Friday, August 11, 2017

Bra Sewing - Finebrand Lingerie Supply (Brick and Mortar Store!)

Woo hoo!  A brick and mortar store that sells, gasp, bra making supplies in the Los Angeles, CA area.

Finebrand is a wholesaler just south of Downtown LA that specializes in bra and bra related supplies for RTW.  Luckily for us home sewers in the LA area, they are also open to the public.  I assume this is due to their proximity to several Fashion Schools and Art Schools as well as the Fashion District (there were a few students there during my visit).  The only requirement is a $25 minimum.

3720 South Santa Fe Ave
Vernon, CA 90058

My experience there was quite pleasant (understatement - I was practically dancing) from the service to the pricing.  Make no mistake - they are a WHOLESALER, I walked into a warehouse.  Do not expect a fancy facade, bright lights, price tags or registers.  While they do have a website, it does not currently support online shopping.

As they are geared toward the RTW market, there are a few things I want to note for us home sewers and/or fashion students.  

- They have a good variety of underwires (demi, regular, vertical, plunge etc) but limited in size.  There was nothing above a 44 underwire size. It seems they have wires starting at 32 - 42 range? They also have plastic underwires for those with allergies.

- Full range of sizes for Strapping Plush Elastic but larger widths (5/8") are limited to the usual: black, white or nude.

- Lots of molded cups, rolls of poly laminate foam for those who want to make their own foam cups, thicker padding for inserts.  Again, only basic colors: black, white or nude

- Channeling seems a bit thinner than the one I've been using (acetate tricot cover with cotton bias) but seems on par with most other channeling purchased online and in RTW bras

- No tricot or any other bra lining material (despite what it says on their website).  I did ask to verify.

- No lace, lycra, tulle, mesh/netting that I saw. This makes sense as they cater to the RTW market

Additional Info
- Full range of Sliders and Rings in metal, nylon covered metal and plastic.  The gunmetal looked quite nice as does the currently popular gold colored.

- They have plastic boning for the side wings in MANY different styles.  Continuous roll, covered, undcovered, covered precut lengths ready for insertion. LOVE! One notable difference of the covered variety is the cover itself is velvet and the plastic boning thin enough to sew through.  Unlike the infamous Ridgeline, the plastic boning is all one piece instead of many tiny strands held together with nylon.  The covered boning - continuous roll or precut are available in black, white or nude only.

- They have the BEST Power Net.  Its thicker than anything I've seen for bra making.  [It should be noted, I've only purchased Power Net/Power Mesh from 2 other suppliers so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.  If my other 2 are rated as lighweight and medium, then THIS one is definitely heavyweight] Similar to the type on shapewear.

- They have a decent selection of CORSET making supplies as well!  Coutil, busks and metal stays (spiral and regular) in a full range of prefinished lengths as well as continuous roll. Metal boning seems a bit thinner than my german ones but for non-tightlacing purposes, it should be fine.

- To get the best bang for the buck, buy in bulk.  Especially for basics that you KNOW you'll use: powernet, sliders/rings, elastic.  The price break can be up to 50% depending on the item ($0.20 ea for one or $0.10 ea for 100+)

- Have a list ready.  Things move faster and more efficiently if you know what you want.  Feel free to check out what their carry as well as their terminology on their (limited) website.

Check out my haul!

Final Thoughts
This should come as no surprise but I WILL be back.  They have a solid selection of basic bra making supplies for MOST women at very good prices.  Everything I purchased today was cheaper than any source I could find online - with the exception of one.  Factoring in not having to pay of shipping and being able to satisfy my need for instant gratification, its a win-win.  Oh, and they have their own private lot so no parking fee. When purchasing supplies for bra making, I will be heading to Finebrand first for basics, then head online for specialty items (underwires outside the RTW range, all fabrics related to unlined bra making, and other specialty notions etc) for the forseeable future.

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