Let’s make a bra: toile/muslin

Before using proper fabric, it can be helpful to sew a toile to get familiar with the pattern and do a first round of fit adjustments. You might want to make a toile with cups and band, or you might prefer to start with a fitting band and then work on cups separately. For a basic toile without elastics:

  1. Cut out pattern pieces from scrap fabric (stable for the cups and cradle, stretchy for the back band) – leaving a bigger seam allowance for adjustments.
  2. Baste the cup pieces together
    • Lower pieces, matching notches
    • Upper to lower pieces, matching notch to seam line
  3. Baste the band and cradle together.
  4. Baste the cups to the band, matching notches to seam lines.
  5. Baste the cup seam allowance towards the cradle (to create a kind of channel), and insert wires
  6. Baste straps and a hook and eye closure (you can reuse these later).

Try on the bra in front of a mirror and evaluate the fit of the band, the cradle, the cups…

I found these Cloth Habit articles about band adjustments and cup adjustments very helpful. This Liz Sews video about how she fit a pattern to herself is where I realised that bra patterns can be graded just like any other sewing pattern!

Examples of major adjustments:

Bra cup pattern pieces graded between a larger size along the wireline, and a smaller size above the apex.

Examples of minor adjustments:

My final toile with elastics, a dart in the bridge and upper cup, and my graded cup pieces.

  1. Let’s make a bra: introduction
  2. Let’s make a bra: supplies
  3. Let’s make a bra: toile/muslin
  4. Let’s make a bra: construction
  5. Let’s make a bra: conclusion