Sewing Blog

How to Sew Bras That Actually Fit

Sewing your own bras can be a worthwhile endeavor. After all, the bra you wear can make a huge difference in the way your clothes fit or your comfort level throughout the day. But even if you are convinced you want a completely handmade wardrobe, from your skirt to your underthings, there’s still the question of how to sew bras that fit.

Here are some tips to sewing a great fitting bra

1. The first step is to get an accurate measurement of your band and cup size.

Where to Measure Cup and Band Size

You can do this yourself or pop into a lingerie shop to get measured. Don’t be surprised if the resulting size is different from what’s currently in your underwear drawer. Your bra size can change, particularly if you’ve gained or lost weight.

2. Once you have your measurements, begin your pattern search.

Array of handmade bras

Many of the major pattern companies have bra patterns, and you can also search online for patterns from independent designers (you might even stumble across a freebie).

You probably already have an idea of what style of bra is best for you (full-coverage vs. demi cup, underwire vs. non-underwire, etc.). But it’s also worth trying out other styles, as well (once you’ve made your first bra, you’ll find that others come together in a couple of hours, so time and money-wise you won’t be out too much on a bra you end up not liking).

3. Make a muslin.

Bra-making is definitely a “try on as you go” process. For your first bra, you’ll want to make a muslin, only you can’t actually use muslin since it doesn’t have any stretch to it. Test your bra pattern using the same materials you plan to use for the finished product. This is a key step in learning how to sew bras that fit. Fortunately, bras don’t use up too much fabric, so you won’t feel like you are wasting your resources when making your muslin.

5. Once you have the bra cups constructed, you’ll want to check them for fit before continuing.

Check Fit of Bra Cups

If you’ve made the correct size, the cup will cover your entire breast (you’ll want to allow a tiny bit extra for seam allowances), with no spill-over at the top but no excess fabric, either. If you can pinch extra fabric, make note of how much so you can adjust the cup accordingly.

Be sure to check both breasts. Few women are symmetrical. If there’s a big difference, you might want to make separate pattern pieces for each side (one of the advantages to sewing your own bras!).

You’ll also want to check how the band fits, although you’re less likely to need major adjustments in this area. The band shouldn’t ride up in the back; if it does you might need a larger cup size. Lengthening or shortening the band length is an easy adjustment.

6. The final piece of the fit puzzle are the straps.

Navy Blue Bra with triple straps

From Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques with Beverly Johnson

They shouldn’t dig into your shoulders or fall off. You don’t have to make the straps adjustable, like a ready-to-wear bra, if you prefer not to.

The advantage to making your own bra is achieving the perfect fit, so don’t give up until you get there! If you’re ready to dive in, don’t forget to check out this post on sewing with lingerie fabrics.

handemde bra

You Asked, We Answered!

We now have four in-depth online video classes for sewing bras, plus classes on sewing swimsuits, panties and other specialty projects. You can watch them ALL for one low price!Watch Them All in Bluprint

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and was updated in March 2018.

45 Comments

Deby

Can we have a full class on making your own bras please/ I am so confused about all of the materials needed and how to get a good fit on a bra (I’m sure I’ve never had one that fits properly).
And the construction and fabrics are different to regular sewing – please Craftsy – can we have a class? I’ll be the first to sign up.

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Malia Oswald

Ditto!!

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Malia Oswald

I would also like a class on making bras.

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melissa

DITTO~!!!!

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Donna S Lucas

Me TOO!

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Sylvia

I would also like to have a class on making your own bras.

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Linda

I’d do a class for this too!

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Lee Wilson

I took Betty Johnson’ s Sewing bra’s and it works. i have since bought some commercial bras athat almost fit. Go with Betty Johnson. It is a great class.

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AnnTerry

Yes, I’d love a class on bra making and sewing swimsuits for plus-sized bodies.

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Pat Stinson

Yes, a bra class and a bathing suit sewing class for plus size would be awesome!

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Kristi

I agree. Please post a class on bra sewing. I spend over $60 on each bra that I buy since they only make my size in the UK. I would love to be able to make my own and spend a little less and get great colors and perfect sizing.

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Kristina

I agree with Deby! If there is such a class, I bet it is going to be successful! 🙂

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Sandra

I second Deby…and I’ll be following her heels at signing up for a “how to make your own bra” class!

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Brooke

Get Beverly Johnson to make a class! I would buy it!

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carmel williams

i want one patterns please

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Chloe Collins

I second (Deby) comment above. It would be nice if there was a class specifically for making bra’s.

Here to hoping you have a great day.

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allyson

I would also like to have a class on making your own bras.

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Barbara

I’ll be the second to sign up. I have never even thought of sewing my own bras. It sounds very interesting.

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Cindy Worthley

A bra class would be cool…

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Toni M Jones

Yes! And I’ll be the second one to sign up. It would be fantastic to have a bra making class on Craftsy. I have made a bra from a Bramaker’s Supply pattern and kit. It turned out far better than a store bought bra even though it was my first attempt. I will certainly make my own from now on but I’d love, love, love to have a Craftsy class on bra making!

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Aggie

Agree… We need bra or full underwear making class.

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Bettina

yes, I totally agree with Deby, a bra making class would be great! (maybe with a bonus panty to match with 🙂 )

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Beth

I’d really love to see a class on bra making as well. I’ve been attempting to learn this skill from some books but a class would definitely be better. When it comes sewing, books can only do so much.

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ruby t

I too, would like to see a class on this.
Let all of us know if you get one going. It would be such a awesome project and
I would get one that has all of the features I like/need in the same bra!

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Lois.Holman@gmail.com

Yes please. I have made several attempts at bra making and would love a class.

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Kathryn Dane

I once took a face-to-face class in making bras. It was a quite interesting even though it was just a demonstration class. I did make several attempts to make a well-fitted bra, but found the supplies and materials difficult to find (before online stores). The most difficult item to find is underwires with the correct contours.

That said, I would gladly sign up for a custom bra-making class, if offered in the Craftsy format.

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Kara

I also want to add my vote for a bra making class

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Doris Bussey

I would love a bra making class, I would also love an underwear class. I have become allergic to latex and it’s almost i,possible to find underwear without Latex in it. I f you do they look terrible and they charge a unbelievable price! Please help us!

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Kathy A

Class on making bras…PLEASE!!! I am in between sizes & cannot find a comfy & well fitting bra to save my life!

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Jean

Definitely need a class for large sizes. I have myself and 2 daughters to sew for. Need F cups.

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Dibs

Like every other person above, I would pay for a bra making class without blinking.

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Patricia New

I second, third, etc. that a class would be wonderful! Thank you so much for the wonderful classes that you have so far. I enjoy them tremendously. I have learned so much from Craftsy!

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JuliaSophia

I would instantly sign up for a bra-making class, and I agree with Bettina, a bonus panty would be great. As expensive as a GOOD bra can be (up to $100 + ) excellent fit and overview of the best fabrics to use (allergic to latex) would make a fabulous class.

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marla

I would LOVE a class on Bra making! Lets get to it Craftsy!!!!

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Brenda D

I would absolutely LOVE to join an online bra-making class!! Please let me know!….

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Diana Jackson

I too would LOOOVE!!! it if CRAFTSY offered a bra making class. It would be so wonderful to make my own perfect fitting bra. Please, Please consider our requests…

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Julie

Oh gosh, YES! I just found your website because my mother, my sister and I all have tremendous problems finding well-fitting bras and since there’s a lot of weight to support, especially with my sister, the bras don’t last too long. My sister and to a lesser extent I as well have to shop for bras internationally and the time put into finding good bras again and again (no large manufacturer brands fit for either of us) and half the time, we run around in bras that barely fit, but are the best we could get under the circumstances. I REALLY hope you’ll offer a bra-making class! I just browsed your other classes and I’d totally go for it. Please consider.

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Jackie

I also would love a bra making class on Craftsy. Please consider this.

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kelly

Class please!!

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amy

where can you get the strap elastic? I have never seen it in any sewing stores, not even the specialty kinds. some sell pretty elastic, but it’s WAY too weak for straps.

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Ellen

Please offer a class on bra making, especially including those of us who are plus sizes :48DDD. I would take it in a heartbeat!

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Marjorie Goll

I, too, have trouble finding a comfortable bra! My skin cannot tolerate polyester or latex, so I would like to make a cotton bra similar to the old models we used to call “the old BINDER”. They didn’t move as easy as ones nowadays but once you got used to them they worked great. I would like to see the class on making one, and the outlets for finding supplies.

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Sara

If the band rides up in the back, you should SHORTEN the band. Riding up means the straps are too tight to compensate for lack of support in the band. And measure around the underbust tightly. I’m a 38J UK but if I measured loosely I’d be something ridiculous like 46DD and that’s in reality a rare size.

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PT Ferrance

I would disagree with 2 points. Take 3 bust measurements… add one above bust to the two shown. Also make the band first because if the band doesn’t fit it will never be comfortable. You can also make the cups fit the band but not necessarily the band fit the cups.

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