The Cloth Habit Harriet Bra

One of the things I wanted to challenge myself with this year was bra sewing (and why I added it to my #2018makenine). I think it's just in my nature to try the most complicated-looking makes - you might remember, I began my (return to) sewing journey last year with a shirt as my first make!

It's actually quite hard to find all the stuff for sewing bras in one place, so that was my first challenge. I found a style/pattern that I really liked the look of, watched You Tube tutorials, read Katie Makes a Dress's blog posts on bra making for inspiration and then set out to find the materials. I settled on the Cloth Habit Harriet bra which I bought as a pdf.

Lots of pattern pieces!

In the end, after trying to source everything for my first Harriet (and not really knowing what some of these things were! haha), I bought a bra kit from Merckwaerdigh's Etsy shop and then just purchased underwires separately. The kit contained everything I needed fabric-wise and the straps and fastenings. Postage was fast to the UK and would recommend for anyone new to bra-making.

Wire casing added (front view)

I used a shiny polka-dot lycra from the kit for my first Harriet and added a lining (so treated it like it was the all-lace, lined version from the pattern) for extra support. I had to experiment with the settings on my old Toyota, as I wasn't sure what I needed tension-wise, but settled with 3.5 and used a sharp rather than a ball-point needle (as the fabric didn't like it!) There are a lot of pieces to a bra and a lot to learn but the instructions are clear and it seems to make sense, once you get going on the make.

Adding the wire casing (back view)

I worked from the measurements on the pattern and figured out my size. From what I read (thanks again, Katie Makes a Dress!), I think that getting the wire size correct is key. The fit isn't bad, I had to adjust one of the cups. As I'm still learning to sew on a smaller scale with stretch, I could be stretching the fabric out a little too.


After my first version, I wanted to make more. There's something about bra-sewing, and its smaller footprint on the kitchen table, that I really like. So, I decided to use up scraps of fun-print jersey - like this Cotton and Steel Octopus print from Sew Me Sunshine, which is, unfortunately sold out (The Fabric Fox have some of the pink version left) - to make the next bras. So, I went in search of more bra supplies. I returned to Merckwaerdigh's shop for straps and fastenings, which I bought in bulk. Then I went to another Etsy seller for underwire casing and used Fit 2 Sew for other bits (power mesh, findings and bra lining fabric).  I also discovered the setting for fine fabrics when browsing the stitch list in my old machine manual and I think this helped a lot with sewing the second version. This version is definitely an improvement on the first. There's still room for improvement but I think that this will come with practice. For future makes, I might just shorten the band when using jersey as it has more stretch.

Version 2

I'm definitely not done with bra sewing. There's something really mindful about the careful sewing of small pieces that I really like. I'm still surprised when it turns into a wearable bra at the end too! It's also great for using up scraps, especially when you have a fabric that you love like this one!

Has anyone else tried sewing bras? Any tips are more than welcome!


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