Inserting cups in a full band bra

Oops! I cut the bridge without enough seam allowance!

I cut my bridge pieces before deciding to use wider elastic for the band and didn’t feel like cutting them out again, so I added a seam allowance using soluble stabiliser. I placed it on two layers of stabiliser after sewing the band back to the bridge, then sewed along the bottom edge with triple zigzag.

Then I marked and cut the correct seam allowance.

Inserting the cups

Here you can see the band and cups before I put them together. The stitching on the bridge is visible – this is triple zigzag used to sew the lycra and lining together. I cut the lycra about 3 mm smaller than the pattern piece, then stretch it to fit the lining and sew it down with a triple zigzag. This time I used soluble thread in the bobbin, so the stitching would come out in the wash and I don’t have to worry about it having to be narrow enough not to show. I used spray adhesive to tack the band and band lining pieces together (but will use hand basting next time, as it didn’t last). You can see that I cut the lycra band pieces with too little seam allowance, but the powernet is the right size.

Here is the cup pinned into the curve in the band. I had some problems doing this and had to ask for advice on zelflingeriemaken forum. I think I have it now! The cup seems to be much larger than the curve into which it should go, but if you pin it correctly, you can stitch it without any folds forming.

First, pin the cup to the band at A and B, then pin between A and D, stretching the bridge slightly (this is because of the gathering effect of my zigzag). Then pin between B and C so the pieces lie smoothly on top of each other. Last, I pin between C and D, easing the cup a little between each pin to distribute the fullness evenly across the bottom cup piece.

Here you can see how I have pinned in the ease between C and D.

I used a straight stitch (length 3.0 mm) to stitch the seam, with the cup facing down. With the cup down, the feed dogs help to gather the excess fullness, while the bridge and band stay smooth. I cut my cup seam with a 10 mm seam allowance, which makes it easy to stitch exactly on the line when I set my needle to the far right or left with my normal foot. It also works very well with the channelling I use. My old bra pattern had 5 mm seam allowances, which were very difficult to stitch accurately.

I like stitching directionally: I start at the bridge and stitch towards the back on both cups, changing the needle position. I think since I started doing this I get more symmetrical cups. I usually do a little backstitching at the top.

This is how the cups look on the outside.

This photo had me a bit puzzled, until I remembered that I wanted to show how adding the fullness at the bottom of the cup keeps the allowances from stretching once you turn them to the outside of the cup, which is how they will be topstitched once the channelling goes on. Click here to go to the channelling tutorial.


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