achievement unlocked: Purple Rain bra & undies

I am still sad about Prince’s death. I was listening to “This American Life” the other day & they played a Prince song at the end of the episode & I almost started crying. I decided to channel my feelings into my current obsession: bra-making. “Purple Rain” has been one of my all-time favorite movies for years, so I made this bra inspired by Prince’s stage costumes in that film.


This is yet another Shelley bra from Pin-Up Girls. Why mess with what’s working? Fit-wise, I added another half-inch (total) to the band, this time in the frame. I think the band is absolutely perfect now. I also lengthened it into a longline style cut straight across the bottom so I could use the scalloped edge of the lace. I sewed the band elastic on the back in the usual way, turning it under on the second pass, but I left it loose on the front & waited to sew it after the back band was finished. If that makes any sense.

I also used sheer, lightweight nylon for the upper cup instead of lace, finished with sparkly fold-over elastic. &…it is VERY sheer.


It’s two layers, which I basted together by hand before sewing it into the cup because the fabric was so shifty & fiddly. I do have a photo of myself wearing it. Prepare yourself.


The angle is kind of weird because of the way I was raising my arms to take the photo. Trust me, everything points straight ahead when I am not contorting myself in an attempt to take a non-pornographic selfie.

I’m overall pleased with the fit, but I do want to raise the neckline area a little. I’d like just a little extra height there.


I also added some lace to the back. I really like the look of lace under the straps & closure.


& this is a subtle detail, but one I like a lot. The frame is actually constructed from a double layer of sheer nylon with lace over it. I hand-basted the nylon together & then hand-basted the lace on top before I sewed the bra together. The lace I had was just a hair too short to cover the entire frame, so there’s just a bit of scalloped edge & sheer material peeking out at the underarm.

& of course I made matching undies.


This is my standby Butterick 6031 pattern. I cut the back from lavender jersey & the front from another double layer of sheer nylon. the nylon has a fair amount of stretch one way & no stretch the other way. I cut the front so the stretch was going horizontally across my body, & I altered the pattern to attach the entire gusset area to the back piece so the inside gusset (some people call it “the crotch piece”–I suspect this bramaking journey is going to get me some really weird search engine hits) is hidden from view. I sewed another piece of lace down the front, used foldover elastic on the legs to mimic the finish in the bra, & used 2″ stretch lace for the waistband.


No photos of me wearing these. It’s just a little too racy. The overall effect was much more successful than I anticipated, though I would cut the fold-over elastic to fit next time & stretch it just a little around the back while I sew. I had a little incident sewing the fold-over elastic the first time (accidentally sewed it sparkly side down) & had to rip it out, which stretched it a little. I need to give it a steam to whip it back into shape.


I used lilac Duoplex & powernet from Bra-maker’s Supply for the bra. They were part of a fabric trio kit with the white & purple lace. All the findings & elastics used in the bra except the fold-over elastic are also from Bra-Maker’s Supply. The fold-over elastic & sheer nylon are from Sew Sassy, & the wide stretch lace is from Sunshine Shoppe.

I am pretty stoked about this set. It really does remind me so much of Prince’s “Purple Rain” costumes. The fold-over elastic, in particular, has the same glitter as Prince’s famous purple frock coat when the light hits it. I think Prince would approve of this set whole-heartedly!

prince coat

& I’m already knee-deep in yet another set! I do have actual garments (jeans, dresses, shirts) I want to sew as well, but bra-making is seriously addictive. Oh, & I think I am also going to participate in Me-Made May. I already wear my me-made clothing almost exclusively, but it’s an excuse to deepen the rotation a little & identify any wardrobe gaps I need to address.



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.

5 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: Purple Rain bra & undies

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