The Sewing Place

Sources of bra making materials

BrendaP

Sources of bra making materials
« on: March 02, 2017, 23:05:45 PM »
There are only a few retail outlets for the specialist materials needed to make a bra, and many of them are in America. 

If you start with Beverley Johnson's Craftsy course on bra making everything she refers to is available from her shop Bra makers Supply in Canada https://braandcorsetsupplies.com/#shop  Many of the products are also available from B-Wear in Sweden http://www.bwear.se/en/patterns/patterns/ and recently Fit2Sew in UK http://fit2sew.co.uk/shop/has started stocking the same products.

My red bra http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=11 was made with a kit from B-Wear.  It included more than enough fabric, channelling and band elastic but the strap elastic was quite short; they assumed you would be making the front part of the straps with fabric, which I wasn't planing to do, so I substituted different red strap elastic.  Also the red lace was IMO a very poor colour match so I didn't use it with the rest of the kit.  I did use it as a contrast with black http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=14 and I am glad I didn't use it with the red duoplex because with washing and wearing the red lace is now mid pink!

Another source of kits is Merckwaerdigh in The Netherlands. https://www.etsy.com/shop/merckwaerdigh.  My second bra was made from one of her kits, and although it looked nice the facric was a type of scuba and it made me really itchy and I couldn't wear it :'(  even after a couple of washes.  I am not usually allergic to fabrics.  I still have bits of a second kit (with lace and tricot fabrics) from there in stash.  Lovely bright colours but the elastics are all a bit flimsy and I didn't like the wires which are flat instead of the more usual round cross section.

Most of the fabrics, elastics and hardware I have used has come from The Sewing Chest. http://sewingchest.co.uk/index.php?cPath=91.  The main criticism of there is that unless you want to stick with plain black or plain white it is unlikely that you will be able to find all the required elastics in matching colours.  My black and red bra http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=15 and my black and gold bra http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=13 are both made (mostly) from materials from Sewing Chest.  Both have upper cups made from embroidered edging which has a mirrored design so that the cups match.  My burgandy bra http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=12 has black wings because they didn't have any bugandy power net or substitute.  I also made knickers to match using lightweight powernet at the back and that really hasn't worn well, there are bits of elastane fibre sticking out all along the edges. :(

I have bought elastics from The Bra Shop in Liverpool https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebrashop and found they were very quick to post, but I haven't bought fabric or a kit from there.

An online source of bra patterns is Orange https://shop.orange-lingerie.com/collections/all.  I have used their Marlborough http://thesewingplace.org.uk/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;pic=14 pattern a couple of times.  Because bra pieces are small, even with the bigger sizes, it's not usually necessary to join any bits of .pdf patterns.

VeryKerryBerry http://verykerryberry.blogspot.co.uk/p/uk-bra-supply-shops.html  has a list of other suppliers, but as I haven't used them I can't comment.

A couple of other useful websites with bra-making info are:
http://www.foundationsrevealed.com/index-of-articles/bra-making/how-to-make-a-bra/161-bras-determining-your-size
and
http://learning.makebra.com/instructions/

Edited to make the links work properly!

« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 23:33:42 PM by BrendaP »
Brenda.  My machines are: Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy, Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitch.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Francesca

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 23:07:13 PM »
I have ordered from BWear. It took a while to arrive, but very nice stuff.

Francesca

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 23:11:54 PM »
Brenda, as you have a lot of experience... I need to ask about one area I'm confused on.

Cup fabric should not be stretchy, right? Does it matter what it is other than that?

I have the Pin-Up girls "Shelley" pattern and lots of wide scalloped lace for the top part of the cup. However a lot of them don't colourmatch the duoplex on BWear et cetera.

Am I right that I can use pretty much anything that is lightweight and rigid? The lace I have is all stretch (I want to use it for undies to match) so I bought some rigid flesh-coloured cup stabiliser from BWear to line the back of the stretch lace. Does that technically mean I could also use it to line behind any other fabric? That would certainly make it easier to colourmatch.

Also, I have just finished cutting a dress from some two-way stretch that is sort of nylon-y and shiny and very much reminds me of bra fabric. Could I use that? Which way should I put the stretch (as it's two-way) or do I want to eliminate it entirely?

Thanks so much!

BrendaP

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 23:16:32 PM »
If you want to use lace for the cups underline it.  Cut the cup pieces in lace and in non-stretch flesh colored cup lining fabric and treat the two layers as one.
http://fit2sew.co.uk/shop/15-denier-sheer-cup-lining/
Brenda.  My machines are: Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy, Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitch.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

BrendaP

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 23:24:14 PM »
I have just finished cutting a dress from some two-way stretch that is sort of nylon-y and shiny and very much reminds me of bra fabric. Could I use that? Which way should I put the stretch (as it's two-way) or do I want to eliminate it entirely?

Thanks so much!

AFAIK everything from Beverley Johnson, including her Shelley pattern, refers to DoGS - direction of greatest stretch which should guide you as to the direction you place pattern pieces.  But if you use your dress fabric for the cups, yes I would underline it, especially as you are a bigger girl and so you will need a bit of support which the underlining should provide.
Brenda.  My machines are: Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy, Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitch.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Francesca

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 11:54:13 AM »
AFAIK everything from Beverley Johnson, including her Shelley pattern, refers to DoGS - direction of greatest stretch which should guide you as to the direction you place pattern pieces.  But if you use your dress fabric for the cups, yes I would underline it, especially as you are a bigger girl and so you will need a bit of support which the underlining should provide.

I think that's the bit that confuses me. I wasn't sure if it was stretch, or woven. I know you need stretch for the wings but I was finding myself confused that the recommended duoplex is slightly stretchy, but then you're also often seeing rigid lining so is it stretchy, or no? My guess is it's *ever sos lightly stretchy if you like*.

I've just ordered swatches of polyester satin in some various colours. I have read that bias cut satin can work quite well as it's very low stretch.

BrendaP

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2017, 00:05:48 AM »
The duoplex I had in a kit is pretty rigid even though it's a warp knit fabric.  The 15 denier lining fabric is fairly rigid too.

It's all about support.  The more stretchy a fabric is the less support it will give, and vice versa. 

I have just bought the Beverley Johnson Craftsy course on Sewing Bras, Designer Techniques and in it she talks about support and does a demonstration using small sacks made from duoplex and from a lycra fabric.  First off she has a sack made of each fabric and places an orange into each one (to represent medium size breasts) 🍊🍊 and you see that the lycra one drops slightly compared to the duoplex one.  Then she does the same using melons, (to represent very large breasts) 🍈🍈 and the one in the lycra sack drops down quite significantly!

Have a good look at the bras you already have - and maybe go into M&S or similar and look critically at what they offer.  I'd be very surprised if anything but the smallest of sizes have any significant amount of stretch in the cups, though they probably won't be 100% stretch-free

Brenda.  My machines are: Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy, Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitch.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

AnneFrances

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 16:56:05 PM »
I have very recently bought various bits of hardware - rings, sliders, closures - and elastic from Elise patterns http://elisepatterns.com/bra-making-supplies/  who had what I wanted when the Sewing Chest didn't. Reasonable prices and very prompt service.
I like the Orange Lingerie Boylston bra pattern - seems to work well for me. I've just used some pretty white dotted-swiss cotton lawn cut on the bias for cups and frame. Powernet for the wings.It worked very well.

Anne
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 16:59:19 PM by AnneFrances »

MrsThrifty

Re: Sources of bra making materials
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 00:34:42 AM »
For Australian readers:

SewSquirrel are a reseller for some of Beverly's patterns and kits. They also have the Simplicity lingerie patterns and Jalie's lingerie and swimwear patterns as well.
Boobytraps is a long running lingerie component supplier. They sell their own patterns and offer all you need to make a bra under the Haberdashery heading. They have one of the best range of fold over elastics in Australia and their lace selection is quite good, too.
TheRemnantWarehouse sell designer end-rolls and you can occasionally find wonderful quality lingerie fabrics from them. Check back often, sometimes you'll find what you need, other times you're out of luck.