My last post was an introduction of sorts to my current project: The Little White Bra, a.k.a. The Bra Before Dyeing (or just “Before”). Now, since this was the first time I’ve used this bra pattern, I’ll show you how I made it, including a few changes I made.
My pattern is Kwik-Sew 3300— I’m being adventurous and trying my first partial-band bra! For those of you who might not know the difference (and I’m not sure I noticed it myself before I started making bras), partial-band just means that, rather than a continuous band running all the way around the bra, including under the cups, the band comes around from the back to attach to the sides of the cups only, with a small bridge piece connecting the cups in the middle, like so:
Because I was already planning to dye this bra after sewing it together, the most important part of planning was to choose dyeable fabrics. Lest this sound terribly obvious, the truth is, if you just go by the scanty instructions on many dyes, you might get the wrong idea about the types of fibers you can dye with them. I have a lot of experience with dyeing yarn, mostly with acid dyes, which are suitable for animal fibers and nylon, so for this project, I’m aiming for as many nylon-based materials as possible. Some, like the back closure and the flower embellishment, have less than 100% nylon, so I anticipated some parts turning out slightly different shades. That’s okay— I’m not really going for a spray-painted look.
Note: I’m not going to show every single step of making this bra in detail here; I’m focusing more on the things I did differently than the pattern. Do let me know if you have questions about this pattern and/or project!
- Upper cups: 1 layer stretch lace + 1 layer non-stretch cup lining
- Lower cups: 1 layer Swiss dot (stretchy mesh fabric) + 1 layer non-stretch cup lining
- Bridge (between cups): 1 layer stretch lace + 1 layer Swiss dot + 1 layer non-stretch cup lining (I used all 3 layers for extra stability here)
- Bands: Power net fabric
- Channeling: Plush-back channeling
- Straps: 5/8″-wide strap elastic (moderately stretchy)
Here’s everything I’m using for my first LWB:
After tracing my pattern pieces, I’m ready to start cutting, beginning with the lace:
You know I love a good mock-up! Actually I only started doing this when I started making bras— it is really helpful for visualizing how things go together, especially when you’re working on something unfamiliar. Here’s my first layout:
The first thing I’m doing is attaching the cup lining to the upper cups. This is different than the pattern, so I’m showing you here what I did:
After stay-stitching the lining pieces to the lower cups and remaining sides of the upper cups, I sewed the upper and lower cups together, pressed open and topstitched these seams, then started working on the bridge. This is different than the pattern too; the pattern specifies stabilizing the upper edges of the cups near the end of construction, but I’ve already stabilized these edges with the cup lining material, so I’m going to sew a seam (right sides together) to join the top of the lace bridge piece to the 2 lining layers (1 cup lining, 1 Swiss dot); after stitching, I turned the piece to the right side:
Tip: Here’s the thing about sewing that seam at the top of the bridge: it means the bridge piece won’t come up as high on the cups when I sew the bridge to the cups. This was only an issue for me later, because when I put in the underwires, they came up above the top of the bridge, creating a small gap.
From this point on, the only other thing I did differently than the pattern was that I used strap elastic, rather than making my own straps from fabric. I also slightly altered the placement of the strap at the back band; instead of having the straps go straight down to the band, I wanted a slight angle, to make the straps less likely to fall off my shoulders (I hate that). Here’s how I did that:
And here’s my custom-angled strap after the first stitching pass to apply the elastic trim:
Remember that gap created by sewing the seam at the top of the bridge? Here’s how I dealt with that (and may I just say, “Ha!”):
Here’s a look at the back of my finished bra, giving you a good view of those angled straps:
Ta-da! Here’s my completed Little White Bra:
Next in this series: I’ll show you how I ombré-dyed my Little White Bra!
UPDATE: Kits to make this very bra are now available!
The pattern is Kwik-Sew 3300, View A.
The flower embellishment, power net, and Swiss dot fabric came from my local fabric store, Mill End.
The heat-sealed back closure, plush-back underwire channeling, strap elastic, and non-stretch cup lining all came from ArteCrafts.
Underwires and rings/sliders are from Sew Sassy. (Sew Sassy also carries Kwik-Sew patterns, and this is where I found my copy of this bra pattern, but checking there today, it appears to no longer be available.)