With Spooky Season upon us, it’s no surprise that black, strappy lingerie has started popping up on my inspiration boards, and it didn’t take long for me to start brainstorming how I could integrate an upside-down pentagram onto a bra. A strappy detail like this could be incorporated into lots of different bra patterns, but here are some tips that I picked up from making my version!
(Psst, if you want to get everything you need to copy my longline bra, you can purchase this as a kit!)
I had an idea to color-block the front using our amaaaazingly soft and luxurious black stretch velvet, and contrast it with a single layer of black bra tulle. Bra tulle is incredibly light and transparent, but also rigid and supportive. It has a tiny bit of mechanical give in one direction, and you can add another layer (cut in the opposite direction) for a bit more strength. (The kit also includes the option to add sheer cup lining, which is even more stable and rigid.)
To create the color-blocking effect, I cut the front pattern piece along the boning guidelines, and added seam allowance to each piece. The velvet piece does have a piece of bra tulle behind it, because the front of the bra needs to be non-stretch. I simply layered the two pieces and treated them as one piece. I sewed the new “side front” bra tulle pieces to the “center front” velvet/bra tulle piece, and then made the rest of the bra as instructed. One benefit of the color-blocking is that it made it super easy to add the front boning pieces and make them symmetrical later on!
I used the stretch velvet for the cups without any lining, but I could’ve used stretch mesh or stretch tulle for a bit of extra support. I finished the neckline and the top of the bridge with foldover elastic all in one pass, but honestly, it would have been easier to finish each cup edge and the top of the bridge separately.
I just used a layer of black powernet for the back bands, but I could’ve covered them in black velvet too. Everything else went as instructed for this bra, a 75mm hook and eye closure, underwire channeling, boning, plunge underwires, etc etc etc.
One small difference from the instructions, and purely by mistake, is that I flipped the channeling for the underwires up into the cups, rather than down onto the cradle. For me, it didn’t affect the fit and actually I’m glad that I don’t have the extra seams and stitching on the cradle to break up the simple, transparent look.
And now the straps! These absolutely stumped me, and it took a lot of trial and error, pinning and re-pinning, stitching straps and cutting them off and re-stitching them and cutting them off again, until I settled on the final version.
Initially I planned to anchor the star to the regular strap points at the tops of the cups (that’s why I have 15mm rings there), but the horizontal strap pulled the cups inwards, which caused gaping in the neckline. I tried crossing the shoulder straps to incorporate into the star, but the end result never looked right. After looking up other examples, I decided to ignore the shoulder straps and make the star it’s own separate thing.
I also experimented with the straps looping around my neck in different ways, and adding a g-hook closure at the back of my neck made it super simple to put the bra on; once I unhook the straps at the neck, the whole star detail just flops forward, and I can take the bra off normally.
The choker part leads to two 15mm rings (I’m using 12mm elastic, so I sized up the rings to accommodate for two straps), and the straps connect from there to either the center-front ring or a midpoint along the neckline. The lengths of the straps were mostly determined by holding up a measuring tape to my chest and adding about 1cm on each side for attaching them. It was tough to find a balance between lengths that weren’t too long (then the straps were too slack and it distorted the star) or too short (then it pulled the bra uncomfortably, or the choker), but I got there eventually. Usually, I (carefully) pinned strap pieces into place before stitching them for good.
Things I could’ve done differently? I could’ve made each star strap adjustable, but the order of operations was frying my brain, plus I didn’t want to introduce extra pieces into the nice, smooth lines of my star.
I could’ve added rings to where the straps connected to the neckline, but I felt like it would’ve shrunk my star too much. With the size of strap elastic that I used, I felt like it needed the extra space.
But overall, I’m really thrilled with how this piece came out, the velvet is gorgeous and the star is really fun! It’s great to have an idea like this and be able to bring it to life!