In a previous post, I talked about the job your breasts have been preparing for since your teenage years. When you are pregnant, you may get away with a retro fitted "regular" bra such as the Classic or the Shelley. However once your breasts get the promotion from getting-ready-to-feed-a-baby to their new job of feeding-the-baby, it's a whole new bra we are talking about.
To better illustrate the triumphs and tragedies of making nursing bras, I have some photos and advice of someone (not me!) who has sewn many nursing bras and lived to tell about it. Amber is an American who is now lives in Finland. I first met Amber when I went to the European Bra Summit in 2012 where she spent many days in my classes. She has been drafting bras ever since. For Amber, nursing bras....wait....Amber says it best...
"I'm really enjoying how this bra-making movement has become more mainstream, and more people have access to information!
I remember finding your book on the internet, years ago, and begging for my mom to send it to me for my birthday. I used to read it when I was nursing baby #1, because I was too intimidated to sew anything yet. At 75 euros per nursing bra, I figured that I'd better learn how to make them before we had baby #2. Little did I know I would even want baby #3, or that I would finally master the nursing bras during his nursing...
- nursing clips. how they are connected to the sling, cup and strap,
- slings : to hold the strap down when breast feeding (and in larger sizes to keep the breast mass from falling to the side and out of the bra)
- and third, the strap: fabric, padded, strap elastic is the most common that I have seen -and not as supportive or comfortable.
Here is my collection of Nursing bras- some from 2012 when I was nursing baby #2, and others that have been made for baby #3, pictured here!
These I wore in the hospital, and days after giving birth. when the milk is coming in and the breasts are engorged. Easy wash and wear. Not particularly supportive but very comfortable, when milk is dripping everywhere. These pictures are taken way after engorgement has gone down- so they look large, but the cups fit when I first delivered.
Based off of the Pin-Up girls pattern- with gathers at the bottom of the cup, and fold-over-elastic for the neckline edges.
Pink Butterfly Lace based on Pin Up Girls Classic Pattern
Key features: wide strap tape, split lower cup, ruffle neckline trim, upper cup modified for nursing clip, and folded jersey sling.
This was the first nursing bra that I really loved, and would put on when I needed to feel special. I used the one-handed nursing clips.
The little ruffle on the neckline is the only drawback- moving it continuously to feed the baby meant that it got trapped under the bra, and it tickles... lol
Here's the sling inside. I finished the edge of the sling with fold-over elastic
Hot Pink Stamped- Pattern Pin-Up Girls Classic
Made from duoplex stamped with fabric markers, Padded straps (so comfortable!), split lower cup, upper cup modified for fold-over-elastic and nursing clips.
Pink& Black Lace Bra
Drafted with your method I learned in (Stockholm 2012) . It features a horizontal seam and split lower cup, wide nursing clips, fabric straps and fold-over binding on the neckline. Made from Duoplex, powernet, lace & cotton.
Ivory & Lace Nursing Bra made from Duoplex, powernet & lace.
Lace & powernet upper cup, powerbar modified for nursing clip, lowered bridge. The strap elastic is really stretchy, and the power bar really moves tissue to the front, that I did not accomidate for.
Ivory Nursing Bra: this one used my drafted cup, which I changed to a vertical seam. Made from Duoplex, cotton & powernet.
This bra encompasses many of my favorite nursing bra features: Gothic Arch, a 3-piece cup, cotton fabric straps, 3 X 3 Hook & Eyes, Elastic strap extensions and a folded cotton sling. Here's the bra turned inside out so you can see the sling. There is elastic on the edge of the sling as well as separately on the outside fabric.
Center front channeling overlaps for thin bridge. I've got the bra inside out so you can see the overlap.
I made short tube straps to connect nursing clips
My bra making confidence has definitely benefited from all the things I've learned in the last year and a half. Thank you for offering to share that with other people, so that they can have some examples to look at and see!"
Well done, Amber! Thank you sew much for letting us see these. You have done an amazing job. I can see the progress in these bras and the latest ones are truly professional quality!