achievement unlocked: teal & black bra & undies

I have a garment post! & not just any garment post. It’s another bra! Bras are totally my favorite garment to read about on sewing blogs right now.


This is another Shelley bra. I’ve made seven now. At this point, the fit is tweaked to perfection. I don’t think there’s anything I would change. Of course, I always do something different with the fabrics. Here’s how I switched this one up:

  • used sheer nylon tricot on the upper cup instead of lace
  • applied the black & teal lace to the sides of the cup
  • sewed the wire channeling to the exterior of the bra (this is probably my favorite detail on this particular bra)
  • attached the straps balconette-style, which is to say, I eliminated the strap tab on the power bar & bar tacked the straps to the cup & covered the stitching with other details
  • finished the entire top edge of the bra with fold-over elastic & applied double-sided ruffled elastic over the top of that
  • made my own bow
  • did a Gothic arch with a nice cross-over on the interior of the bra
  • covered the powernet in the back with lace


I think it looks a little better on an actual body, so let’s go to the tape:



Sorry these photos are a little bit dark. Our new bathroom is much smaller & darker than our old bathroom, & contains the only mirror in the house. I tried to lighten them up in editing to show the details better.

One weird thing about this bra is that the cups seem just a hair too big. You can see that there is some space between the right breast & the wire on the first photo, & a little flat spot at the bottom of the right cup in the second photo. I’m not totally sure what the issue was there. When I put in the wires, I noticed that the cup overall seemed to have a larger diameter than any of the other bras I have made, even though they are all the same size: 40D. I wonder if finishing the top edges differently made some kind of weird difference? A bra requires so much precision, even being out 1/4″ can make an appreciable difference. But the bra is still completely wearable. It’s comfortable & I am happy with the lift & support it provides. I’ll see what happens with my next one.

Of course, no bra is complete without undies to match.


These are teal jersey, with 2″ black stretch lace for the waistband & legbands. I used some lace scraps to decorate the front. I experimented with ruching under the lace, which is why that area looks so wrinkly. I feel like the result was a little meh. I covered the unfinished edge of the lace with black ribbon & added a little black bow just because I like bows.


I think the back is a little more interesting, thanks to this little cut-out. I just kind of guesstimated where to put it, & I think I placed it perfectly. I’m not going to include a photo on my actual body because for some reason, I feel weirder about showing myself wearing underwear than I do about showing myself in a bra…Maybe because a bra is kind of a bigger achievement, as far as sewing goes? So I feel like it’s earned a proper unveiling? All I know is that the cut-out is right at the lowest low point of the back, which is perfect.


Both sides are finished with fold-over elastic. I really like fold-over elastic.


So there we are! I now have enough sets to wear a different one every day of the week. Not that I don’t plan to make more! More! More! The undies pattern, incidentally, is good ol’ Butterick 6031. I just like to change up the style lines & details every time I make it.

I found the iron yesterday, in a box labeled “Ciara stuff”. So now I can get going on the skirts for my partner’s mom. The problem is that I’m having a hard time getting motivated to sew. I bought a couple of small dressers at IKEA the other day to serve as fabric storage, & I started moving fabric into them yesterday. I found all kinds of lengths of fabric I’d completely forgotten about. I sat down & made a list of all the projects I could conceivably make with the fabric & notions I have one hand. I might have to go out & buy the occasional zipper or whatever to complete a project, but I have everything I need for about fifty more garment projects, from bras to swimsuits to jeans to jackets! I have some kind of plan for every length of uncut fabric in my stash–& even some of the scraps! It’s just a matter of doing it.

& my mind is already fast forwarding to fall, even though it stays hot in Kansas through October. I have been thinking about taking up knitting for a long time, but I haven’t pursued it because, you know, I don’t have time for all the other things I already want to do (sewing, reading, swimming, doing elaborate craft projects with Ramona). People are like, “Knitting is cool because it’s more portable than sewing. I can do it on my commute to work.” That would be awesome if I still lived in Boston & spent an hour on the bus everyday going here or there. But I don’t have any downtime like that in my current life. & yet, I would love to knit myself a sweater or two. If I could knit my own gloves & socks, I would truly be able to make my entire wardrobe (except for shoes, which is definitely still something I’d like to try one day). (I know you can sew those things, but it seems like knitting provides more options.)

Jared is going to start going to work again tomorrow (oh, the weird summer work-at-home life of an academic). I’m hoping that this return to normalcy will motivate me to tackle some sewing. How do other people get themselves going when they feel this way?


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.

8 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: teal & black bra & undies

  1. When I feel lacking in motivation, I choose a small project I can knock up easily in a day. (Shocker, I think a lot of people do this…) This seems to kick start me back into sewing with the adrenaline kick I get from finishing and wearing the new thing. So for me it would likely be a tnt top of some description. Bra and panties look great. I think when I have made *all the trousers* there are to make, then maybe some bras might be on the table…

  2. I agree with Naomi. If you pick a fabric you absolutely love it helps. I need to get on board this bra making train. Yours are so beautiful and I’m a curvy gal myself. I’m really tired of beige, white, and black bras. Enjoy your new home.

  3. Actually one of the things I do when I’m in a sewing slump is knit! I find I either want to do one or the other, rather than one taking over from the other it’s more a natural cycle for me. There’s just something different in the kind of creation and the kind of thinking it requires. Often I won’t have the brain or the patience to do a sewing project, even a simple one, or I can’t deal with the logistics of it, but I CAN think about a knitting project for five minutes to set it up and then sit on the couch knitting. I do have a long commute but I find I don’t tend to knit on it anymore, unless I am in a knitting phase.

    Apart from knitting I try not to pressure myself into sewing but I also try to give myself opportunities to get back in, like I might feel like I don’t want to but maybe if I just sewed a few seams I would be into it. I often find a slump happens when I’ve got a garment I want to wear but I’m not excited to sew, or I’ve got a deadline or some duty sewing to do. Perhaps finding something you’re super excited about, or a simple easy project, and letting yourself do that without feeling like you should be sewing something else?

  4. Hi Crabigale,
    I think Naomi is on the right track. You probably need a quick project to christen the new sewing spot and get the vibes going. It should help you start to see how to make it that next ( my ever evolving challenge ) step better.
    Of course that’s the problem and the joy of moving. You may give up something that you thought was just right but you gain new possibilities of making a different better spot. Trust in the creative mojo Grasshopper. 🙂 It will hit you!
    It will also help as all the newness wears off. Congrats on surviving another move. Can’t wait to see what you make next.

  5. I am doing some more embroidery stuff these days. It started with a QAL that I’ve been doing, but I am starting to put together some stuff to work on other projects. It scratches that sewing itch while still letting me sit on the couch and veg out a bit.

    1. Yeah, on a similar tip, I am learning how to knit. If I’d already known when I had to pack up my sewing stuff to move, things would have been pretty different. Instead, I just watched every episode of “UnReal,” which is a really weird show to binge watch.

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