I remember when I first began sewing and I saw that someone made a bra, like a REAL bra and all I could think of was, “Why would you do that?! Does she not know you can buy them at a store? That must have taken months to make and who knows where you would even find all of the supplies to make it!” I couldn’t fathom the time and money involved and so I pushed it aside and moved back to making leggings 🙂
Fast forward 2 years and I was now making most of my clothes including pants, tops, dresses, bathing suits and even sports bra’s, but I still felt that making a real bra with straps and hooks and all that fancy stuff would never be in the cards for me. Heck, I don’t even like bras and mostly wear my sports bras or a wireless bra.
And then it happened – one of the pattern companies I have been using since the beginning released a bra pattern WITH ALL THE FANCY STUFF!! Ok, ok…it was time to take the plunge. I could do this, I could make a bra. I bought the pattern and immediately bought a Bra Kit from Phee Fabrics . The kit has everything needed to make the Lana Bra from Made 4 Mermaids – strap elastic, double plush picot elastic in 3/8 and 5/8″, hooks, sliders and rings, powernet or techsheen and foam. I decided to pick up the too since there is an option in the pattern for it and the Mauve Lace was just too pretty to not try. I figured I would make one with some circular knit scraps for the outer layer to test and then once I nailed the fit, use the beautiful lace and foam.
When Lana was released there was a ton of excitement and then slowly there was a bit of concern about fit from some sewists. The team at Made 4 Mermaids quickly went back to redraft and make sure they were providing a pattern that would give the best fit and results.
Here’s a few tips for making the Lana Bra:
- MEASURE – I have taken my measurements a zillion times but I called in my husband for assistance to make sure they were accurate. I was off in a few places and glad I did this. My RTW size is similar but the back size is smaller for all bra patterns I have looked at (bralettes, sports bras, etc.)
- SUPPLIES – If you use poor quality material and supplies, you will get an ill-fitting bra and a poor fitting bra is just going to sit int he back corner of your drawer 😦 Check the suggested fabrics and notions and you will see that everything you need is in the Bra Kits from Phee. I used some Circular Knit scraps for my test bra and lined it with powernet. My final bra is with powernet, foam and lace but I found that I was able to use the same size since I measure on the small side for the pattern and had a little room in the circular knit cup version. If you are on the higher end, you may want to size up to accommodate the foam.
- YOU ONLY NEED A REGULAR SEWING MACHINE – nothing fancy, no coverstitch or serger for any of the ones I made. The only special tool I used was a walking foot, but go slow when you are working with lace because my walking foot tends to “eat” it sometimes.
- READ EVERYTHING FIRST – this is always something I forget to do, but when making a new pattern and especially a new type of clothing/sewing method, it’s super helpful to read all of the pattern instructions first. This may take 10 minutes but you have a much better chance of not missing an important step. Also, when I read through the pattern I found some of the steps a bit confusing and was able to go to the videos linked in the pattern to see how it was done. I am a visual learner and I find these videos extremely helpful for tricky steps.
- MAKE A SAMPLE – supplies can be pricey and you do not want to waste your time and money. Making a sample with some of your Phee Scraps is well work the time. Plus, after making my first bra I found that it really did not take too long, about 2 hours from start to finish on my second bra! I have definitely spent 2 hours driving to the mall and trying on bras that I didn’t love so that 2 hours of sewing was time well spent for me!
- BASTE & CHECK – Take the time to try on the bra where the pattern indicates for a fit check – this will save you time and supplies (read – no seam ripping your beautiful picot from the sides) I used basting spray for my last 2 bras and it is a cinch! Just be sure to follow the directions on the one you use. I bought this one on Amazon.
- KEEP PAGE 6 HANDY- This is where all the info for what stitches to use are listed and I went back to it a zillion times during each make 🙂
Here’s a look at my versions:
V1 – Mauve lace/foam/techsheen in size 32B Lower neckline
V2 – circular knit/powernet in size 32B Lower neckline. The back needed to be adjusted a bit, I removed about 1″ total before adding the closures.
V2 – Mauve lace/foam/techsheen in size 32B Lower neckline – I found the back/cup a little big on the V2 circular knit but decided it was not a full size worth and left the size the same to accommodate the foam in this one.
Things I learned while making my Lana Bra’s –
- I do not currently own a single store-bought bra THAT ACTUALLY FITS! I switched to one of my Lana’s midway through the day from a RTW bra that was grinding into my shoulders and gaping on the front cups!
- My underbust measurement does not necessarily account for my chest spread – use the Sister Sizing chart on Page 5 of the tutorial. I printed a few sizes to compare the difference.
- I really do not like underwires – most of my bras are wireless and if you are not a fan of wires, this is a great everyday pattern!
- For me, there was not much of a difference between the original and revised pattern. Some people did not find the original fit to work well and that was the main reason for the redraft, as far as I can gather, but I would say the only differences I noticed was the back band is a bit wider where it attaches to the front frame and the cup size for me was a tad bit fuller on the second version.
- Lace bra’s make me feel pretty!!! The mauve lace versions have great support from the lace and foam, and I feel super fancy! No one but me may see the bra, but it’s the first thing to go on in the morning and not a bad way to start the day 🙂
- This was not the hardest project I have made and I shouldn’t let my fear get in the way of making something – it’s just fabric after all and always a chance to learn and grow (more about this in next months blog 😉 )
Hopefully this has taken some of the “fear and mystery” out of bra making and you will soon have a drawer full of beautiful, custom fitting, me-made Phee bras!
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