How to Install Bathing Suit Bra Cups

comments (10) June 13th, 2011     

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Add a bra for great fit.
Zig-zag stitch around the cup edges, through the cups and the lining fabric.
Add a bra for great fit.

Add a bra for great fit.

Photo: Sloan Howard
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Get a custom fit by making a bra insert for your bathing suit with this extra to the article "Bathing Beauties" found in SewStylish Summer Fashion 2011 on newsstands now.

Purchase separate bra cups and a little extra lining to make your own custom-fit swimsuit bra. Examine your favorite bra or swimsuit to determine the best placement for you.

1) To establish a bra pattern, measure down from the underarm to beneath the bust. Mark a line on the front pattern piece 1 inch (for A and B cups) or 1 1⁄2 inches (for C cups and larger) below this point. Mark the center front. Mark a line on the straps 2 inches above the deepest neckline point.

2) Cut the bra from lining fabric, and mark its center front. With suit side up, position and pin the bra cups to the lining's wrong side. Place the cups 1 inch above the lower edge and 1 inch apart for A and B cups or 1 1⁄2 inches apart for C cups and larger.

3) Zigzag-stitch around the cup edges, through the cups and the lining fabric. Trim the lining away from inside the cup.


4) Cut and pin a strip of 1⁄2-inch-wide lingerie-weight tricot around each cup edge to cover the stitching. Overlap the ends and straight topstitch 1⁄16 inch along both edges around each cup.

5) Cut a 1⁄2-inch-wide piece of picot-edge brushed-back elastic 1 inch shorter than the bra's lower edge. Mark the center. Pin the elastic, brushed side up, to the inside lower edge of the bra, matching center marks. Topstitch using a wide zigzag stitch and stretching to fit.

6) Install your bra before sewing your swimsuit layers together. Place the bra with the skin side face up on top of the right side of the swimsuit front lining, aligning neckline and armhole edges. Baste the armholes, neckline, and side seams. Zigzag-stitch to the front lining across the straps. The lining and bra will now be treated as one piece.

Stitching Tips

Set up your serger
If you're using a serger, use a three-thread overlock stitch with wooly nylon in the upper and lower loopers and polyester thread in the left needle. 

No serger, no problem
On a regular machine, use a long basting stitch and a zigzag stitch with a stretch size 11 needle. A walking foot may help with all the layers.

Baste seams before sewing
To ease fabric handling and minimize fabric slippage, baste all seams before machine-sewing.

Learn how to construct your own bathing suit with SewStylish Summer Fashion by Laura Keith.

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Comments (10)

Valablu writes: The bra insert post is here http://www.craftstylish.com/item/86734/how-to-install-bathing-suit-bra-cups
Posted: 4:25 pm on July 10th
andreita writes: I cannot find bras in my size - 40A. How can I learn to make my own bras?


Posted: 2:33 pm on June 28th
Basti writes: Lovely, but is there some way of inserting underwired bra cups for those of us who need a little more support?
Posted: 10:31 am on June 28th
Djonee writes: Thank you I have the companpion sewstylish with the article on how sew up ur own bathing suit .... I saw a really cute Juicy couture one piece that was for 160.00 CAN YOU BELIEVE bathing suits for 160.00?? any way i like it , im gonna make it .... Sew happy I know how to do this :)!!

Posted: 8:21 pm on June 26th
Paws2 writes: Your timing is perfect......I have 2 bathing suits cut out and was just about to put them sew them up planning on inserting bra cups. Never having inserted bra cups before I was going to try to figure out how and hope that I would get it right but you have saved me a lot of time and enery!! Thanks sew much for the info !!!!!
Posted: 6:04 am on June 23rd
claudoody writes: @petunia, just you wait
Posted: 10:50 pm on June 20th
petunia4141 writes: lol.....sorry.....can't help it.
Posted: 7:36 pm on June 20th
claudoody writes: I would love to hear how to insert bra cups that not only provide coverage, but also help with lift... Any ideas?
Posted: 7:14 pm on June 20th
micksmom2 writes: Thank you so much for posting this! And thank you Tatsy for your tip on smaller bra sizes.
Posted: 4:03 pm on June 20th
Tatsy writes: This is a nice addition to a suit. One word of caution, smaller bra sizes are often farther apart, not closer. Measure a nicely fitted bra for the correct spacing of the cups. Go with your own measurement.
Posted: 11:43 am on June 20th
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