We are officially in Week 4 of the Sew Along. I’m working on my own version, so I’ll share that first, then I’ll share what those that are working with the Sew Along are working on.
I started today by attaching fold over elastic to the neckline of the center front.
I then attached the side fronts to the center front and burrito rolled the lining so I could clean finish the princess seam. I used a straight stitch since the front panel doesn’t stretch. I had to pin this carefully before sewing, because the side panel stretches and I needed to make sure these line up the same for the self and lining. This also makes it easy to work on the rest of the neckline.
I then pulled it right side out. You can see the clean finish of the inside.
I then clipped the seam allowance on the side panel where it meets the neckline of the center front panel. Once I clipped it to lay flat, I cut the seam allowance off up to the strap. I could have done this before sewing, but I cut my notches off so I didn’t have a point of reference to where the point is they joined together.
I clean finished the strap point, then I then took a piece of fold over elastic and folded it to make a 45 degree angle and attached it to the front neckline up to the strap with the shorter folded angle in the front.
I decided to end it at that point today. I’ll work on my waistband elastic next week.
If you are working with the videos, this is the week to work on the Zipper Shield or the Hook and Eye tape. I have created two different options for the shield of the zipper. One is a straight shield, but the other is a hook and eye tape designed specifically for this purpose. Normal hooks and eyes are spaces about 3/4″ and are fairly narrow in width. One of the participants had a brilliant way to hack together the hooks and the shield. Here is a picture showing her genius. She attached the hook and eyes to the shield so the pattern pieces would match.
The special hooks and eyes I’m using with my kits came from my haul from Fredericks of Hollywood. The eye tape is 1 3/4″ wide and the hardware is spaced 2″ apart on center. This allows a minimal amount of hooks and eyes to help secure the sports bra, prior to zipping it up.
Not everyone needs to hook it before you zip it, but if you are like me and gravity prevents any actual containment prior to zipping, you may benefit from helping to hook the twins in place prior to secure it with a zipper.
Because there are two options for protecting your skin from the zipper, there are two separate video tutorials for today. One is the shield with the bottom tab included in the pattern piece and the other is the hook & eye tape with the separate bottom tab.
Make note that you would use either the shield or the hook & eye/bottom tab combo, not both.
Hook & Eye Tape
This week we begin to assemble the body of the sports bra. My bra construction is a little different from the ones in the instructions and the videos. I am going to work on the body this week and next week as I am not including a zipper on mine and I want to make progress on my own next week.
The first thing I did was glue the lace overlay to the stretch fabric for the side back. This was a trick shown by one of the sew along participants and I think this will forever be in my sewing stash now.
I wanted to treat those as one pattern piece and sandwich it between the two layers of the center back. I decided not to top stitch this seam as the sandwiching pulls the seam allowance so there is no need to top stitch it.
On the front, I sewed the center front to the middle pieces and sandwiched it between the two layers. I then had to top stitch as the lining fabric is just not as thick and it rolled too much. The seam is not perfect and caused some puckering on the sheer panel. I clipped a few of the overlock stitches to try to release it. I figure this is fine since it is secured with the top stitch. It looks a little better than it did, but its still not perfect.
I then sandwiched the side back between the side front panels. I’m not attaching the fronts together yet as I plan to do a fold over elastic, although any decorative elastic will work. I have to do a little creative construction on that. I’ll be working on that next week.
I also trimmed up the edges of the seams where they all join. I didn’t line up the side front to the side back properly so it was all shifted up a bit. But with the stretch fabrics, all is forgiven. Until next week, here is the video for the zip front version.
This week we work on straps. I am super excited about these straps. Not only do they look awesome, but they are very versatile because they adjust.
The secret ingredients – cut & sew foam on the strap and an adjustable bra strap. Here is my newest set of straps.
The straps are a little more complicated to put together, but once you master it, you will be doing this on all your straps. There are two layers of fabric, 1 layer of foam, a length of strap elastic with matching hardware and an extra set of rings to attach to the front of the sports bra.
You can make varying widths of strap elastic, from 1/2″ to 1″. The only caveat about using a different width, is that the front strap point must be narrowed to accomodate the desired elastic used. I kept the strap width 1 3/8″ or 35 mm so it would be consistent with mixing and matching patterns with the Christina and Laurel, but nearly all the strap elastics require an adjustment.
Even if you use the 1″ elastic, I would recommend using the 1″ ring, rather than the 35 mm slides I carry. I had the problem with the slide twisting on its side, so unless you are using cut and sew foam on the entire body, I’d switch it for a 1″ ring.
I didn’t share my own fabric layout last week, so here it is. As you can see, I’m making mine asymmetrical and mixing it up a bit. I’m not doing the traditional Jackie construction, but a “bra” construction. The center panel is non stretch cup lining, the middle cup is a lace fused satin, also non stretch, lined in a 15 denier cup lining. The side and most of the back are cut in two layers and is of my new double brushed nylon spandex (coming soon to my shop). The side back is a spandex from my stash and the lace is from my shop. I thought I had the same lace as the front lace but I couldn’t find it.
The strap assembly is the easiest so I did that first. I have about a yard left of the tan strap elastic I used to carry, so I used that for this along with some gold hardware for a little bling.
The strap I machine basted the contrast to the foam, then basted the black fabric on top. It is very clear how bad I was at cutting and how much the fabric stretched when basting. I sewed both sides from the small end down, so it would reduce any twisting.
I then took them over to the serger and made a better, consistent stitch along the edges of the strap.
The last step was to flip them inside out and assemble them completely. As you can see, the basting stitches are still showing. I might remove that, but its presently not bothering me. They are less than perfect, but I think they look fabulous!
To follow my video steps, I have linked the YouTube video below. Don’t forget to like my video and comment to help with the algorithms.
I have been listening to my customers and the greatest requests for my patterns were to make a front closing sports bra with an adjustible strap. It has been a few years since my last sports bra pattern, but those requests were always on my mind. The adjustible strap on the Laurel was a little challenging to adjust, so I wanted to play around with a completely different concept that utilizes items you likely have in your stash.
Introducing the Jackie Sports Bra!
The pattern officially released in November, but I wanted to offer a sew along series with YouTube videos to accompany it. Today marks day 1. This is my finished sample below. I usually don’t share photos of me wearing my own lingerie, so this is a treat.
Note that there are two different construction methods in the instructions, the videos show the more complicated construction, but you can make either version. Make sure to follow along with our Sew Along Group on Facebook to get some support or ask your questions below.
Lets get to know your measurement and what size you should select when getting started.
You first want to measure your underbust measurement fairly snug and preferably sans clothing. In imperial measurements, round to the nearest inch then add either 1 or 2 to your measurement to equal your band. This is similar to European sizes, but my band would likely place you in one size up. In most American sizes, you’d be one band size down.
Confusing? Yeah, sorry about that. I developed my sizing about 8 years ago and I can’t change it since all my patterns are sized like this and I don’t want my previous customers accidentally purchasing the wrong size going forward.
Once you get the band size, then you want to measure your full bust. This should be a supportive bra and not leaning over. If your breasts are pendulous, you could end up in a huge cup that you are swimming in. If you don’t have a supportive bra, you can do your best to hold up the breasts manually while a friend measures your full bust. Four hands are needed for this.
Take your full bust measurement and round to the nearest whole number and subtract the band number from it. The difference is directly related to the cup size. 1″ difference is A cup, 2″ difference is B Cup, 3″ is C cup and so one, straight up to a 14″ difference which equals an N cup.
Once you have this size, you want to then look at the fabrics you plan to use and the purpose of the sports bra. For a fabric with a 20-30% stretch and a relaxed daily wear fit, stick to the size you picked. If you have a fabric in this stretch and would prefer a compression fit, go down 1 band size and 1 “sister” cup size, so if you measure as a 36F, you’d select the 34F.
If you decide to use a more firm fabric such as scuba or a cut and sew foam for a layer in the front, the size you measure into will fit like a compression bra. If you prefer the relaxed fit, size up one band and one “sister” cup size, so if you measured 36F, you’d go up to 38F.
If your fabric is stretchier, you can utilize a less stretchy lining or place an extra layer into the sports bra. A high level of spandex can likely make for too much bounce and can spread the breast more around your body, so be careful of that. The sports bra fabrics I currently carry are about 30% stretch, so they are at the cap of my recommendations, so if you want to feel hugged, go down in size.
I included a set of instructions for measuring for asmmetry as well a as a video on determine your size for asymmetry. Watch my video HERE. Here are a few pictures showing the pattern changes I made to alter my patterns from right to left.
Not its time to round up your supplies. I prefer a fabric about 230-280 GSM with a low stretch of about 20%. The fabrics I carry are a hair more than this, but I’ve not had any issues with the sports bras I made with them. I am slightly limited in the nylon fabrics. I prefer to carry nylon as it doesn’t smell when sweating. I prefer the weight and stretch of the poly fabrics I carried previously, but those things smelled so bad after one day of sweating.
You will need a separating zipper at least 8″ of teeth. I highly recommend the resin teeth. I have black and white available in my shop HERE.
You will also need straps and hardware for the straps as well as some cut & sew foam and a hook and eye tape. Luckily I made kits for this occasion. You can find them HERE. I made a variety of fabric kits and a variety of finding kits. If you prefer to source your own, below is the full set of instructions for you to browse and collect your supplies.Sports-Bra-Jackie-Instructions
Now for the cutting. Make sure you lay out the patterns so the grainline is in the direction of the least stretch. The greatest stretch goes around the body. Some athletic fabrics stretch in the opposite direction, so just check your fabrics before cutting.
If you are more of a beginner, then I’d sugget making your version to go over your head. I did a separate post that detailed some of the changes I made to that construction method HERE. If you are determined to try the zipper version, note that I would consider this advanced sewing. The version I demonstrated in the videos has a completely clean finish on the inside of the sports bra, so there is no rubbing of seams against the body.
I do need to advise that you really should follow my instructions in the order I show them to get the same results. The zipper and shield finish requires this clean finish. There may be faster, raw finishes for zippers and shields, but the garment will not look as refined.
There is only one change for switching to the pull over head version and that is the elastic length. The front pattern pieces can be cut on the fold or cut 2. The zipper takes up the space in which we shorten the pattern when sewing the zipper. The zipper version will be only slightly more snug than the over the head version because the zipper doesn’t stretch, so its not really enough to notice.
The wonderful thing about my sports bra patterns is that they all can be constucted with the zipper front or over the head and all pieces are interchangable. The backs can switched around as can the waistbands and straps. If you have all three sports bras, that can give you a wide variety of bra designs. My personal favorites are the Christina Front, Jackie Front, Jackie Back and Laurel Waistband.
Work on getting yours cut out this week and we can get to the sewing next week.