Editor’s note: This is the second of two Craftsy classes on bra making with Beverly Johnson. The first one walks you through sewing and fitting a bra. This class looks at home to modify your well-fitting pattern into a wide range of designs. Beverly just released a third class about using lace and cut and sew foam, and there’s a bathing suit one coming later. We’ve previously mentioned these classes on the CSC in November 2014 when Elaine discussed her experience starting to sew bras. –Gillian
Craftsy Class Review: Sewing Bras Designer Techniques with Beverly Johnson
I have always loved learning and school, which is probably why I became a teacher. Once I started sewing I wanted to learn how to sew everything! Making a classical tutu and a pair of shoes are on my sewing bucket list. While I am fortunate enough to live in an area with access to sewing classes, sometimes cost and time constraints can be prohibitive. That’s where Craftsy classes come into play. After I took Bra Making 101 at Bra Maker’s Supply (Beverly Johnson’s store), in Hamilton ON, I caught the bra making bug. I wanted to learn as many techniques as possible. So, when I saw Beverly’s class on Craftsy I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about bra making.
“Start with a well-fitting pattern, then use it to design, draft and make your own bras! Learn how with lessons from sewing expert Beverly Johnson. Start by easily turning a full-band bra pattern into a partial-band bra. Next, learn to change the neckline and design the straps you want. Move on to modifying bra frames, creating the world’s thinnest band and making front closures. Bring greater comfort and style to the back of your bra by modifying the width of your fabric or angling the closure downwards. Then, discover how to support and complement your shape with power bars. You’ll even find out how to make cup size discrepancies disappear by drafting your own alterations!”
Lesson 1: Introduction and Partial Band Bra
Lesson 2: Modifying Upper Cups and Straps
Lesson 3: Modifying the Frame
Lesson 4: Modifying the Back Band
Lesson 5: Power Bars
Lesson 6: Modifying the Cup Seams
Lesson 7: Side to Side Modification
This class was originally $51.27 but I bought it on sale for $25.63. For the amount of information covered in this course $51.27 is a steal.
This is an advanced course. You need to have a bra pattern that fits you ready to go before you try the techniques Beverly teaches you. In reading the many comments on the class comments section I notice that many of the questions where fit related. Fit is a difficult thing to diagnose via the Internet and as this is a designer techniques class, it is not about fit per se. Beverly does a great job responding to questions and diagnosing fit issues through copious questions back and forth.
Beverly is a great teacher. Her on screen persona is the same as her in personality in person. She explains concepts in a way that is accessible and easy to understand. She truly is our Fairy Bra Mother. She uses humour to poke fun at the perfectionist nature of many sewists. Many times she comments on the fact that as sewists we will probably redo things to ensure that they are completed in the correct manner and with an exact ¼ inch seam allowance. This seems to be an attempt to lower the anxiety sewist feel to create “perfect” garments. No doubt she’s experienced this first hand teaching many bra classes at her Hamilton store. She is not a fan of using pins and suggests that sewing slowly and readjusting the fabric as you sew is a better way to achieve control over your fabric. It has taken me a while but I have come over to the dark side, only using pins if absolutely necessary while sewing bras.
I like the breadth of information provided in this course. There were so many techniques shown that it is overwhelming. She provides templates for adjusting the back band to create a racerback, keyhole racerback, and strap extension. Beverly also teaches you how to draft a partial band bra. She recommends having a full band bra pattern that fits and then modifying it to create a partial band bra. This way, she says, you save money on patterns and can adapt the one full band bra that fits you to create many different styles. There are also templates for long and short tapered straps, and positioning for three small straps. These templates take the guesswork of pattern drafting out of the equation.
There wasn’t anything that I disliked about this course. The instruction was detailed, specific and at a pace that was understandable and accessible to the viewer. It is imperative that you already have a well fitting bra pattern before you attempt any style changes. There is no point wasting your time making a bra look pretty, if it doesn’t fit and you won’t wear it. This course does not address lace application. It would have been nice to address lace, even in a small way as it is such a key component to so many bra designs. Beverly says that there is so much to talk about when discussing lace that it would need it’s own course. Well, Beverly I would take that course!
I am beginning to incorporate the techniques I have learned from this course into my bra making. So far I have made a short tapered strap, downward hike, and drafted a partial band bra. Beverly’s instructions were easy to follow and I had no difficulty making adjustments or drafting a partial band bra from my existing full band bra pattern. It is exciting to learn all of these new techniques as I can look at RTW bras and identify the techniques I would need to use in order to achieve the look.
Overall Rating 1-5 plus explanation: 5
This class is full of useful tips and tricks as well as pattern drafting techniques and style inspiration. If bra making is your thing, this class will provide you with all that you need to take your bras to the next level. Bra making is unlike most other sewing because you can’t try on the bra until it is complete. This means that self-drafting and changing style lines can be problematic and result in tears and wasted picot elastic, if you don’t know what you are doing. This class takes the guesswork out of making changes to the cups, seams, bridge, straps, and back band.