How I Fit my Dress Form

I was recently asked where I found a dress form that fits my bras. The woman asking has a small back, but larger bust and has been working with a Fabulous Fit dress form for years now and still can’t get the fit right.

This is a challenge for me too.

You can see one of my bras here on my dress form. I’m always saying my dress form, Catherine, and I are not the same size. I’m going to show you just how different we are.

Dress form STUFFED.

I never thought I’d be stuffing a bra, but I do. On a regular basis too.

Dress form naked.

Here is Catherine without one of my bras on her. I put a necklace on her because, well, I just like to do that.

Here’s a side view of her.

Catherine isn’t a sewing dress form. She’s a display form for stores. She’s very basic. You can see she’s is smaller proportioned all around. We’re the same in our shoulders and rib cage. Other than that she needs to be padded out to show how anything fits on me.

Here Catherine is wearing a bra, but no stuffing or padding at all.

Now we know what Catherine has; you can see how much I’m filling in to make the bras fit her.

Tools of the trade.

Here are the tools I use to pad Catherine and make my bras look better on her.

First, and maybe all you’ll need depending on your size, is a pair of foam cups in the same size as your bra cups.

I’ve used both foam cups I’ve purchased and ones I’ve made from Cut & Sew foam. For this use, I’d recommend purchased ones. They’re a little sturdier, and I’m wanting to fill out the cups on my bra while it’s on my dress form. They’re also rounder, so give a nice shape behind the cups.

The second tool I use is a circle of cotton Lycra filled with plastic beads. It can shape itself around the smaller breast shape on the dress form and give a little more backing behind the foam cup.

The Process

Now let me show you how this looks and changes with each step.

Here’s the bra with a foam cup only filling in the cup on our left.

That’s better than nothing, but still not as good as I’m wanting.

Next I put the circle in.

You can see both the foam cup and the circle inside that bra cup.

And here’s what it looks like with both tools inside the cup on the dress form.

That’s much better. Not perfect, but much better. Both of these tools can be moved around in the cup as well, so depending on where the wrinkles are, I can move these to fill that area of the cup out a little more.

Here are both cups filled out now.

With both the foam cup and the circle form, I help my dress form be closer in size to me and make my bras look nicer for photos.

I hope this helps!

Happy New Year & happy creating!

A Review of Sewing Bras: Foam, Lace & Beyond

Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Canada Cups – Cross Your Heart Relay blog tour, 2016.

banner-improvedYou’ll see in my sidebar menu, I’m an affiliate with Craftsy. I decided to do this because I can do it without any compromise. I really do think they’re great. In fact, I love the whole concept: You buy a class that never expires; you can watch it anytime; the instructors answer your questions. From sewing to cooking to gardening and more, they have classes. They really are great!

I’m reviewing Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Bras Foam, Lace & Beyond class and so is Rachelle from That’s Sew Venice. Have you seen Rachelle’s blog? She has some great posts on her blog, and I think you’ll love what she does. Any blogger who falls in love with making lingerie is my kind of blogger too.

Here’s my review: The first thing Beverly Johnson, suggests in this class is that you take Sewing Bras Construction & Fit, which is another great class. I have that first class, and go back to review my notes again and again. I still find it valuable.

So, once we have that foundation on making bras, Beverly now takes us into the gorgeous world of lace bras. Oh, so much lace! And oh so pretty. I love lace. But as the name of the class implies, it’s not just lace. It’s Foam, and Lace, and more.

Here is some of what Beverly covers:

What lace to use

Lace on the upper cup

Full lace bras

Lace partial-band bras, and lace full-band bras

Lace and foam

Making Demi cups

Making Balconettes

Preformed foam cups

Cut & Sew foam cups

And there’s more. This class really covers a lot.

Here’s a screen shot from the class of a beautiful lace-covered full-band bra.
lace covered full band

Isn’t that lovely?

Here’s another sample from the class:

partial band

Isn’t this gorgeous? Just wow. Beverly not only makes everything look amazing, she really instills confidence that we can do this too.

Here’s one more example from the class:


The bras Beverly makes and teaches in this class rival any Ready-to-Wear bra – anytime. Every time.

Both my Eastern partner, Rachelle, and I both made a bra to go along with what we were learning from the class. Rachelle used the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern to make a Demi cup bra. I’m starting with the same pattern, but just wait until you see how different our makes are!

The bra I chose to make is from this class and Beverly’s first class (Construction & Fit): the Heather bra.

In Beverly’s first class, her model, Heather, was wearing a RTW bra that became a Craftsy hit! Everyone wanted to learn how to make this bra, and naturally attributed this beauty to Beverly.


Here’s another screen shot of Beverly measuring Heather wearing her lovely bra. I was going along with the crowd on this one – I loved that bra too.

In this class, Beverly takes us through the steps to make our own Heather bra.

Heather on Ashley smallerHere’s Beverly’s Heather bra. It’s gorgeous!

The first thing Beverly shows us is how to change the seams on our bra pattern. She takes about a minute and a half to show this, and she draws it all out and cuts it. It took me… longer than that… and a break for lunch, and two cups of tea to do mine.

IMG_0665Once the pattern was done, it was time to cut the bra out. I’m always amazed at how little fabric goes into a bra. This little pile is about to become something very pretty.

Here’s my Heather bra:


A few of the alterations I made to my Heather to make her fit me are: I lower my bridge, so my bra has more of a plunge look to it. (All my bras do.) I also used a smaller cradle and wire (Omega shape), and shortened the underarm of the bra. Those are my personal fitting alterations.

The last change I made was to  use polka dot tulle and sheer cup lining under my lace. The Heather bra usually only uses sheer cup lining.

Here’s where it all starts. Remember, go see what Rachelle from That’s Sew Venice is making – we’re both starting with this pattern. The Classic Pattern or ‘Linda’.


You can see by comparing the photo of my bra front to the pattern, the cross cup seams are different. Where the straps join is different as well. Beverly shows how to change both of these in the class. There are also some pattern pieces included in the Materials of the class, so you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

Now for a few more features of my bra.

Front bow

On this close-up of the front you can see I made my bows out of the polka dot tulle. Just peeking out from behind that bow you can see a Gothic arch. Those are so comfortable.


Here’s another little bow. Both straps have bows covering the seams where the upper cup and strap are sewn together. Another change I made was to have the trim that’s along the upper cup go all the way up the strap.

The polka dot tulle continues up the straps as well. And around the bra band for a delicate polka dot look to the whole bra.


I love polka dots.

This class was really something I’d wanted for a long time. Since I first saw the Heather bra, I knew I wanted to make one too. There is so much more in this class as well. Don’t forget to pop over to Rachelle’s post to see what she made using the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern, and read her review.

Do you have a favorite bra from one of Beverly’s Bra-making classes on Craftsy? I’d love to hear which one it is.

I want to thank Craftsy for donating this class to me to review.


Tour Schedule Itinerary

Follow the magical tour to see what we all have under our clothes

Canada Cups Logo Draft

Wednesday, September 14

Every day I’m posting the day’s links. Want to see the whole blog tour schedule? The complete schedule will be available at the end of the tour.

We have such a wonderful group of bloggers on this tour! They’ve all done an incredible job. Thank you.


 Happy creating!

A Pin-Up Girls Shelley with a Sewy Rebecca Twist

I’m still trying to decide which bra pattern I like better. It’s a very close match between Beverly Johnson’s Pin-Up Girls (PUG) Shelley pattern and Sewy’s Rebecca pattern. They’re quite similar – both feature a lace upper cup and a power bar. Shelley has a split lower cup as well where the Rebecca doesn’t.

Here’s the Sewy Rebecca photo from their web site. I’ve been to their site a number of times and am getting used to where things are even though I don’t speak any German. However, if you open their site in Google Translate, everything is much easier. You just can’t place an order on their site using Google Translate.


Oh, that’s a lovely bra!

And here’s Beverly’s Shelley pattern from the Bra-Makers Supply web site.


Absolutely gorgeous!

One difference I’ve noticed is when the patterns are both flat, the upper cup along the cross cup seam is straighter on the Sewy Rebecca than the PUG Shelley. The Rebecca is on the bottom, Shelley is on top. See how much more curved the Shelley is? But they are both the exact same length.


According to Beverly in the Bra-Makers Manuals, a straighter bottom edge on the upper cup will give more lift. Who doesn’t want more lift? However, to be honest, when I’m wearing the Rebecca, I don’t notice any difference.

So, which bra wins out? I’m still undecided. I do know one aspect of the Rebecca that does win hands down – the enclosed seams on the inside of the bra! I love that! It does take a fair amount of work, but is so worth it.

Due to my immense fondness for those enclosed seams, I Sewy-fied my Shelley this week. I added lining and followed the instructions for sewing the Rebecca to completely enclose my seams. I even upped it a bit and added a lower cup lining, so the whole inside of the cup is now lined with no seams showing. The only fault with the inside is I forgot to change thread colors and there is beige thread from top-stitching very evident on my black lining. I noticed it too late to change it.

Here’s a photo of the bra’s inside.


Oh, those enclosed seams. That is so pretty and, I think, more professional. On one Prima Donna bra that I owned, wore, and then took apart, all the seams were enclosed. I’m still trying to figure out how they did the strap and made it enclosed too. But they did.


Here’s my Shelley from the outside. I think I’ve figure out the best way to stuff the bras for Catherine. I use the cut and sew foam cups I made that are the same size and shape as the bra cups, AND the pre-shaped foam cups, which are sturdier. Finally, a mostly wrinkle free photo.

This is a fabric kit from Merckwaerdigh‘s Etsy shop. I really do love her laces. I’ve backed everything up here with sheer cup lining, Duoplex, Power Net, and elastics from Bra-Makers Supply.


Here’s my Shelley from the side. Again, I added another touch from the Sewy Rebecca and used lace on the power bar. The lace here looks so different from the same lace with the black sheer lining behind it on the upper cup.


A very basic back.

For alterations on this bra, I made a smaller cradle, narrowed and lowered the bridge, adjusted for a flat spot on the bridge and cups, made the underarm area smaller, I shortened the wire line seam (with gathers again), added linings to the cup, and used a flexible wire.

Happy creating!