Have you been following along with #braugust2018? This month-long bra and swimwear sewing monthly challenge is so inspiring! We’ve got bras on the brain and are happy to share some bra making tips from our new series with lingerie pattern designer Sophie Hines. For more on bras, check out the first installment (in the August/September 2018 issue and be on the lookout for our next two issues.
TIP 1: Choose a mostly natural fiber, such as cotton, or a blend, such as bamboo rayon with a 3% to 10% Lycra content
TIP 2: To determine the fabric stretch, cut a 4”-wide strip away from the cut edge on the yardage. The cut edge has less tension than the interior fabric, so it stretches more and causes an inaccurate measurement. Gently pull the fabric across a ruler and measure how far it stretches. Each inch the fabric stretch is 25% stretch. To determine the direction of greatest stretch, stretch and measure both the lengthwise and crosswise grain. Whichever direction has the most stretch is the direction of greatest stretch.
TIP 3: Choose elastic with 25% stretch for a bra under-bust band to provide good support and stay in place. Choose elastic with 50% to 75% stretch for underwear to prevent lines on your derriere.
TIP 4: Use sharp pins on soft and delicate lingerie fabric and elastic to prevent snagging. Glass-head silk pins work best because they’re extra fine and are especially made for working with slippery silk.
TIP 5: When cutting knits and lingerie fabrics, scissors often disrupt the fabric and pattern pieces, causing inaccurate cutting. Instead, use a rotary cutting system to keep all the fabric and pattern pieces flat during cutting.
TIP 6: To prevent bird’s nests when sewing stretch fabrics, lightly pull the thread tails at the beginning of a stitch, but make sure not to pull the fabric through the machine.
TIP 7: Don’t begin sewing on the fabric edge. The edge has less tension and is more likely to be pulled into the throat plate. Begin stitching 1/8” from the fabric edge.
TIP 8: Remember the rule of Sister Sizes when choosing the correct size. A sister size means that a 34D, 36C and 38B all have the same cup volume. Therefore, if you used a 36C and the band is too large, size down to a 34 band, but go up a cup size to D to keep the same cup volume.
TIP 9: If you can comfortably clasp the bra hook on the last row of hooks when it’s new, consider going down a size in the band. Bra hooks are intended to be worn on the first row of hooks when new, then moved to maintain fit as the band stretches over time.