Bra Quest 2013: Checking out RTW

Last week, I introduced Bra Quest 2013 (sound the trumpet!) in which I try to make the perfect everyday bra. In sum, ready to wear bras - with their underwire and padding and cheap material - just suck, and I am convinced I can do better.

The first step on my bra-making quest involved a trip to the store. Not the fabric store, but a regular ol' department store. Ok, in this case it was a happenstance stop in Urban Outfitters. They happened to have a ton of cute bralettes on display, and I thought it would be a perfect chance to test out what works on me. Here is the bra I chose to try on:

Like most fast-fashion today, Urban Outfitters is chock full of trendy, pretty things in awful quality. While this bralette looked great on the rack, I knew as soon as I tried it on that mine would need better need better support. Believe it or not, under a t-shirt this bralette looked worse than had I gone bra-less! Not to mention the fact that I immediately got a rash from the itchy material.

However, there were some things to learn. The great thing about RTW clothing is that manufacturers often come up with ingeniously simple construction techniques, which make speedy mass-production possible. While we may eschew the shoddy construction of many of these garments, if you take a closer look you might actually pick up some cool tricks!

For this simple bra, I liked the way they simply used wide fold-over elastic for the band. It's so easy and cuts out the step of the band altogether. Of course, this may be one of the reasons the bra provides so little support, but it may be good when making a sleep bralette, etc.

I also was interested in how they finished the cups with their lace edging. 

Turns out they cut the the lining slightly shorter and cover the raw edge of the lining with elastic. Easy peasy.

 These may not be the traditional bra construction techniques, but now I know that I will need something a little more constructed to offer support, and I have some interesting finishing techniques to keep in my back pocket.

Next time, I'll be figuring out my bra size (and the answer may surprise me!).


  1. In that case, you might be familiar with this page already:
    They put it out there in a very dry way, but it's quite interesting!
    Making my own bra is also very high on my wishlist!

  2. I don't have much of a chest so I like Urban Outfitters bras. I'm also a huge fan of Free People's soft bras. If you like the shape of the cups, I'd suggest making a wider band. All the support comes from the "cradle."

  3. I have picked up a few construction ideas from RTW too. I like the foldover elastic idea, I'll have to remember that if I ever get around to lingerie sewing!

  4. I love the idea of being able to make your own bras but, since I wear an F cup, it may not be realistic for me to do so while expecting adequate support!


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