Sports Bra

Some days, I am never sure what I am going to sew.  This weekend, I was planning on sewing up a blouse muslin.  Before I got started, I was looking up some exercise gear ready for a trip out of town this week (shopping opportunity!).  Then I realised that I actually like sewing exercise clothing, only sourcing fabric is a real limitation.  Then I was sending an email away for samples from eclipse textiles.  Then I was just having a quick look at the instructions for drafting a sports bra.  5 hours later and I had a pattern drafted (it was a little tricky).  Next day, I was sewing up a sample.  And here we are, no blouse muslin, but a sports bra sample.

The pattern is for an encapsulation style sports bra.  I have only worn compression-style sports bras before so I don't know how this compares to RTW.  It is very comfortable, but I'm not sure if it is supportive enough.  That may be due to fabric choice and notions.  I made this up out of a remnant knit (it is on the thicker side...I originally used it to make pants) and some fold-over elastic.  The straps and hooks were purloined from an old bra yonks ago.  The hooks are not sewn on properly yet as I need to unpick them properly and reattach.  I think I need to unpick the elastic strap and shorten it as well. I haven't top-stitched the seams as this was only a test run.

The pattern drafting instructions are from Kristina Shin's "Patternmaking for Underwear Design".

Construction wise, there are some parts about this that I am not certain about.    The bottom edges have a 6 mm seam allowance. Looking at the technical drawings, it looks as though the back has elastic sewn along the bottom edge, but I can't see a stitching line for the elastic on the front.  The drawing suggests that the bottom edge of the front is straight, when it is actually curved.  I am used to wider elastics being used along the bottom of sports bras.

 During the drafting, it points out a trimming tape used to connect the underband and the cups.  This extra line did make the following drafting steps a little confusing, and I'm not sure how this is applied construction-wise.

The underband and straps are lined with foam.  I did not do this on my sample. 

Some of the stated seam allowances are 3mm.  I wonder what machine they used for this.  Perhaps I should use the narrow 3-thread stitch on my overlocker?

 Lots of curved seams...accurate cutting and stitching required!  I basted the pieces together before overlocking.  I do not have a great overlocker.  One day I hope to own a better one.

I think I have the supplies to sew up a red version, if I make my own binding using my coverstitch machine. When I do, I''l let you know how supportive it is.  Some changes for the next version...move the straps in a bit and possibly reduce the cup size a little.

In the meantime, I have to get on with that blouse muslin as my sister is taking me to her sewing class and her teacher is a real fitting wizz...I'm hoping to get help fitting a blouse muslin and perhaps a chanel jacket muslin.


  1. It certainly looks very pretty for a sports bra! I found the toughest part of sewing a bra was sourcing the right materials.
    Good luck with your muslin!

  2. I am very impressed. Normal bra sewing impresses me. Sports bra sewing is taking it to another whole level. Well done.

  3. This is fantastic - the possibilities are endless! I've not seen anyone else even attempt a sports bra and I'm just wrapping my head around sewing a normal bra - I'm so impressed :)

  4. Peak Fabrics, Calgary Alta, Canada

  5. Let me know how you go with samples from eclipse - I've been stalking their site for a few weeks now, thinking about making some exercise gear for the impending winter. I'm impressed, it certainly has the hall-mark look of a sports-bra - but I'm with you - the materials are everything!

  6. Materials are vital, but making this self drafted bra is so impressive. I am forbidding myself from buying this book until I actually complete a bra for myself from one of my several patterns (blush)

  7. I am always so impressed by your lingerie making, but the sports bra is even more impressive! Bra making is such a useful skill to have.

  8. wowowWOW!!! I am seriously impressed! Let us know how it holds up through your Physique57 workouts eh! I am attempting some bra making in a couple weeks but I don't know if I'm sewist enough to try and make a sportsbra... you're awesome! Thanks for the link to Eclipse, I'm actually keen to try making some activewear, specifically yoga clothes cos I'm not crazy about what's out there (or the cost!)
    And thankyou for your kind words on my blog lately :o)

  9. This turned out really cute! I'm the same way, I get so sidetracked, usually by a patternmaking project. I hope you find some nice athletic wear material for more. I'm trying to source some soft microfiber lingerie fabrics and I really have to leave retail to do this.

  10. This is very impressive! You are so clever with your lingerie.

  11. Awesome! Pretty sure you could use thicker straps at the back with wider sliders (I find the narrow straps don't work as well with high impact activities like running/squash) but the rest looks great. Also, I have a question about this book-does it actually show you how to draft different sizes or just the 34? The amazon reviews seem pretty down about that but it seems weird to me that a drafting book would only include instructions for one size..

    1. The book does just show you how to draft the 34B. I presume that she is going to write a book on grading next...