Black multi color costume part 4: lining the bra

“Show me the inside of your costume and I will tell you who you are”  ~ Kyria

A costume can be worn without a lining but I personally like the satisfied feeling of hiding all the stitches and loose threads. There really is no reason why I shouldn’t put in the effort, after hours and hours on working on creating the costume and adding the beadwork. Besides covering up the stitches of your beading, it protects your bra from sweat and stains, it makes it more comfortable to wear and it gives you a place to put your label in.

I ordered my first set of labels in 2005 and am currently using a second set, in gold thread. Gold thread is not very practical and it is hard to photograph, however I couldn’t resist it. I really get a kick out of making a costume from scratch and putting my label in is a nice way to mark my work. In this case, I sewed the label to the lining of the side strap before hand stitching the lining into place.

Lining is easy and can be done with any size or shape of the bra. Bella lines her elaborate cut-out bra and belt sets and I did something similar with the pink Turkish costume that I made. It is a matter of pinning the lining fabric to your project with a couple of pins in the middle of the item. Then slowely working along the edge, carefully folding, tucking and pinning the fabric. I always pin from the outside to the inside as it prevents the pins from scratching my hands when sewing.


With a slipstitch, secure the lining into place. I prefer small stitches but if you are in a hurry, big stitches will also hold. When it comes to the order of lining, I usually choose:

  1. lining the side straps;
  2. lining the bra cup connector;
  3. lining the shoulder straps;
  4. lining the cups.

First, cut out enough fabric to line the part that you are working on (in this case, a side strap)

Pinning lining to a bra side strap
Pinning lining to a bra side strap

You’ll notice that I always pin from the outside and the sharp part of the pin faces inward. This deliberatly: it reduces the risk of scratching myself on pins and it is easier to pull the pins out while sewing. Continue tucking the lining fabric inward untill it is compeltely pinned down.

Completely pinned lining to a bra side strap
Completely pinned lining to a bra side strap

Small detail: I attached the hook and eye closure earlier in the proces and I am sewing the lining overthe points where the hook is attached. If I ever need to change the closure, most of the times tha hook stays put and it is the eye that has to be moved. I also like this method because it create a neater overall look of the costume. After pinning, I use a hemming stitch. I prefer small, tidy stitches (I start to think there’s a theme in here somewhere) but bigger stitches will also work. Sewing and costuming is all about what works. As long as it keeps the fabric in place, don’t worry about the size or neatness of your hand sewing.

Using a hemming stitch to attach lining
Using a hemming stitch to attach lining


I pull out the pins while I work and since a hemming stitch is really fast, I usually finish lining a bra strap in about fifteen minutes. I proceed with lining the bra cup connector and shoulder straps. For the bra cups I use a slightly different approach.I cut out a square piece of fabric and start pinning where the bra cup and connector meet.

Pinning lining a bra cup
Pinning lining a bra cup


I’m left with a flap of fabric, running from the apex of the cup to the side of the cup. I fold this inward (I rarely cut the fabric, as it isn’t bulky) and pin it down. I like to pin both sides before sewing it into place, to even out the seams a bit. As a check, I push my closed fist into the cup. The lining fabric should not be tense in any part. If you feel tension, remove the pins on the outside, give a bit more room and repin.

Lining pinned to a bra cup including the inside seam
Lining pinned to a bra cup including the inside seam

Afterwards I bask in the glow of a job well done and every time I wear one of my home made costumes, I am glad I took the time to add lining.



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