Monday, November 2

Bikini Time!

Just in time for sewing for the upcoming resort season - announcing the newest pattern in the Pin-up Girls line - the Triangles and Tangas Bikini pattern!

Pin-up Girls is proud to present this collection of triangle tops and tanga bottoms for beachwear, swimwear or posing suits for fitness competitions. All tops are non-wired and use a variety of methods of constructions for the ultimate in sewing choice and freedom.

The tops fit a breast measuring from 6" to 9.5" in the cross cup width. The bottoms fit hips measuring 33-45". But a word of caution - these bottoms are a cheeky tanga style with the cheeks exposed (not as much as a thong...but still with a little exposure!)

Bonus - instructions on how to sew the elastic inside the strap and ties - with no shifting and no hassle!

The MALIBU is a classic all-fabric triangle that ties at the back and has halter straps. Co-ordinating or contrast bindings. The bottoms tie at the hip

The MIAMI has a band running under the cups made with darted fabric over cut-and-sew foam lining for the best in comfort (you can hide those nipples!) and ease of sewing. The bottoms have a band criss-crossing at the centre front.

The MAUI features the latest in tanga fashion with a Brazilian scrunch along the centre back of the bottoms. The top is made from pre-formed triangle foam cups (our MT style). These cups will cover beautifually with darts, pleasts or even seamlessly with a stretchy fabric!

Of course, any sewist worth her buttons knows that you could easily mix and match any top with any bottom, for a virtually unlimited bikini wardrobe! 

All three views in seven sizes are included in the pattern envelope. Available in English only

Friday, October 30

In the News!

Great news! We were written up by Paola Lorrigio of the Canadian Press and featured in the Hamilton Spectator, City News and others today! You can see three of our students here - Julia in the back left, Adrienne up front and Jessie with me on the right!

Adrienne Connelly, who has a pitcher's hand and ball tattooed on her forearm, works on a baseball-themed bra for the Blue Jay's post season during a bra-making class with Beverly Johnson of Bra-makers Supply in Hamilton on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. Thanks to Johnson's expertise - she has taught over 30,000 women how to make custom bras - Hamilton has become known as the bra-makers capital of the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power


HAMILTON – Sophie Ndala watched her mother wrestle with ill-fitting lingerie her whole life and painstakingly alter oversize bras that nonetheless dug into her shoulders and provided little support.
With bra shopping a bust in their home country of South Africa, Ndala travelled thousands of kilometres to southern Ontario to learn how to help her mother — and maybe start a business herself.
She enrolled at Bra-Makers Supply in Hamilton, a sewing store and custom lingerie school that has grown into an international attraction for both amateurs and professionals.
For nearly two decades, the store’s owner and self-described “fairy bra mother” Beverly Johnson has shown women — and the occasional man — how to handcraft bras that fit bodies of various shapes and sizes using her own patterns.
Johnson, 62, launched the school — one of the only programs of its kind — after years of leading workshops across Canada and around the world.
Between her in-person lessons and new online courses, Johnson estimates she’s taught more than 30,000 people to make beautiful and supportive bras. Some have gone on to start their own businesses or teach lingerie-making themselves in stores such as The Make Den in west-end Toronto.
A recent weeklong master class on plus-size bras saw Ndala create a pale blue prototype to take home to her mother — who has large breasts but a petite frame — and replicate. If the undergarment fits, Ndala said she plans to start sewing some for others.
“There’s really a need out there for people to make bras for people who can’t have them anywhere,” Ndala said. “You don’t get these at the stores because they never make them like this, they only make for certain sizes for average women.”
Several of her classmates already have their own lingerie lines and turned to Johnson to hone their skills.
“I really want to hit the mastectomy market,” said Holly Myers, a custom bra-maker based in Portland, Ore.
“One of my aunts had breast cancer several years back and I’m also a pilates instructor, that’s kind of my first career, and I have quite a few clients who have mastectomies as well … and they always complain about not being able to find cute bras and cute swimwear.”
After buying Johnson’s first book on bra-making, Myers sought out further instruction, but “nobody really teaches custom anywhere,” she said. Here, she learned how to make her own breast forms for mastectomy bras.
A longtime seamstress, Johnson came to lingerie in the 1990s after making dance and figure-skating costumes and running her own interior design business in New Brunswick.
She wanted something she could do out of her own home after moving to Ontario and felt bra-making was something “women can use,” she said.
But the patterns available at the time weren’t up to snuff, so Johnson set out to design her own, first taking apart dozens of existing models for research.
As Johnson’s teaching took off, a new challenge emerged: finding the proper materials to support her craft.
That remains a “major headache” to this day, she said. “In Canada especially, we’ve lost a lot of our fabric mills, we’ve lost a lot of our places to buy elastics and laces and that sort of thing,” she said.
Bra-Makers was born to fill that need and now commissions all of its elastics and most of its fabrics, she said.
The school, which operates in the back of the shop, offers a range of classes from a $225 two-day introductory course to a $600 five-day “boob camp” and lessons in swimwear and corsetry.
In the beginner class, students adapt patterns to their own body. “We don’t expect their body to fit into my bra pattern,” Johnson said.
The master classes were brought in to replace what once was a nine-week bra-making certification course after new provincial regulations forced Johnson to axe the program or register as a private career college.
With a bit of practice, even novice bra-makers can churn out a new undergarment in a few hours, she said.
Over the years, Johnson has helped women overcome several bra-related difficulties. In one case, students designed a specialty bra that closed with magnets at the front for a blind woman unable to reach behind her back.
The results can be life-changing, she said.
“We’ve done bras in our classes for women with mastectomies who had really given up on wearing nice clothes — they just wanted to wear sweatshirts to hide the fact that they’d had one breast chopped off,” she said.
“And so we’ve given them back, just through the act of having them make a bra, we’ve given them back their femininity, we’ve given them back their life, their love for fashion. We just make people happy… nobody’s going to put you down and nobody’s going to make you feel bad because we all have issues with the bra.”

Hamilton Fashion Week

One of our former students came in today and told us she was asked to participate in Hamilton's Fashion Week! Isn't that exciting?

The event will feature fresh, young Canadian designers from the area, including clothing and swimwear designers Hey Hey & Co. We are SO proud to see them in this show!

Fashion Week runs from Thursday November 4th through Saturday November 7th. There are afternoon as well as evening shows and each time will feature different designers and their collections.

All the events will be held at either 252 James Street North (Christ Church Cathedral) or 121 Hughson Street North (the Spice Factory).

Tickets are $20 for each show or get a 4 day pass for only $50. You can find out more information on the event here.

Go out and show our Canadian designers you want to see more of their stuff! Will we see you there?

Tuesday, September 22

Sidewalks for Sale

Come one, come all to the Annual Ottawa Street Sidewalk Sale! It's happening this Saturday September 26 from 9 am through 5 pm!

All vendors on the street are setting up their tables for the best-ever Sidewalk sale event. Here at Bra-makers Supply, we are not selling sidewalks....BUT, we have dug deep into our stock to offer the best bargains on items specifically for bra-making. That includes fabrics, laces, elastics, hooks and eyes, fabric trios, patterns, underwires and other essentials.

Prices are below wholesale costs and are priced to MOVE. Some examples are gorgeous stretch or rigid laces - $1 for a half metre length (regular $8 metre)
Underwires in selected sizes - 0.10 per pair (regular $2.50 pair)
Hooks and eyes - bag of 10 - $2 (regular $15.00)
Sliders and rings - bag of 100 - $5.00 (regular $30 per bag)

Saturday, June 6

Press & Peel a new Bra!

Here at the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference, we were lucky to have a student in our class who found a new way of cloning garments. When we combined that method with some bra-making ingenuity, the results were nothing less than spectacular!

Traditional cloning is done with the bra cup pinned out to a foam core board. This takes time (about one hour) and the accuracy of the result is due largely to the accuracy and skill of the person  doing the pinning. If she pulls too far, or not enough, the results can be less than perfect.

In this new method, it is as easy as can be, thanks to some advances made in the KITCHEN! Yes, we use Press & Seal to make the pattern!

You need to wear the bra to be cloned - this pushes the cup out to the correct shape and size. And the bra must fit the way you want it - no point in making a bra that doesn't fit!

Tear off a strip of the Press & Seal and press it to the bra over one section. it will stick to the fabric very nicely

 Use a permanent marker to trace to the seamline (not the topstitching line)  around that section, taking care to have the cup as smooth as possible.

Then peel off the piece very carefully. Make sure to keep any teensy-weensy wrinkles that formed as part of the shaping process.

Repeat for the other sections of the cup.

Then remove the bra to press and peel the frame. This part is a lot easier to do when it is off the body and laid flat. Here's the front bridge area. 

I even marked the edge of the bow (which I did not mean to do!)

For the back band, you should stretch the band until the fabric lays flat. If I'd had a foam core board, I would have pinned this band to that, but I am at the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference right now (held at a monastery) and don't have my foam core board with me. it's not likely the monks would have any foam core lying about either!

I had my lovely assistant hold the band to its pulled position.

When you finish tracing, let it go. The band will crinkle up back to its elasticized size, but don't worry - all will be well when we peel it off. It will go back to its original size.

Now comes the fun part! Transfer the traced outline to paper! Stick the plastic to a piece of paper starting at the centre and working out, smoothing the plastic as you go. Don't get rid of those tiny shaping wrinkles but rather curve the paper to fit the plastic.

Once you have the parts on paper, true the seam lines and add seam allowances. Then sew up your lovely new bra!