THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

April 19, 2007

Adding bra cups to a halter top or dress

Filed under: Fabric,Fit/Pattern Alterations,Gigi,Patterns,sewing — Gigi @ 5:13 pm

Yesterday, I began work on the Hot Patterns’ Cha Cha Cha halter dress. Rather than worrying about being able to find a comfortable halter bra (and having to fuss with that with each wearing) I decided to add bra cups instead. Since this is a casual garment, I opted to sew the cups into the lining. On a dressier garment, I think it would be nicer to attach the cups to an inner layer such as stretch illusion and hide the construction with a lining.


First, I want to point out that I am working with a knit – a beautiful rayon/lycra from Fabric Mart. Were I working with a woven fabric, I would elect to attach the cups temporarily – probably using snaps – to make ironing easier.

Step 1: Pin the garment together, substituting the lining sections *wrong side out* for the outer bodice sections. Try on, pinning the cups into position *on the outside*. This way you will be spared the step of transferring markings from the outer bodice sections to the lining sections. I basted the center front together to make this easier – you can just pin that if you prefer.


Step 2: After removing the garment, I used a little help (a lime!) to make pinning a little easier. You want to allow enough ease inside the cup for the bust.


Ready for sewing!


Step 3: Sewing from the fabric side, I felt my way around the edges of the bra cup. A trolley needle was very helpful for easing in the fullness where necessary.


Step 4: The sewn cup from the inside and outside – it really is very easy to accurately sew around the cup even though you are only relying on feel to guide you.



Once both cups have been sewn into the lining, I will remove the center front basting and baste the lining and outer pieces together and proceed as per the pattern instructions. An easy addition that will make a summer dress much more comfortable to wear!

UPDATE 4/21/07: See the completed dress at Behind The Seams


  1. Great tutorial, Gigi and I can’t wait to see you wear your finished dress! I envy you this one, for even with cups inside, I still don’t think I could pull this off! Some people just should not go strapless and I think I am one of those people!

    Comment by lorna — April 19, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  2. Thanks Gigi for sharing this tutorial. I am looking forward to see your finished halter dress.

    Comment by Els — April 19, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  3. Thank you for this very useful tutorial! I’m also looking forward to see your finished dress!

    Comment by Tany — April 19, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  4. Can’t wait to see the finished project. (sadly, the cantelopes I’d need for this are out of season…)

    Comment by Vespabelle — April 19, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  5. I really like this idea! Do you mind if I put a link to this on my blog?

    Comment by Holly — April 19, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

  6. Thanks so much for this tutorial Gigi! I’ve bookmarked it!

    Comment by Erica B. — April 19, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  7. That’s a wonderful tutorial! There are so many beautiful patterns out there that I don’t make because I have having my straps show, or the backs are bare, etc. That would be a great solution. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Isabelle — April 20, 2007 @ 7:29 am

  8. Holly, please feel free to link away. I love your blog!

    Comment by Gigi — April 20, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  9. That’s a *great* idea, Gigi! Does the dress fit snugly enough to, um, hold the cups in place?

    Comment by Lisa Laree — April 20, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  10. Great idea, Gigi.. I was actually just reading about doing this last night in the latest issue of Sewing Stylish.
    2 questions… where do you get your bra cups from and also, what is a trolley needle?
    Thanks for your great ideas.

    Comment by melanie mabe — April 20, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

  11. My mom would adore this site… She is simply obessed with knitting. Maybe I’ll tell her about it…

    Comment by Sinead — April 21, 2007 @ 1:39 am

  12. Simply wonderful, and timely tutorial, Gigi and I love your hot new dress!

    Comment by Mary Beth — April 21, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  13. What a brilliant idea! The dress looks fantastic and I love your website. I think I’ll be using this idea. I also hate the look of bra straps and the clear straps you can get now seem to loosen up over not a lot of time (less than an hour). Thanks for the tutorial!

    Comment by rubydarling — April 22, 2007 @ 2:47 am

  14. Gigi – a limes a sewing tool is – brilliant!

    Comment by Phyllis — April 22, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

  15. Thank you for the tutorial. I was trying to figure out how to do this myself for my dd and you have saved me a huge amount of time, effort and most likely a lot of innocent fabric.

    I don’t know if you remember, but you helped learn how to grade a pattern about five years ago, via e-mail. My dd said to tell you thank you (said in a heart felt tone).


    Comment by Rose — April 27, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  16. This post totally makes me want to sew! I also mentioned it to my 17 yo and she really liked the idea.

    I just need to break away from the blog long enough to try to do some sewing. 🙂

    Comment by Rebecca — April 28, 2007 @ 12:02 am

  17. You should write an ebook GIgi! You know so much 🙂

    Comment by Katharine — April 29, 2007 @ 5:42 am

  18. […] when Wendy brought up the undergarment issue, I remembered this: Adding Bra Cups to a Halter Top or Dress at the Sewing Divas, a blog I’d truly be inspired by if I were doing any sewing (it’s […]

    Pingback by The Space Between My Peers » Tips on Wearing a Halter Dress — May 4, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  19. Hi Wendy , Great idea. But Help ! I am altering a bridesmaid dress. She ia a large girl,and would like to have a bra inserted in her halter type dress. Do you think that will be enougth support ? Of just sewing in cups, or do you have a better idea for a large girl. she said they do not have strapless type bras in her size. i am not sure what else i can do. the dress ties at neckline.and a bare back.—————————–
    Thank You

    Comment by Joy Holmes — February 2, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

    • Are you the same Joy Holmes that works for VSM Group?

      Comment by Gloria Horn — July 26, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  20. Wonderful just help me find the bra cups! I need C and D cups.
    Thank you,

    Comment by JP — February 18, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

  21. Where do you find these cups?? Great descriptions!

    Comment by Lynn K — April 21, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  22. Would this work for a swimsuit, especially a swimsuit to which a pocket for a partial prosthesis must be added? It would have to be secure enough for the prostesis made of silicone to stay in place by being held firmly against the breasts and not slipping down and folding and also by not slipping out of the pocket. Can’t find a masectomy swimsuit that is small enough in the ribcage while also being a D cup. Haven’t swum for three years because of this since my lumpectomy.

    Comment by Jane — May 22, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

  23. I just used this technique in a dress I made. Thank you! It worked out really well! I found my bra cups at Jo-Anns, and they were for a B/C cup size.

    Comment by Pirouette — May 30, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  24. where do you find these cups ?

    Comment by randy olsen — December 25, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

  25. If you look at some RTW camisole tops with bras inside, they either have the bra cups sewn into lining and then the back of the garment has either the back lining with added support with elastic at what would be the back bra line or have an actual bra back with bra hook. The camisole is very snug to have the breasts stay in place.

    One issue I have with making one of these is finding the exact proper size cup and getting it to fit snuggly enough so I don’t “flop around”. Having yo-yoed in weight in my life, my breasts are fuller in the bottom and flatter on top….hard to fit. I have bought dozens of these in camisoles in various colors and then added all kinds of trims, sequins, rhinestones, etc.. I have also bought heavy lace bras and sewn them into dresses as I found this easier than actually constructing a bra from scratch (being a 32D….maybe if you are a flatter girl this might be easier).

    Probably this would be easiest to make with any fabric that has some lycra to allow it to conform to the body (like my camisoles have lycra in them).

    Comment by Laura — July 1, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: