Sunday, November 15, 2015

1940' Bra Sew-Along - Finishing with a closure.

Hello my dears. I hope you're having a lovely weekend so far.
I just want to start this post out today with a warm hug for my friends and followers in France. Your country was my first love and my oldest friend, and after the events of yesterday, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

It's a chilly day here in Monterey and the sun is at a low angle in the sky. My house smells like a house should on a cold day - hints of apple cider and a pot roast in the oven are wafting up the stairs to my studio. And it's the perfect time to type up a blog post and finish our sew-along.

In our last post we discussed edge finishing and sewing our straps in. Now all that's left to do is add our back closure and we should be done! I know we're all used to hook and eye closures in bras these days and that's what I prefer for this bra. But if you're going for a full 1940's bra style, know that you can also use buttons and loops if you like, or a French bra back, which is essentially two lengths of elastic and a hook.

For this project I have used plush-backed hook and eye tape with a double set of eyes for adjusting fit. This is pretty much plug and play, but there are a few notes on placement.

The first thing to do no matter what type of closure you use, is to stay-stitch the center back of each piece D to keep it from stretching while you work. This can be done with any straight stitch 1/8" from the edge.

Our hook and eye tape will likely need trimming down to size. Ideally, you'll want to cut your lengths so that there is a small allowance at the top and bottom that is hook and eye free (about 1/4" free at top and bottom. You should also trim your pieces so that it is just 1/16" (a hair, really) shorter than the bra itself at both top AND bottom.

When you cut your hook and eye tape to size, do it with the hook and eye pieces hooked closed so that the pieces fit perfectly together when they are sewn in. The great thing about plush-backed hook and eye tape is that it requires no finishing on the edges once cut. There is a thin stabilizer layer that you can trim away on the inside with a pair of small scissors to keep it from being scratchy, but otherwise, it will be soft, clean and fray-free!

Typically the eyes are placed on the left and the hooks are on the right. Most plush-backed hook and eye tape will have a small fold to the left edge of the eyes that allows you to sandwich the bra back edge inside the closure.
Simply wedge the bra back in there and pin it in place before stitching.

Stitch the eye-side of the tape using two rows of stitching, 1/8" from the edge, and again, 1/8" next to that. Be careful not to get your needle too close to the line of stitching that secures the first row of eyes in place. That's a good way to break a needle, and if you break a needle, you're gonna have a bad time.

Next, turn under the right-hand, center-back edge of the bra 1/4" and press. This will conceal the center back raw edge.
Now hook your hooks into your eyes and place the right-hand side of the bra over the hook piece and line it up with the tuned under edge even with the edge of the hook tape. To clarify, the WRONG SIDE of the bra will be on the WRONG side of the hook tape.

Once they are lined up to your satisfaction, carefully pin the bra to the hook piece, taking care not to catch the eye-side of the bra. Unhook the closure and try the bra on one last time. If everything looks ok, then you're ready to sew your last stitches!

Taking your time, on the WRONG side, stitch carefully all around the perimeter of the hook piece about 1/8" from the edges.

And would you look at that? You're done! Good job, you!

You've already seen my finished bra in white satin and here is the back as well. It fits me better, but it pulls a bit on Lusty Lulu who has a good 1" on me where it counts.

Well, how did it go? Did you enjoy sewing your bra? How does it fit? Would you change anything next time? Did you do it just like nine or did you try a different closure, cool print fabirc, ribbon straps? I want to hear all about it!
If you would like to send in pictures of your finished bras (no, you can lay them out, you don't need to be wearing them :) ) you can email me at It would make my year to see what you've made!

Happy sewing, and happy weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Great introduction for 40s women's fashion! Thank you for your posts:)