This is the last post on how to make a lovely lacey bra top and short set. Yesterday I walked you through making a sewing pattern for a custom fit bra top. Here is how to construct your lovely lacey bra top!
Stretch lace fabric
Woven Fabric (I used gray satin)
Bra Back Extender (sold at sewing/craft stores with the notions)
Elastic that matches the width of your bra back extender (mine was 3/4″ | 2cm Elastic)
3/8″ (1 cm) Elastic
Optional: Pre-made bra straps (I’ll show you an alternative)
Flexible Measuring Tape
Step 1) Cut out the bra cups
It is incredibly important to pay attention to the direction the fabric stretches and to orient the pattern accordingly. You do not want the stretch to run vertically (up/down) as it will offer no support and distort.
Cut the fabric. Transfer the sewing mark for gathering to each piece of fabric (note: I used straight pins for my transferred marks).
Step 2) Measure and set elastic to the bra cups
For support, run 2 lines of elastic on either side of the bra cup (not the bottom edge). Measure the paper pattern. Cut lengths of 3/8″ (1cm) wide elastic that are 75% the length of each side of the bra cup.
When placing the elastic for sewing, match the ends of the elastic with the ends of the fabric and stretch the elastic the two points. Pin at even intervals through the fabric and stretched elastic. It can be helpful to place the fabric and elastic on a cork panel and pin into the panel for support. Sew one side in place, then pin and sew the other side.
Step 3) Sewing the elastic in place
I suggest using a 3-step zig-zag stitch for sewing the elastic in place. If your machine does not have a 3-step zig-zag, a standard zig-zag is an OK alternative. You need to be sure you use a stitch that allows the elastic and fabric to stretch (so a straight stitch is a bad idea!). Sew the elastic in place so the left-most point of the zig zag stitch just barely misses the edge of the elastic to the fabric side.
After sewing elastic to both sides:
Step 4) Prepare the bra back extender
Most sewing and craft stores sell bra back extenders with the sewing notions. These are super easy to take apart and sew into a proper bra closure. You can get them with one to four hooks wide and they often have them in black and white. The elastic you use for the bra band should match (or be very close to) the width of your bra back extender for best results.
Use a seam ripper to un-do the stitching that holds the hook to the row of loops.
Sandwich the end of your elastic between the layers of fabric holding the hook. Sew through all the layers of fabric and elastic to secure everything together.
Step 5) Determining bra band length
Place the hook through the end loop of the row of loops.
Wrap the elastic around your body (under any clothing or undergarments you are wearing). When the elastic feels snug but comfortable, pin the open end of the row of loops to the elastic.
Trim the elastic leaving a tail behind the row of loops.
Sew the elastic to the bra back extender.
Step 6) Cover the bra band with fabric
Cut a piece of fabric to cover the bra band. Here is how to figure out the size the rectangle of fabric needs to be.
Measure your underbust. Add 10% to that number.
Example: 34.5″ (88cm) body measurement x 1.10 = 37.95″ (97cm)
This is the length of the rectangle needed to cover the elastic.
For the width:
2 x (the width of the elastic + 1/8″ (0.3cm) ) + 2 x Seam Allowance
Example: My elastic was 3/4″ wide and my desired seam allowance is 3/8″.
3/4″ + 1/8″ = 7/8″ | 2cm + 0.3cm = 2.3cm
7/8″ x 2 = 1 3/4″ | 2.3cm x 2 = 4.6cm
2 x 3/8″ SA + 1 3/4″ = 2.5″ | 2 x 1cm SA + 4.6cm = 6.6cm
Sew the long sides of the fabric rectangle together – right sides together. Use a straight stitch.
Turn the tube of fabric right side out and press. The seam should fall in the middle of what will be the back of the bra band.
Work the elastic through the fabric tube. It helps a lot to hook a safety pin through the end of the elastic band & hooks so you have something solid and secure to move the end through the fabric.
Position the fabric to cover the elastic. Hand stitch the fabric in place.
Step 7) Positioning the bra cups on the bra band
Find the center of the fabric. To do this, you will need to stretch the elastic until the fabric is smooth and mark the half-way point.
Position one of the bra cups matching the Center Front of the bra cup with the center point of the bra band that you just marked. Measure out from the center point of the bra band the amount from the cart in the patterning tutorial (ungathered distance + the gathered distance after gathering). Pin the fabric that will not be gathered so it sits smoothly along the bra band. Gather the remaining portion and evenly distribute the fabric between the center and the marked end-of-gathering point.
Hand stitch the bra cup in place. Begin by sewing the bottom edge in place. Just catch the fabric and elastic of the bra cup and the fabric of the bra band (avoid stitching through the elastic inside the bra band).
Then, attach the bra cup to the bra band at the top edge of the bra band.
Repeat with the other bra cup.
Step 8) Add bra straps
Mark the halfway point between the outside of the bra cup and the hook end of the bra band. Measure the distance between the bra cup and the mark. Mark the same distance on the other side. This keeps the bra straps evenly placed even though the hook/loop closure connection pieces are a different lengths and may be hooked at different points when you wear the bra top.
Attach the end of 3/8″ (1cm) elastic at the pinned marks for both straps. Secure the elastic end with a safety pin.
Remove any straight pins before trying it on! Put the bra on as it will be when finished. Bring the elastic pinned to the bra band over your shoulders. Adjust the elastic until it feels comfortable as a bra strap. Pin with a safety pin to hold the place on the elastic. Do this for both shoulders/bra cups. Do not cut the elastic at this point!
Measure the length of elastic between the bra band and the top of the bra cup for each side. It is likely these are will have different measurements. If your body is rather uneven, you can leave the straps different lengths if it feels more comfortable. If your body is pretty evenly balanced the proper way to handle the uneven measurements is to find the average length and cut both bra straps to that length. If one strap measures 11″ and the other is 13″ you should cut both lengths to 12″.
To make the straps a bit prettier, I wrapped the elastic with some of the same stretch lace the bra cups are made from. Cut fabric long enough for the elastic and 3x the width of the elastic. Wrap the fabric around the straps overlapping the fabric on what will be the back and pin in place.
Sew through all the layers. Use a 3-step zig-zag stitch (or regular zig-zag if you don’t have a 3-step).
Hand sew the straps to the fabric of the bra band.
Hand sew the strap to the top of the bra cups.
Once the straps are attached, your sleep bra is ready to wear.
If you missed the other steps for making a lace and satin sleep set here they are:
1) Making a pattern for custom fit sleep shorts
2) Constructing lace and satin sleep shorts
3) Patterning a simple bra top