I sewed up the Berkeley Bra Pattern by Orange Lingerie this week. I wasn’t planning on getting this done. I wasn’t even planning on being able to get any sewing done this week; however, when Orange Lingerie dropped this new pattern, I knew I would have to drop everything else and make this bra!
The Pattern & Fabric
The Berkely Bra Pattern by Orange Lingerie is an all-lace underwire bra, making it supportive and beautiful! If the “all-lace” part of all-lace scares you, be assured that there are other support fabrics incorporated. Power mesh supports the band, while standard lingerie lining anchors the lower cup, bridge and power bar. I did keep these above items in mind as I selected my fabrics and notions for this pattern- making sure that the power mesh and lining looked cohesive underneath the lace. I started out with a nude power mesh, but after holding up the pieces, I realized that a light pink would look better. I also took some extra time when cutting out the stretch lace to make sure that the scallops extended below the seam lines and that the center front pieces were symmetrical.
Cup & Frame Construction
The cup consists of a standard two-piece pattern- the upper and lower portions. Once these are seamed and topstitched, I stabilized the upper cup lace edge with clear elastic (this is especially important since you are working with stretch lace, and the upper cup portion is unlined). The power bar is made from the doubled lining fabric and attached to the inside of the outer completed cup. This step represents one of the biggest differences of this bra pattern from others I’ve made, and it took me some time to wrap my head around this concept & construction.
With both cups completed, I sewed them to the frame. The frame in this pattern is also unique- consisting of two power mesh-lined lace pieces sewn together at the center front, with the bridge piece attached to the inside. I loved this technique and the finished look of this band & frame! To facilitate construction, I hand basted the power mesh and lace together to assure that they were lined up correctly, making sure that the power mesh did not extend below the bottom of the lace scallops.
Underwire Casing and Elastics
The underwire casing was added next, followed by the upper and lower elastics. Another unique element of the Berkely Bra Pattern is the lower elastic band application. Instead of a two-step approach, this pattern calls for the elastics to be added in two pieces creating an “X” at the center front. All of the raw edges are enclosed by the final underwire casing attachment, making this a fast and functional way to add the band elastic.
Straps & Closure
Adding the elastic straps was also unique in this pattern. The first step involved basting the straps to the pre-marked area of the band, followed by incorporation into the lower elastic band application. I finished the straps off by simple bar tacks at the upper band elastic and of course to anchor the strap ring on each front side. And finally, I added the 3-hook closure by sewing a square box around the pieces through all layers. If you are looking for more details on some of these lingerie techniques, you can check out my other blog posts here.
I have made several bras from this designer and used my standard size for this project. I found the fit to be consistent in the band and cups and only changed the strap location to better fit my shoulders. Since this bra is constructed of stretch lace, I found the fit to be extremely comfortable with just the right amount of support. Depending on the stretch lace & power mesh you select, you may end up using a smaller band or cup size so making a muslin from you fabrics is suggested.
Making the Berkeley Bra Pattern by Orange Lingerie was the highlight of my week! I’ve made the other three bra patterns from this designer (Marlborough, Boylston, and Fenway) and found this one to be the prettiest and the easiest. If you are new to lingerie techniques and bra making, this would be a great bra to start you off. I look forward to hearing how you like this new pattern and if you love it as much as I do!