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I want to make my own bra, where do I start?

I get asked this question “how to start and make my own bra” a lot of times via my email. So, if you ever heard about:

  • I made my bra
  • I make my own lingerie
  • or if your ears/eyes caught the fact that someone made a bra

Then you know – it is possible! But where to start? This post is for you – an introduction to where to start and what to research.

Bra types

There are various bra types, but all of them divide into two very large categories:

  1. bras with underwires – which give a clear separation for the breasts
  2. wire-free bras, called wireless bras


This post is about underwire bras – these are scary complicated and I want to help you with them

You should know

  • a bra is like any other garment
  • you can sew it but you have to learn a few things before you actually sew one
  • like any other garments you can make from sewing patterns, there are bra patterns too; Afi Atelier has a FREE one, the Maya Bra
  • bra sizing is different from the clothing sizing

Bra sizing

Clothing sizes are of one label, like S, M, L in the international system; or 4, 6, 8 in the US system. Bra sizing has two indices: band and cup; for example, 75B is a size where the 75 is the band, and the B is the cup for this band;
As a side note, with clothing sizing there are various systems; for bras, there are several systems, as well. US, UK, EU. There’s no international sizing for bras. At least none I know of. But all of the systems label their sizes with: band and cup.
If you’re worried you don’t know what your size is, don’t be. For our Maya Bra pattern, we have a Bra Size Calculator, which tells you the size based on your measurements. Start with this page here for our Maya.

You have to understand that there are 2 major aspects with bra making:

1 – learn construction – this is done with each bra you sew
2 – fitting the bra to your shape – this is done in time with research

Learn construction

There are a few techniques you have to master to make a bra:

  • learn to work with stretchy fabrics
  • learn to work with delicate fabrics like mesh, lace, stretch lace
  • learn the stretch stitch on your machine
  • learn to attache elastics with a zigzag or a triple zigzag stitch
  • prepare for short but curvy seams; sometimes, bulky

Every pattern has instructions. Some are more detailed than others. You can practice the above techniques when sewing a pattern and following its instruction. The golden rule: follow the patterns instruction step by step!

You can watch educational videos. There are tutorials on YouTube. But understand – you actually learn when you sew a bra yourself!

You don’t have to know the sizing or the fit to learn how to construct a bra. You can pick any size, cut it and start sewing. But it’s a lot satisfactory when you sew your bra. This is where the sizing and fitting come in.

Fitting the bra to your shape

I have no formulae for the fitting. But I could sketch a few lines:

  • understand your body shape
  • understand your breast shape
  • research what cup shape would work for your body
  • fitting is a trial and error stage
  • in time you will learn what patterns work for you, what fabrics provide support

Do NOT get upset if your first or second bra does not fit. Do NOT give up. There are bra-making groups on Facebook. Come join and explain what your fitting issues are. There are many wonderful people who will jump in and help you.

The plan

Having the above, here’s a bullet plan of the steps to dive into bra-making:

  1. first step is to find the wire that fits your body! Not the pattern, not a bra. But your body!
  2. choose a pattern (look for sewn samples, read reviews)
  3. read the sizing information for the pattern – every pattern has its own system to determine the size!
  4. determine your size for the chosen pattern
  5. read about the needed fabrics and notions
  6. take the time to research about the fabrics: powernet, powermesh, hook and eye etc
  7. research cheap supplies
  8. sew a test bra – from waste/cheap fabrics; do NOT sew a bra from your good supplies!
  9. first bra almost always goes to trash – but this one is to break the ice
  10. with the test bra you will understand: construction, how the bra shapes, if you found the right size, if you need to adjust the pattern
  11. make more testers – research the fit and ask questions
  12. when you’re satisfied – sew a bra from good supplies

This is all on a theoretical level, of course. But it gives you the idea what you have to do. Take it step by step. Do not rush. Enjoy every level you get to! Being able to make your own bras is amazing!

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  1. I choose to make my own bras because I can never find my size in stores and the ones I find online don’t always fit right. This is a good starting point.

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