11 October 2015

Lingerie: Stretch lace Sierra bra

I don't often get to the end of making something, and then think, "Should I really blog this? It didn't really work and I don't want anyone to know." There's nothing wrong with this bra itself, it just doesn't really suit my figure, and it's too tight. More on that later though.

This is the Sierra bralette, a free pattern from Madalynne. You can download your own copy here. I just missed following along with the sewalong, but have caught up now. This is unlike any other bra that I have made before. In many ways.

It was my first time making a soft cup bra, first time with a wraparound style of bra, and my first time using a bra pattern that I didn't draft myself.

The hardest thing about making this bra was working out what to make it from! I was thinking about using some stretch white lace fabric that I have way too much of, but then what to line it with? Powernet, blue jersey? I didn't want to use any of my scalloped stretch laces in case it didn't turn out well, and I wouldn't have had enough of any of them anyway. Then I thought, why not just use blue jersey with white elastic and findings, or maybe some slinky lingerie fabric that I haven't used yet. But then I remembered some khaki print stretch lace fabric that I bought at the Fabric Cave back in January. I gave half of it to Sharon last month, as I didn't think there was any way that I'd ever use it all up.

The Bra (and undies)
I used white powernet to line the entire bra. For the first time, I also thought I should make a pair of matching undies! No powernet there, just the addition of some white jersey.

I did make a few changes to the Sierra. Following the measurement chart, I made a large. I added elastic to the bottom edge, so redrew the pattern with seam allowance for the elastic across the bottom.

My hook and eye closure was also a little wider than allowed for in the pattern (or maybe my elastic was wider?), so I added a little extra for that too, and smoothed out the curve at the centre back.

My last change was to the straps. I don't really have tops that have such a high neckline that a halter neck strap would be covered, so for summer at least, I would always have my bra strap on show. That wasn't really the look I was going for, so I made two separate straps and joined them to the back strap. To work out where to place them at the back, I attached them at the front, and pinned them in place at the back while I tried the bra on. I did this last, just after sewing in the hook and eye closure.

For the undies I ditched the Coverstitch machine which I tried out in my last attempt at undies (mentioned here, when making my swimsuit) in favour of zigzagging the elastic in place. I used a 3 step zig zag, and just sewed the elastic onto the front edge. Hindsight, being the wonderful thing that it is, hinted to me that adding an allowance for the elastic and sewing it to the edge and folding it over, just like the bra, would have given a much better finish. Since this was supposed to be a quick make, and I'm still trying to perfect the fit of my undies, I couldn't be bothered doing this. So there you have it, lots of white elastic on the edge!


The most expensive part of this was the elastic! I used just over 2.5m of it for the bra!

Bra: Fabric $0.45 +
Powernet, Elastic, strap elastic, hook and eye, rings and sliders, thread $5.80 approx
Undies: Fabric $0.45 +
Jersey, Elastic, thread $1.20 approx

TOTAL $7.90 for the whole set.

The fit

Can I just say, maybe I made a mistake in cutting my elastic shorter than the fabric on the bra. The bra digs in around my ribs, and really squishes me all over! I'm not a large cup size by any means, and fit comfortably into the recommended measurements for the large size of the Sierra. The bra looks waaaay better on my dressmaker's dummy than it does on me. Although on the dummy it looks like it's too big, it's a lot different on me.

Maddie's instructions do say to not stretch your elastic, and I should have just trusted her judgement on her own pattern. Having said that, I do think that I need to make the back band longer as well. I'm not your typical hourglass silhouette (see here where I talked about this when making a long line bra), and I don't really think that this style of bra works on me.

I estimate that I need at least an additional 10cm in the back so it doesn't feel like a straight jacket. When I try this again (which I'm determined to do, even if it's to prove to myself that it can work on me), I'll cut the band longer where it stretches around to the back, and try it on before adding the elastic. Then I can decide on final length, and whether to cut the elastic at less than 100% or not.

I am planning on using different lace for the next one, but fear not, I might try a different style of soft cup bra with this same lace so I have something to wear the undies with.


  1. It's a lovely set, and I admire your perseverance. You'll get it to fit.


    1. Thanks Michelle, I was thinking of just giving up on this one, but I do like the style, so I need to try again.

  2. I like it! I was planning to do the same modification with the straps when my notions finally arrive. I'm larger than the sizes recommended in the pattern, so a bit concerned it won't work, but...it'll be interesting to try!

    1. I highly recommend cutting the straps a bit longer if you're a little larger than recommended. You can always cut them off if you don't need the extra length.

  3. It's a lovely concept, and I think you will certainly make this bra work for you one day. The strap alterations are fantastic - halters also place strain on the neck, and that is not a good thing for some people.

    1. It certainly isn't something that I would have thought of doing myself. It's good to get out of my comfort zone and try something different.