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Can bras be made by home sewists?

While my favorite garments to sew are blazer-type jackets, my 2nd favorite has to be bras.

A few years ago, I took a bra-making course in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In the class, each participant was measured carefully for a bra and was able to purchase a set of patterns drafted by the instructor in their own size. Then each student crafted their own bra with help from the instructor.

I learned that I’d been buying C cup bras and really needed a D or a DD cup!

It is estimated that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. I was one of them.

Because bras depend on two interdependent measurements, the sizing can be difficult to understand.

One measurement is the cup size. The other is your body circumference just below the bust.

For example, I was wearing a 44C for many years (yes, I’m a plus size). I learned that I was trying to squeeze my DD’s into a too-small cup size in an attempt to get the bra to fit around me. I actually only needed a size 42 or even a 40! But I needed a larger cup size to cover “the girls” completely. By going to a D size cup, I only needed a 42 size band. If I could fill out a DD cup, I only needed a 40 band!

As each cup size goes up, the band size goes down.

Of course, each bra manufacturer makes a slightly different fitting bra. A DD size cup doesn’t always fit me consistently. Sometimes I find there is extra fabric in the cup that my “girls” just can’t fill. Then I try a bra with a D cup but I go to the larger band size as well.

A bra should feel quite tight around the band. That is where 90% of the lifting support should be. Many women depend almost entirely on the straps to provide the lift and that just makes a bra uncomfortable and cut into the shoulder flesh. That’s not the way bras were intended to work.

Not only that, but making your own bras can cost as little as $10 per bra! Consider that most women need at least 2 or 3 bras and replace them once or twice a year, you can save a WHOLE lot by making your own!

A gain or loss of as little as 10 pounds actually can change your bra size!

What do you need to make a bra? You must have a zig zag sewing machine. Most are these days so that’s no biggie. You need the supplies and patterns, of course, and you need your accurate measurements. That’s it.

And once you’ve made a couple of bras, you will see they are easy, fast, and better fitting. You, too, will get “hooked”!

Here are some more tips on bra making.

Buy bra making supplies here.



Leave a comment


  1. Michelle

     /  October 15, 2011

    Hello, can you tell me where you took this bra-making class? Thanks.

    • Barb

       /  November 13, 2011

      I took the bra making class in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada through Central Sewing (they were hosting it). I’m planning to write more on how to make your own bras so keep checking back!


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