I had inspiration. I had a design. I had porcelain components so I could bring myself and my work into the piece. I had made a trip to a local fabric shop with my sister, so I had fabric and thread and glass beads and interface and ribbon and needles. I was ready! Then, as we sat in the car my sister asked "so, how do you build a bra?" GAH! I didn't have clue! Or a bra!
We stopped at a thrift store and got a gently used bra that matched the cup size requirements, testing them to see how stable they were by seeing whether they would support a mobile phone. One won the competition and came home with us. At home, I cut it down to just the cups, because I had no idea how non-stretchy fabric would work over the stretchy body of the bra, but I guessed it was not going to be a good fit.
I looked up loads of costuming and clothing tutorials, and cobbled together my own way of making a bra. It would be suitable for belly dance- halter neckband of ribbon and interfacing covered by fabric, firm side bands made of more of the same. I made it adjustable, because I'd hoped to have it finished in time for the runway and I wanted it to be easy for the models and dressers. Fun fact: an American size 38 bra band is actually 33 inches. A 36 is 32 inches. Don't get me started on pants sizes...
After lining the cups with interfacing so they were a bit firmer and able to handle the weight of the beading, I began building all of the different band and connector pieces. Hand sewing was taking a long time, so I borrowed a sewing machine from yet another friend(nothing is made in a vacuum! You NEED community! I need community!) and the assembly of the flat pieces went MUCH more quickly! Then I went back to hand sewing to assemble everything. Pliers quickly became my best friend because sewing through multiple layers of interfacing and working around underwires is NOT for the faint of heart. It turned out pretty alright:
To see the initial inspiration and sketch, start with the post "Try New Things, Help Your Community." To learn about the porcelain components, go to "Porcelain Embellishments: Buttons and Beads." To see about the decoration process, head on to the next post, "Bringing it All Together."