14 years of Monastic Bra-making

Since 2002, I’ve been teaching at the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference in Muenster. This unusual conference is Saskatchewan’s Best Kept Secret. But that’s OK. The 350 women who do know are happy to have it all to themselves. The Conference is held at a real working monastery…yes, with real monks and bells and the whole monastic experience. But it is more than that. St. Peters is also a college and as part of the University of Saskatoon, they offer courses that might not otherwise be available to rural students. But when the students leave for the summer, the stitchers come in! So far,  I’ve had 14 years of Monastic Bra-making!

Here’s our beginner bra class, it’s always the first two days.

14 years and counting wine bottle

There are quilters here too, and knitters and pattern drafters, and tailors and hookers, too (that’s RUG hookers!) here are a couple of quilts on display. This one was designed by Chi Chi Radiuk. Isn’t it too early for a Christmas quilt?

14 years and counting quilt 1

This one by Dianne Jansen is a work of art! I want to make this one for my stairwell!

14 years and counting quilt 2

But I am here for the Monastic Bra-making classes (naturally!) and we made some spectacular bras. This one didn’t get quite finished before the end of the beginner bra class but hopefully you can appreciate the lace on this butterfly bra.

14 years and counting fuchsia butterfly

Shelley Bra Class

Right after the Beginner Bra class, we always have a Shelly class. It is always popular because of its split lower cup and power bar, and the lace upper cup. Here’s a Shelley combining turquoise and fuchsia

14 years and counting turquoise Shelley
And one with more traditional bra colouring in peach
14 years and counting peach Shelley
We always have a black one!
14 years and counting black Shelley

Beige is always in fashion, especially when teamed with this gorgeous lace!

14 years and counting beige and red lace

Here’s a navy Shelley with platinum and navy lace

14 years and counting navy lace

Another turquoise…but you can’t say it is plain…that colour is gorgeous!

14 years and counting turquoise lace

Ivory is as practical as beige, and always popular!

14 years and counting ivory lace

We had to have an orange one too!
14 years and counting orange Shelley
And ooh la la, a fuchsia Shelley with lace that’s identical to one used by RTW bra company Freya!
14 years and counting fuchsia stripe

Boob Camp!

Once the Shelley class was over, we got into working with cut & sew foam
14 years and counting foam laid out
Even in a monastery, some students have a bit of a mishap. Can you tell what happened here?
 14 years and counting foam mishap

Here’s a hint…
14 years and counting foam corrected
That’s right, the lower cup  in the cup on the right hand side was sewn on backwards. It is easy to do when both sides of the foam look exactly the same. We got it sorted out and the cup was ready to cover
14 years and counting covered foam
And here is the almost finished bra made from those cups

14 years and counting foam finished

We also had a 3 day Boob Camp, where students came to do whatever their little hearts desired. On student wanted to clone her favourite ready-to-wear bra. No problem. This was the shape of the cup we cloned and the lace worked out beautifully.

14 years and counting blackand purple lace

To keep the strain off the lace, we created a very unusual internal power bar
14 years and counting power bar piece

which we pinned inside the bra after the cup was sewn

14 years and counting cup finished

Here’s the bra with the short strap tabs sewn on

14 years and counting bra sewn up

One of the challenges was to use this narrow lace but to use it in a larger cup bra. Guess what we did with it?

14 years and counting beautiful lace

We were able to use it in a vertical seam bra with a relatively narrow upper cup area. By re-styling the bra so that the apex sits behind a vertical seam, we can make the upper cup as narrow as we need to fit the lace. Even though we could not mirror the lace, the student did an excellent job of balancing it!

14 years and counting lilac lace bra

This student in Boob Camp wanted to not only make a corset, but to cut the fabric so that the design matched all the way around her corset (yes, you can make corsets in Boob Camp too, as well as swimwear, bodyshapers…whatever you want me to teach you during those days, I will!)

14 years and counting fussy cut corset

On the last night, the teachers and staff got into the wine…or at least, they tried. Looks like that wine bottle is giving them some trouble!

14 years and counting wine bottle

 So that was year 14 of the 14 years of Monastic Bra-making at SSC this year. Next year is the 15th anniversary so there is fabric challenge coming up. the last fabric challenge was in 2012, the 10th anniversary. This is what I designed with the challenge fabric and it seemed most appropriate to call it “Hidden Secrets at the Abbey” Can you find 6 panties, 12 bras and 6 corsets hidden in the stained glass window? You can find the pattern for sale here.  Wonder what I will do for next year?

14 years and counting my quilt


2 replies
  1. Jennifer Moriarty
    Jennifer Moriarty says:

    I LOVE this quilt. The design and the fabric choice are brilliant. I purchased the magazine and the pattern download. I’ve got mine drawn but the fabric is long gone, so I’m on the hunt for a suitable replacement. The fabric designer passed on but her designs are still being produced, I wonder if the company would consider a reprint in different color ways? I bet I’m not the only quilter/bra-maker that wants one of these on her sewing room wall. You could sell kits in the different colorways 🙂

    • Beverly Johnson
      Beverly Johnson says:

      Actually Jennifer, I may have all the fabrics to make a second quilt…however I don’t need it since I have one….
      Would you consider buying what I have? Email me at [email protected]


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