Merckwaerdigh PBH30 Push-up Bra Cup Tutorial

Since a padded push-up bra cup is a bit more complicated to sew than the usual unlined or fabric-lined bras offered by sewing patterns, and Merckwaerdigh instructions are not written by a native English speaker, I thought I would do an in-depth tutorial on how to go about making this particular bra.

Background

Merckwaerdigh PBH30 features a partial band bra, bustier, and body suit, all with push-up style bra cups. The body suit has the option of a bikini or thong back. This pattern comes in sizes 32-44A, 30-42B, and 28-40C.

Merckwaerdigh PBH30

Merckwaerdigh PBH30 envelope

Materials

In addition to the usual bra materials you will need foam padding and push-up underwires.  The foam I’m using is from Sew Sassy. Refer to this post if you’re not sure where to find bra cup foam. Push-up underwires are much shorter than regular bra underwires. I bought my underwires from Merckwaerdigh. They were 9 pairs for about $8.50, which is a very reasonable price. You can also buy push-up underwires from Elingeria.

Cutting

In addition to cutting out the cup pieces out of your fashion fabric you will need to cut them out of the foam without seam allowances. The easiest way to do this is to retrace the two cup pieces (1 and 2) and trim the seam allowances from the pattern. Cut the foam on a single layer – a double layer of foam tends to shift and introduce inaccuracies. Cut the cookie piece (#4) four times.

Cut the inner cup lining pocket (#3) out of the non-stretch cup lining.  I consider the cup pieces optional since they are going to be placed over the foam cup, so any stretchiness will be cancelled out by the foam lining. I would only cut the cup pieces out of the non-stretch cup lining if I wasn’t using a foam lining.

Sewing the Cups

Foam Lining

Butt the edges of the foam together (pieces 1 and 2) and stitch using a 3-step zig-zag stitch. Make sure you really push the edges together as you sew. If you don’t there will be a gap between the edges.

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As you sew down that center seam you will see the cup begin to take shape. When you’re done, zig-zag very closely around the entire outer edge using a small and narrow zig-zag stitch. I used a 1.7 width and 0.85 length. This helps minimize bulk around the edges.

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Next, take your cookie pocket/cup lining piece (#3) and stitch down the upper edge seam allowance.

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Take this piece and put it against the inside of the foam lining. Pin it so the 1/4″ seam allowances overhang the foam on the outside and the inner seam allowance is are 1/4″ past the butted edge of the outer cup piece (#2). Stitch the cup lining in place to the outside edge close to the edge. Use a wider and longer zig-zag (I used 5.0 width and 3.0 length) to secure the inner seam allowance in place. When you are done, the cup should look like this:IMG_4652

Use a small and narrow zig-zag to secure the upper edge of the cup lining on the butted edge. Don’t stitch across the whole edge, just the part by the seam allowance to better secure it in place so it doesn’t come apart when you put in or remove the cookies.

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Speaking of the cookies, take two layers of foam and stitch them together at the edges with a serger (if you have one) or an overlock stitch on your sewing machine. Set the cookies aside for now.

Sew your lace cup pieces #1 and #2 together, push the seam allowances toward the side cup (piece #2) and topstitch 1/8″ from the edge.

Take your lace cup pieces and stretch them over the foam cup so there’s no puckers. Pin the lace in place. You may end up with some extra fabric around the edges; if you do, just trim it down to the width of the seam allowances.

Now, use a zig-zag with a 2.0 width and length and stitch the upper cup lace edge to the foam close to the edge.IMG_4667

Baste the other sides of the fabric to the cup. Your cup is finished and you can now proceed as usual for the rest of the bra construction.

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