If you’ve ever wondered how a bra is made and why some cost so much, this should clear that up for you.
Bra construction is not for the novice seamstress. Attention to detail is required for every step. Additionally, some bras are easier to sew than others. The molded cup bras are much less labor intensive, and I do not discuss those here.
The steps listed below are for the La Bella Coppia Prima Donna Bra. The other bra styles have additional steps that are not listed here. I did not include changing the needles, changing the sewing machine feet, trimming the excess threads after most steps, and sometimes pulling out and restitching the seam if it’s not perfect.
Before any sewing occurs, the fabrics must be cut precisely, adhering to the direction of stretch. For those of you who do not sew, that means the pattern pieces must be laid out in the proper direction to ensure the stretch is going the correct way for maximum support.
Also, the pattern pieces must be cut with precision since going off the pattern by even 1/16” can affect the sizing in some pieces. Because the seam allowance is only 1/4”, there is no room for error when cutting the pieces.
These are the fabric pattern pieces that go into the bra. This does not include the elastics, channeling, straps, and back hook and eye closures.
- Mesh: back band (2 – 4), top cup (0-2)
- Lining: frame (2), gore (1), side cup (2), top cup (0-2)
- Main: frame (2), gore (1), side cup (2), bottom inner cup (2), front center cup (2)
- Lace: top cup (2)
Total pieces: 20 – 22 depending on the cup size.
Steps for sewing a bra
- Lay out the pattern pieces on the fabrics.
- Cut pieces from mesh, microfiber, lace, and lining.
- Sew inner and front center cup pieces together.
- Sew lining gore and lining frame together.
- Sew main gore and lining frame together.
- Sandwich mesh band between main and lining frame pieces and stitch.
- Press frame flat in preparation for top stitching.
- Top stitch frame.
- Top stitch bottom cup.
- Trim excess seam allowance from bottom cup.
- Baste frame edges.
- Sandwich the bottom cup between the top cup lace and the top cup lining and stitch.
- Press the cup flat in preparation for top stitching.
- Top stitch lace top cup.
- Trim excess seam allowance from lace and top cup.
- Attach elastic to top cup.
- Sandwich cup between main side cup and lining side cup and stitch.
- Top stitch side cup.
- Trim excess seam allowance from side cup.
- Baste edges of side cup.
- Cut notches in cups and frame for alignment.
- Sew cups into frame.
- Mark where top frame/band elastic will meet the channeling.
- Sew in the underwire channeling.
- Sew the bottom frame/band elastic: first pass.
- Trim the excess seam allowance under the bottom frame/band elastic.
- Trim the excess seam allowance under the channeling.
- Flip elastic over and sew the bottom frame/band elastic: second pass.
- Sew the straps to the frame: right side to right side.
- Flip straps over and finish attaching.
- Sew the top frame/band elastic: first pass.
- Bar tack the channeling.
- Top stitch the channeling.
- Stitch the outer edge of the channeling.
- Trim the excess channeling from the bar tacked ends.
- Trim the excess seam allowance under the top frame/band elastic.
- Flip elastic over and sew the top frame/band elastic: second pass.
- Measure end where hook and eye will go to ensure proper back elastic placement.
- Sew the back band elastic leaving extra for loop.
- Trim the excess seam allowance under the back elastic.
- Fold elastic over and secure loop.
- Attach the care and size labels.
- Attach the hook and eye closures.
- Insert the underwire.
- Bar tack the underwire in the front.
- Trim excess channeling.
- Attach decorative bow(s).
- Inspect stitches and seams (this is actually done after each step).
- Trim off any excess threads.