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Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit

Make the most supportive, comfortable bras you've ever owned. Get step-by-step guidance for sewing bras with a flawless fit.
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Create custom-fit bras with your home sewing machine alongside expert instructor Beverly Johnson. Choose the perfect fabric, pattern and size. Use stretch to your advantage as you cut out your pattern pieces. Then, create the cups, add the straps, sew the side seams and attach the cups to the bra's frame. Learn professional techniques for applying elastic to the bottom bands, top bands and neckline for greater comfort. Build structure with an optional underwire and keep it in place with bar tacks. Finish your bra beautifully with topstitched channeling, adjustable back straps and a hook-and-eye closure. Along the way, learn to personalize patterns for your unique curves: Adjust strap length, fix a gaping or too-snug band, alter the bridge between cups and fit cups perfectly by adjusting their size and shape. Upgrade from ready-to-wear's generic fit — sew flawless bras personalized for you!


Beverly Johnson


After years of sewing her own dance costumes and swimwear, Beverly Johnson began teaching bra making in 1995. She has shared her immense knowledge of techniques for sewing bras, swimwear and intimate apparel ever since. Beverly is the owner of Bra-Makers Supply, which carries specialty patterns and supplies. Her books include "Make and Fit Swimwear" and two volumes of "The Bra-Maker's Manual."

By This Expert


01: Introduction

Meet your "fairy bra mother," Beverly Johnson, and learn about the construction of a classic, full-band bra suitable for all bust sizes. Beverly will show you how to measure yourself to choose the correct size, what to look for in a pattern and the best fabrics to start with.

23 min
Constructing the Bra: Cup & Frame

02: Constructing the Bra: Cup & Frame

Get started with your bra sewing by laying out your pattern pieces and cutting out your fabric according to the direction of greatest stretch. Beverly shares tips for marking the pieces, then shows how to sew the cups, attach the straps, sew the side seams, attach the cups to the frame and add channeling for optional underwires.

45 min
Constructing the Bra: Applying the Elastic

03: Constructing the Bra: Applying the Elastic

Elastic is the key to your bra's effectiveness in providing comfortable support. Beverly walks you through the application of elastic to the bottom and top bands and demonstrates how to add trim to the neckline. You'll also learn how to add bar tacks to the end of the channeling to keep an underwire in place and away from the skin.

34 min
Constructing the Bra: Hardware & Finishing

04: Constructing the Bra: Hardware & Finishing

Finish up your bra with topstitched channeling, back straps with sliders, and a hook-and-eye closure. Beverly discusses underwire options and shows how to insert them. Your new bra is ready to wear or be used as a fitting model so you can adjust your pattern.

35 min
Fitting the Bra, Part One

05: Fitting the Bra, Part One

You can make your bras fit your unique curves smoothly and comfortably with Beverly's simple instructions for tweaking your pattern. You'll learn how to adjust strap length, fix a gaping or too-snug band and alter the bridge between the cups.

32 min
Fitting the Bra, Part Two

06: Fitting the Bra, Part Two

Cup fit issues are the trickiest part of bra making, so once you get your pattern adjusted with Beverly's guidance, you'll have a pattern that fits you just the way you want. Learn about adjusting the strap position or altering the neckline to get a better cup fit, and see how to round the cup crown, shift the apex or fix a too-flat lower cup. You'll be amazed by how even a tiny adjustment will create just the right fit.

28 min
Bra Embellishments

07: Bra Embellishments

With a basic bra in your repertoire, you can start branching out with fun embellishments such as ribbons and lace. Beverly explains how to choose lace and shows you how to make a stunning butterfly bra or add lace to the sides and back of your bra. Feast your eyes on the endless possibilities for embellishment as Beverly shares samples from her collection of beautiful bras. You'll be inspired to get sewing and round out your own collection!

26 min