I have jokingly referred to 2013 as ” the year of the bra”……..I have wanted to learn how to make bra’s for simply ages – probably more than 15-20 years. Now that I have learnt & have so far made 5 bra’s & counting, I am surprized that it took me so long to actually get around to doing it!
I think one of the best compliments I could get after I showed my first few bra’s to my hubby was: “Surely you did not make those? They look like store bought bra’s”. I knew I had succeeded & not made some obviously home-made item. My quilting group ladies were also pretty impressed when I showed them one of the bra’s. They were amazed at how professional it looked + the pricing – apparently some of them pay $100’s for just one bra so they seem to think that what I forked over for the kits & training was not a lot at all.
Is it hard? No, surprisingly not, once you have debunked the mystery of correct measuring and then have made your initial fitting bra. Once the first bra is made, any pattern alterations are then made to ensure that subsequent bra’s fit 100% perfectly. It really helps to have good teachers and/or DVD’s for this process. Once you have this figured out & have your master pattern, you are set unless you gain or lose weight! So if you plan to lose weight in the near future, I would wait till you reach goal weight before you set out making your master pattern. I know (and many others tell me they are the same) that one of the first places we lose weight is on our face, arms & breast area – would you know -when we actually want it gone from other areas first……which Murphy’s law is that one?!
Is it cheaper to make your own bra or buy “off the rack”? Not sure as to the exact answer to this as I have racked up quite a bit of expenditure this year what with lessons, a set of DVD tutorials + (of course) I have bought at least 5 bra kits which include all the supplies you need like elastics, hook tape, even the little bows for the front. The + for me is that I am able to get at least 2 bra’s out of the fabric from each kit seeing as I am nowhere near a 48H bra size!! (They seem to pack the kits for all sizes so I kind of score as I am on the smaller end of the scale). The thing is that you use really quite a small amount of fabric for each bra. Once you have found yardage you like, it should go pretty far. For example, you only need a very small piece of lace for one bra if you want to add a little bit of femininity to the basic bra. So you can lash out & buy really gorgeous lace at a higher price as you will need so little.
Now that I think I have “got it” and know what I need to look for on my rounds & abouts in fabric/notions stores. Bra supplies are notoriously difficult to find so please refer to the 3 websites I list below or you might find yourself getting frustrated in regular sewing stores which seldom carry these supplies. And remember to buy GOOD quality even if it costs more initially as you will be really mad if you make a bra & it falls apart, stretches out of shape or pills/discolours in no time at all due to “rubbish” materials. Just not worth it in my opinion. Think of it this way: I can make exquisite lace bra’s for a fraction of the cost of lingerie boutique French lace ones (and I could not bring myself to pay those high prices anyway!)…..AND your custom made bra will be great quality and super comfortable. In the long term, I think I will definitely be on the side of racking up savings on underwear. I am also amazed at how comfortable the bra’s are as they are custom fit and sewed by/for ME & are not just some generic size that I have squeezed myself into! This sure makes a big difference.
So, thank you to:
- Jan Bones for sharing how to make a sports bra (for my yoga classes)
- Monica O’Rourke Bravo of Bravo Bella Custom bras for her intro seminar; excellent DVD’s and wonderfully easy pattern & instructions.
- Beverly Johnson of Bra Makers Supply for her great sense of humour & incredible expertise.
The lady that made Hamilton the bra-making capital of the world
Kelli Korducki | Wednesday, April 17, 2013
What would ever possess a woman with over 25 years experience designing everything from royal furnishings to belly dance costumes, and sewing everything from slipcovers to swimwear, to focus on “just” bra making? The answer lies in Beverley’s appreciation of good design, a love of precision sewing and a need for supportive undergarments. Since 1995, she has taught bra making to over 5000 women all over North America using her own carefully engineered bra pattern system.
Beverly has been instrumental in producing ready-to wear bras for private label companies and her manufacturing company is one of the few in Canada to cater to the small designer wishing to bring their great ideas to market.
As if that weren’t enough, she also teaches a program for professional bra-makers at her school in Hamilton using The Bra Makers Manual – a complete reference to bra design, draft, fit and construction, which Beverly wrote and published. A frequent contributor to Threads and other sewing magazines, Beverly is in demand. However, she now teaches only at a few select venues (one of which is the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference!). She likes to ease students out of their comfort zone by teaching specialty sewing techniques with enthusiasm and clarity, mixed with humour. Visit Beverly’s web site at www.bramakers.ca.
Monica of Bravo Bella Custom Bra’s has DVD Tutorials, patterns & supplies. I found her 2 DVD’s sets VERY helpful and informative. They are very comprehensive and professionally filmed and produced …..nothing “homemade” about these. They were well worth the money I paid for them: I was impressed and very well informed about fitting & making a bra by the end of the 3 DVD’s. Well done, Monica. SO glad you decided to present your bra making expertise at SewExpo.
ABOUT JAN BONES
Jan Bones – BHEC is an accomplished teacher, author, designer, and pattern maker. She travels across Canada and the United States teaching sewing seminars and hands on workshops. Jan has designed a successful line of sewing patterns called “Lingerie Secrets”.
“Threads” magazine has published nine of Jan’s informative and educational articles and the “What’s New” publication has printed one as well. Excellent reviews of Jan’s work have appeared in “The Creative Machine”, “Vogue Patterns Magazine” and “The Western Producer”. She is a contributing author to a collection of stories entitled “Women Artists”.
Jan designs wonderfully elegant ballroom dancing costumes, costumes for theatre productions and a wide range of outer wear designs for winter sports. Jan has been hired as a consultant in different sectors of the garment industry and has been retained by other areas of manufacturing that required her unique technical construction skills.
Since 1978, Jan has taught pattern design, garment construction, tailoring, draping and fitting in the Clothing and Textiles Department at the University of Manitoba. Jan also teaches the “Apparel Design” Certificate Program, an evening class taught through the Continuing Education Division, also at the University of Manitoba.