So the hardest part of making a bra for me was the channeling (it holds the underwire) and how to best apply it. I came up with this method, and while it’s kinda more for my personal reference, I thought I’d share with you!
The pattern I’m using is KS3300, if you are curious. 😉
So, um, yeah….you need to be at the point where you are supposed to apply the channeling, and have it cut to the required length. Then you’ll want some twill tape–I’d suggest 4 pieces around 1″ long.
Pin your piece of twill tape BETWEEN the channeling and the bra seam allowance (because for the first stitching, you’ll only be stitching to the seam allowance and nothing else!)
I found it helpful to pin the channeling on with the stitching to the right edge of your sewing machine and then stitch in the ditch of that seam to maintain a straight line. Be sure not to catch your cups in these stitches or you’ll be ripping them out and swearing the whole time! Once you’ve stitched in the ditch on the seam allowance, your channeling will kind of want to flip up towards the bra cup–let it, pin it carefully in place, making sure to fold the twill tape under itself and over the channeling (this will keep the wires from poking through the channeling later on in your bra’s lifespan). You can kind of see what I’m referencing in the image above. Stitch in the same ditch again, and then go carefully down the other side. This works really well if you have the needle position thing, and these handy little red marks on the presser feet like mine (this image also shows a closeup of the “ditch” you should be stitching in as well as how the channeling should look after you flip it up):
I ran the edge of the channeling along the right red mark and my needle position was 1 notch away from that–on my Pfaff that was needle position 6.5, but your machine may be different. Just be sure to leave enough room to run the wire through, you don’t have to be perfect though–the wires are pretty small. Here’s a little hint on which way the wires go–mine have little sparkly ends on the side that goes to the center and white ends on the side by your armpits, like this:
After you’ve stitched the channeling on, and hopefully you left the twill tape loose on at least one end of each cup (I recommend leaving the centers open even though I didn’t in this picture), you’ll need to check your wires to make sure that they fit through the channeling, and more importantly, THAT THEY ARE THE CORRECT SIZE! Seriously. You can do all that work, but if the wire is the wrong size/shape, your bra isn’t going to be comfortable. Be sure to have a few spares that are in a similar size range to the one you think and see which one works best. You’ll have to do this after the bra is completely assembled though for an accurate test, which is why you’ll want to leave the centers open to insert the wires.
After you’ve got the wires inserted, flip your remaining twill tape down like you did on the other end(s) and sew down the sides. DO NOT sew across the tape! Only sew in the same stitching lines as the channeling. Otherwise, you’ll render your twill tape useless because the wires won’t be able to reach it. You could probably stitch this by hand if you are having trouble getting it under your machine.
So anyway, I know it seems silly to some of the more seasoned bra-makers out there, but I just know that next time I start one I’ll be glad I made this. Hopefully, it will help you too! 🙂