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From Bras to Bags

ld bras can be obtained from some charity shops, although it must be said that you may get some very strange looks if you have to ask for them. I was once told by a very indignant shopkeeper that he kept any that came in specifically to grow his marrows in!

You could always buy a new one to save embarrassment! They can be bought really cheaply these days, although this may stifle your creativity as they are usually so pretty that you feel they don′t need embellishment.

There is very little stitching in the construction of this bag and it is really not necessary to use a sewing machine as it can be done much more easily by hand.

The Finished Bra-Bag


deally you will need an underwired bra, the one I have used for this bag is a size 34B which has given a nice sized bag. Of course you may want to use any other size that is easily obtainable but I would advise not using anything too large!

In addition to the bra you will need a small quantity of lining material and anything that you fancy to decorate the bra. This could be sequins, ribbons, buttons, beads in addition to any hand or machine embroidery.

Most bras are made from manmade fabrics so if you choose to dye your bra, you will need transfer dye in your chosen colour. This dye is quite different from the Dylon that is readily available for natural fibres.

For suppliers of dyes and other materials see the Links page.

an old bra for raw material An Old Bra from a Charity Shop


o colour your bra, mix a good teaspoonful of dye in a pan of boiling water and immerse it for 3-4 minutes until you are happy with the colour. Remember to use an old pan for this and not one that you plan to use for cooking in the future.

You can also dye any scraps of synthetic lace or ribbon using this method.

Pots of transfer dye powder Pots of Transfer Dye Powder


egin by cutting the cups away from the sides at the back and the join across the middle. Cut the shoulder straps from the back, but not the front. If the straps are detachable you will need to anchor the end that is attached to the cup.

Stitch the loose end of the strap to the opposite side of the cup to make a handle. If you have a bra with a large cup take in a pleat or two down the length of the cup.

two pots of transfer dye powder Pots of Transfer Dye Powder


ut a paper template for the lining of the bag by flatening the bra cup as much as possible and drawing around it. You will have something similar to the example shown right.

Next cut 2 pieces of lining material, adding about 1cm all around for seam allowance. Join these pieces together by stitching around the curved edge at the bottom and up the side as shown.

I would recommend that you do this with a sewing machine but it is not strictly necessary.

Paper template from bra cup Paper Template

bag lining cut from template Bag Lining


ow for the fun part decorate the cups of your bra in any way you choose. You could add lace, beads, buttons, sequins, embroider using hand or machine stitch.

If you plan to add any kind of frill to the bag, measure the edge you plan to trim and cut a minimum of twice this length from the lace you plan to use. Remember to cut two lengths, one for each side! Gather this up by stitching a long running stitch aIong the edge and then pulling it up to the final length. Pin each end of the lace onto the end of the bra and ease the remainder of the length into place giving and even frill.

Once all the embellishment is complete, it is time to assemble the bag.

Detail of Embroided Bag Bag Lining


se the elastic cut from the back pieces of the bra to gather the top edge of the bag this will avoid it gapping too much. There are usually four pieces of elastic one at the top and bottom of each back.

Stretch one piece of the elastic as much as you can, and pin it in place around the top of each cup on the inside. Remember to leave enough room at the top so that it can be easily covered when the lining is inserted. If you have a larger bra, you may want to use the third and fourth pieces of elastic in the same way but lower down, around the centre seam of each cup.

Elastic gathering top of bag

Finally use the back fastening of the bra as a clasp by joining it to the top centre of each side of the bag, line the two pieces up carefully so they give a neat finish.

Join the two halves around the curved underwired portion of the bag. It is probably easiest to do this with a stab stitch.

To complete the bag, insert the lining. This will probably be quite large but will give a nice full effect. Stretch out the elasticated top to allow the full width of the lining to be pinned into place, turning the top edge under.

You should now be the proud owner of your own bra bag! Individually designed and customised. See how many people recognise it for what it is!

the clasp made from bra fastening