Sewing lingerie intimidates most sewists. I can usually ease them into it by starting with a bralette or a panty. That way he or she can tippy toe into the world of stretch fabrics, picot elastic, hooks and eyes without getting overwhelmed with sewing underwires, bra channeling and all other more advanced lingerie sewing skills. Just like sewing picot elastic or fold over elastic, sewing underwire bra channeling is not hard. It’s just something you’re not familiar with or doing. You don’t need a fancy presser foot, special thread or machine. In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the steps to sewing underwire bra channeling on the Madalynne X Simplicity 8624. The great thing about bra making is that many skills are universal, so you could apply the method below to other underwire bra patterns, including the Madalynne X Simplicity 8229.
First, what is underwire bra channeling? Usually having one plush side and one non plush side, underwire bra channeling is a tube that encases the underwire of a bra. The underwire should go INSIDE the channeling, not BETWEEN the channeling and the fabric. Ask me how I know ;) Channeling can be used in a variety of other ways – not just for underwire. I use it often at the side seam of a bralette on larger sizes. I insert plastic boning to help the bralette from rolling up.
Is there an alternative to underwire channeling? I have not heard of one, but if you have, please put in the comments below!
Shop Madalynne’s plush underwire bra channeling in the lingerie notions + trims section of the webshop! Available in beige, white, blush pink and black!
Now let’s start sewing! I’m beginning at the stage where the cups have been assembled. The bra in this post, the 8624, is a partial band bra. If you’re sewing a full band bra, you want to have the cups sewn into the frame at this point. Read about the difference between a full band bra and a partial band bra here.
First, position your bra under the machine so that the seam allowance of the wire seam line are facing one direction and the cups/cradle/ are in the other direction.
Then lay the channeling on top with plush side face up. The channeling should extend beyond the wire seam line 1/8″. You are going to stitch it down with a straight stitch so that your stitches are directly on top of the wire seam. Why? Because if your stitches are not directly on top, then you will change the the position of where the underwire sits on your chest wall. Underwire bra patterns are drafted according to the underwire, so you don’t want to change this, even if it’s just 1/8″. Also, make sure that you’re not sewing through the bra – just the seam allowances!
Usually, you will stitch the underwire from the center front to 3/4″ below the underarm. Why? This will allow you to sew picot elastic here.
After, you will flip the channeling either inside or outside the bra cups. Which way will depend on whether you are sewing a partial band or full band bra.
When you flip it, you will then stitch the channeling down and through all layers 1/8″ from the wire seam line and then again 3/8″ away – both with a straight stitch. If you’re not a fan of topstitching, you can just do 3/8″ or even have a “floating” channeling, where the channeling is not sewn down but stitched close at the center front and underarm after the underwire has been inserted. This Madalynne X Simplicity 8229 DIY kit features a floating channeling.
Once you’ve sewn the channeling down, then you will insert the underwires INTO the channeling. Stitch the underwire channeling closed at the center front and underarm (after the elastic has been sewn at the underarm).