In  Lingerie

Bra making – how to DIY your own pattern part 4

By Susan | Comments: 5 | December 2, 2014


I’ve had my pattern and supplies ready to go for weeks and have been so busy it’s had to just sit there taunting me to hurry up and make it. So today I set aside some time to sew up my bra.
Before I got started I

  • made sure I had all my pattern pieces
  • got out all my supplies
  • looked at the photos I took before unpicking my bra
  • looked at another bra that is virtually identical to the one I unpicked
  • placed a notebook and a pen by my machine

Then I started cutting and assembling the bra. Along the way I made sure to note when seams didn’t quite match up. Seam allowance sizes and could I make adjustments. I took copious amounts of notes on how I sewed it together and what I needed to change.

All this note taking and referencing is really important if you want to make multiple bras and it helps when it comes to fitting. If you’ve adjusted a seam allowance and then it’s tight you can figure out where the issue occurred.

Overall I felt I was going really well. Then my machine which is normally an absolute angel decided it was not going to sew any mesh fabric without skipping all over the place. Cue 4 hours of me cleaning and testing the machine over and over to try and get a decent result. Nope it looks like a dogs breakfast. It’s quite possibly the worst stitching I have ever done (and now there are photos of it on the internet).

half done bra

A half done bra, only the right side (when wearing) of the bra has an underwire in it, no straps, no closures but plenty of dodgy stitching. Want a close up of the stitching? Sure why not?

bad stitching

So very very bad. It’s skipping, puckering and just horrible.

underwire v non wire

On this style the shape of the cup looks very very odd until the underwire casing and then the underwire is inserted. It then magically pops up to the correct shape. It really shows just how much of the shape of a bra is down to every individual component working together.

inside cup with underwire

The inside of the cup with the underwire. Next time I’m going to cover the inside of the foam. It’s nice and soft as is I just think the extra finishing detail might be nice?

inside cup without underwire

Here you can see the odd shape the cup is before the casing and underwire is put into place. It’s also pretty cool in that the casing actually hides all those raw edges. Over in the side of the photo you can see where I need to adjust the pattern as it was too wide on the back mesh. Looking back on my notes I had added a double lot of seam allowance by accident. It really is so handy to take notes when you are attempting a DIY of this sort.


On the outside I used a floral bias binding to cover a dart on the cup and across the tops of each cup. On the original bra instead of bias it was lace. I did try a lace but felt that it got lost on the floral so tried the bias and I really like the look of it. Would love to try it with a high contrast like navy blue satin bias on a cream satin base.

For this stage it’s going well. The only thing holding me back is not wanting to utterly break my machine when it’s clearly having problems. The one big fit problem with bras is that you have to finish one to try it on and see if it fits. Obviously this isn’t at that stage yet but I already have a list of things to improve the construction and look of future bras

  • cover internal of cups
  • use of alternative trims like Bias works
  • back mesh panels need to be adjusted to correct height
  • foam cup panels are slightly too large for fabric pattern size. Re check measurements and adjust
  • add more notches to help line things up more accuraetly
  • regular woven cotton works well as a foam cup covering with no wrinkles or tension

For me this sample looks pretty but has bad stitching. It is just a toile and I’m going to have to make some dodgy ones in order to get the pattern perfect and I’m not defeated yet.

So if you are working away on your own DIY bra pattern, keep at it. Take your notes and keep trying.


  • Vanessa
    December 4, 2014

    oOooo. The fabrics you’re using are gorgeous. I like the idea of bias tape being used to ‘neaten’ the look of the bra. It’s interesting how much difference underwires make to the look of the bra. I can’t imagine how annoying it would have been to have your machine chuck a wobbly as you were making this. I hope it behaves better soon 🙂

  • Julie
    January 3, 2015

    I have been following you for awhile now on IG, but just discovered your blog!! Going to spend the day back reading.

    • Susan Goodwin
      January 4, 2015

      Fabulous to see you here, hope you enjoy the reading!

  • Velosewer
    January 6, 2015

    I like the use of bias instead of lace on the outside. As you’ve mentioned, I better take some notes when I start making my next test bra.
    The fabrics you’ve use are really lovely.

    • Susan Goodwin
      January 7, 2015

      On this one I really like the bias tape, it’s such a cute summer bra with the florals and colours.

      I find the notetaking invaluable when it comes to bra making. Helps improve your technique so quickly.

Comments are closed.




Hi, I'm Susan. A designer living in Sydney, Australia.

Here I share tales of my sewing, my pattern collection and insights into what it's like to work as a professional fashion designer.

Other recurring themes include cat photos and an ever changing hair style.



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