Whether sewing bras as a hobby or a business, you’ll need various fabrics, laces, and quality findings. You can find these at large fabric stores or specialty lingerie supply shops.

Most patterns require a main fabric to cut out the cup, bridge, and front frame. You’ll also need lining fabric and elastics, sliders and rings to adjust straps, and wires channeling.

1. Cotton

The first thing to understand about bra making is that a few different fabric types are required for each part of the bra. Typically, the cup will be lined with a firm fabric with little or no stretch, like a duplex, tricot, or simplex. Lace trims may be applied to the edges of the cups, straps, and other areas in the bra as a decorative element. The bra also uses elastic to hem the underhand, creating a comfortable fit, including plush-backed, fold-over flexible, and transparent or picot adaptable.

Other fabrics for bra making supplies that can be used to construct a bra include nylon, stretch spandex, and microfibre. Nylon is soft and breathable, while stretch spandex offers good stretch. Microfibre is a newer, lighter fabric that is incredibly comfortable and inhibits bacteria growth, which can cause underboob sweat and odor.

2. Polyurethane foam

The bra cups are the most essential part of the garment to support and protect the breasts. Various materials can be used to make the cups of a bra. They are typically made of tricot or raschel fabric and can be found in multiple sizes. Alternatively, stretch silk charmeuse can make cups of lingerie that need high comfort.

Polyurethane foam can be bonded to fabrics using several methods, including flame bonding, hot film bonding, and powder laminating. It can also be injected into a nonwoven substrate or netting to create a padded surface. The resulting product can be cut into different shapes and sizes to suit various applications.

The physical properties of the foam samples are tested and compared with those of conventional molded bra cups. The results show that the flexible PU foams with a spacer fabric structure have higher air permeability and washability than those with polyester yarn as the surface layer. They also have better compression stress-strain curves and a larger plateau stage than those with lyocell yarn.

3. Charmeuse

A high-end fabric that combines satin’s beauty with polyester’s durability, charmeuse is a popular choice for creating dressy garments like gowns and lingerie. It’s also ideal for creating delicate, intricately embroidered details.

Its silky front side is smooth, lustrous, and reflective, while its back has a dull finish. This fabric is commonly used to create dresses, duvet covers, and pillowcases.

Unfortunately, charmeuse is not vegan as it is derived from the cocoons of silkworms. This means that BILLIONS of animals die yearly to produce these natural fibers. It’s essential to avoid fabrics that require animal exploitation and choose cruelty-free alternatives like cotton, wool, and feathers. 

Alternatively, you can use double-knit polyester like power mesh or tricot to line your bra. This will also give your garment some added support. Plush elastics are another excellent option for bra bands because they feature a delicate picot edge suitable for lingerie.

4. Modal

This is the pattern for you if you’re looking for a low-support bra under all your favorite tops. The design features a scoop neckline and adjustable straps that can be adjusted to fit your needs. It also has no wires or back fastenings to attach, making it suitable for an advanced beginner.

Made from beech trees, Modal is an incredibly soft, stretchy fabric that breathes well. It’s cool to the touch and wicks moisture away, which is perfect for post-mastectomy bras that need to be comfortable while healing or caring for scar tissue. It’s a great alternative to chunky wool, which can be itchy and rough on the skin. And, as a bonus, the modal can be used without a casing, which means you can skip the hassle of encasing elastic bands and lap the wrong side over the right for a seamless finish.

5. Elastic

You’ll need a lot more than fabric to make a bra. You’ll need elastics, rings, and sliders, channeling for wires, and even some boning.

The main fabric for a bra will depend on the pattern, but most will call for at least some stretchy material. It’s essential to use a good quality fabric that has excellent recovery and stretch on the cross-grain so it will hug your curves.

If your pattern calls for a lower elastic band, you’ll want to use a plush back adjustable with a fuzzy side that feels soft against the skin. You can also use pretty lace-edged elastic or stretch lace.

Some patterns may call for armhole or neckline elastic similar to the plush elastic but narrower. You can use a wide zig-zag to stitch this, but you should try to get it as close to the edges as possible.

6. Satin

The cups of a bra are the central part that holds breast tissue. These are made from a rigid material such as intricate lace or power mesh. To make them more supple and less severe, you can layer stretchy fabric over them, as long as the material’s elasticity is equal to or greater than the stretch of the power mesh. Testing in the toile (or muslin) process is a good idea.

You can also use satin fabrics to make the straps for your bra. These should be strong and have good resilience to lifting your breasts. Alternatively, you can use elasticated satin fabric or plastic for bra straps. If you choose to use elasticated satin fabric, it is a good idea to use the 0 mm stitch plate to avoid the stretch of the material being eaten by the stitches.


Constructing a bra, whether for personal wear or business, requires a nuanced understanding of various fabrics and materials. Each component, from the cups to the straps, calls for different types of materials, each contributing to the overall comfort, function, and aesthetics of the garment. 

Cotton, modal, satin, and charmeuse offer diverse textures and functionalities, while elastics, rings, sliders, and wire channeling are integral to the bra’s structure and fit. It’s essential to make informed choices, understanding the properties of each fabric, and consider ethical implications, such as in the case of charmeuse.


Kenny is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheTalka. He launched the site in 2019.

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