Lining the cups is an optional but often desirable step in bra making. If you’re using a totally non-stretch fabric like duoplex or rigid lace for your frame and cups OR desire a softer stretchier bra then you can happily skip this step. However, there are often times when you’d like to use a fabric with more stretch but still have a firm bra OR to have a little more coverage. Lining a bra also has another purpose preserving a consistent fit. If you fit a bra pattern in a rigid fabric like duoplex if you switch to another fabric that has some stretch in the frame it’ll affect the fit that you’ve worked so hard on. Lining the cups with a rigid lining means you can maintain that fit but still experiment with different fabrics.
However in my opinion lining or stabilizing the bridge should never be optional unless you’re using a VERY firm fabric for the frame or you are making a completely unstructured bra without underwires. So what are your options? Arte Crafts Bra Making Supplies stocks a few options. Some are exactly what is used in RTW bras you’d see in store along with other fabrics that are popular with custom bra makers.
My favorite go to lining is sheer bridge and cup stabilizing lining. This is sometimes also called nylon marquisette. It is a mesh knit that looks like a woven net close up. It has 0% stretch along the grain and about 5% mechanical stretch along the cross grain. The weight varies from 35-45gsm (grams per square meter). If you look at the bridge of almost any of your store-bought bras you’ll see this fabric reinforcing this part of the bra that is under the most stress. You may also see it in the cups and lining the rest of the frame. Often times this fabric is cut into strips and folded to finish and reinforce various seams in the bra. It is a 100% nylon and the white is completely dyeable with RIT or acid dyes. I’ve found it takes up the dye quickly and evenly, and it one of the easiest bra notions to dye to match.
It’s mesh-like structure makes it both strong and sheer. This makes it perfect for lining a stretch lace like the red bra example up top. We stock it in dyeable white, black and flesh.
Another option that I like but only for the cups is bra tulle. A fabric that you’ll see in both high-end and high street style bras. Used for creating whisper thin yet strong lace bras and even sheer bra cups made out of just the tulle itself. I would not recommend bra tulle however for lining the bridge. My personal preference is to still use the cup and bridge stabilizing lining for that purpose.
It has a hex tulle construction that sometimes has a brick pattern look to it when viewing with the naked eye. We stock two basic versions of this fabric. A premium version which weighs in at 31gsm in white and a 35-40gsm in 10+ colors. The premium has little stretch along the grain and about 20% stretch across the grain. This is still firm enough to support the cups but helps give the cup a rounded look. I prefer to place the least amount of stretch around the body for maximum support when lining stretch laces. The premium is ultra fine and soft and similar to what you’d find in high-end bras like Chantelle.
It comes in some amazing colors though the colors are not as ultra fine as the white but pretty close.
The other kind of bra tulle that we stock is a more budget friendly off white dyeable 41gsm tulle. It’s similar to what you’d find in a more moderately priced bra. The net is a little bigger but it has a wonderful drape. We offer both options to be able to fit everyone’s needs. It’s still an excellent quality tulle but at a great price.
Other options for lining your bra includes 15 denier sheer tricot which has similar qualities to bridge stabilizer but has 50% or more stretch along the grain. It’s popular with home bra makers because it is readily available in a variety of colors and is very affordable. However, it can be very slippery to work with and may not provide the level of support desired. I use it sparingly.
The last option I want to mention is lining your bra with a lightweight power net or mesh. This can vary in weight from 80gsm to 220gsm depending on the weight of net you choose to use. This has the advantage of creating a bra that maintains a level of stretch and can be very comfortable.
What’s your favorite bra lining? Is there something that you love that I haven’t mentioned?