July 27, 2022

How to sew a solid Willowdale Bra without lace

The Willowdale Bra pattern is designed for a stretch lace upper cup (or all over lace), but what if you want to forgo lace entirely? Today, we’re showing you how to make a solid Willowdale without lace.

The Cashmerette Willowdale Bra is a full frame underwire bra sewing pattern for large busts in sizes 28C-54J with a 4-piece cup design for vital support and lift in a beautifully rounded shape—the perfect bra if you have big boobs.

How to sew a no-lace Willowdale Bra

Lace can be a beautiful addition to handmade lingerie, but what if you’re not able to find stretch lace that is suitable for the Willowdale, or you prefer the look and feel of a solid bra? Thankfully, making the Willowdale without lace is very straightforward. Here’s how:

Cut all of your pieces out according to the instructions for View A (the partial lace view) with the exception of the upper cup. Instead of cutting your upper cup out of lace, you can cut it out of your main fabric by placing the top edge (marked “place on decorative edge”) on the fold. Make sure that the degree of greatest stretch runs parallel to the fold so that you get the greatest stretch along the top edge of the piece.

The Willowdale generally fits best when made with a fabric with a bit of stretch (up to 20%). But if the fabric you’re using has no stretch along the grain or the crossgrain, you can place the fold on the bias.

Your upper cup piece will then look like this:

Fold the piece in half with wrong sides together and baste around the raw edges.

Now you can proceed with sewing your Willowdale using the instructions for View A, treating the upper cup as a single layer of fabric. All of the raw edges of the upper cup will be enclosed in the process of sewing and don’t need to be finished separately.

And that’s all there is to it!

We recommend sewing up a test Willowdale using this technique before cutting into your final fabric, even if you’ve already found your ideal Willowdale size. Different fabric can really impact the fit of a bra, and the stretch lace upper cup will stretch and mold to your breasts’ unique shape. So changing up the fabric and/or swapping the stretch lace with solid fabric can change how your bra fits, and it’s best to sew up a test version (ideally with the same fabric you’re using for your final bra) before proceeding to the final.

You can learn more about sewing a test bra in this tutorial, and learn all about fitting in our Bra Fitting Guide.

Here is Jen, our pattern development lead, modeling the solid Willowdale Bra that she made using poly lycra with 20-25% stretch along the grain and 30-40% stretch across the grain. Jen lined the lower cup pieces and front band in a non stretch tricot to stabilize the stretchy outer fabric, then took her Willowdale up a notch by overlaying her main fabric onto her powermesh back band pieces. (Cut the back band piece out of both fabrics, then baste around the edges and sew as one layer.)

For this design detail, your main fabric needs to have a good bit of stretch, since the band band relies on stretch to fit properly.

Jen also increased the width of her bra straps to 1″ (2.5 cm). We have a tutorial for that here.

We’d love to see the beautiful Willowdales you create! Be sure to tag your makes with #Cashmerette and #WillowdaleBra so that we can applaud you and your awesome handmade lingerie.

4 thoughts on “How to sew a solid Willowdale Bra without lace

  1. Seamsmith says:

    This is exactly what I need! I don’t like lace on my bra, and I want the band in the same fabric. I’ve been a little hesitant to start because I wanted to make these changes and didn’t feel confident enough to do it. Thank you!!!!

  2. Chris F says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever been brave enough to try making my own bra (trying to buy one is stressful enough!), but if I did I’d want cotton. Is there a fabric for me?

    1. Ayelet says:

      Hi Chris, you may be able to find a woven cotton with a bit of stretch. You can use a fabric with no stretch, but you will likely need to work a bit more to get the fit just right.

      -Ayelet at Cashmerette

  3. Chris F says:

    I forgot to say how impressed I am with the bra you show here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of a full busted woman whose bra pressed against her sternum the way it’s supposed to.

Let me know what you think!