At the end of last year, I took part in a bra making workshop at my local fabric store, Sewn.
I have always been quite hesitant to sign up to any classes as they don’t usually seem to be pitched towards the confident sewist, more towards the beginner. I did feel that I wanted to get back into the classroom and learn some new skills with some like minded folk.
Marie from Sewn has recognised this gap in the market and has started putting on more skill-building classes and the bra making course caught my eye.
While I have some experience sewing lingerie, having previously made the Watson bra and various knicker patterns, I was really interested in the fit element of this class.
The class was run over two consecutive Sundays and delicious cream teas were thrown in to the price, along with the cost of the materials. The only thing we had to purchase in addition, was the Marlborough Bra pattern by Orange Lingerie.
Luckily prior to the class, Marie advised that the sizing on the Marlborough pattern wasn’t particularly true and advised us to work from our RTW size and increase the back band by one size. I am normally a 30E in RTW and the measurements for the Marlborough advised I made a 30C, which really didn’t sound right so I took Marie’s advise and cut a 32E for my first attempt.
Laura from Midnight Costume Services was our guide for the course – she has a fab teaching style and is very down to earth and helpful. She has a wealth of experience in designing and sewing lingerie and corsets and was more than happy to share this with the group.
We pretty much followed the instructions from the pattern, with a few adjustments, such as cutting the elastic 20% smaller and easing in for a better fit. We also changed the order of sewing the underwire casing too so that it made more sense.
As I was making my bra, I was utterly convinced that it was going to be ginormous and would not fit in any way so I was absolutely gobsmacked when the fit was actually pretty good!
Once the first version was complete, we used this to pin mark any sections that needed adjusting and transfer this to the paper pattern. I then salvaged any of the elastic and hardware that I could from the trial and then cut a second version. The second time around went much faster and I managed to get the majority of the sewing done during the class and finished it off later that evening at home.
The second version fit much better and is actually a wearable bra!
The pattern itself is a very classic bra design, however, I am so used to wearing moulded cup RTW bras that I don’t think I will repeat this pattern. I have already started on a DL03 pattern by Make Bra, which has moulded foam cups. I now feel confident to make this using the techniques I learnt in this workshop.
A note on lingerie supplies
Aside from standard black and white, it is quite hard to get hold of good lingerie supplies in the UK. There are some great suppliers in Canada and Australia but shipping and customs fees can get very expensive. I can highly recommend the lingerie kits that Marie at Sewn has put together.