and the shapes of your pattern pieces. Here, i’ve used a Bright Red Floral Lace kit. The embroidered flower patterns are quite close to the edge, with plain tulle in the middle. I want to make the most of the flowers, so I will be placing all my pattern pieces on the edges.
Take note of the seam allowances used in the pattern; it may help to mark these on each pattern piece so you remember where the finished edge sits. The seam allowances on the Chelsea Bra are 0.5cm.
2. Align the upper cup
I want to have as much of the flower on the cup as possible, so I’ve aligned the seamline at the centre front (NOT the cut edge) against the side of the flower.
The top edge of the cup follows the scallop. Align the edge against the base of the scallop.
3. Place the lower cup pieces
This could use the less ornate section of the lace, and on my toile I cut the lower cup pieces from the plain tulle in the middle. However, after trying it on, I decided that it looked too plain. I decided not to pattern match the lower cup pieces, and placed ultram them to use more of the floral designs.
4. Centre the bridge pieces
The band for the Chelsea bra is in three pieces, so pattern matching is important here.
Making note of the centre front line, place the central bridge piece on your lace. Choose a motif to feature at the middle. I have decided to feature the scalloped lace edge on the bottom edge of my bra as well.
Make a note of how the edges of this piece sit on the pattern of the fabric.
Next, place the side pieces. Make a note of where the pattern ends on the seamline of the central piece, remembering that this will be 0.5cm in from the cut edge.
Find this point again on the lace, and line up the seamline with this point. You will be cutting 0.5cm away from this point.
Finally, align the lower edge against the scallop.
5. Mark notches
Be sure to mark all notches accurately, either with a dissolvable fabric marker, or by snipping into the seam allowance very carefully.
6. Cutting out the bra pieces
Cut round the edges using a rotary cutter or scissors.
Carefully remove the excess fabric, cutting away any snags using your snips.
7. Cut the other side
Depending on your particular lace, you may have a mirror image of the pattern on the other side. In this case, the two sides have the same pattern (with the stem and buds on the left of the main bloom) so the pattern of my bra cups will not be mirrored from the centre front.
Flip your piece over and take note of the shapes in the lace, as well as where your seam allowance sits. Decide where the cut edge of the pattern piece should sit.
I keep the flipped pattern piece above to refer back to. Double check the placement, especially for the bridge pieces. Then, cut out as before.
8. Label your pieces
Pair up each piece, and pin it back to the pattern. Do this methodically so similar shaped pieces don’t get mixed up. This is especially important if you’re not going to be sewing straight away!
I like to keep my cut pieces tidied away in a clear plastic bag so that they don’t get lost, especially if I’m interrupted during the sewing time.
We hope this helps you when you next cut out a lace bra. For more tips on bra sewing, see our tutorial How To Sew A Lace Bra.