Bra Making - Bra Patterns - How to make a pattern from your favourite Bra - Clone/Cloningview details
Bra to be copied (this needs to be a seamed cup. Moulded bras can be copied, but you do have to put in more cuts/seams.
Suitably sized paper - A3 is usually large enough (computer printout paper, or dot & cross, or wall lining paper!) or access to a photocopier!
Pencil & note paper
Tracing wheel, and carbon paper
Spray glue (like the stuff they stick pictures on the wall with) or Double-sided tape
Only disassemble one half of the bra; keep the other side intact to examine if you get stuck.
Write detailed notes as you dismantle your bra and make lots of sketches, also start at the bottom of the page and work upwards so that your finished notes are in the correct order for making the bra . Remember to write the reverse of what you're doing when taking apart the bra (i.e., when detaching the straps, write instructions for how to attach the straps).
Examine the bra carefully to determine the steps in which it was assembled. You can tell which seam was sewn first by paying attention to where one seam crosses another. Use a marker pen drawing arrows on the bra for direction of stretch, numbering the cup pieces, and marking seams. Its also a good idea to put marks over the joins so you can use these to make pattern notches if you can’t see the original ones used when it was made.
For each step, note the stitch type (straight, zigzag) and approximate length used. As you cut the threads holding the bra together, leave the thread ends in the fabric; this makes it easier to see the seam allowances used.
Dismantling the Bra
There are variations in order of assembly among different bra manufacturers and styles. To illustrate how to copy a bra, we'll demonstrate the process on an underwire bra with a back-hook closure. While the steps you take to dismantle your bra may be in a different order, you'll get an idea of how it works.
If you're working on a full-band bra (where the band continues under the cups), after removing the channelling or band/cup seam finish, detach the cup, and then the elastic at the lower edge of the band. You only need to undo the elastic to just past the centre front. Note how long it is (remember this will be doubled for the full-band). Between the cups, the centre band or centre front piece can be traced while still attached to the other half of the bra.
Making a Pattern
After dismantling the bra, carefully press all the pieces flat using a warm iron; don't iron back and forth or you'll distort the pieces. Be careful not to scorch or melt the fabric. Spray glue on the reverse of the bra pieces and stick on to the paper. Place another sheet of paper on to a sound work surface or board, then a piece of carbon paper on top face town. Now place the paper with the bra pieces over the top. Using the tracing wheel trace around each piece, alternatively you could use a sharp pencil.
For a full-band style, draw a straight line up the exact centre of the front bra band.
Mark any notches the manufacturer may have used for guidelines (they may be subtle) or put in your own if you need "landmarks" to help match pieces together. If the strap ended at the upper edge of the back bra band, mark the strap placement.
Remove the top sheet with the fabric pieces and, connect all the dots, smoothing out any irregularities. If the seam allowance was more or less than 1/4", add or subtract what you need to make it an even 1/4". show all the stitch lines on your pattern and write information on your pattern to remind you of the making up process.
Label everything! Note the direction of greatest stretch (if any) of the original and mark it on the pattern, as well as how many pieces to cut and what the part is (Upper Cup, Bra Band, etc.). It also helps to note the upper edges, armholes and centre fronts/backs on the various parts. For the best chance of success, try to duplicate the original materials as closely as possible, both in weight and degree of stretch. Read the care/content label for a clue about the fabric. Remember to double the elastic lengths when you figure yardage needed, and note the width of the elastics, the straps and the hook and eye closure (measured top to bottom). Lay out the pieces on a gridded cutting mat to make it easy to figure the fabric yardage needed. Plan on getting two to five bras from a yard of 60"-wide fabric, depending on the size and style. Lace cups often have a sheer lining for stability and comfort, so note on the pattern that you need to cut two pieces of the lace fabric and two of the sheer lining (mark "Cut 2 fabric and 2 lining."). Check the lining for stretch. If it "gives," it's probably sheer (15 denier) nylon tricot. If it has no give at all, then it's likely a sheer stabilized nylon such as our rigid liner. Photocopy the pattern so you'll always have a master that you can trace off on pattern paper, in case the "working" pattern starts to get worn or torn. You can also make fit adjustments and style changes on the working pattern and transfer them to the master pattern. Use the pattern to cut out a new bra and assemble following the directions you wrote while taking apart the bra.
Definition of Terms
Plush Elastic - this is the fuzzy elastic which is used for bra bands etc for comfort. The fuzzy soft side sits next to the skin. It may have a picot edge or fancy edge. Picots are the tiny decorative loops along the edge of lingerie elastic.
Bra casing - channelling. This is a readymade bias casing into which underwires are inserted. The back is usually brushed for comfort.
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