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Sierra Sew-Along: Day 1

day-1

Welcome to the Sierra sew along! This will be your visual tutorial on how to make the Sierra bra. Similar to Mallori Lane, the construction is basic, so this is a great project for newbie lingerie sewists who want to dip into the world of bra making without having to think about cup sizes, underwires and channeling.

Today, I’ll be covering supplies and tracing and cutting.

Also, please share your bras on Instagram with the hashtag #bramakingwithmadalynne. You can also enter to win $25 to Bra Making Supplies by tagging both of us (@mmadalynne and @bramakingsupplies) with your Sierra. Winner will be chosen at the end of October.

SUPPLIES

3 yards stretch lace with one edge that is scalloped or 2 yards galloon lace that is at least 7” (8” if a size large)
0.5 yards lining fabric
2.5 yards of ¼” or 3/8” picot/plush elastic
0.75 ¼” or 3/8” strap elastic
One 2×3 hook and eye closure
Sewing machine with zigzag stitch
Rotary scissors
Stretch needles size 11, 12, or 14
Universal needle size 16
Duck-billed scissors (optional)
Polyester thread

For this sew along, I’m using stretch galloon lace from Tailor Made Shop, beige powernet from Bra Makers Supply, 3/8” picot/plush elastic from Bra Making Supplies, a 2×3 hook and eye from Tailor Made Shop, rings and sliders from Bra Makers Supply, and stretch velvet strap elastic from Pacific Trimming.

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PRINTING, FINDING YOUR SIZE + CUTTING

Follow the instructions in the PDF download to print your pattern. Even though the directions state it, be sure that your test square measures 3” x 3”. After, use a pair of paper scissors or a rotary cutter to cut off the right edges along the black line. Then, overlap the sheets so that the stars align and tape together.

Next, find and cut out your size using the size chart in the PDF download. If you are between sizes, I suggest sizing DOWN. Since there is negative ease, you shouldn’t have a problem with choosing a smaller size. Plus, this bra has a very easy fit.

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Cutting fine lace and lining can be really difficult. It’s like cutting chiffon – lots of shifting! To make it easier, use a temporary spray adhesive such as Odif’s to spray baste self and lining fabric together prior to cutting. You won’t permanently adhere them – the glue will wear off in a short amount of time and/or during washing. If you spray baste, I suggest cutting and sewing within a day because if not, the glue will wear off and what you did was just a waste of time. For Sierra, spray baste enough for the two fronts to be cut out, but leave a small space to cut the back, which won’t be glued together. You’ll see why later. Note: in the photo, I’m pointing to the unglued section.

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In a woven fabric, grainline indicates the direction that has the least amount of stretch, and in most cases, patterns are aligned with this line. In bra making, patterns are cut according to the direction of greatest stretch (DOGS). So, when you’re looking at a bra pattern, lines with arrows indicate the DOGS, not the grainline. To find the DOGS on your fabric, pull on the lengthwise and crosswise. What has more stretch? On stretch fabrics, there is either a stretch in one direction, called a 2-way stretch, or a stretch in all directions, called a 4-way stretch.

Even though the Sierra pattern has a DOGS line, you can ignore. Regardless of the DOGS, the bottom edge of the pattern should highest point of the scallop. Because of the pattern’s shape, you can only align it one way. If you’re using full width fabric with a scallop edges(s), you will also align the bottom edge of the pattern with highest point of the scallop.

Also, pay attention to where the scallops hits at the front edge of the bra wing. This pattern was designed to be sewn to a 2×3 hook and eye, so be sure that it fits at this point. Just to be sure and to avoid a headache at the last step, which is attaching a hook and eye, I like to place a hook and eye next to it just before cutting.

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Once your pattern is placed correctly, use a rotary cutter to cut out the front pieces. For the bottom, cut a straight line from the front edge of the bra wing to the side seam. I prefer to cut a straight line rather than cutting around the scallops because it’s quicker and easier to sew. We will trim to shape later. Depending on the width of your lace, the strap point may extend past the lace’s top edge. Totally okay. Just cut the lining in the shape of the pattern. Because the strap gets turned back ½” at this point when the ring is sewn, you’ll be fine. You could also turn it slightly more if you have to. I won’t tell!

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Next, cut out the back piece on the non glued portion of the fabric. I suggest cutting on a single layer of fabric, not on the fold, which explains why there is not “cut on the fold” line on the pattern. Why? It produces a more accurate fit. Yes, this bra has an easy silhouette, but it’s good to get in the habit of cutting on a single layer in bra making. To be clear, you will flip the back pattern over at the smaller end and cut both a left and right side; so it’s mirrored as if you were cutting on the fold.

Also when cutting the back, try as best as you can to have the scallops hit at the same point on the front and back at the seam lines. The width of your scallops may not allow it, but try!

Some additional notes for today:
-You don’t need to prewash lingerie fabric (I wrote a post about this here).
-You can hold your patterns down on your fabric with weights or soup cans, but personally, I think they’re small enough to pin in two places in the center of the pattern and trace/cut without any distortion.
-To make sure the scallops match from left to right, I cut out one side, then turn it over and lay on top of the fabric to cut out the other side. Fabric on fabric slips less than paper on fabric. See image below.

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Alright! That’s it for today. I’ll see you on Wednesday when we’ll start sewing. In the meantime, below are photos of what you should have at this point.

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22 Comments

  1. Reply

    nicki

    Where would you suggest we get the rings and sliders without having to purchase a huge amount that’s offered online?

  2. Reply

    Rose

    The instructions seem clear to me (no need to get nervous and clean your floors!). I am impressed with how clearly each step is explained. I am new to bra making so I may have questions when I get started. I’ve ordered my supplies, but they have not arrived yet. I’m using 10 inch lace so I hope that is not too wide. I’m a C cup and hoping that I can wear this bra at home rather than going without a bra. I can’t tolerate wearing a bra for too long and hope that a proper fitting bra will solve this problem. With this sew-along, I hope to get started with bra making and, eventually, make a support bra for regular wear. If the Sierra doesn’t work for me, I am hopeful it will be nice enough to gift to a friend with smaller girls. Thank you for the effort you obviously are putting into this sew-along.

    • Reply

      maddie

      Well thank you Rose! What a sweet comment! Hopefully you will love your Sierra and not gift it to anyone.

  3. Reply

    Corri

    Quick question about cutting the back piece. . . do we flip it over at the smaller end and cut (so its a longer mirrored piece like cutting on fold)? It looks like maybe and makes sense in my head but I just want to make sure. Thank you 🙂

    • Reply

      maddie

      Yes! You’re exactly right! You dont cut on the fold, but you flip the pattern over at the smaller end.

  4. Reply

    beautyfull handmade

    Hi, Maddie
    I was dying to know about back piece since i finished cutting pieces last night(i posted on instagram as well). but now it’s clear. no fold, mirrored piece!! i am going to cut another back piece right now.
    Thanks Corri, Thanks Maddie!!!

    • Reply

      maddie

      You’re SO welcome! Excited to see your version!

  5. Reply

    Keck

    I was warned away from spray baste as being toxic unless done in an extremely well-ventilated area (preferably outside), but the Odif product info says nontoxic and odorless. Is this particular brand different? I have never used spray-baste before, but my local fabric store was adamant about how dangerous it is. For me it means a 15 mile drive to the nearest available supplier so I want to make sure I really want it 🙂
    thanks!

  6. Reply

    karen

    Is there a brand/model of duck billed scissors you particularly love?

    • Reply

      maddie

      Gingher. They’re more expensive, but worth it.

  7. Reply

    Kaylee Bazley

    Hi Maddie! Super excited about starting my Sierra, (first bra!!) and wanted to thank you for the pattern! It’s made me (finally) put all my excuses aside! The pattern just said “lining fabric” so I ordered some stretch mesh for the lining and it seems like it might not be sturdy enough.I’m about a 34 B, & I’m wondering if I should have gotten powernet?? Thanks Again!!

  8. Reply

    Hannah

    I have a somewhat strange question. I have never done any bra making before so I don’t know if this is crazy or not but I have some lace that’s not stretchy at all and I would like to try out a Sierra before purchasing fabric, do you think it is worth trying it with the not stretchy lace or is it just totally different and a waste of my time?

    • Reply

      maddie

      Not a crazy question at all! I don’t advise using a non stretch lace and I don’t believe it will work (I have never tried). I suggest biting the bullet and purchasing fabric. Rather purchase a few yards than waste a few yards.

      • Reply

        Hannah

        Alrighty, thank you so much!

  9. Reply

    Amy

    Hi Maddie I was in Phillies for the last bra making wish can you send me this pattern? I’m hooked

  10. Reply

    iris

    OK so I’m completely lost, I’m trying to find the PDF but I can’t, could some one tell me were it is

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