February 17, 2013

Why would I make my own bra?

Yes, you can make your own bra! You may ask, why would anyone want to make their own bra? Everyone has their own reasons but here are a few:

You can get a bra to fit. That is the #1 reason we get students in our classes. Studies show that 7 out of 10 women are not happy with the fit of their current bra. Some studies put that number higher.  Making your own bra is the ideal solution for women who have fitting issues that ready-to-wear can't or won't address.

You can use colours you like. Do you love a turquoise and brown combination? Is moss green still your favourite? Bra manufacturers will only make the basic colours (white, black and beige) and IF they add colours (most won't) they will be colours that will sell (which may not be the colours that suit you). The colours that you like most likely won't be available in the style of bra that fits you.

You can use fabrics you like. If you have a latex allergy, good luck finding a bra to buy. Most manufacturers don't even realize how widespread this allergy is. If you want an organic cotton bra, or a bra made of pink and purple stripes, if you can find the fabric, the game is on.

You can change the style and shape. Once you get the fit of the cups just the way you like it, those cups can be changed to any other style you might fancy. Now you can look on the Internet for unusual style lines and know that you can change your own bra into that look. If you like the pointed retro look, you can have it!

You can combine style elements you like.  A long time ago, I looked to buy a front button, princess line dress. I could not find one anywhere. They were “out of fashion”. I was able to make one without any trouble. It is the same with bra-making. If you want a lace power bar and padded straps in a vertical seam bra, go for it!

It's not a huge time investment. Make it tonight and wear it tomorrow. A bra can be sewn in less than 3 hours, and once you really get rolling, you can set up your own little "assembly line" of sorts, sewing up three bras in not much more time than it takes to make one. I can sew a bra start to finish in less than two hours, but I can make three bras in 2 hours and 15 minutes. My secret - I do all the same steps on each bra at the same time. Sew all the left cups, then all the right cups, all the bottom elastics etc. As long as you are using the same colour thread on all the bras, it's a breeze!

You can save money. The average cost to make a bra is between $10 and $20, and that price depends on your size, and what materials you put into it. If you don’t use underwires, for example, you can knock over $2 off the price. Compare that to the price of the bras in the stores. Most Euro-made bras (which have the best fit) are well over $100 to buy and if you take the wires out of those, the store won’t give you a discount!

You can improve your sewing skills.  Bra-making is precision sewing – there’s no question about that. Each bra you sew will develop your precision sewing skills a little more. We have seen women in our professional classes, whose work rivals the best ready-to-wear. They don’t even realize how much their work has improved until they look at the first bra they made. They always have a good laugh about that one! How many bras did they sew to get to this level of expertise?  Only 6 or 8 bras – really, you will get very good at this!

You can add special needs features.  Do you have a sister, mother, daughter or a friend who needs a mastectomy bra? Maybe you know someone for whom a pretty nursing bra would be a very special gift?

It’s impressive.  If you make your own bra, it will impress most of your friends and definitely your sister-in-law! They will be looking at the bra, and saying “you made this?” For sewing the world’s most intricate garment, you have bragging rights when you can sew a bra.

Gift giving just got a whole lot easier. Who wouldn’t want a hand-crafted bra from a friend like you?  A gift-giving occasion is always coming up, and the women on your gift list would appreciate a bra or bra and panty set, no question!

Sewing is relaxing. A day without sewing is like a day without smiling. Whether you sew in the evenings to unwind after a day at the grindstone, or you catch a few minutes in the morning before work, sewing can be a vehicle to a better mental state for you. Studies have shown that knitting reduces stress, but I say those studies didn’t look in on a bra class in full swing!

The bra is the foundation to other intimate apparel. Once you can sew a bra, you can apply those same skills to swimwear, bodyshapers, corsets, panties and bustiers. Handling knits and applying elastics are skills that carry over to many other garments.

You can turn bra-making into a business.  Sewing at home has always been a great way to earn income while the children are young, or even to supplement pension earnings. Being able to make a bra for someone else, adds to your appeal as a business.


  1. Hi, thanks for your explanations, I read earlier, made a few bras, re-read and always learn something new, your texts are very useful for me, thanks

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I enjoy turning people on to bra-making!

  2. What level of sewing skills are necessary to bra making?. I haven't sewn since home ec in junior high. Any suggestions on where to start with sewing to be able to start making bras?

    1. As long as you can sew two seams together, you can sew a bra. Your first bra may not be perfectly sewn but if you are careful about the seam allowances, it will be a success. If you read the blog post, from April 24, 2016 (yesterday) there is everything you need to know in one post. You should also consider taking the Craftsy class Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit