16 October 2014

Lingerie: Hand Dyed Bra

It's been a while between bras, but here's my latest.

I've been itching to try some major design changes, but after wearing the first ones that I made on regular rotation, I decided that it might be worth tweaking the design a little and buying underwires in the next size up. That of course meant other minor changes to my basic design.

The colour looks a little washed out here, in real life all the colours go together much better
Firstly I needed to change the bra cradle to accommodate the wider wires, and add this excess to the side of the bra cups. I moved the wires 5mm closer together at the centre front. (They were a little far apart, but with the smaller wires, having them that little bit further apart meant that the wires finished in a more comfortable position under the arm). I made the changes to the cradle on my original block. On the cups I just lengthened the sides of the lower side cup. I also flattened out the bottom of the bra cups a little.

The pattern all done, I chose all white supplies, and used my new Ozepol dyes from Starrlace to dye absolutely everything in Antique Gold. It is a dye for synthetics, so I thought it would be perfect for dyeing bra components.

The rings and sliders I recycled from an old worn out bra that I have finally taken apart. I cut rough pieces of the fabrics before dyeing them, and used the saucepan method of dyeing. The instructions say to use one capful of dye for each cup of water. The capful, when measured out into a medicine cup, was 6 ml. I used 5 cups of water in my saucepan, so added 30 ml of dye. I impatiently stirred everything around waiting for something to happen. Just after the dye started simmering, the colours magically changed! I dyed everything except the bra wadding first, simmering on a low heat for about 5 minutes. After I took all the pieces out, I put the bra wadding in. It didn't take the colour as well as everything else did. I left it in the dye to steep for about half an hour, but it didn't look like it was going to get much darker after that.

One word of warning that I overlooked in my over-eagerness to dye everything: iron on interfacing reacts to heat. Right? Don't put it in a bubbling saucepan! My piece of interfacing came out in a little screwed up ball, as it had started to stick to itself. It's all good though, I managed to pull it all apart and still use it. Lesson learnt. (If I choose to dye interfacing again, it might be a good idea to iron it onto the fabric first!)

This bra was as much an experiment in using the dye as anything else. After removing everything from the dye, barely any excess dye came out when I rinsed it. I have the leftover dye in jam jars ready to use again. From my original 5 cups, I had 2 x jars full of dye left over. The instructions say that the dye loses 10 - 20% intensity when used again, so next time I would expect a softer yellow, unless I top it up with some more dye.

The inside of the bra wadding certainly soaked up the colour a lot more than the outside did! I'm guessing that the outside is cotton rich

I thought I might try dyeing some white buttons at the same time, look how pretty!

All that was left was to sew the bra up! Nothing new or exciting to add there!


Interfacing and satin - stash that was gifted to me
Rings and sliders - recycled from an old bra
$1.65    Dye (estimate based on one quarter of bottle)
$0.64    Bra wadding
$0.22    Powernet
$0.27    Tricot
$0.66    Underwires
$0.88    Underwire casing
$0.81    Elastic
$0.72    Strap elastic
$1.54    Back hook closure
$0.54    Thread (rough estimate)

Grand Total  $7.92

The fit on this one is fine. I think I got the underwire placement right by moving it slightly towards the centre front. It seems to be sitting just in the right spot now, as does the other end of the wire.

I'll be paying careful attention to how this style would go without the straps, as my next effort bra will have removable straps (Yikes!) So far I'm thinking I may need to take a few small darts out of the upper bra cup so it's a bit more snug when there's no straps to hold it in place.


  1. Your bras are a total inspiration. I need to get back to making a few myself.

    1. Thanks Sue. I'm on a mission to replace all of RTW bras. They have been wearing out faster than I can replace them!