My goal with the Lansdowne bra was to create a cleavage enhancing underwire bra. One of my favorite pattern modifications for this bra is to add a foam “cleavage cookie” to give the bust an extra boost! This post includes a tutorial showing you what you need to do to make this fun version of this bra.
Before I dive into the step-by-step instructions, as with any bra pattern modification, I strongly recommend making a toile (a.k.a. a muslin) to test it. Often when working with foam, it is necessary to go up a cup size to accommodate the extra volume that the foam adds to the cup.
Now let’s get started!
There are two parts to making a cleavage cookie. One is the cookie itself and the second is the pocket that will securely hold the cookie in place.
To make the cookie pocket you need to use a fabric that is thin and stretchy. The pocket must stretch to enable you to insert and remove the cookie and to allow the cookie some movement. I like to use a power net or mesh or a cup lining with stretch in at least one direction. I also like to choose a color that will not stand out in the interior of the bra.
To make the cleavage cookie you will use cut and sew foam. A fat quarter (approximately 18″ x 22″) is plenty for all sizes. Foam comes in many colors and you can use which ever color is the best match for your garment.
Using the outer cup pattern piece, draw a horizontal line that intersects with the underarm corner. Now trace that line and around the bottom of the pattern piece. Add ¼” hem line to the horizontal line and label this “Lansdowne Bra Pocket LOWER”. Note the shape of the hem allowance! It needs to completely span the piece when turned to the wrong side of the pocket.
Next, trace from the line around the upper part of the pattern piece. Add ½” to the horizontal line at the underarm and then draw in a ¼” hem line. Label this piece “Lansdowne Bra Pocket UPPER”. Again, note the shape of the hem allowance.
For each pattern piece, transfer the stretch arrow to be the same as for the outer cup fabric layer, add your size, the date and the instruction “cut 2 power net or lining”
To make the pattern for the cleavage cookie, trace an outer cup pattern piece and remove the seam allowances from all sides plus an additional ⅜” from the wire line and underarm areas. Label this “Lansdowne bra cookie outer layer”. To make the next layer, trace inside the outer layer piece by ⅜”. Repeat for additional foam layers. The number of layers depends on cup size you are working with and the effect you want to achieve. For this 34B sample, I was able to create 3 layers of padding.
For each foam layer pattern piece, transfer the stretch arrow to be the same as for the outer cup fabric layer, add your size, the date and the instruction “cut 2 foam”.
Cut pocket pieces as usual matching the stretch direction to that of the original outer cup.
For the cookie, foam has very little, if any movement but the stretch direction should also be matched to the original outer cup. Cut and mark the pieces as you usually do for bra making. See my post on accurate cutting and marking for more details.
To make the cleavage cookie, start by overlocking the edges of each foam layer. If you do not have an overlocker, you can use a zigzag stitch or the overlock stitch on your sewing machine. This stitching finishes and flattens the edges of the cookie.
Once the edges are finished, hand tack the foam layers together, one layer at a time, working from the largest layer to the smallest inside layer so they there are no stitch dimples on the outer most layer. Set cookies aside. While you could also create a fabric cover for the cookie, I think it adds a bit of awkwardness and bulk and I tend to skip that.
To make the pocket, turn under ¼” along the horizontal line and stitch using a coverstitch hem or zigzag stitch to finish and stabilize the edges while keeping them stretchy. Next, overlap the pieces so you have a pocket that exactly matches the outer cup fabric piece and baste together.
To attach the pocket, during cup construction, sew the pocket to the outer cup by sandwiching the inner cup between the fabric and pocket layers sewing the cup seam.
Topstitch the seam on the outer cup side as usual then baste the pocket to the outer cup along the wire line and underarm area and treat the outer cup as one unit throughout the rest of construction.
Once the bra is complete, you can insert the cleavage cookies for an extra bust boost! Remember, you can always reduce the number of foam layers if the boost is too much.