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Frequently Asked Questions

Couldn’t find what you were looking for by searching the Orange Lingerie Blog?

On this page we answer some of the questions that we get asked the most. If you don’t see what you are looking for here, let us know!

Pattern Orders and Ordering

Upon purchase we emailed you a link to download your order. If you do not see our message in your Inbox, please check your Spam folder. Sometimes our emails end up there because the word “lingerie” is used! If our message is not in your Spam folder, and you paid for your order using PayPal, check your PayPal email address.

We strongly recommend using a computer to download and store your pattern files. Downloads on mobile devices and tablets frequently attempt to download the files multiple times in rapid succession using up all your available downloads!

Be sure to print the pattern pages at 100%. There is a 1-inch square box on each pattern page so you can be sure the printing scale is correct. I also recommend printing the downloaded file from a computer. Printing from a browser or mobile device does not always work well!

A4 or US Letter size paper is recommended. Be sure to print at 100% and check the scale using the 1-inch boxes on each pattern page.

Can I purchase a hard copy of your patterns instead of downloading them?

All of our sewing patterns are available via PDF download only! It is very simple to download and print the pattern at home or at your local copy shop.

There is very little, if any, taping required since most of the pattern pieces fit within the boundaries of A4 and US Letter size paper. Each size also prints separately.

I hope you will give it a try!


You can make all but the Fenway, Lansdowne and Mystic bra patterns without the underwires; however, you will not get the same degree of support or shaping if you do so.

If you do decide to omit the underwires, I recommend raising the height of the center front (the bridge piece) and raising the height of the upper cup at the center front correspondingly. I recommend sewing the bra as directed, the only change being that you do not insert wires into the wire casing.

These alterations will help a bit if you choose to leave out the underwire.

All but the Esplanade bra use the regular underwires from Bra-makers Supply. The Esplanade bra uses their extra-long underwires. Both wire types have a nice, neutral shape. Note, based on the style of the bra, you may need to cut the underwires to size.

As you may know, bras are drafted from the underwire on up! That said, I know many bra makers who substitute underwires that are shaped differently than what was used to create the bra with very good results. I have even worked with clients who were happy with some of their ready-to-wear bras just by changing the underwires!

Try your favorite underwires in our bra patterns and see what you think!

There are so many different shapes available to purchase these days, I recommend getting a selection and trying them on to see what fits your shape best.

To help you out with this, I have a list of online bra-making materials and notions suppliers on my site here, and my book tells you how to fit an underwire to your body.


I maintain a curated list of bra-making supply companies on the resources page of my website.

I don’t have any sourcing ideas for materials or contractors since I am totally focused on working with home sewists to help them make their own custom bras!

Good luck with your search!

Pattern Alterations

You can add prosthesis pockets to most bra patterns. Just keep in mind you will likely want a more opaque lining behind lace (for lace bras) rather than leaving it transparent.

The easiest pattern to modify is the Boylston bra since it is an all-fabric bra already.

I do not have any information on altering patterns to make nursing bras, but you can check out this post from The Fairy Bra Mother Blog.

Which Pattern Should I Buy?

For new bra makers, I recommend the Marlborough bra. You will learn a variety of bra-making techniques that you can apply to making other bra patterns.

Regardless of the pattern, I always recommend making a muslin first to test the fit of the bra. In addition to testing the fit, you can test the cup coverage. I have two posts on making muslins, a fast way and a more thorough way.

The Marlborough bra would be my best pattern for a small chest. I always recommend making a muslin first to test the fit of the bra.  I have two posts on making muslins, a fast way and a more thorough way. Start by making the appropriate size A cup and see if you need to modify from there!

Both bras provide excellent support regardless of the distribution of breast volume. The key difference between the two styles is the shape that they create. The Marlborough bra is all about providing extreme lift and moving volume toward the center of the body. The Boylston bra is all about presenting a rounded shape.

I hope that helps you in your pattern selection!

Pattern-Specific Questions

I have always made strapless bras with the extra long wire and I designed my strapless bra around that wire length and shape (bra designs start with the underwire). I have never made a strapless bra with anything but the extra long wire so I do not know if you can get the same support and keep the same ability for the bra to stay put using a shorter wire. The only way to find out is to experiment!

The Boylston pattern instructions do not include directions for using foam. The instructions are for using fabric with a lining. I wrote about using foam for bra making for Threads magazine which subscribers can read here:

The instructions for the Esplanade bra include instructions for foam and you can also see my blog post on using foam for the Fenway bra.

One of the reasons I do not recommend the Esplanade bra for sister sizes is that when you make that pattern adjustment, you lose a lot of the band—and the long-line band (along with the boning) is what generates the support. For example, if you use the 36DD as the sister size for the 32G, you will see that you give up a lot of band. I usually recommend larger cup sizes (especially with smaller bands) move into more corsetry-oriented garments to generate strapless support.

All that said, if you want to give it a try, go for it! I just can’t make any promises that the Esplanade will support and stay put and provide support as it is designed to do for the stated size range. :) 

I am always working on new styles! I keep my newsletter subscribers up to date with my projects so if you join the list, you will be among the first to know!


All our sewing patterns include fully illustrated instructions to make the process of sewing bras easy to understand. If you would like extra tips and tricks for getting beautiful and professional looking results, we recommend also purchasing our book, Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction!

My book does not include any sewing patterns or drafting instructions as it is focused on bra fitting and construction, but it can be used along with your bra sewing pattern of choice.

You can purchase my sewing patterns in my shop.

The paperback version of my book is available to wholesalers via CreateSpace. Following is the information on how to order. Note my book is enrolled in the CreateSpace Expanded Distribution program.

Book resellers may apply for a CreateSpace Direct wholesale account by visiting the link below.


I do not offer private bra making lessons, but I do offer group classes. You can find a complete list of my upcoming workshops on my site.

My classes are always announced first to my newsletter subscribers and I keep a complete list of my upcoming workshops on my site.

Please contact us!

Custom Bra Projects/Hire Orange Lingerie

I no longer accept any custom bra-making commissions of any kind. I am entirely focused on my mission to get all sewists making their own beautiful and professional-looking lingerie with Orange Lingerie sewing patterns and workshops.

I only fit individuals as part of my bra making workshops. You can find a complete list of my upcoming workshops here.

I do not work with or consult for any lingerie companies. I am entirely focused on my mission to get all sewists making their own beautiful and professional-looking lingerie with Orange Lingerie sewing patterns, workshops, and instructional materials.

Note my sewing patterns are created for the individual home sewist only and are not for commercial production. As such, I do not offer a commercial license.

We do not accept any advertising or sponsored posts.


For sewing bras, you only need a standard sewing machine. For sewing underwear an overlock machine is nice to have but not necessary. I rarely, if ever, use a coverstitch machine for making lingerie.

Bra sewing is not like making other garments and requires a certain level of precision. From teaching my workshops, the students that are the happiest with their finished bras are those who have mastered the basics of sewing and are comfortable sewing a button-down shirt..

I am not aware of any vendors of ethically and/or sustainably sourced components. I have never focused on that issue since I already find it challenging to locate beautiful and high-quality materials for bra making. Good luck with your search!