Sewn: Hearts Bra & Panties

Well hello there! I have a bit of a surprise for all of us today, some Valentine's themed underthings!

Until I started sewing my own lingerie, my selections were very practical - black, white & beige. Have I made any black, white, or beige bras for myself? Nope. But I am missing them in my life. So before I get stuck in to a batch of neutral bra sewing, I tested out some of my pattern alterations on with this adorable red heart mesh that I came across while out shopping a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't something I was looking for, but half a yard came home with me anyway - I know we've all been there!

First, let me give you a quick recap of how my bra sewing and fitting has progressed. After taking a class and buying all of Beverly Johnson's excellent Craftsy classes about three years ago, I did make a couple of Pin Up Girls Classic bras. I prefer a fair bit of coverage, so with minimal style adjustments, I was happy with the bras that I made. However, I noticed that I didn't reach for them regularly as the band felt too tight. I experimented with quickly sewing on another set of eyes to make the band larger, but that wasn't it. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was the underwire shape that was bothering me. But I took another 8 months to finally try some new wires!

In the mean time, I made not one but three quite beautiful Harriet bras. I really like the cup shape, but the width at the strap attachment was too wide for me, cutting into my underarm and giving me grief. I tried to adjust the shape of the cup at the top, but I couldn't make it work. And the straps themselves bothered me, too. With a softer finish elastic, I'm sure that wouldn't be a problem, but the sturdy stuff I have was cutting into my shoulders. So another set of rarely worn bras linger in my lingerie drawer. And the underwires were still not right.

The bra that I kept reaching for is a very different shape, that I think of as more of a "tear drop". It's this one from Wacoal, but early on I replaced the wires with some from another shop bought bra. Are you sensing a theme? It's always been the wires!

At long last, I ordered some new wires from Bra Makers' Supply - the horizontal wires. This particular bra was made with the 44 wire, in an approximately 34E bra.

Amazingly enough, I had already made the adjustments to the Classic pattern for a horizontal seamed bra, so I whipped up a tester last weekend to check the fit. The straps were too long, but that is the easiest fix of all. I quickly pinched and tacked them shorter, and spent the rest of the day comfortable in my new bra. Unfortunately, it was a tester, so none of the elastics matched, and the straps and hook were not securely attached. When I had to put on a "real" bra to leave the house, though, it felt terrible. Time to sew up a new one!

This red mesh is VERY stretchy. Beverly recommends using a fabric with a slight stretch when lining stretchy fabrics, but I didn't have anything appropriate to hand. I used some bra lining that was kicking around for the lining, and the heart fabric does slightly "float" over the top. For a spur of the moment project that I probably won't reach for very often, it's ok. Lining meant that all of my seams could be neatly enclosed, which I love. I even used the red mesh to cover the beige power mesh of the back band! Hearts all over!

Just look at those beautiful "U" shaped wires!!!

I have a couple of small tweaks and adjustments to make to the pattern for my next bra, but I'm well on my way at long last. Since I had fabric left over, I made a couple of pairs of very difficult to photograph panties, too. They are both based on the Watson bikini, with some fun design elements. One pair has a ruched back, and the other has a sort of "heart" shaped mesh back, courtesy of a little window shopping at Victoria's Secret.

I had to adjust the colour a bit, but you can see the "heart" seam at the top.

And this pair has a ruched back. Very sassy, if I do say so myself.

 And with that, I wish you a happy Valentine's/Galentine's/Palentine's day!


  1. Wow, what a lovely bra! I've never ventured into bra making but I'm never entirely happy with the fit of my RTW ones. I think I possible need a narrow wire scoop and more cup projection...who knows, but often when I go up a cup size for better coverage the wires are too wide. I'm less tolerant of tight bands these days too. Must be an age thing! Well done for being persistent with fit.

    1. I won't lie, it obviously took quite a bit of trial and error, but I wore a me-made bra today, and felt fabulous! They are so fun to make once you get started, I'd recommend giving bra sewing a try.

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