Bras - The Final Frontier
I recently returned from a week at Bra Makers Supply in Hamilton, Ontario. I attended their 5 day “Boob Camp” after three years in the planning (and dreaming)!
My journey into bra-making is both personal and professional. I’m a sewing instructor who has taught garment and underwear making for many years, but bra-making has always been a little intimidating. I knew I needed some training to kick-start in this area! I also know how hard it can be to find time to work on new ideas and samples in our busy studio, so I thought what better way than to isolate myself for 5 whole days and concentrate 100% on bras!
Day 1 - Classic Bra
We all seem to arrive at different times (I was last to roll up having taken the bus from Toronto on a rainy morning. What I loved right away was the relaxed casual, yet professional atmosphere of the work room. There were students who had been before and some newbies like myself all excited to get started. While I felt like I had traveled a ways to be there, we also have students from as far as Bahamas and England! The demand for a good fitting bra is truly something worth the distance!
Photo credit - CityNews Toronto
We were each fitted individually and as we settled in and the new kids on the block were recommended to start wit the Classic Bra (a BMS favourite). I was introduced to a new material called Duoplex (a staple in bra-making). I was able to complete my first bra on day one (made from silver Duoplex with black lace and findings. While I was pretty pleased with my first go finishing, the fit was… how should I say… a little conical (think Madonna - late 80’s)? We made some adjustments to the pattern based on where it looked like I need more room, and I was able to cut out a second bra to sew on day 2! I also traced off the Sweet Sixteen Bralette pattern so that I could have a bash at it later in the week.
Day 2 - Classic Bra
I made up the Classic in a Stof Fabrics cotton/spandex jersey (brought from The Makehouse - I call it the my Galaxy Bra!). When you work with a stretch fabric you need to use a stable liner (I used shear cup lining) so that the bra is supportive and doesn’t stretch out.
Day 3 - Ruby Bra - I decided to take a break from my Classic to explore the Ruby bra on Wednesday. Ruby is a new bra release under BMS new sizing system. The sample I tried looked like it wouldn’t need much tweaking at all, so I decided to go for it, and try working with sew-in foam for shape and support. I ended up starting two - one in a pretty floral print scuba and one from black duoplex with pink lace (both with foam cups). I didn’t quite finish, but both bras were ready for their final touches.
Day 4 - Sweet Sixteen Bralette
I cut and sewed a black lace bralette with shear cup lining and a long-line version in scuba with a foam cup. I love how both of these bras turned out, but I needed a little more room, so these are both store samples now and I’ve created my bralette from a pale green lace in my size, which fits like a dream! Our amazing instructors Denise and Linda brought in their own personal collection of bras to share their favourite techniques and features which I thought was a great touch! Linda even flashed her best cat bra!
Day 5 - I decide to take another crack at the Classic pattern for I asked Denise to help to make the split lower cup adjustment to help better accommodate my bust. I cut my new bra from some leftover scuba and used foam for the cups and a super wide soft band elastic (with a 4 x 3 hook and eye). The result was a beautiful bra with load of character and the perfect fit for my body! I was literally beaming, it even passed the jump test!!! I will make 10 of these exact bras with different colours, fabrics and details now. Job done!
I used the last of my time to finish off my black lace bralette from Thursday (too small for me, but I got size up and know what to make in the bralette pattern now for myself!) This bra will be on the shop floor as a sample and we already have the pattern in stock.
I brought back lots of goodies to sell at The Makehouse including the new Ruby Pattern, lots of colourful elastics, hook and eyes, wire casing, foam to add to our growing in-store collection (coming soon to the online store!). You can also find the Classic Bra, Sweet Sixteen Bralette, Kerri Sports Bra, bra kits and Jalie underwear patterns for men, women and kids as well as Comox Trunks by Thread Theory.
Since I've been home, I've been slowly replacing my entire bra wardrobe - including stripping the old ones for hardware! The feeling of never having to go bra shopping again keeps me grinning every day! I will be returning to Bra-makers supply to complete the teacher training over the coming months so stay tuned for more!
Our next bra workshop at The Makehouse is Sew a Bralette and there's three different sessions to choose from! Stay tuned for even more bra-making classes at The Makehouse!
Sew with you soon! - Jenny