What do you need to make a Willowdale Bra? Bra making requires a number of different fabrics and notions, so here’s the complete list.
The Willowdale Bra is a full frame underwire bra sewing pattern in sizes 28C-54J with a 4-piece cup design for vital support and lift in a beautifully rounded shape—the perfect bra for a large bust.
Sourcing fabrics and notions for bra making can be a bit more complicated than simply heading to your local fabric shop. But we’ve made it beyond easy to get supplies for your first Willowdale: we’ve partnered up with specialist bra supply stores around the world to bring you dozens of gorgeous kits. These kits are designed specifically for the Willowdale Bra (pattern not included in kits) and sold and shipped by the stores from their websites.
The first time you make a bra, all the bits and bobs can be overwhelming and confusing! In this video, Jenny shows you all of the different materials you’ll need:
What supplies do I need to make a Willowdale Bra?
Main & lining fabric
The Willowdale Bra can be made using the same fabric for the main and lining, or it can be lined using a lighter weight lining fabric with similar stretch properties. We recommend lightweight fabric with low stretch (Maximum 20% in one direction only, also known as 2 way stretch), such as low stretch 40 denier nylon tricot or a low stretch poly/lycra fabric. This results in good support with some flexibility and is easier to fit.
Alternatively, it is possible to use non-stretch lightweight fabric such as duoplex. The bra will have a firmer/more supportive fit, but it may require more finessing to get a great fit.
Back band fabric
The back band of the Willowdale is made a mid-weight stretch fabric with up to 50% stretch, such as nylon/spandex power mesh.
View A has a stretch lace upper cup, while View B has an all-over lace design. For this, you’ll need stretch lace with at least 20% stretch that has decorative edging and is at least 6” (15cm) wide for View A and at least 8” (20cm) wide for View B.
Use plush back elastic with an optional picot edge. For band sizes 28 – 44 and cup sizes C – E, use ½” (12mm) wide elastic, and for all other sizes/cup sizes, use ¾” (19mm) wide elastic.
Use 3/8” or ½” (1 – 1.2 cm) wide plush back elastic with an optional a picot edge.
Strap elastic generally has a shiny side and a matte, slightly plush side, and generally doesn’t have a picot edge. You’ll want to look for strap elastic with good recovery because your straps are doing a lot of heavy lifting for you!
For wire sizes 26 – 38, you’ll need 1 3/8 yd (1.25 m) of ½” (12 mm) wide strap elastic.
For all other wire sizes: you’ll need 1 3/8 yd (1.25 m) of ¾” (19 mm) wide strap elastic.
Underwire channeling comes in a standard width and has a plush side. Here’s how much you’ll need:
Hook & eye closure
For band sizes 28 – 44, you’ll need a 3-row hook & eye set (2.25”/5.7 cm wide).
For band sizes 46 – 54, you’ll need a 4-row hook & eye set (3”/7.6 cm wide).
2 sets of rings & sliders
For wire sizes 26 – 38, you’ll need two ½” (12 mm) wide sliders and two ½” (12 mm) wide rings.
For all other wire sizes, you’ll need two ¾” (19 mm) wide sliders and two ¾” (19 mm) wide rings.
1 pair of underwires
This pattern has been designed for use with a rounded, regular underwire such as the regular heavy duty underwire from Porcelynne.
To determine your wire size, you’ll need to figure out your bra size first.
Having a hard time finding wires at the top and bottom of the range? Here are some options:
Lingerie bow (optional)
Classic bras are finished with a lingerie bow in the center front, attached with a hand sewing needle. You can skip this bit if you’d like, but it adds a lovely finish to a project that you inevitably spent quite a bit of time on!
As lengthy as the list of bra making supplies is, you’d likely expect to need a lot of tools as well. So you might be surprised to hear that you really don’t need much! A sewing machine with a universal needle just about does it. And you don’t need a fancy machine either—as long as your machine can sew a straight and zigzag stitch, you’re likely good to go!
You may find it useful have a walking foot or spray fabric adhesive for basting the lace onto the main fabric (view B), but this step can also be done by hand (and won’t take long).
It would also help to have a tailor’s ham or rolled-up towel and a press cloth for pressing your seams.
So that’s everything you need to make your Willowdale Bra! If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below.