BRATOBER: Bralettes and Bottoms

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:24:26 BRATOBER: Bralettes and Bottoms


Episode Summary

Are you tired of uncomfortable, expensive bras that aren’t made for your body? Then it’s time to put your breast foot forward and celebrate BraTober by making your own bralettes and bottoms! Join Lisa as she chats with Naomi P. Johnson, Nicki Griffin, Deborah Grayson, and DeWahn Coburn about demystifying bra-making and their upcoming four-week event. BraTober begins Friday, October 8th and will continue until October 29th. This event will feature weekly prompts, Monday giveaways, and Friday virtual sew-alongs from [6:00]-8:00 p.m. EST. Register today and start making bras that give you creative freedom, confidence, and comfort.

Episode Notes

Details on Bratober 2021 Theme: Bralettes & Bottoms

Check out these websites and IG accounts.

Nikki Griffin

IG: @bratalklive
DeWahn Coburn

IG: @sewdd1104
Naomi Johnson

IG: @naomipjohnson
Deborah Grayson

IG: @colorfulfindings

Queenora Irvin

IG: @queenorareneefabrics

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:17

Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hello everybody and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. And today, we are having a very exciting five-way conversation about bralettes and bottoms. Now, the wonderful folks assembled around me today in the Zoom screen (and if you are a Patreon supporter, you will get the video of this conversation,) of course, anyone, the podcast is free. I'm happy and grateful for you to listen, but if you want a little bit of extra that is at Patreon. And for as little as two dollars a month you can have access to lots of behind the scenes stuff like this. So the friends surrounding me right now did not unanimously approve of the title of today's episode. They call their wonderful event Bratober, which is going to be the entire month of October. I suggested that they call it Titty Talk. Everyone thought it was funny, but no one really wanted to have their whole month called Titty Talk. And so, as you know, me being me the today's episode is called Titty Talk. So welcome to Titty Talk. And we are joined today by Naomi P. Johnson and Nikki Griffin and Deborah Grayson and DeWahn Coburn. And they are working in unison to get you to learn more about sewing your own bras and getting a nice beginner easy step to sew a bralette. So I'm going to turn it over to Nikki from Bra Talk Live, as well as the creative mind behind the notion of Bratober. Tell us a bit more about what made you all think of this. How did you get started?

Nikki 2:23

But you know what, I'm going to give it to Deborah, for coming up with the idea last year. Cause, you know, COVID prevented us from doing a whole lot of things, but the only history that I saw, Deborah, remember we were we were talking. There's a lingerie company back in 2013 that called their sale Bratober. And then there's another concept about brats like sausages--

Lisa Woolfork 2:26

Oh, yes. October--

Nikki 2:51

Yeah, so, Deborah, she kind of gave us the lead last year and we weren't able to do anything so we just kind of held on to it.

Lisa Woolfork 2:59

So what what made you come up with this idea? The Octoberfest of bras.

Nikki 2:59

Well I was thinking of something fun to do before Christmas. And I was thinking of, what's the one that activity that happens in October? I think it's German.--

DeWahn 3:05


Deborah 3:05

Yeah, so that's what I was thinking about. But then Nikki breathed life into it. And now it's actually something doable. So..

Lisa Woolfork 3:21

We think about Oktoberfest, which is a lot, which is very beer heavy as well. But between beer and sausage. I think there's also pretzels and cheese.

Deborah 3:31

Ha yes...

DeWahn 3:33

It's also very boobie. Like the dresses that the German women wear...

Lisa Woolfork 3:36

They're like some boobs are gonna be, it's gonna be some titties on the glass.

Deborah 3:41

And those uniforms that the waitresses wear in those German restaurants, their boobs are like--

Lisa Woolfork 3:47

Yes, they're upfront.

Nikki 3:48

Hanging out.

Lisa Woolfork 3:49

Yes, absolutely.

Deborah 3:50

There we go. So there we go.

Like 19th century or 18th century Hooters. That's what it was.

Naomi 3:55

Right? Right.

Deborah 3:57

So I think Bratober will be just fun with bras.

Lisa Woolfork 4:00

A lot of folks get really, some folks have gotten intimidated about bra-making. I know I did an episode with, I think it was with Naomi and Nikki and DeWahn, last year called "Yes, You Can Sew a Bra." And I remember just talking about some of the fears and anxieties that kind of go into bra-sewing like thinking oh, this must be too hard and whatever. Are you using this event as a way to help conquer some myths about bra-making? And, if so, what myths do you want people to unlearn?

DeWahn 4:32

That it's hard. Bra-making is no harder than any other sewing that you're gonna do. It's also much more satisfying because all of the seams are that big [gesturing that they are small] and before you know it, you have a bra that's done. Just like anything else. If you've ever made pants, the fit poses some challenges because, just like every butt is different, every belly is different, every breast is different. Sometimes very different breasts on the same body. But once you get a fit, you can bang a bra out in 90 minutes, two hours. And then it's Titty-tober, titty talk, titty time

Nikki 5:19

And the idea behind bralettes, so if whoever's listening now who have participated in bra-making this year, there was a huge conference in August. It was the international bra sewing bee. And then August was Braugust. So it was all about bra-making, all about bra-making, okay, get your bra kit do this, do this, do this and all of this harder stuff with wire bras. October, [gestures calm down] let's just calm down off of it. Let's get some cotton and elastic and just make some bralettes--

Lisa Woolfork 5:52


Nikki 5:52

Because for a beginner, making a bralette is just, let me learn how to make the cup. Let me learn how to make a band. Let me learn how to put some elastic on to it. And I'm gonna put it on. I made a thing. Yeah, so it's just exhaling off of the, gotta make this bra, the wire doesn't fit. The this and the that, let's just do this and see how we feel.

Deborah 6:15

They're a perfect canvas too. There are laces you can, you have a lot of real estate to play with color and texture and fabric.

Naomi 6:24

I am a self-proclaimed, I want my breasts in my throat. I want them way up here. [Gestures towards neck and chin] I don't want people to have the misapprehension that bras are uncomfortable when you make them yourself. The ones that you bought in the store, very uncomfortable. The ones that you make yourself, perfect, because they are made for your body. You have taken into consideration your particular level of comfort in choosing your fabric, in choosing how your elastics fit, the position of your straps. You can make an underwire bra that is comfortable. We made those first bras in April-May 2020. That was two-three months into the pandemic. I've been wearing an underwire bra the entire pandemic because I'm making them myself, they're comfortable. Far be it for me to get on a Zoom and my shit not be sitting up. Right? Like I'll get on a Zoom with my girlfriends and they can be like where they occur naturally. But I never know who's gonna be on like I don't know whose, which parent's single brother is gonna be walking by the Zoom with the kids. And he'd be like wait, wait, that's your teacher? Mmm, let me, can I be a part of the next conference? I need to be ready. An underwire bra, back to my original point, and that like an underwire bra can be comfortable if it fits your body. The things that you find ready-to-wear, they might get close. When you make it yourself it is just right.

Nikki 7:13

To continue what Naomi is talking about a bralette does not offer the support as your regular bra. You can do sports bra, you can do regular knit, you can do spandex, you can sleep in it, you can just make a pair jogger pants to go with it, just whatever you want to do. And this one is designed, this is just an example I'm talking about. This was designed to do all of that and most bralettes are.

Lisa Woolfork 8:11

Now the bralette that we're looking at right now. Those of you at home watching the Patreon video. This is a bra of your own design. Is that right? Nikki?

Nikki 8:39


Lisa Woolfork 8:40

A bra pattern, that bralette pattern that you designed. Can you talk a bit about your bralette and what you imagine some of the features are that could be very helpful to a beginner? What makes your bralette such a good beginner practice? So for someone who's nervous about bra-making

Nikki 9:00

It's three pieces of fabric. It's BJs bralette

Naomi 9:03

Excuse me, I'm sorry, hold on Nikki, who is BJ?

Nikki 9:08

I'll tell you in a second.

Lisa Woolfork 9:10

I think I might know and this ooh I gotta put this on not safe for work podcast. We got BJ bralettes

Deborah 9:15

I was going to say oh my

Nikki 9:19

No, no, no, So this is a very easy bralette. This is why I wanted the beginner to have because you're doing a cup and it just has gathers on the bottom, right at the apex point. It's got a front band and a back band and fold over elastic, it's just fun. You know, Lisa. It's got a double strap so you get some cuteness and then you've got the strapping in the back. It's got a larger back and you can place the straps wherever, this is how she wears it. But the larger back can give you just some, to help hold it up. Exactly. I got a chance to test it with a bunch of ladies and they had fun. I learned a lot.

Naomi 9:58

How come I ain't get to test it?

Nikki 10:00

Because I didn't ask before I got a chance to test it with this other group. Now that I've gotten some feedback from that very beginner group. I've got some edits to make. And then now you guys will get it.

Lisa Woolfork 10:13

That's a B plus clean up right there.

Nikki 10:14

It was, it was good, because it was the truth.

Lisa Woolfork 10:17

You're listening to the Stitch Please podcast and we are talking today about Bratober. That's right. Bra Talk Live is offering Bratober for the first time this year, and we are excited to talk about it. So stay tuned and be ready to listen to more after the break.

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast are happy to announce that we have another way to connect with our community. In addition to the IG Lives that we do every Thursday at 3pm. We also now have a Club on Clubhouse. That's right friends, they done messed up and given me the chance to have a Club. Follow Black Women Stitch on Instagram and now on Clubhouse. Thursdays at 3pm on Instagram at 3:45pm on Clubhouse Eastern Standard Time. It will help you get your stitch together.

Deborah, you were talking about the real estate of the bralette. Can you talk a little bit more about how these things can be embellished? And can, is that something that a beginner can do?

Deborah 11:29

I mean, most definitely. I'm always looking for the right design to show off my favorite addiction, which is laces. And I know there's tons of stuff in Nikki's boutique. In fact, I've got my eye on three things. I haven't had a chance to order but I will.

Nikki 11:44

Hurry up, hurry up.

Deborah 11:46

I know, I know. But yeah, you can play with the pattern, I think the design of the pattern, the design of the lace or fabric can really inspire you to create things that are specific to your liking. And then, for me, color is everything because I like to dye everything and so d-y-e, that is. So, that's fun too, to mix and match laces and fabrics with things that you've dyed to get the colors that you want.

Nikki 12:10

That's good, Deborah. Thank you. And, Lisa, to further answer that question within the pattern, there's going to be a page that talks about additional design ideas. It'll be using a lace for the cup, adding a supportive lining, using it as a swim top. And there'll be a video that goes with every design idea.

Lisa Woolfork 12:29

Oh, that's lovely. That's really great. Well, that structure reminds me of the structure of Bratober itself. So this event is taking place over a four-week period. And I believe every Friday there is an activity, there's sew-alongs. Can you give us a bit about the overview of the event, like what the four weeks will ask people to do?

Deborah 12:50

On Mondays, there's a giveaway from each of the sponsors. And then every Friday, there's a sew-along. Every Friday for two hours, 6-8 come in, and sew your bralette, whatever bralette you want to work on, however, we will feature a bralette every Friday. So we'll be working on, maybe I'll work on one, DeWahn work on one, Naomi, you know, we just pick a bralette to work on

Naomi 13:14

Yeah and when you sign up, make sure you bring your cocktails because I'm going to be coming in hot from school on Friday afternoon.

Lisa Woolfork 13:23

You're gonna be entertained by Naomi who is going to be recovering her full and total self after some children and parents and colleagues have tap danced on her last good nerve.

Naomi 13:34


Nikki 13:34

She doesn't drink during the day with kids and she saves all her cuss words for adults. So you gonna get all of it. Every week, there's a prompt. And then on Mondays we'll do the giveaway. And that's kind of it. We just expect people to just have fun making bralettes and bottoms. We'll be talking about the panty patterns also. And we'll do a giveaway on Monday and Friday sew-along.

Lisa Woolfork 13:36

And so we have Deborah Grayson here from Colorful Findings and you said that Deborah is sponsoring the first week, which is coming up quite soon. This episode is releasing the first Wednesday in October.

Naomi 14:08

It's the 6th.

Lisa Woolfork 14:09

Perfect, so like this gets you all if you're listening to this now and you're just hearing about Bratober right now, you still have time. You have not lost anything, you get to jump in right now. You are right in the swing of things. There are these giveaways and all this stuff. So Deborah, what are you giving in terms of your participation in week one?

Deborah 14:26

Oh, for those who are color junkies like me and want to learn how to create their own custom colors for their bras or to dye straps and findings to match their fabrics that, say, they bought at Nikki's shop. I have two courses live right now that will show you how to do that. And it's for beginners. It's for people who need refresher courses. And I just try to break it down so that you can dye your findings

Lisa Woolfork 14:50

And DeWahn, you've taken Deborah's dye class.

DeWahn 14:53

I've taken the first course and I love it. I just came from dying right before this session. I have a new addiction.

Lisa Woolfork 15:01

In the last year since you first took the class? I believe she first offered it last summer I believe, or was it late spring?

Deborah 15:08

I think it went live May. I got cheered on by the Black Women Stitch folks to hurry up and do it. So...

Lisa Woolfork 15:17

You're welcome.

Deborah 15:19

Thank you.

Lisa Woolfork 15:21

And dying enthusiasts, you're welcome.

Deborah 15:23

They're truly enthusiasts, I want you to know, cause I will get texts at 9:30 in the night, believe me, "I just got one quick question..." An hour later...

Nikki 15:32

What you talking about, Deborah? What? What? What you trying to say?

Deborah 15:45

Like certain people here have stayed quiet, other people just jump right in. So we know who the main culprit is. It's not a service I typically offer. But I have been known to respond to those calls.

Lisa Woolfork 15:56

And even though, DeWahn I don't know, I hope you don't mind me calling you a wayward student because though you learned a lot of great, a great deal from Deborah and from her class, you did not manage to adapt her fastidious record-keeping system that allows you make the same color twice.

Deborah 16:12

To be fair, I do give an option where you can just do your thing. So...

DeWahn 16:17

I can go where the spirit moves me.

Naomi 16:22

Where the spirit moves her. Okay. Okay, where the spirit moves you. Meanwhile, I've watched all of the classes and I'm too chickenshit to actually dye anything. So all of this stuff is still back behind...

Nikki 16:37

You just scared of the addiction. You scared of the addiction. I'm telling you...

Naomi 16:41

No, no, no, I'm too chicken to actually be messing around with chemistry-like things, I don't think that's where I thrive.

Deborah 16:47

But most of this stuff is stuff in your kitchen. So...

Nikki 16:50

Naomi, once you do it one time, I'm telling you...

DeWahn 16:54

Yeah, I was gonna say take a trip down here to Fardorf, and we can dye some stuff.

Lisa Woolfork 16:59

And all you got to do is make that Naomi pink and we will never see --

Nikki 17:02

There you go, make that Naomi pink

Naomi 17:03

You'll never see another color.

Deborah 17:05

That's fine

Naomi 17:06

Ya'll will be like, yeah, god damn, does she own anything not pink?

All 17:06


Deborah 17:10

Well you know, I love pink so...

Nikki 17:13

And Deborah, We are really close. We did a lot of browns.

Deborah 17:18

When you take notes you know what you did.

Nikki 17:20


DeWahn 17:20

Now, I will take notes with the browns cause that is definitely Like oof.

Nikki 17:25

Yeah, it is. I got all kinds of notes on the browns. But I think we're really close to hitting it consistently. But we've got some good ones that came out.

Lisa Woolfork 17:35

And it just shows you too, like all the options that can be possible when you start to realize that bra-making is not beyond your reach. I think for me, I often like get hung up or well I used to like oh, no, that's that's my that's a little complicated or I remember my husband, I was making him like I wanted to make him some boxer briefs or whatever. He says, I just don't know if those will be comfortable. And I'm like, yeah, maybe you're right. But then I would have had made some. A few years later, when I got much better at sewing and I had the serger and I was doing all the seams. And he couldn't tell the difference. And he often preferred the ones that I made. So yes, exactly. I think like what I always ask myself, like when I'm denying myself something, or I'm talking myself out of something like who is being served by this, who is being served by hundreds and thousands of women not believing they can make their own bras, that's not helping them. Anything that fosters that kind of independence I love

DeWahn 18:31

Exactly, that's just like me with the dyeing. So before when I would buy laces, I would like say okay, I'll just buy black findings and so, of course y'all know, I still bought lace, but I don't have anything to match it with. And so now I'm like oh my god, I can buy any lace I want, I can dye everything.

Nikki 18:49

She's good too, she can look at, she can have a piece of lace. You imagine her with the lace right there over the pot. [mimes stirring a pot] with the laces doing this. But she comes out, [snaps] she matches it every time.

Lisa Woolfork 19:03

That is just amazing. Deborah, you're doing a week and then you say Queenora Renee fabrics is also sponsoring a week and what are they offering?

Deborah 19:10

She is giving away some knit fabrics. That's all I'm gonna say because y'all know, Queenora Renee fabrics. Whatever she pulls out of the stash to give away. You're gonna be like, yay! So yeah, she's going to give away some knit fabrics for bralettes or bottoms just depending on what you want to make.

Nikki 19:30

Oh yeah. There's a sample. I have some right over here as well.

Lisa Woolfork 19:30

Oh, yeah. Naomi's got hers already. And wearing mine right now.

Nikki 19:36

Oh yeah.

Naomi 19:37

And I'm like, oh, Queenora Renee fabrics. Mmmm

Nikki 19:41

Yeah so she's going to give away a little bundle. I think the others are going to give away, we got two pattern companies that are going to give away a pattern. Yes. And a $10 gift certificate to buy a kit.

Lisa Woolfork 19:54

Oh, that's great. Oh, that's really great.

Nikki 19:57

And then the other company is giving away a pattern- a bralette. And these are both bralette patterns.

Lisa Woolfork 20:01

How do we get somebody on board? If someone's like, Okay, this sounds like it's gonna be a really good time, I'm gonna get great instruction, I'm going to have someone to sew with regardless of whatever bralette I choose, Nikki will be there for two hours to help me sew through it, how does someone register for the event?

Nikki 20:17

They can go to or my website, SewingMyStyle, they're the same. And register.

Lisa Woolfork 20:26

And the fee is $100.

Nikki 20:28

$100 for the whole month.

Lisa Woolfork 20:30

Which I think is a great deal for $25 a week to get detailed one-on-one instruction

Nikki 20:35

And a free pattern.

Lisa Woolfork 20:36

A free pattern, you're getting to work with you in a Zoom Room. So this event is, right now, the very first Friday, in two days, because today is October 6. Yes, you have two days to get some stuff together, get some orders together, sign up, get the Zoom links. There's a Zoom room waiting for you with Nikki and some amazing instructors and people who are there to help and come celebrate Bratober. That's amazing.

Naomi 21:05

By all means, absolutely order some kits from the Bra Talk Boutique. But like if you are listening on Wednesday, and you want to get started on Friday, you can use the cotton lycra that you have and fold over elastic if you have it. And if you don't have it, you can go to one of those chains and get some fold over elastic and join us.

Deborah 21:29

And you'll have a pattern, if you don't have any other pattern, you'll have this one when you register.

Naomi 21:34

Come join us, we're totally fun. On the eighth, y'all, I'm not even gonna be at school then and I'm gonna be at Stitch Please, so I'm gonna be in real fun Friday form.

Lisa Woolfork 21:46

There will still be a lot of great times and you all can access that on the Zoom room. After you build your own bra, after you celebrated this wonderful Bratober, you are not going to want to go back to a generic bra.That is going to be a very hard decision because it's not going to fit well, you're going to resent how much it costs, and you'll realize that this wasn't even made for me.

DeWahn 22:05

And after you start learning. I know Deborah and Nikki can attest. And Naomi, you can make one pretty fast, Nao, right?

Naomi 22:13

Because I don't like cutting anything out, that's the worst part of it for me, it'll take me an hour to cut it out. And then, by the time I've cut it out, I could have made one, you know, I probably could have made 90% of the bra if I just took this, went on, and just cut the thing out.

Lisa Woolfork 22:31

And on that note you all sign up for Bratober. Thank you so much DeWahn, Naomi, Nikki, and Deborah. I have to mention that these links to your IG, your websites, as well as to Bratober itself so people can sign up and meet with you all and see you on Friday. So, fantastic. Thank you. Thank you.

DeWahn 22:52

Thank you.

Naomi 22:54

Bye, everybody

Lisa Woolfork 23:04

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, p-a-t-r-e-o-n and you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like editing, transcripts, and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please podcast. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Transcribed by

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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