23 March 2015

Lingerie: A new bra block and lace bra

Are you sick of reading about my never ending stream of bras yet? I hope not, 'cause I don't intend to stop making them, or telling you about them any time soon. For bra number ten, I decided to go back to the drawing board, quite literally. Not that there was anything wrong with my existing bra block, in fact, I think I had the fit almost perfect, but I decided to make another one from scratch. Although it felt like starting all over again, there were a couple of reasons why I decided to do this.

I have been using the Bra Maker's manual by Beverly Johnson as a way to reference things that I wasn't sure of, but the books are capable of so much more. In the second book she describes a method for making your own bra pattern, using your own measurements, not just for the band, but the bra cups as well. She also describes how it can be used as a block for easily changing to other styles.

So, my first reason for making the new block was that I wanted to try out this method so I could compare the ease of drafting and the fit, to the first method that I followed. Secondly, making alterations to a basic pattern that are described in the book looked to be a lot easier when starting with this new pattern, than with the hodge podge of patterns that I have made to date. Basically, I wanted a clean slate to work with.

Drafting my new bra block
The pattern came together pretty easily, but when I made it up in calico I did have to make a significant adjustment to the Upper Cup to take out some gaping. I didn't think there was any reason to use the pattern for the bra band that I had just drafted, as the bra cups would fit in the old and new one, but on the other hand, there was no reason not to either, so I tried it out as drafted.

The Bra
For this bra I chose a lace that I purchased at the Fabric Cave in January, lined with white sheer tricot, and a white powernet band. I liked the integrated method of attaching the strap from my last bra so much that I used that method again. I even mirrored the lace pattern on the upper cups! It's a bit hard to see in these photos though, sorry! I didn't bother trying to mirror the pattern on the lower cups though. Sheer laziness, I know!

The lower edge of the lace on the bra cradle I attached following the instructions for using edged lace in the book (see, I have been reading it and sometimes do follow advice!), which turned out really well.

What I really like about the new pattern, is that I know where all the points around the bra cups are supposed to line up. I may not have marked them all on the bra cradle (if you look closely you'll notice that the cross cup seams don't line up on the same spots on each side), but I know what they represent, and I know where the bottom of the bra cup lines up with the centre of the bra cradle, so when I want to make changes to the pattern, I don't have to guess and cross my fingers that it will work.

See the clean lines of the cross cup seam? It's actually drafted to be a horizontal line straight across the bust. I had been attempting to do this with previous bras, but didn't want to do anything drastic, so kept making incremental changes. Well, now I have that straight line!

Interfacing - stash
$1.04    Mint/White Lace
$0.11    Tricot
$0.24    Powernet
$0.66    Underwires
$0.84    Underwire casing
$0.67    Elastic
$0.64    Strap elastic
$0.33    Rings and sliders
$1.54    Back closure
$0.54    Thread (rough estimate)

Grand Total  $6.61

The Fit
For a first attempt at a new pattern, I am actually pretty happy with the fit. I may have taken just a little too much out of the upper cup when I drafted the pattern, so I will add maybe half a centimetre back into the upper edge of the upper cup pattern before making style changes. That's it! I'm pretty happy with it otherwise.


  1. Hi,

    Where do you get all the bits and bobs for making it? Like the strap elastic, the underwires and the back closure? I've had no luck finding any!


    1. I've been lucky enough to find suppliers in Sydney where I live. The majority of my supplies are from E&M Greenfield, with my newer straps, rings and sliders from another wholesaler, Formline. I'm not sure if either will ship outside of Australia though. I do buy everything in bulk, but on a per bra basis it works out really cost effective.

  2. Wow! DIY bra at its finest. Hahaha! Your post will really help those who are having a hard time looking for bras that perfectly fit them. Anyway, the color you chose looks nice, and the lace pattern is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing that, Andrea! Kudos and all the best to you! :)

    Irving Morgan @ Your Plus Size Bra

    1. Thank you, I hope others can learn something from my bra making journey.