Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn

Online Class Home Page   ►  An Introduction

How to Make Custom-Fit Underwire Bras

First Bras

First Bra Making Experiences

Back in the 1970s when I was teaching pattern design at a local college I was asked "How do you create a pattern for a bra?" At the time bra making notions were not available to the general sewing public. Then this century when I started talking about pattern design on internet forums, I was asked the question again. Now bra making notions were available.

The first model I worked with to develop bra patterns was teaching sewing workshops where I was teaching pattern design. I am very grateful to her for helping me get started on this project. She told me she could not wear an underwire bra for more than 2 hours before it got painful to the point she had to take it off. When I made my first bra for her, the one on the left, she told me she wore it for a whole week and didn't realize she was wearing it until she scrunched down on a sofa to watch TV on Friday night. Her conclusion:

"Getting a custom-fit bra is better than giving a girl diamonds."

The bra on the right is the first bra she ever made. It was a very bold move to sew black satin fabric with white notions and thread. But I couldn't find a single uneven or missed stitch. No wonder she is smiling so beautifully.

Don McCunn, 12/21/2020

The five sessions of this class include the following.

  1. Initial Preparations
  2. Making a Bra Sloper Mold
  3. From Mold to Sloper Pattern
  4. Designing a Bra
  5. Bra Constuction Techniques

The videos for this class show how to fit yourself without a sewing buddy. If you have someone to help you, the process is easier. This fitting buddy does not need to know how to sew. However, if you do not have a willing fitting buddy who will take whatever time is necessary to fit you correctly, you are better doing it yourself. Instructions and videos designed to help you do this are labeled Do-It-Yourself (DIY).

This approach to creating a custom-fit starts by creating a mold directly on the body. This mold is converted to paper patterns that can then be used to create a trial fitting bra. This bra sloper becomes the basis for creating other designs. The mold can be created by either shaping a towel over an exisiting bra, or applying material directly to the body. This second technique is particularly effective for women who need support but don't have a bra that fits well. I learned it initially from the women in my first "How to Make Custom-Fit Bra" class. The technique uses Glad's Press'n Seal which you apply directly to the skin to shape and support the breast. You then reinforce the Press'n Seal with masking tape before removing it. The Using Press'n Seal pdf file summarizes the steps in this technique.

How to Make Custom-Fit Bras & Lingerie cover  

We will be using my book How to Make Custom-Fit Bras & Lingerie as a course text. Specific references will be made to various pages of this book. There is a general introduction that describes this type of bra and basic considerations for fit on pages 107 through 111.

For more information about this book, visit my website How to Make Custom-Fit Bras & Lingerie. You should also be able to check out this book from your local library or order it through

If this is the first time you have attempted to make a bra, the construction process is not difficult. However, it is very important to mark both the bra mold and pattern pieces carefully with labels and sewing notches so that you will know exactly how piece fits together as I show on page 120 of the book. The shapes of the pattern pieces will not necessarily be clear as you start the construction process. I also recommend that you record the information about either your sloper or the bra on a copy of page 141 of the book.

Online Class Home Page   ►  An Introduction   ►   Go To Week One

Copyright © 2007, & 2020 by Donald H. McCunn