You Can Learn to Sew Full Band Models Also in Our Online Course
Sewing Instructions For the Full Band Bras
The fabrics can be used very efficiently, because you don’t have to worry about the grainlines or stretch directions at all.
However, it is good to cut mirror images of the foam pieces symmetrically. Otherwise you can lay patterns in any direction.
Prepare the Foam Cup Lining
Hold the foam lining pieces together so the cut edges are touching, but do not overlap each other. Sew the pieces together using a zigzag stitching, making sure the zigzag stitch is wide enough to catch both pieces and the edges of the foam pieces are centered within the zigzag stitch. Feed the pieces evenly and use the alignment markings as a placement guide. Backstitch at the start and end of the seam.
Make the Cup Cover
Note: If the cup has three or more pieces, perform the next step completely for each seam before proceeding to the next seam.
Sew the cup cover pieces together using a 3mm straight stitch.
Gently press open the cup fabric seam allowances with your fingers. Topstitch the opened seam in place using a narrow zigzag stitch. Make sure the zigzag stitches are centered over the seamline.
Trim the seam allowances close to the stitching.
Combine the Cup Lining and Cover
Place the cup cover on top of the lining. Starting from the middle of the cup, pin the cover to the foam lining. Stretch the cup cover gently in the direction of the seamline(s) and pin the cover to the foam lining at the start and end of each seam.
When the seamline is smoothly in place you can continue positioning the cover by gently stretching the fabric evenly in all directions, making sure not to pull or collapse the foam lining in the process. Continue pinning the cup cover along the outer edges to the foam lining. (Any extra cup fabric will be trimmed away in the next step.) Repeat for the other cup, making sure the fabric is evenly placed on both cups.
The stretch of the fabric and the direction of the thread will determine how much the fabric falls over the edge of the lining. There will be more fabric in some sections and less in others.
Zigzag along the edge of the foam lining using a 4,5mm/2,5mm stich. (Note: while a straight stitch is shown in the photo above a zigzag stitch will give a flatter edge and nicer result.) This securely attaches the cup cover to the foam lining and flattens the foam edges for easier handling. Carefully trim away any excess cup fabric along the outer edge.
Optional: Attach Support Tape to the Inside of the Cup
Optionally, you can add a support tape to the cup to give extra lift and reinforce the area where the strap attaches to the cup. A satin ribbon no wider than 1.5cm (1/2″) works well.
The support tape should be placed vertically inside the lining so the upper edge is directly under the strap. The tape should be exactly the height of the cup no tighter, no looser.
Sew the support tape to the upper and lower edge of the foam lining using a straight stitch.
Line the Bridge
Cut the stabilizer (a light, non-stretch piece of fabric) as in the picture using the band pattern. Set the stabilizer under the bridge. Attach this fabric to the bridge by stitching a few millimetres (1/16″) away from the edge. Pin the lower edge of the stabilizer in place until it will be fastened over next steps.
Attach the Lower Band Elastic
Position the elastic along the lower edge of the band so the right side of the fabric and plush side of the elastic are facing upward. Attach the elastic by zigzagging 1-2mm away from the inner edge. Later when the elastic is turned to the inside of the bra and topstitched in place a beautiful, carefully finished bottom edge will be formed. You do not need to stretch the elastic when sewing.
Attach the Cups to the Band
Note: the curve of the band is slightly shorter than the curve of the cup. When sewing the cup to the band the band fabric is stretched slightly from the lowest part of the cup to the armhole. This allows for a better fit against the body.
Pin both cups to the cradle (curves) of the band. (The cradle of the band will be slightly shorter than the outer edge of the cup.) Compare the seams of the cup at the center front and lower edge of the bridge lining to make sure the cups are placed symmetrically. Sew the cups to the band, stretching the band only from the bottom of the cup to the armhole so the length of the band matches the length of the cup.
This method is slightly more complicated, but faster, since the cups are usually placed symmetrically without a further need for adjustment.
The right cup (left breast): Sew the cup to the band from the the center front to the armhole. (Pinning is not necessary.) Remember to stretch the band only from the bottom of the cup to the armhole.
The left cup (right breast): With the band facing wrong side up, sew the band to the cup beginning from the center front to about the lower edge of the bridge lining. Turn the bra band right side up and sew the rest of the cup to the band from the armhole to the point where the previous seam ended.
Attach the Underwire Casing
Turn the bra over so the foam lining is facing upward. Place the inner edge of the underwire casing on top of the seam that combines the cup and the band. The stitching on the casing should align with the stitching of the seam. Sew the casing in place with a straight stitch using the stitching on the casing as a sewing guide.
Turn and Zigzag the Lower Band Elastic
Fold the lower band elastic to the inside of the band. Topstitch the elastic in place by zigzagging along the open edge of the elastic.
Topstitch the underwire casing
For a double topstitched look
From the right side of the bra topstitch about 1mm away from the seam that combines the cup and the band. Flip the bra over to the wrong side. Make sure the topstitching is in line with the stitching on the underwire casing.
Turn the bra to the right side. Topstitch again about 6mm (1/4″) away from the previous stitching. Flip the bra over to the wrong side again to make sure the stitches are in line with the stitching on the underwire casing. The underwire casing will overlap the lower band elastic at the lowest point of the cup.
Single Topstitched look
Working from the right side of the bra, topstitch the underwire casing in place about 7mm (5/16″) away from the seam that combines the cup and the band. Flip the bra over to the wrong side to make sure the stitches are in line with the stitching on the underwire casing. The underwire casing will overlap the lower band elastic at the lowest part of the cup.
Attach the Upper Edge Elastic: Regular and Push-up Styles
Attach the fold over elastic to the upper edge of the bra, from strap attachment point to strap attachment point, using a 5.5mm width and 2.5mm length zigzag stitch. Feed the elastic evenly â€“ do not stretch or push the elastic as you sew it. Bartack the underwire casing at the center front using a small, narrow zigzag stitch.
Insert the underwires into the casing, making sure the colored tip of the underwire is pointing toward the center front.
Stitch the foldover elastic to the upper edge of the band. You can stretch the elastic slightly when sewing it to the upper edge of the band, but stop stretching it when you come to the side of the cup.
Reinforce the end of the underwire casing at the armhole using a small, narrow zigzag stitch.
Attach the Upper Edge Elastic: Balconette Styles
For a balconette style bra you can finish the entire upper edge of the bra in one step.
Insert the underwires, making sure the right tip of the underwire points toward the center front.
Using a 5.5mm width and 2.5mm length zigzag stitch, sew the fold over elastic to the upper edge. You can stretch the elastic slightly at the upper edge of the band, but do not stretch the elastic when attaching it to the cups.
Bartack the underwire casing at the center front and side of the cup using a small, narrow zigzag stitch. If you would prefer the bartack to be hidden, close the channelling before you attach the fold over elastic to the upper edge of the bra.
For Designs with Side Boning: Before attaching the fold over elastic, sew a casing to the sides of the bra band under the armhole. (Note: If your boning includes a ready-made casing then use it for this step. The casing can also be made from bias tape.)
To increase durability, sew the edges of the casing using a zigzag stitch. Since the boning casing will shrink in length when the bra is worn, make sure the bones are about 1cm (3/8″) shorter than the tunnel.
Use a file to round off the ends of the bones so they don’t tear through the casing. Insert the bones into the casing and bartack the casing closed using a small, narrow zigzag stitch.
Finish the Center Back Curve
Cut two pieces of strap elastic. Each piece of elastic should be about 10cm (4″) long. Place the elastic on the bra back so the outer edge of the elastic is even with the cut edge of the center back curve. Using a narrow zigzag, stitch in place along the outer edge of the elastic, then stitch again at the inner edge. You should have about 3cm (1.25″) of extra elastic at the upper edge of the wing.
Thread the elastic through a ring. Fold the elastic over the ring and stitch the end in place using a straight stitch or a very narrow zigzag stitch. Trim any excess elastic close to the stitching.
Option one: Elastic Straps
Cut two more pieces of strap elastic, each about 50cm (20″) long. Loop one end of the elastic around the bar of a slide adjuster and sew to the strap using a narrow zigzag stitch (1).
Position the bra and elastic strap so the right side of the bra and wrong/plush side of the elastic are facing upward. Now thread the free end of the elastic strap though the ring sewn to the back wing (2), then back up through the slide adjuster (3).
Attach the free end of the elastic strap to the edge of the cup using a straight or narrow zigzag stitch.
Fabric straps, pattern #DL03 and #4011
Cut a 8cm x 25cm piece of foam lining and the cover fabric.
Pin the cover fabric on the foam lining streching it slightly. Pin the pattern on top of the fabrics and sew along the outer edge of the pattern using straight stitch.
Cut the strap out just outside the straight stitch.
Finish the outer edge of the strap with the fold over elastic.
Cut two 30 cm pieces of the bra strap elastic. Attach a ring to the fabric part of the strap and a slide to the elastic.
Thread the other end of the strap elastic through the ring attached to fabric strap and then back through the slide adjuster.
Finish the back curve of the band with the free end of the elastic. Attach the strap to the cup as well.
Attach the Back Closure
Enclose the left side of the center back wing within the eye closure, and zigzag in place. To prevent fraying finish the edges of the closure using a zigzag stitch.
Open the hook closure. Position it so the fold of the hook closure is even with the center back edge of the right wing. Sew in place using a zigzag stitch. Turn the bra around, fold the tape to the wrong side of the bra and sew in place with straight stitch. It helps to have the needle positioned as far right as possible. A zipper foot can also aid with this step.
Reinforce the ends of the casing
To prevent the underwires and optional boning from popping out, bartack the upper edge of the underwire and boning casing closed using very narrow zigzag stitch.