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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stuff to make bras

As my friend Robin commented on the last post, bra-making has the potential to deliver some returns to our frugal natures. Meaning, yes, you can save money doing this.

This makes bra-making unique in my sewing world where I am sure I am spending far, far more to make my own than buy it. In fact I know I am.

When you consider bra-making one of the things that is really intimidating is the number of supplies you need and all the weird little findings. There are some great kits out there but if you want to try this out on your own here is a list of things you can collect or access from your collection to get you started.

I want to emphasize that a lot of this stuff can be collected along the way for very little in a random sort of way, often as discount or weird left-overs in those funny stores that seem to buy a lot of discount lots of job ends - you know the kind of places that have tin roofs. So here is what you need to keep on the look-out for. In short this is kind of a basic supply list for a bra without underwires, if you want an underwire bra, you will need those of course and a casing, called channeling to contain the wires:

1. Fabric, this is easy, anything a little but not too stretchy for the cups (tricot, firm and stretchy cotton lycra, or even bathing suit stuff) You will only need a tiny bit, a couple of handkerchief's worth really. Save your scraps.

2. Power knit, no substitute for this for the sides and if you make a version like mine the front piece under and around the cup. You can online this from anywhere, but I got mine from a discount fabric store in Winnipeg, $5 a meter, excellent quality 60" wide. I have enough to make bras for the rest of my life. Trick is to find a place that doesn't understand what they have.

3. Wider plush elastic to go around your body, the worst and most wasteful way to buy this is in packages, see if you can grab some somewhere by the yard.

4. Skinny but hopefully fancy lingerie elastic for the neckline and around the top/underarm/back. You will use up yards of this stuff so grab what you can. I have a picture here of some really nice lingerie elastic (this was from Bra maker's supply the rest on the other bras was from a discount bin) so you can see how professional a good edging elastic can make it all look. I would definitely try to find the nicest you can for this. Look too for little bows or things to dress it up if you want too.

5. Strap elastic, this looks like shiny tape and stretches only a little - often great deals on this, because it looks like pretty useless elastic to most people. You might also as an alternative be able to buy lingerie straps pre-made.

6. Little sliders and rings made usually of plastic. I found these the hardest to source and then there is the colour issue. I was finally lucky enough to get a bag of clear plastic slides and a bag of clear plastic rings for 49 cents each, 50 in bag on the wall of an old fabric store. You will need these to make your own straps with the strap elastic.

7. Hooks for the back, most fabric stores carry these.

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