So now that I’m as free as a metaphorical bird, I’m finally able to deliver on a long-promised post of mine: a tutorial on the method I use to line my bra cups! The main reason why it’s been a long time coming is not that I’ve been too busy, but actually that it’s been quite a while since I’ve sewn a bra that didn’t have foam cups. I sewed up another Marlborough last week, however, so I’m now pleased to present the tutorial in full. I apologise for the poor choice of fabric; the black and gold lace, while stunning, does not make it exactly easy to see what I’m doing. I’ve done my best with the photos however, and I hope my explanations are sufficiently clear (if not, please let me know!).
Now, this method will work for any bra pattern with: two or more cup pieces; a fashion fabric and a lining. That being said, I think this method works best for patterns with 2-3 pieces.
Here you can see my cup pieces laid out with their corresponding linings. The first step is to finish the top of the upper cup. I do this on the Marlborough with elastic; if you’re not using lace with a scalloped edge, you can do this as usual by sewing to the right side of the cup, through both layers, then turning under and sewing the second pass as usual. With a scalloped edge, I sew it directly to the underside with a zigzag matching the width of the elastic, making sure I catch the edge of the lining securely underneath.
Upper cup finished! Now the next step: attach the lower cup pieces, and enclosing the seam in the process. we’re going to do this by “sandwiching” the layers – sewing the seam with the outer lower cup on top, right side down; the upper cup, right side up, in the middle; and the lower cup lining on the bottom.
Make sure you have everything the right way and oriented correctly! In the Marlborough especially (I know from experience) it’s easy to flip the lower cup accidentally. Now sew that seam.
Here are the two cup pieces joined, and the lower cup flipped over. Seam enclosed! Now we can trim back the seam (but not too much!), and top stitch (making sure you’re pulling the layers taut, so as not to get any bulging of the seam).
Stunning! Now we repeat the process with the last cup piece, the power bar. Sandwich the rest of the cup between the two power bar pieces, sew the seam, trim, flip and topstitch!
There we have it, our lovely finished cup with no exposed seams 🙂 I like this method as you get the same stability as you would as if you underlined each cup piece, but the same tidy and less irritating finish that you’d get with constructing the cup and lining separately – which also carries with it the risk of the outer cup “bagging out” over the lining, especially if it’s a stretch fabric or lace. It’s possible to use this method on other parts of the bra, too, such as the seam between cradle pieces and bridge, or cradle and back band. In my eyes, there’s nothing more beautiful than a bra with no exposed seams 😉
I’ve only used this method on the Marlborough so far, but it could very easily also be applied to Orange Lingerie‘s Boylston, AFI‘s Maya bra, or even the Watson if you’re lining the cups (which I have done when using more stretchy or delicate fabrics) – and pretty much any other pieced bra cup you might try your hand at, I imagine.
And of course, because I can’t resist showing off such a pretty bra, here’s the finished product. I made it from a Merckwaerdigh kit I bought ages ago – and how I wish it were for me! It is, however, a bra for my mother (lucky if I do say so myself!), so I certainly hope she appreciates it properly! Or I may just have to steal it back…
Until next time,
Miss Maddy xx