handmade wardrobe: my very first bra

in honour of me made may this year, it feels appropriate that i just knocked off one of the scariest items on my 2019 make nine list: my very first bra!


i made the harriet bra from cloth habit because i was looking for an underwire bra that would work well with rigid lace and wasn’t a full cup. i have a small chest, so didn’t need to look for a pattern that is specifically designed to offer better support, but this pattern would work well for anyone looking for those qualities as well. it’s a well-written, well-designed pattern, and despite my fears about making such a complicated item, it was ultimately a fairly painless experience. big thanks to tessa for the bra sewing date so i had moral support to help me out though it ha!


there are definitely some adjustments i need to make on my attempt - i made the 32c and forgot to zigzag along the hem and underarm elastics, so it’s tight on my ribcage and gapes a bit under my arms. i also didn’t line up the clear elastic properly along the eyelash lace upper cup, although that doesn’t seem to be impacting the fit too much. honestly, i was convinced all the way through that it wasn’t going to fit properly, to the point that i was really messy with my sewing on some of the final steps until i tried it on, realized it did fit, and then had to go back to tidy some of those details. just goes to show you that some sewing projects require every step to know whether it works or not.


i made my bra with findings i bought in bulk off amazon (basically set for life on that front), size 34 orange underwires from emerald erin, scraps of black silk that i bought at local icon mitchell’s before they closed (also have enough left to make pjs so expect overly extravagant pjs at some point), black eyelash rigid lace (i bought a bunch of black lace at a point where i really didn’t understand fabric and yardage, so most of what i bought isn’t really big enough to do anything with beyond scrap together, but i do have enough left to make two more similar bras), black strapping and black foldover lingerie elastic (best purchase ever - all foldover elastic for bras all the time, fuck those raw edges), a hook-and-eye clasp cut off an old garter belt i haven’t worn in about five years, and power net mesh.


for my very first ever bra, i’m super pleased with myself. having worn it for a day now, it’s definitely not the most comfortable bra i’ve ever worn. i’m of the opinion that bras (on me) should be super pretty and also not feel like i’m wearing anything. i think on my next one, i’ll make slightly longer bands (maybe half an inch on each side, which will also allow me to attach the hook and eye in the centre rather than edge hooks), remember to make my straps first, and also remember to do the zig-zag on the elastics. i’m also going to practice first with a non-lace version using scraps of fabric just to get the right fit, and then do a lined version c of all lace front and lace band so that the cup seams can be contained. someday maybe i’ll have a serger and can serge some seams to close them off…1/4” seams definitely challenges my sewing skills, that’s for sure.


all in all, i’m quite pleased with myself and learned a lot of new skills, and also felt simultaneously successful and humbled by a project, which i think is a good sign for any ongoing practice.