Swimwear Sewalong ~ Cups Completed

Helen Cloke boylston bra foam cup bikini swimwear sewalong

Day 6 of the swimwear sewalong and I have two completed cups.

I started this sewalong as motivation to dedicate time to keep sewing my bikini.  It has worked!  In the summer months I'm a little time poor but the unexpected bonus to only being able to sew in small segments means that it has allowed me to appreciate and celebrate all the steps that go in to making a bra/bikini.  So instead of completing the bra cups and immediately rushing off to the next sewing step in an effort to reach the finish line, I've been forced to pause, stop sewing and instead think, 'I made two bra cups today, woo-hoo, go me! Thats quite the achievement!' 

Here is how I did it:

Although I'm a big, big notch marker in all other sewing, in bra making I tend not to bother pre-notching.  Instead I just mark with sharp pins as I go, carefully flipping the pieces right sides together and lining up the pin markings.

I sewed the seams with a short 2mm straight stitch, finger pressed them open and topstitched either side of the seam with a stitch length of 3.5mm.

SIDE NOTE: Depending on the fabric used, I sometimes use an iron in bra making and other times I just finger press the seams.

Previously made foam cups and newly made fabric cups ready to be layered up.

As mentioned, I chose to bind the top of my cup with a contrast fabric.  The watercolour print comes with a wide selvage of plain white so I cut this into a 25mm wide strip and used this method by Emerald Erin to create a bound edge.

The only variation I made was to not stitch in the ditch as Erin recommends (I don't have a specialised foot for this and I'm never that happy with how my ditch sewing looks) so instead I topstitched on the cup side, capturing the loose edge of the binding fabric underneath.  I think this mimics the other topstitching well.

When I first started covering foam cups with stretchy fabric I was really keen for all the seam lines and edges on the foam and fabric cups to line up.  After all, they were cut from the same pattern pieces and I needed it to be methodical and logical.  But this often resulted in a baggy fabric cup.

However, after a few bras I realised the need to be a bit less rigid with this and that it looks better if you just work with where the outer fabric wants to go.

It's slightly hard to tell at this point but the upper cup fabric has been smoothed to where it wants to sit and in comparison is the bottom cup where the seams and edges are lined up and the fabric cup is baggy as a result.

Don't be afraid to smooth the outer fabric over your foam cup and have some extra fabric extend over the edge.  This will happen in varying degrees depending on the stretch of your fabric.  The important thing is to not over stretch the outer fabric and end up distorting your foam cups. 

I find it useful to do this while the cup is sitting over the curve of my knee (cue glamorous, real life photo of my leggings and slippers) but you could also use a tailors ham or other rounded object.

I pin the fabric to the cup around the edge and then secure it in place with a long basting stitch within the 6mm seam allowance.  Then use my rotary cutter to trim off any excess.

And here we have two finished cups ready for fitting into the frame.  I like how the contrast white binding came out.  I think it lends a nice bit of detail and will match well with the bottoms without being too restrictive should I wish to pair it with something else.

How far did you made it for Day 6 of the #swimwearsewalong?



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  • Whitney on

    Thanks so much for this detailed tutorial. I think this is one of the parts I kinda get hung up on thinking about swimwear. I’ll definitely be bookmarking this post!


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