Monday, August 22, 2011

Coin Wrap to Bedlah Sew Along Task 2: Build a Bra Base (Part 1)

  • Bra cups (with underwire)
  • Felt, interfacing, buckram, denim, canvas, equivalent and/or combination of these (I used felt and an old shirt)
  • All-purpose sewing thread
  • All-purpose sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Pins and safety pins
  • Tape Measure
  • Pattern paper, newspaper, or equivalent
  • Tailor's chalk/fabric marker
  • Thimble
  • Sewing machine, (everything can be hand sewn)
Ok, I'll admit my bra building got a little out of hand. I had 2 old bras of the same type. I decided to keep one set of cups as the base and cut up the other to make cup extensions so that all of the bra base would be from the same materials. It was a good idea as far as repurposing old bras but I don't think I'll do it again. I prefer my old way of making extensions in the same manner I make side straps - multiple layers of fabric hand stitched on. I have ended up with a pretty hideous Franken-bra. Luckily, it all gets covered in "part 2" of bra building with another layer of felt to smooth out the cup surfaces. I intended on having that done for this post but hey, I'm only human. And really wanted to play Xbox instead.

Right, so the goal of this week's task is to get your bra cups reinforced, extented, or otherwise in the shape you want them in (if needed), also make and attach side straps. Next week we will finish off any left over sewing and tweaking the fit before moving on to Task 3 covering the bra with our base fabric.

Here are links about bra building with instructions, ideas, and inspiration, as well as a link to the Costume Goddess' article on how to build a bra (her instructions also show how to use elastic in the straps if you want some stretch in your bra.) 

Other posts that show bra building:

How to build and cover a bra by the Costume Goddess:

Where I steal all my costuming ideas, the great and powerful Ozma's costuming photo gallery:

Removing side and shoulder straps

Bra guts

Pinning the extensions in place
I thought I'd use my sewing machine to attach the extensions. It worked but the machine pretty much gave me the middle finger by the end of it.

Inside view of upper and side cup extensions. It looks pretty floppy.

Using a homemade pattern from some sketch pad paper for side straps.

I lined up the underwire marks and made a new line (in red) to match the angle of this particular cup.

No need to buy new interfacing. I used the sleeve of an old shirt and a few layers of scrap felt to cut side straps. The shirt fabric is thick and canvas-like.

Shirt fabric folded in half so I can cut 2 straps at once.

Two layers of felt and one layer of shirt fabric machine stitched around the edges (front and back view.)
Felt tends to be stretchy/flimsy. Zig zag stitching added for strength.

Side straps hand stitched along the edges and underwire of cups, front view

Side straps hand stitched along the edges and underwire of cups, back view

Once I got the side straps attached I "tried it on." The cups weren't form fitting enough so I added darts in the upper extensions to give them some shape.

Want to see ALL of the pictures from my bra build? Check out the slide show below. You can join the Flickr Sew Along group and add your own at

Bra Building part 2 coming Aug. 29th! Good luck and I hope to start seeing pictures from your own projects very soon!



Frances Klein said...

Got a photo up in the Flickr group. Still strengthening the cups. Hope to finish that up before the weekend so I can start setting up the sides.


Amy said...

Great pictures, thank you! Maybe I'll hit up some of my languishing bra projects.

Unknown said...

@pockets Hooray! I'm glad to see someone out there is actually sewing with me =)

Unknown said...

Thank you for showing how to actually build a bra. if i see one more "you just put bling on the cups" or "just cover with shiny fabric" i'm going to loose it :D
been building costumes for over 15 years.

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