Subtitle for this blog post: I sewed a bra.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.