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Stitch Happens Logo with Spool of Thread and Scissors

APRIL 8, 2022


So you want to make a bra....

Well we have great news for you! Stitch Happens is hosting a Bra Making Sew Along from May 1-10

Bra Making - Where do I begin?

Pattern Choices

The first step in making a bra is going to be choosing a pattern. This can get overwhelming very quickly as there are hundreds of patterns out there and they use a lot of terminology that is unique to bra making. You will want to look for a couple things in a pattern for your first underwire bra.

  • Full band - this means the frame of the bra goes both between the cups and underneath them. This creates a more stable bra and is easier to fit/determine any fit adjustments that are needed.
  • 2-3 pieced cup - there are many bra patterns that feature a multi pieced cup. For simplicity in construction and fitting, choose a pattern with a cup that is comprised of 2-3 pieces.
  • Sizing - unfortunately not all bra patterns use the same sizing system. Multiple sizing systems exists across the world, some companies use existing size ranges and others create their own. Be sure to select a pattern that includes your size as many only include a few cup and band sizes.
  • Soft bra - many bras include foam or other types of shaping materials. For our first few bras, stick to a fabric only or 'soft' cup.

We carry 3 paper bra patterns that fit these requirements:

  • Elan #520
  • Elan #645
  • Pin Up Girls Classic Bra

If paper patterns aren't your thing there are a number of PDF bra patterns that fit these requirements. Our favourites are:

  • Desiree Bra from Primrose Dawn Patterns (use code stitchhappens to save 20% until May 10)
  • Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie
  • Chloe Bra from The Bra Makery

There are so many more patterns out there, just look out for those 4 characteristics!


You may be looking at the patterns we just listed and thinking, well what size am I? For most patterns, the best way to measure yourself is using multiple measurements of the breast tissue while naked. We like to use the "A Bra That Fits" calculator as it is simple to use and has good directions.

The Pin Up Girls Patterns from Bra Makers supply use a unique measuring system that is based on your bottom cup depth. This is measured from the apex of the breast to the underwire line while wearing a well fitting bra. This sizing system is somewhat complex to figure out initially but since it doesn't rely on the basic cup sizes, it leads to a much better fit. For more information on this system check out this post on the Bra Makers Supply site.

At the end of the day, read your pattern. It will tell you what sizing system they use if it is unique or if it is based on standard sizing.


Bra making materials have some overlap with apparel fabrics, stretch lace fabrics and powernet are used, but there are many specialty fabrics that are unique to bra making. The most notable part of bra making materials are the findings, sometimes called hardware or bra notions. Findings includes strap elastics, back closures, rings and sliders, channeling, band elastics, neckline trim and underwire.

It is important to select your pattern before choosing your fabric and findings. The bra patterns we mentioned above mostly use the same fabrics: low stretch fabric for the cups (simplex/duoplex/stabilized tricot are some example) and powernet for the bands. Some of these patterns also have optional or mandatory stretch lace trim. Findings can vary a bit from pattern to pattern, the main difference usually being the number of rings/sliders and the neckline trim. Many patterns use a lightweight picot as the neckline trim while others use fold over elastic. Your pattern will tell you what fabrics and findings you need.

Several bra patterns will have the option of using underwire or excluding it. The addition of underwire adds some extra shaping and support but some find it irritating. Read your pattern to determine if underwires are mandatory in construction. If you are using underwires, they are chosen based on you bra size. They come in both regular and long length. If your pattern does not indicate what length of wires to use, go with regular length.

To take the guesswork out of selecting the right materials for your bra, we have created bra kits that include everything you need (minus underwire) to complete your bra. You can also add a paper pattern onto your kit to get all the items at a discounted rate!

Shop Bra Kits

Next Steps

What now?

Now that you've ordered all your materials, sit back and wait for them to arrive. The Sew Along will begin on May 1 and will have daily videos on choosing the correct supplies and pattern, measuring yourself, construction and making alterations to your pattern.

I can't wait to get started!

If you can't wait to learn more about bra making, here are some of our favourite bra making resources:

Bra Making scares me, I don't think I'm ready....

We've got over 70 years of sewing experience between us at Stitch Happens and we were still afraid to tackle our first bras. It is a complex process, but it isn't unachievable for most sewists. If you are completely freaked out to start bra making, we suggest making some structured bralettes first. Many of these patterns use the same techniques as bra making such as top and bottom band elastics, using hardware (rings/sliders, back closures) and some even have separate cup sizes. Start with a structured bralette and then you first bra will be much simpler!

Recommended patterns to start with:

  • Jasmine Bra from Ohhh Lulu Sews - this pattern uses many of the same findings as an underwire bra. It comes in multiple cup sizes to get you used to measuring, it also has a nursing add on if you're currently breastfeeding.
  • Darcey Bra from Evie La Live - again this pattern uses many of the same findings as an underwire bra. It has versions that utilize lace so you can practice those lace mirroring skills you'll need for bra making!
  • Bra & Camisole (#3131) from Jalie - this pattern is somewhere in between a bra and a bralette. It utilizes bra hardware and has a separate pieced cup, but there are no underwires and the cup is made out of a stretch fabric making the sizing much more forgiving. It also has a nursing version included.
  • Barrette Bralette from Madalynne - this pattern is free, it's also a pull on bralette if you're not ready to try a back closure. It uses neckline trim like an underwire bra, so you can practice your elastic edging skills.
We also sell bralette kits that have all the fabrics and findings needed for many different bralette patterns. Our bralette kits come with two different findings kits:

Kit A (use for the Jasmine, Darcey, Jalie Bra and many more) - strap elastic, rings and sliders, picot elastic, fold over elastic, hook and eye closure.

Kit B (use for the Barrette, Queenie and many more) - strap elastic, rings and sliders, picot elastic, wide plush elastic for bands.

Check out our bralette kits!