Sewing My Ultimate Strapless Bra, Take 1.

I’ve just “finished” this bra and panties an hour ago and am so exited about it, I wanted to share it ASAP! The bra is missing it’s underwire because I had to order the right size so it’s 99% done. But that won’t stop me,I just love it!

Me and sewing lingerie

Sewing lingerie isn’t something that I do often and I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I see myself als an experienced clothing sewer, but a beginner when it comes to lingerie. To give myself a kickstart in lingerie I’ve followed a bra sewing course last fall. I learned what I need to sew a bra and how it basically works. It’s very different from sewing clothes!

Since the course I wan’t that exited to sew more lingerie, it’s fiddly and I just prefer sewing dresses and such. But there was one thing I really wanted to make because I really want to wear it, and that’s a strapless long-line bra.

I bought a vintage strapless long-line bra in a vintage shop in Londen years ago. But it’s really not my cup-size and therefore doesn’t work for me. There are bra’s like this on sale but they are rather expensive because I would have to import one from the USA or order one from a bridal-lingerie company locally and those are not the cheapest stores in general.

So, making one myself seemed like a good option. A friend pointed me to the Esplanade bra from Orange Lingerie a while ago and it always stuck in my head as something I would like to make (and wear!) and now having the skills, I just went for it.

Finding the right materials

My first step was sourcing materials. I found this quite difficult for two reasons:
1: the pattern is in English and material names don’t always translate that well.
2: good bra materials are hard to find around here.

Materials and a “Tompoes” pastry.

For the main cup material the pattern references to “tricot”. In the Netherlands we know “tricot” as being t-shirt like material. Not really bra material. So I went with lycra instead since that is what I was used to from my course.

For sourcing the materials I know a few local webshops that have materials but everybody seems to have different things, calling them different things, not having the colour you want… it’s a puzzle. In the end I ordered the underwire, boning, elastic, lace and padding online. The lycra, mesh and closure were from a local fabric store.

Finding the right size

Up next was figuring out what size to make my bra. The pattern suggests two things: measuring yourself and use their method in picking a size or start with your RTW bra size. There was a big difference in this! My RTW size is a 38D, my measured size is a 42B. But, it does kinda make sense since these are considered “sister sizes”. I started in the middle of these sizes with a muslin cup of the 38C and found it to big on me. Also measuring the band I thought it would be a bit tight on me. Next I made a muslin cup of the 40B and I liked that a lot better. 40 is also the biggest band-size on the pattern so I went with this and figured if the band is to tight I would have plenty of fabric to make a new bigger band.

Sewing the Esplanade bra

Making the bra itself was pretty straight forward. I had never worked with padding before but it was super easy. The cup construction was the same as I did before. Figuring the lace-placement and cutting this was the only tricky thing but I think it went well.

Cutting the lace.

I’m quite pleased with the materials I’ve used. I used the lycra with a lace overlay for the cups with padding underneath. Lycra with tule underlay (so it doesn’t stretch) for the bridge, and single lycra for the sides.

Inside view of the bra.

The only thing I would really like to be different on the next one is the powermesh. The mesh that I used is very stretchy and I don’t feel it pulls the bra tight enough around the back. I also feel the bra gapes a bit on the upper back, maybe because of the mesh not being strong enough or it’s simply a to big on the pattern. I’ll have to see how it goes when wearing the bra and if I need to it’s easy to fix on a next version.

To finish the bra and tie in the lace I used yellow- and orange shades of elastic, making it less “bridal” and more “spring”.

Overall, I can say this bra was highly enjoyable to make! It’s also super quick and can be done in a day or weekend.

To finish it all off, I’ve made matching high waist panties using the leftover materials. I even managed to use the lace remnants as an overlay on the mesh side-panels. The panties are the “Ava high waist panties” form ohhh lulu. I highly recommend this pattern! It’s super easy and quick to sew and even my big but fits in the biggest size đŸ˜‰

And up next? Well, I will order the right under wire to be able to completely finish the bra. Then I will wear it a few times to see what kind of adjustments I want/need for a next version. I want to make a black or dark colored one next.

Do you make your own lingerie? Do you have tips on materials and such?

3 thoughts on “Sewing My Ultimate Strapless Bra, Take 1.

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