achievement unlocked: turquoise & pink Shelley bra & undies

I made another bra!


This is another Pin-Up Girls Shelley bra, sewn from the remains of the pink & turquoise kits I bought from Bramakers Supply & used for my last bra project. It’s still a size 40D, because that seemed to work well for me, but I added a 1/4″ inch wedge to the upper cup to give myself a little more space there, & I lengthened the back band by 1/2″ total. I also drafted a decorative external power bar from the turquoise lace, just to change up the style lines a little bit. I also used turquoise lace for the upper cup, & the rest of the cup is pink Duoplex.

The effect of the external power bar is really shown to its greatest advantage on a body:


I didn’t necessarily intend for this to be a “sexy” bra. I am much more interested in comfort & functionality than sex appeal. I really just added the lace on the sides because I had extra lace on hand, & as much as I enjoy sewing bras, I don’t necessarily want to make an army of identical bras in different colors. But the effect it gives, with the pink Duoplex peeking out at the apex & shoulder, is surprisingly sexy. Jared whole-heartedly concurred.


The frame is turquoise Duoplex & I mostly used pink elastics & findings. I did finish the strap with decorative turquoise elastic, rather than doubling the strap fabric.


& I was thoughtful about what thread colors I used where, mostly endeavoring to match colors to fabrics in both my top thread & in the bobbin.

The other big difference with this bra is that I used a size 40 vertical underwire. Like I said in my last post, the wires I had on hand were too long for the bra & had to be trimmed down a lot & capped. It was a bit of a pain in the ass, & the wires didn’t fit properly in the bridge area. I did some research & realized that I probably have omega-shaped breasts, meaning that my breast root is smaller than my breast volume. Vertical underwires have a sharper curve along the bridge, which better suits people like me. With the vertical underwires, the wire pulls in the bra flat against my chest wall at the bridge & gives me more flattering & comfortable shaping & lift. I asked Beverly Johnson from Bramakers Supply about it & she suggested I use a 40B band, as that is the proper band size for the size 40 wire. I tested the wires in the 40D band though & it worked out fine. I’m not opposed to experimenting with the band in the future, though I am very happy with the fit of this bra as is.


To make the external power bar, I taped my cup pieces together as they would be sewn & traced the shape of the finished cup. I picked a spot just to the side of the strap attachment & drew a straight line from there down to a random point on the front lower cup, taking care not to cover the apex, because I didn’t want my laces to overlap too much. The line I drew was straight so I could use the scalloped edge of my lace. It looks like a curve once a breast is filling out the cup. I basted the unfinished edge of the lace into the wire line of the completed cup & just did everything normally from there, so the lace is covered on the inside with the channeling, just like the cup fabric. It was a really simple addition that makes the bra unique & extra-feminine.


I also had just enough light pink lace left to add a little to the side seams.


Other than that, the back of the bra is really nothing to write home about. I did get a couple of popped stitches along the band elastic the first time I put the bra on, which makes me wonder if I need to add a little more width to the back, or futz with my stitch lengths a little bit. There’s also extra stitching along the strap elastic because I accidentally sewed the outside curve instead of the inside. Rather than picking out the stitches, I just sewed an extra line. Without it, the inside curve of the elastic wanted to curve up off the fabric, which wasn’t a huge problem, but you know. Why not fix it if you can?


The inside of the cup. The channeling is doing its own thing there at the bridge. I guess I need to fix that.


I also made coordinating undies! Part of what attracted me to bramaking was the possibility of making my own matching sets. It’s hard to find matching sets in my size unless you are willing to spend kind of a lot of money, & the undies that come in most sets tend to be a little more focused on sexiness than I prefer. Nothing wrong with sexy underwear, but it’s just not necessarily my jam. Plus I think boy shorts can be plenty sexy (& thankfully, this is another area where Jared agrees with me).

This is the undies pattern from Butterick 6031, which is my favorite undies pattern that I’ve tried. It fits me perfectly, it has awesome butt coverage, no panty lines…ahhh! I love this pattern! For this version, I scooped out the upper leg to make it just a little bit higher, mainly because the lace I am using is 2″ wide, which is a little wider than the pattern suggests. I used turquoise jersey (not a perfect match for my turquoise bra fabrics, but close enough) & laid a few scraps of left over blue lace down the sides. I trimmed the raw edge of the lace with pink 3/8″ satin ribbon & added a bow that matches the bow on the bra.


I will be a little bit sad when we leave this house, just because the pink walls are such a nice canvas for taking photos of the lingerie I make. In all other ways, it will be awesome to leave. Especially since our landlord came by this morning when we weren’t home & accidentally let our cat out & now she’s missing.

Anyway. That’s that. I’m hoping to find time for one more bra project this weekend, probably while listening to lots & lots of Prince.


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

10 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: turquoise & pink Shelley bra & undies

  1. I’m so glad to hear you cat came back! Ugh I’m still mad at your landlord though. Could have turned out much worse!

    That pink wall is a wonderful backdrop – I was thinking that before you said it! How lovely to be able to showcase your marvelous projects against it. I love that you made a matching set!

    1. I know, my landlord is the worst. Except that I have actually had worse ones. I can hardly believe it’s possible. He was all, “Cat? I didn’t see any cat,” as if maybe somehow I was mistaken about even having a cat.

      I do like the pink walls though. They were an enticement he offered us to convince us to move in, & although I love the color, I kind of regret falling for the ol’ “paint the living room” trick when I’d much rather that he actually deal with all the structural issues the house has. The original color was this awful dark green though, which made the entire downstairs as dark as a tomb. The pink lightens things up a lot, in addition to matching all my stuff, since pink is my favorite color.

      1. I mean, the landlord bar is LOW. I’ve had some shockers in my time. I hope the next one is better!

        Structural stuff is important but so is not living in a gloomy dark green house. It’s really uncommon here for landlords to allow tenants to paint at all, so I am a bit jealous of that, if nothing else! (I own now and I am about to get to work on my beige walls because too many years of renting beige apartments has given me a bitter hatred of it!)

        1. Yeah, offering to paint the house the color of our choice was his way of luring us into renting with him. We were all set to go with a different house (& should have, in retrospect). Now that I am actually living here, I can see how few bites he’s getting on his rental ad. He’s had a few people do walk-throughs but no one has rented it yet. So no wonder he was so desperate to get us on board!

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