FAQ

Last updated: September 20, 2018

Couldn’t find what you were looking for by searching the Blog? On this page I answer some of the questions that I get asked the most. If you don’t see what you are looking for here, let us know!

PATTERN ORDERS AND ORDERING

Where is my order?

Upon purchase we emailed you a link to download your order. If you do not see our message in your Inbox, please check your Spam folder. Sometimes our emails end up there because the word “lingerie” is used! If our message is not in your Spam folder, and you paid for your order using PayPal, check your PayPal email address.

How do I print the pattern to scale?

Be sure to print the pattern pages at 100%. There is a 1-inch square box on each pattern page so you can be sure the printing scale is correct. I also recommend printing the downloaded file from a computer. Printing from a browser or mobile device does not always work well!

What paper size should I use to print your patterns?

A4 or US Letter size paper is recommended. Be sure to print at 100% and check the scale using the 1-inch boxes on each pattern page.

Can I purchase a hard copy your patterns instead of downloading them?

All of our sewing patterns are available via PDF download only! It is very simple to download and print the pattern at home or at your local copy shop. J

There is very little, if any, taping required since most of the pattern pieces fit within the boundaries of A4 and US Letter size paper. Each size also prints separately.

I hope you will give it a try!

UNDERWIRES

Can I make your patterns without underwires?

You can make all but the Fenway and Lansdowne bra patterns without the underwires; however, you will not get the same degree of support or shaping if you do so.

If you do decide to omit the underwires, I recommend raising the height of the center front (the bridge piece) and raising the height of the upper cup at the center front correspondingly. I recommend sewing the bra as directed, the only change being that you do not insert wires into the wire casing.

These alterations will help a bit if you choose to leave out the underwire.

What underwires do your bras use?

All but the Esplanade bra use the regular underwires from Bra-makers Supply. The Esplanade bra uses their extra-long underwires. Both wire types have a nice, neutral shape. Note, based on the style of the bra, you may need to cut the underwires to size.

Can I substitute different underwires in your bra patterns?

As you may know, bras are drafted from the underwire on up! That said, I know many bra makers who substitute underwires that are shaped differently than what was used to create the bra with very good results. I have even worked with clients who were happy with some of their ready-to-wear bras just by changing the underwires!

Try your favorite underwires in our bra patterns and see what you think!

How do I select the right shape underwire?

There are so many different shapes available to purchase these days, I recommend getting a selection and trying them on to see what fits your shape best.

To help you out with this, I have a list of online bra-making materials and notions suppliers on my site here, and my book tells you how to fit an underwire to your body.

MATERIALS

Where can I buy bra-making materials?

I maintain a curated list of bra-making supply companies on the resources page of my website.

I am trying to source materials for my lingerie line; where can I get this stuff?

I don’t have any sourcing ideas for materials or contractors since I am totally focused on working with home sewists to help them make their own custom bras!

Good luck with your search!

PATTERN ALTERATIONS

Can any of your patterns be made into mastectomy bras?

You can add prosthesis pockets to most bra patterns. Just keep in mind you will likely want a more opaque lining behind lace (for lace bras) rather than leaving it transparent.

The easiest pattern to modify is the Boylston bra since it is an all-fabric bra already.

How do I convert your patterns into nursing bras?

I do not have any information on altering patterns to make nursing bras, but you can check out this post from The Fairy Bra Mother Blog: https://braandcorsetsupplies.com/2016/08/28/how-to-sew-nursing-bra/

WHICH PATTERN SHOULD I BUY?

I want to make my first bra. Which of your patterns is best to start with?

For new bra makers, I recommend the Marlborough bra. You will learn a variety of bra-making techniques that you can apply to making other bra patterns.

Regardless of the pattern, I always recommend making a muslin first to test the fit of the bra. In addition to testing the fit, you can test the cup coverage. I have two posts on making muslins, a fast way and a more thorough way.

What is the best pattern for a small chest?

The Marlborough bra would be my best pattern for a small chest. I always recommend making a muslin first to test the fit of the bra.  I have two posts on making muslins, a fast way and a more thorough way. Start by making the appropriate size A cup and see if you need to modify from there!

I am trying to decide between the Marlborough and Boylston bra patterns. Which would give more support?

Both bras provide excellent support regardless of the distribution of breast volume. The key difference between the two styles is the shape that they create. The Marlborough bra is all about providing extreme lift and moving volume toward the center of the body. The Boylston bra is all about presenting a rounded shape.

I hope that helps you in your pattern selection!

PATTERN-SPECIFIC QUESTIONS

Can I lower the bridge of the Esplanade bra so it comes down lower in the center front?

I have always made strapless bras with the extra long wire and I designed my strapless bra around that wire length and shape (bra designs start with the underwire). I have never made a strapless bra with anything but the extra long wire so I do not know if you can get the same support and keep the same ability for the bra to stay put using a shorter wire. The only way to find out is to experiment!

Do the instructions for the Boylston pattern include instructions for making the bra with foam?

The Boylston pattern instructions do not include directions for using foam. The instructions are for using fabric with a lining. I wrote about using foam for bra making for Threads magazine which subscribers can read here: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/37402/create-a-foam-cup-bra

The instructions for the Esplanade bra include instructions for foam and you can also see my blog post on using foam for the Fenway bra.

Can I grade up the Esplanade bra sewing pattern?

One of the reasons I do not recommend the Esplanade bra for sister sizes is that when you make that pattern adjustment, you lose a lot of the band—and the long-line band (along with the boning) is what generates the support. For example, if you use the 36DD as the sister size for the 32G, you will see that you give up a lot of band. I usually recommend larger cup sizes (especially with smaller bands) move into more corsetry-oriented garments to generate strapless support.

All that said, if you want to give it a try, go for it! I just can’t make any promises that the Esplanade will support and stay put and provide support as it is designed to do for the stated size range. 🙂

Do you have any plans for a bralette/non-underwire bra/some other bra style?

I am always working on new styles! I keep my newsletter subscribers up to date with my projects so if you join the list, you will be among the first to know!

BOOK

Do I need your book to make your patterns?

All our sewing patterns include fully illustrated instructions to make the process of sewing bras easy to understand. If you would like extra tips and tricks for getting beautiful and professional looking results, we recommend also purchasing our book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction!

Does your book have instructions on how to draft a bra or any sewing patterns?

My book does not include any sewing patterns or drafting instructions as it is focused on bra fitting and construction, but it can be used along with your bra sewing pattern of choice.

You can purchase my sewing patterns in my shop here: https://shop.orange-lingerie.com/collections/all

I would like to wholesale your book.

The paperback version of my book is available to wholesalers via CreateSpace. Following is the information on how to order. Note my book is enrolled in the CreateSpace Expanded Distribution program.

Book resellers may apply for a CreateSpace Direct wholesale account by visiting the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/pub/l/createspacedirect.do

WORKSHOPS

I am going to be in Boston and would like a private bra-making lesson.

I do not offer private bra making lessons, but I do offer group classes. You can find a complete list of my upcoming workshops on my site.

Where is your next workshop?

My classes are always announced first to my newsletter subscribers and I keep a complete list of my upcoming workshops on my site.

I would like to host a workshop!

Please contact us!

CUSTOM BRA PROJECTS/HIRE ORANGE LINGERIE

Could you make me a custom bra or custom bra sewing pattern?

I no longer accept any custom bra-making commissions of any kind. I am entirely focused on my mission to get all sewists making their own beautiful and professional-looking lingerie with Orange Lingerie sewing patterns and workshops.

Do you fit bras over the internet?

I only fit individuals as part of my bra making workshops. You can find a complete list of my upcoming workshops here.

I would like to work with you on some of my lingerie designs/ideas.

I do not work with or consult for any lingerie companies. I am entirely focused on my mission to get all sewists making their own beautiful and professional-looking lingerie with Orange Lingerie sewing patterns, workshops, and instructional materials.

Note my sewing patterns are created for the individual home sewist only and are not for commercial production. As such, I do not offer a commercial license.

Can I advertise on your site/guest blog on your site?

We do not accept any advertising or sponsored posts.

MISCELLANEOUS

Do I need a special sewing machine to make bras?

For sewing bras, you only need a standard sewing machine. For sewing underwear an overlock machine is nice to have but not necessary. I rarely, if ever, use a coverstitch machine for making lingerie.

What level of sewing experience is necessary to make bras?

Bra sewing is not like making other garments and requires a certain level of precision. From teaching my workshops, the students that are the happiest with their finished bras are those who have mastered the basics of sewing and are comfortable sewing a button-down shirt.

I am concerned about the provenance, toxicity, and synthetic content of bra-making supplies. Do you know of any vendors of ethically and sustainably sourced components?

I am not aware of any vendors of ethically and/or sustainably sourced components. I have never focused on that issue since I already find it challenging to locate beautiful and high-quality materials for bra making. Good luck with your search!