It is official. The Christina Sports Bra is finalized, updated and officially available. I made a few minor changes this past week after sewing up several samples in various sizes. They were minor changes affecting only the waistband and the printing.
Here is a little show and tell of last week’s samples.
My most recent sample, and also the subject of my main video, was completed out of scuba fabric. It is by far the best supporting sports bra I own that actually fits me. I should be able to do anything my personal trainer asks of me.
What is Scuba Fabric
To explain scuba fabric, is to understand it is not actually fabric used for scuba. Its not even for swim wear. Not sure where it got its name, but I assume it was someone trying to reinvent the wheel. To describe it bluntly, it is virtually the same fabric I remember all my grandmother’s clothes being made out of.
It is a double knitted polyester fabric that is restricted in stretch. I think there is about 2-4% Lycra in it. It is relatively low priced, although with the new trend of using it in athletic wear, I foresee the price shooting up. For those who have really inexpensive thrift stores nearby, I can see re-purposing old granny pants into some sports bras.
Its Video Time!
After my husband watched a few videos I had previously made, he decided to intervene and help me out. He used to be a cinematographer back in LA, so it only seems natural that he’d help me. Not sure why it took him a year and a half to jump in. He is now directing my videos and editing. I still have a few videos I had previously filmed, but he will be doing the editing and we may have to re-shoot some of the footage.
We are hoping this is a slightly more professional look to my YouTube content.
The Kits are Coming! The Kits are Coming!
I have a variety of fabrics I bought to make kits for this pattern. I’m primarily waiting on my powermesh so I can make them live. The mesh will arrive in about 3-4 weeks, so as soon as they are available, I will make the blog announcement. Make sure to subscribe to the blog to find out first. I only bought about 5 yards of each fabric, so I can only realistically get about 10 kits out of each fabric. That makes them exclusive and in short supply.
My sports bra pattern is finally done! This is a soft release as it still may have some pattern bugs I’m working out, but rest assured, any pattern bugs I correct, everyone will get a new set.
This pattern is the first of many to come your way. I have several designs in this series that can be mixed and matched. Each front can be alternated with the back of another and vice versa, which makes the designs very versatile. (And also why its so important I catch all the pattern bugs.)
The pattern is available in three different size sets, because who really needs 143 sizes for themselves? The are grouped in 28A-38K, 34A-44K and 40A-52K. If you are a small business and want all of them, you can purchase the full size set as well.
I am now permitting my patterns to be used for small business purposes for designs produced up to 1000 pieces. For pattern use over 1000 times, I have a mid-sized business license and a corporate business license. The details are on the description pages of the new download. I will be updating the other patterns in time.
I never permit the redistribution of my pattern, but they can be used for personal, custom work and small business production use. For mid-sized business and corporate licenses, please contact us for other file options from AI/PDF to DXF to PolyPattern files.
After creating my final sample in the 38J, I came to the realization that I was no longer a 38J and was a 38I. The easiest way to change the size was to go ahead and start grading it.
I worked on the first grade set for the same cup across the range of band sizes from 28 to 52. Many sports bras are designed as XS, S, M, L, XL, but honestly that only covers a 30 to a 40 band and up to a C, maybe D cup. I wanted this grade set to cover the sizes the traditional ready to wear sports bras don’t cover.
I settled on the range of 28 to 52 band sizes and cup sizes A to K, which is a total of 143 unique sizes. In order to grade a bra or sports bra, you need to grade both for cups and for bands. I started with a 38J, so I first graded all the bands sizes for the same cup (28J, 30J, 32J, 34J, etc).
I then extracted each size from that set and graded for each cup size. I know PolyPattern software can work with two grade sets, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet, so I did what I know best. I will ask them how to do two grade sets, then demo that at some later point in time.
My personal trainer offered to try one of the samples, so I took her measurements which were 28.5 under the bust and 35 at the full bust. The lovelies at VS put her in a 34C, which is completely the wrong size. Regardless, I made her a sample in my set in size 30DD.
She loved it and she didn’t want to take it off. I did notice it fit low on her, but her VS one fit in the same place. I instinctively felt it was too low. After 2 days of second guessing myself, I decided to change it.
I had to alter the grade completely for both the first and second set of grades, mainly at the waistline. I am very happy with my new grade set. Given that, I am very open to feedback on my largest sizes. If I have anyone in the larger band size that feel the grade needs to be changed, please share your feedback. I want to make sure I cater to all sizes, not just the “norm.”
I have been prepping to do a video of sewing the new sport bra design and decided to take my measurements again. You see, I have been working with a trainer for a few months now and have been noticing slight changes to my body shape. Image my shock, when my 36 under bust measurement was a 38!
I had to second guess myself again. Did I actually do the drafts for a 38″ underbust?? Rest assured. I keep all my paperwork and notes and I did draft for a 36″ underbust. That only means I’m getting bigger. Frowning face.
I discussed my changes with my trainer and Dr. Google. Both assured me I am putting on muscle under my fat, so I’m getting bigger before getting smaller. The good thing is, since I do have muscle, the fat burns off twice as fat, so I should start seeing some drastic changes in the coming month. I’m crossing my fingers.
Until then, I am now measuring as a 40H. Next week, who knows, maybe a 34D? Wishful thinking.
In my quest to find my new identity as a designer I decided to start with a sport bra. I have been very uncomfortable in traditional bras for over a year, and find it virtually impossible to find one that fits, this was my natural first choice.
I started with a quick drawing of a styled design and dove head first to create my design. The one thing I neglected to do first was to make sure I had a really good fit before refining the design. That realization came around sample 4 or 5.
My first sample was a wrap bra, but I couldn’t get it on because I kept falling out from under it (the beauty of post baby). I scratched the idea of a wrap and altered it immediately to try to test the fit by sewing it at the side seams. The waistline was very loose, so I sewed it in 3 places to take it in. (Note that these are boring photos so I added some fun filters to them to spice this up a bit.)
This alteration made me think I needed to change the shape of the waistline to be curved, but I kept the elastic straight. Here is sample two. It actually fit well, but the elastic looked funny.
I decided to straighten the waistline at the bottom and curved the top part of it. I had to double layer the elastic in the front with my 1 1/2″ elastic and a 3″ elastic just to support the center front. The armhole of the last sample was cutting into my underarm, so I changed the armhole shape. I also added more room for the bust with some gathers under the bust.
This was probably my most uncomfortable sample, mainly because the elastic was too small. After I double layered it, the stretch of the elastic was restricted. The armhole was too far in the wrong direction, but it supported me!
I made the armhole bigger, basically undoing that change from the last sample. I also changed the waistband to be a little bigger. I was struggling with some upper back/shoulder area pain, so I played around with the strap placement. I stitched a second set of straps on to it. It actually ended up adding more pain.
I decided to scratch the seam detail at the front and digitized my pattern to make changes easier to make. I made some pretty big pattern changes. I wanted to test in my good fabric but I was unfortunately out at this point, so I had to resort to spandex, which honestly was too stretchy and the strap placement on the back was still hurting me.
I played around with the strap placement for two samples. I finally realized having the two separate layers in the back was the biggest problem for my lack of breast support. I made some minor adjustments then headed back to the computer to grade the pattern.
I finally decided to remove the curved bit on the front because I couldn’t expect people to have 10″ of 3″ wide elastic to make the curve. I ended up keeping the angle of the curve, which ended in this overlapped waistband at the front, which actually turned into a cool feature. Sorry the orientation is sideways. I must have had my phone tilted when I shot this.
I discovered that the main root of the upper back/shoulder pain was that my strap elastic was too stretchy, which caused my breast weight to put strain on the shoulders. The sports bra graveyard in my studio.