Remnant Bra and Undies

One thing that inspired me to sew underwear was the fact that I could put all those leftover fabric scraps to some use.  All those little bits and pieces of cotton, silk, jersey, precious lace – tiny remnants too precious to discard, or too large to throw away guilt-free. In my sewing room all scraps are now scrutinised for their potential as future lingerie components. And this month I actually put that theory into practice – meet my new remnant bra and undies:

pattern scissors cloth set

This remnant was a grey marle viscose/wool/elastane jersey left over from a tank top. I haven’t blogged about the tank top yet, but I am already blogging about what I made from its remnants!

The undies pattern is the Basic Brief from Porcelynne that I printed out one day when I ventured down the internet rabbit warren. It’s quite a different shape to my own block, so I thought I’d try it to compare the fit. The pattern download had no sewing instructions or fabric recommendations, but I guess this info is in the designers book.

A pattern is of limited use without knowing these factors as varying them can considerably change the fit. There are a few things I’d change if I were to sew these again in this type of fabric, but I’m not keen to critique the pattern without knowing the designers intended fabric and construction methods. Just like I wouldn’t like someone to critique my pattern if they were to go and use fabric not specified in the instructions, or to cut and sew it using alternative construction techniques.

pattern scissors cloth bow

That said, I am happy to critique the bra pattern as it is my own! It is developed from a bra block that I drafted recently from Kristina Shin’s book Patternmaking for Underwear Design. My first bra made from this block was in lace and fitted almost perfectly, so I cut another out of the remnants of the above mentioned undies. I had to get a little creative and add a side seam to squeeze all the pieces out of crazy fabric shapes like this one:

pattern scissors cloth cutting

Just got there!

There was a smidgen of turquoise satin elastic remaining from the undies, so inserted it along the top edge of the cup and the newly created side seam:

pattern scissors clothcup

When trying the bra on it was too large in the cups. I should have realised this at the time as the stitching had stretched the fabric out. I expected it to press back to shape but it didn’t, so I unpicked almost everything (whose stupid idea was it to topstitch in 3-step zig-zag ALL the seams…) and resewed it again. It fits better, but is still not perfect along the upper edge due to the pattern alteration and not having enough seam allowance. And there are quite a few joins in the stitching!

pattern scissors cloth cup lining

Definitely not my best quality work, and I am half expecting this bra to start unravelling after a few washes. So I wasn’t too disappointed when I discovered a small hole in the band!

pattern scissors cloth darning

Luckily I also discovered that my new machine has a darning stitch. I gave it a trial, and the results are really good – can you spot the repair in the above shot? It is only just visible in the grey marle and should hold the test of time. Before I darned the hole I placed a small piece of fusing on the reverse, and trimmed the excess away after darning:

pattern scissors cloth patch

For this bra I used a lot of salvaged trims. The underwires, the straps, rings and sliders, and that all important bow, were all from old bras. The underwire channeling, picot elastic and cup lining were from a batch that I recently dyed grey for another project, and the underbust elastic and hook and eye were previous purchases from Elle Joan’s.

pattern scissors cloth hook

Most of these trims were destined for a future grey lace bra, so I might have to rethink that one. Not sure why this remnant bra became more important! I guess there is an innate satisfaction about creating something from nothing, especially in today’s throwaway world.

 

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

16 thoughts on “Remnant Bra and Undies

  1. Congratulations! I made the top I’m wearing from a left over piece of Liberty of London knit – such a good feeling! I’ve made underwear with Beverley on Craftsy and that WAS satisfying I must say but bra making has remained illusive to me so far – seeing your pretty set has got me ponderin’…

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  2. Great set! Love the color combination, and the scrapbusting. Glad I’m not the only hoarder of small scraps!

    So a couple of the reviews for the book you mentioned say that it only helps you draft a bra if you are a size 34B…is this true? I’d be interested in purchasing a book like this, but I haven’t been a 34B since before my children were born. And it’s crazy $$$ for a book that I may not be able to use (and I have no drafting experience.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a less expensive alternative, for beginners, consider Beverly Johnson’s bramaking classes on Craftsy. I found it useful, and it contains tips for fitting issues.

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    2. I got the book out of my library so no longer have it on hand, but yes it was only for size 34B. I believe the second edition covers grading. I’d try your local library first, have a look through it, and make sure you want to make the investment!

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  3. Nice! Now I know what to do with the sacks of pieces I keep thinking will work for something. I’m finally getting the hang of bras, after 2 years of trial and errors and Beverly Johnson. I think I need a class in how to read patternmaking books for bras. Pants I figured out, but bra fitting…. argh. Thank you for your interpreting and tips!

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    1. There is a lot of trial and error, as each new fabric behaves so differently. I’m getting quicker at unpicking! At work we vary the pattern for different fabrics to achieve the same style and fit, and bra making is no different!

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  4. Nice work! The gray and blue is a nice combination. I save my scraps for the same reason, particularly for cotton/modal/rayon based undies. After making my own block, with nothing pulling or migrating to the wrong place, it’s hard to go back to RTW.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful set! Isn’t it wonderful when you can eke out something from nothing? Don’t know that I’m tempted to try my hand at bra making, but the rest of my underwear drawer is now pretty much me-made. How did that happen?

    Liked by 1 person

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