There are many different types of bras out there. Each has unique features, but there are some basic bra parts that all have in common.
Elastic: Bras often use elastic on their straps and other finishing touches. Knowing how to sew this fabric properly is important so that your final garment is comfortable.
What is a Bra Fabric?
A bra is a garment that encases the breasts to create shape and silhouette. It can be made from soft, stretchy, firm, rigid materials. The cups can be seamed or seamless and may have an underwire for support. The frame, bridge, and band are constructed from a low to moderate-stretch fabric that can conform comfortably to the body over time as it moves.
The straps are usually a stiff woven fabric, such as charmeuse, with a matte front and shiny, satin back for an exclusive look and feel. The band can be a solid or striped fabric and requires little to no stretch as it holds the cups to your skin.
Lastly, the hook and eye can be a woven or knit fabric, often covered in a soft material such as plush, so it feels more comfortable against the skin. It can also be wrapped in plastic or metal to add support and structure. Typically, it is dyed to match the bra. You can purchase elastic in a wide range of colors, but it’s cheaper to buy it on rolls and cut off what you need as you go.
What is a Lace Bra Fabric?
Lace is a beautiful and delicate fabric used in many types of bras. Lace is often used with a solid or stretchy fabric for additional support. When sewing with lace, it is important to use a 0 mm straight stitch plate so the stitches are not eaten by the needle (which can easily happen with stretch materials). Also, when using a zigzag stitch on elastics, switch between a 0 and 5 mm plate, as this will reduce the risk of the stitches breaking or cracking under stress.
Power mesh is a strong and supportive bra fabric often used to line stretch lace or sheer fabrics. When combining power mesh with a different material, it is important to test the combination in a toile or muslin process to ensure that the wire opening will be large enough for the wearer’s comfort level.
Sheer bra cup lining is a soft and stretchy fabric typically used to support the bridge of a bra or as a frame for embroidery on a bra. This type of lining is often found in designer bras, providing the support many women desire.
What is a Silk Bra Fabric?
There is a wide variety of silk fabrics used in bras, from the luxuriously soft and drapeable silk charmeuse that many designers choose for their special occasion creations to the more affordable china silk often found as lining fabric. Silk is absorbent, so it quickly wicks away sweat or other liquids to keep you comfortable, and it also allows for air to circulate, keeping you cool even when you’re wearing your bra for long periods.
A silk/spandex blend known as stretch charmeuse is often seen in lingerie, providing support while giving you that gorgeous drape. Other silk fabrics you might use in your underwear include crepe, which has a dull finish and does not reflect light like satin. This makes it ideal for luxurious loungewear, robes, and slips.
Light double-knit fabrics, such as cotton interlock, have a thicker construction than single jersey and are less prone to rolling or fraying. They can be made from polyester, nylon, rayon or a mix of these fibers with elastane added for stretch capability.
What is a Cotton Bra Fabric?
Cotton is a soft and natural fiber that’s comfortable to wear close to the skin. It’s breathable and helps to keep you cool because it’s good at dissipating warmth, which makes it perfect for warm days or wearing under warmer garments like T-shirts. It’s also a great choice for bras because it feels gentle against the skin and doesn’t cause any itchiness.
It’s not very stretchable or elastic compared to synthetic fabrics, so it’s not used for all bra parts that require elasticity, for example, the band. For this reason, it’s common for cotton to be layered with a small percentage of elastane fibers to make it more stretchy and elastic.
You can also find cotton blend fabric in bras that mix both cotton and other stretchy fabrics, so they’re more flexible but still give you the support you need. Another fabric commonly used for bands and straps is charmeuse, a silky and lightweight material that feels luxurious against the skin. It has a glossy front and matte back, giving it an exclusive feel.
What is a Spandex Bra Fabric?
A spandex bra fabric is a form-fitting, stretchy nylon fabric with Spandex fibers. This type of fabric is ideal for making undergarments that need to be supportive and breathable.
A bra’s cup and bridge fabric need little to no movement to keep the breasts in place and provide shape to the bust. It is best to use a lining fabric such as a stretch mesh or raschel for these fabrics. Alternatively, silk is also often used for luxury lingerie.
Straps are a key part of a bra and must have good elasticity for the right fit. The straps can be made from lace, cotton or silk, but they need a high level of stretch so they are not easy to deform.
Another important element of a bra is the underwire. The underwire must be strong to support the breasts and flexible to allow for changes in a woman’s body throughout the month as hormones cause the bust to swell. The best underwires for a bra are a nickel-titanium alloy that is temperature-sensitive and adjusts to the size of the figure.