adult's clothing

Kwik Sew 3300

Subtitle for this blog post: I sewed a bra.

Kwik Sew 3300

Yes, I sewed a bra. Is it one of those sewing “rite of passage” things? Sew jeans, sew undies, sew a coat, sew bathers, sew a bra? I’m not sure. I was probably influenced by the spate of bra-sewing that has been going around instagram and sewing blogs, although I must have been influenced very early on because this bra had been sitting in a box cut out for over two years before I finally got around to sewing it up.

Kwik Sew 3300

Now, I’ll make it super clear that this was a trial. A “wearable” muslin if you like. So there is much about it that is FAR from perfect. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3300. It’s a bra pattern with vertical seaming, and it’s a style that I know from experience works fairly well on my breasts.

Kwik Sew 3300

Kwik Sew 3300

I have an uneasy feeling that this pattern is now out of print…anyway, I think that the pattern is a rather good one, which isn’t really surprising. Kwik Sew is known for quality drafting and instructions, and this is no exception. The pattern lists all the bits and pieces that are needed to construct the bra, and gives instructions for making your own straps. I sourced everything from here and there. Given that this was very much intended to be a practice piece, I did a fair bit of using what I had. The floral low-stretch mesh was in stash, as was the coordinating solid lingerie tricot that I lined the lower cups with and used for the straps. I also had elastics in stash, and bra underwires that were “supposed” to be my size. There was also a non-matching bra back closure hanging around – so I used that too. While I was at it I sewed up some matching undies from a couple of different patterns. They were much faster and simpler to sew than the bra!

Kwik Sew 3300

So, what’s my verdict about the bra sewing process? Well, I’m not enthused. Lots of fiddly bits to sew. Sourcing all the bits and pieces that you need – in colour ways that match – will either have you revelling in the hunt or else crying in despair. Fortunately there are now suppliers in Australia like Sew Squirrel who supply all you need to sew bras – I don’t think that they were around when I was accumulating bits and pieces for this one. Online is definitely the way to go for locating bra supplies. And then there is the fit. You don’t know how it will fit until it is finished. And this is how mine fits me.

Kwik Sew 3300

Um, no. Look at where those underwires sit. Bridge too wide. Back not large enough. Yes, there is promise in this pattern – but I honestly cannot be bothered with the work that it would take to tweak, make and remake until it fits me well. I’m a very standard Australian bra size, 14C, and I can easily buy a cotton moulded underwired bra (without those bloody foam cups that seem to be in most bras) from good old Target for $15. In beige. I like smooth boring beige bras. And boring smooth beige undies. They don’t show under my clothes. They don’t scratch. Okay, they’re not pretty. That’s fine with me.

Kwik Sew 3300

So, why would you want to sew bras? Maybe if you are a non-standard size and it’s difficult to find what you like in the shops. If you enjoy the fitting and tweaking process and find that satisfying. If you prefer to do your own mixing and matching of fabrics and trims. Just because it’s your thing! What can I say, go for it!  There are plenty of bra-making resources around nowadays, as well as suppliers of the things that you need.

But I’m never sewing an underwired structured bra ever again*.

*I reserve the right to sew simple stretch lace bralette types of things for the daughters if they so request.

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20 thoughts on “Kwik Sew 3300

  1. Good on you for having a go. Sometimes we just need to try things to understand why people do it. Making a bra for me is up there with stuffing a cherry tomato or making a croquembouche…..there are better uses of my time.

  2. I tried sewing two Watson bras, but I had all the same problems as you did – incredibly tedious, fussy sewing, and the fit was AWFUL, despite having taken my measurements very carefully. So I gave up on bras – I have better things to do with my time!

  3. You are a brave woman! Jeans and bras are two things I just can’t see sewing. They are so hard to fit and when you find the perfect match you just need to stay with them. However, if they every stop making my ideal bra, I might just try to duplicate it.

  4. Yes, I’m with you. Bra sewing has never held any appeal. I can’t be bothered with the angst of fitting a bra, when I can buy good bras and save my time. My sewing list is long enough anyway.

  5. Absolutely 100% agree. I love Kwik Sew, but bras are one product that has been so streamlined in mass production, I just can’t see the purpose of home-sewing unless it’s for a costume, in a unique fabric, or if you have an extremely difficult-to-find size. I worked in the bra industry (Victoria’s Secret) and know that bras go through EXTENSIVE fit-testing and tweaking….20 or 30 fitting sessions are not uncommon. Do you really want to go through that at home? The biggest drawback of sewing (versus shopping ready-to-wear) is not being able to try on first, and for critical-fit items, trying on is essential.

  6. Getting good fit with a handmade bra is TOUGH. I know – I’ve done more than a dozen prototypes and I still can’t crack the code. I too have given up – except every once in a while when I go through a phase when I try again. There are so many great RTW bras now, in both matrix and non-matrix sizes. No need to make something that the engineers can do better than the home sewist, most of the time.

  7. Well, at am going to be the contrary one and say that I love bra sewing and make all my own. To be fair, I live in Canada and have been lucky enough to attend a few of Beverly Johnson’s (the Fairy BraMother) classes and I’m hooked (no pun intended but I can roll with it!). It does help to have all the wire sizes available when fitting your bra as they are vital. It also helps to have the full range of test bras to try on because then all you need to do it make the alterations rather than start from scratch. I do agree with the comments about fabrics and notions. I buy my ‘kits’ from Bra Makers Supply and it really does make it easy to have all the matching parts on hand.

    If you ever get the chance to attend a class and be fitted and taught to sew them, you may well change your minds. It takes about 2.5 hrs to make one and I’m happy with that timeline. So please don’t say never – as you never know!

  8. I have never felt inclined to try bra making for all the reasons you have mentioned. I can buy perfectly fitting bras from Kmart for under $10. I do admire all those sewists out there who have created beautiful well fitted bras, but to achieve those results would require far more effort than I could be bothered with. Good on you for having a go and sharing your experience.

  9. bra sewing seems utterly pointless to me – to many fiddly bits and why bother when I can just buy a lovely one in the store. now a swimsuit – that is starting to seem like something I might do even though I vowed never…..

  10. I really enjoyed your post on StyleArc! I knew so little about the company (I’m in Victoria BC Canada and am a returned sewer after a 40 yr hiatus 🙂 ) – I’ve sewn a one of their top patterns which I love and in general I do love their styles. Very modern and fresh! I find their instructions rather intuitive to follow. Lots of people say their instructions are skimpy but I’ve found working with them it’s just different and all of a sudden a light bulb will go off and you’ve got it all figured out 🙂 Thank you for taking these pics of the owners and I will definitely support their work even more enthusiastically than I already have knowing how hard only 3! women work to make this company just brilliant.

  11. That’s good to know. I’d like to try one too but not sure about the fiddling and the fitting either. Might be a nice idea for a present for a teen daughter who.”you know, an indulgent sort of thing. Good post Lara….thanks 😀👍😀

  12. I am with you on this one. I actually made a Kwik Sew bra that fit perfectly in a day long workshop but found the whole sewing process annoying- all those tiny tricot pieces and three different kinds of elastic and all the findings – that you are right take a lot of time to assemble. In the end I decided it is OK to be the one woman on the internet not making fancy bras, and glad to know there are now two of us.

  13. If you ever get the insane urge to try again, use a smaller size! That bra is much too big for you! I don’t mean to be contrary, but I LOVE this pattern! Once you know your size, it goes together very quickly.

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