A bra for my mom

I completed a bra for my mom today. She finds it difficult to get bras that fit her small bust, but still have enough coverage at the side to feel comfortable. As a result she has been buying larger sizes, because they have more coverage in the band part, but of course the bras were too large in the cup.

When she visited in May, I took her measurements and she also gave me an old bra (size 40B=90B). I decided to use the Sewy Rebecca pattern because I've made it before. I used size 85B, the size recommended in the Sewy table for my mom's 83 cm band and 99 cm bust measurements.

This is the result:

I made the entire bra from a single layer of lycra (except the bridge, which is lined with non-stretch lining). Once I have the size and fit right, I'll use powernet in the band. My mom prefers cotton bras, so I'll also try using cotton-lycra knits.

I am very pleased with how the bra looks, and how quickly it went together. I didn't have to refer to any instructions while making it up - it's nice to know that it's "all in my head" now! I used narrow picot elastic for the bottom and top of the band, using -10% stretch at the bottom and -20% at the underarm. Will have to see how this fits. I am so used to making my own 80H bras with wide elastic and double fabric all over that this bra felt very easy and quick to make, but feels "too light".

I used the same cappuccino-coloured shiny lycra that I used for my previous Danglez bra, but used the shiny side in. The cup seams are topstitched and trimmed close to the stitching on the inside.

I couldn't resist prettying it up with loopy shoulder straps and little bows at the centre and at the shoulder strap attachments. I sewed them on with my sewing machine's button sew-on stitch programme.

For the bridge, I followed Sigrid's excellent directions on stretching the lycra to be a bit larger than the lining. This does feel and look weird until the cups are in and the elastic on at the bottom, but the result is very smooth (although not visible in my photo!). I trimmed the top of the cups with very narrow, slightly elastic seam binding, sewing it on as I would picot elastic, but doing the topstitching with a medium zigzag.

My last photo shows the difference in the height of the side band between the old bra (front) and the new bra (back). This characteristic of the Sewy Rebecca pattern was another reason why I chose it.

I enjoyed making my first bra for someone else. The fitting part still lies ahead - I will be posting this to my mom on Monday. I suddenly started worrying about the underwire size, about an hour after I had closed up the wire casings with tiny tight zigzag stitches. I can't really remember looking carefully at how the underwires in my mom's old bra fitted, and I didn't have any wires in anything close to her size to try on. I went to the shop and got wires that are smaller than the 90B wires of her old bra, and which fitted into the wire casings. Now I'm worried that they'll be too small... I thought of going back to the shop on Monday and buying a range of wires and sending them with the bra for my mom to "try on" to find the best fit.



  1. liana said

    The bra looks well made. i especially like the wider side panel as i also have to have extra support under my arms. one question though, what size is 85H i have never heard of it.

    Jos said

    I hope it fits Tina, then you can start making your own line "Made by Tina" and start posting ands shipping them :-)

    Tina said

    Thanks Jos!

    Liana, I use European sizes as the patterns I use are Dutch and German. South African sizes are imperial, like UK sizes - 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 and so on. In European sizes these are 32=70, 34=75, 36=80, 38=85, 40=90. (The European band size is the same as the underbust measurement in centimetres.) Cup sizes in shops here in South Africa generally stop at a DD, but in reality they can go up to a J and even higher. My underbsut measurement is 80 cm, while my full bust measures 106 cm, which makes me an 80G or 80H. This would be a 36G in South African sizes.

    Heather M said

    The bra turned out so pretty! I hope it works for your mom!

    Tina said

    Thanks Heather! I am also holding thumbs.... I do expect a few alterations, though. Just a pity that it has to be so long-distance.

    Heather M said

    I know what you mean! I'm also working on a bra for my mom but she lives 2 hours away and my arms don't reach that far...LOL!

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