101 Ways with Leftovers!

Helen Cloke bra making tips lingerie supplies

Well, maybe not quite 101 ways but here is a selection of ideas on how to use up short ends of elastics and small pieces of bra making fabrics.

I've had a bit of a tidy up of my own personal stash of bra making findings.  As you can see by the before photo it was well overdue! 

In this container I also found 21 empty plastic zip-lock bags of various sizes, 7 abandoned tester or failure bras and a hammer...go figure.

I tend to only buy as I need so my stash is almost exclusively made up of short cut-offs from previous projects.  It seems a bit of a waste to throw them out so I find uses for them.  Here are some ideas:

1. Test bras:

Test/muslin bras are a perfect way to use up leftovers - nothing needs to match or be mirror cut.  You can have one wing cut in red powernet and the other in blue and it doesn't matter so long as the fabric properties are the same as the ones you will be using for the 'proper' bra.  Really, the uglier the better for a muslin, then you can't feel too sorry if it doesn't work out perfectly!

2. Embellishments:

It doesn't take much ribbon to make a bow or a little rose to embellish your final bra with.  You can even use scraps of strap elastic to make a little folded bow.  Evie la Luve has some nice tutorials on her YouTube channel for this.

3. Sectional Straps:

The strap elastic doesn't have to be one long continuous piece.  Here are some straps I salvaged from a RTW bra because I liked the ribbon detailing (the elastic is stretched as the ribbon is sewn on creating a ruching effect.) 

As you can see there are two portions to this strap, one regular strap which then joins to the ribbon strap extension with an extra ring.  You could even use two different colours for the strap portions.  The strap elastic on this RTW example measures 20cm for each piece.

Another good way to use up small lengths of strap is to find a bra pattern that has fabric straps for the most part - then you only require small elastic straps to attach the fabric portion to the back wing.

4. Really small pieces of strap or channelling:

These can be used to make little loops to attach g-hooks or rings to the apex of the bra or bikini cup.

Also there are a lot of strappy bra and brief pattern that use lots of small pieces of strap elastic for decoration.  This is quite a popular style at the moment and has surprised me with how flattering and comfortable it actually is when worn. 

5. Picot Elastic:

It doesn't take much length to finish the top edge of a cup so definitely keep small pieces of picot elastic, again, there is nothing to say all the elastics in a bra must be the same colour.  You can mix in as many colours as you like!

6. Band Elastic:

Don't have a long enough length of elastic for the whole band?  Band elastic can actually be pieced together, just butt the ends together and sew the whole piece as one.  By the time the elastic is flipped under for the second pass, the join is unnoticeable.  

7. Tiny Lace Pieces:

Even the smallest pieces of lace can be used to decorate your lingerie. 

Here are two small scrap pieces left over from the Frankie Panties I have just made.  They could be used at the sides or centre of the front piece of a pair of briefs to add detail. 

There are even more ways to use small lace pieces on a bra - centre cups, to decorate the straps or as an overlay to part of the powernet wing...these would all require only the smallest amount of lace (just remember to still mirror cut!)

Here is my little bits and bobs container, all organised, bagged up into categories and waiting to be put to use.

Have you got any other ways that you can suggest for using up small ends of notions?



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  • Lynda on

    Great tips! I still have a vast collection of scrappy bits 🤣

  • Whitney on

    I had no idea you could PIECE band elastic!! So good to know!

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