Saturday, November 7, 2015

1940's Bra Sew-Along - How to face pattern pieces and lining options.

Happy weekend, sewers! Ready to do some more bra sewing?

In our last post we talked about adjusting our cups sizes. Since I haven't gotten any more fitting questions from you, we're ready to move on.
Today we need to talk about lining options. What should the inside of our bra look like? Well, there are three methods of lining I have used in bra sewing in the past and one is far superior to the others.
The first is fully lining the bra. As I did with my bra #2001 for the Oooh la la Pin Up Sew-Along, you sew two complete bras (minus straps and closures), one of lining and one of outer fabric. Then you sew those two pieces right sides together all along the bottom seam and then bind the top edge. You can also sew the entire bra together at top, bottom and edges, leaving a gap to and turn the bra right side out. This conceals all of your raw seam edges. This can lead to some of your seams shifting a bit and if you have thin fabric, seam edge shadows can show up all over the place.

From a 1940's Brassiere in Profile - the edges here have been turned under and stitched, or faced with a piece of cotton tape.
Another technique is to sew one bra without lining, but of at least medium-weight fabric, and simply bind or turn the raw edges under as done in the bra above. By far though, I prefer to face my pattern pieces and use top stitching and rayon or cotton tape to finish my edges. This is the closest I can get to a historically accurate bra from the 1940's without hunting down some cotton-backed satin (seriously, it's hard to find!).

So to do this, simply cut the entire bra out from your outer fabric (I'm using white satin from our kit), and another entire bra from your lining fabric - I like fine cotton lawn or muslin for this.

Pieces C in satin and cotton, ready to be pinned.
Lay the lining pieces wrong sides together onto your outer (satin) pieces and pin them securely in place. You'll want your right sides to the exterior for this step.

All pattern pieces in cotton and satin, pinned wrong sides together.
Carefully baste each set of pieces together only along the top and bottom edges about 1/8" from the edge.

You will want to leave the left and right edges (side seam, center front and center back edges on all pieces) un-basted. If they are basted at all edges, this can lead to some creases and bunching that won't sit well on the sewn bra.

--Update: This method is a good one to use if your fabrics aren't prone to fraying. The satin I'm using doesn't fray very much so I'm comfortable with having a trimmed, top-stitched, but unconcealed raw edge inside my bra. If you want a more finished appearance on the inside, then you can either fully line the bra as mentioned above (instead of just facing your pieces) or you can finish the raw edges of each seam with either a serger or an edge stitch (a blanket stitch was very common on curved bra seams in the 1940's).

Here is the interior of my bra using the facing/ top-stitching method.

And now you're ready to sew your actual bra together!
Any questions about lining, facing or binding?

Happy sewing,


  1. what a fun sew along Anna! I'm not joining, but it's informative to follow along.

  2. just baste on the machine using the longest stitch? or do you suggest by hand? Thank you!

    1. Hi Brooke, you can do either, though this time I basted by machine on my longest stitch, yes.