More sports bra prototypes

I have a few sports bra toiles that I have been wearing, before I cut into my new fabrics.

This bright pink one (sewn from an old swim shirt) was  made using Merckwaerdigh BHS10.  I modified the pattern so that the edges were finished with elastic, rather than stretch lace. 

In this next photo you can seem the seaming of the cups.  I cut the upper cup on the fold and the lower cup double for more support.  There are no underwires.  The seam running from the base of the cups up to the strap is finished with elastic, which adds some vertical support to the cups.

This one is very comfortable and I have worn it hiking, swimming and running.  I do need to tweak the fit of the cups a little.  I am thinking of widening the straps.  I want to use a wide elastic at the base instead of the 1 cm elastic I used in this version.  I also want to modify the shape of the racer back a little so that the upper curve of the racer is less curved, as it was a little difficult to attach elastic to this curve.

This yellow bra (made from wicking scraps left over from my skiing sewing) was made about a year ago.  I made the pattern by copying one of those seamless bras that seem to be constantly advertised...adapting it to have seams.  The binding didn't work out on this.  I have since bought a narrower binder, which I think may have worked better with this fabric.  I didn't think I would wear this because of the bodgy binding, but it is comfortable and a like the pop of yellow peeking out from my tanks, so I actually wear it quite a bit.  It is not that supportive and is more suited to yoga / pilates, but I think it could be more supportive in a different fabric.

This next photo is just to show how the underbust seam curves around to the side of the body.

This red bra is a second iteration of my self-drafted pattern.  I had a massive case of can't-be-bothered half way through this.  I think it was because my coverstitching wasn't going well and it was extremely difficult to unpick in this fabric, so I left it bodgy and decided to chalk this up as another toile.  Coverstitching is a strange beast...when you sew it perfectly, it pulls out very easily, but as soon as you make a mistake, it wants to stay put!  I think it was the right decision though, because the cup seams need a little reshaping as well.

The binding looks neat in this photo, but it was done manually, and not with either the new narrow binder referred to above or my regular binder, as I could not get them to work.  Not with wicking fabric, not with lycra and not with the lace mesh.  Disappointing...I want to master narrow binding as I think it will be a softer finish than swimwear elastic on the other sports bra styles.

I have so little sewing time these days, that I have little patience for the difficult, and the curves on this pattern, in conjunction with my lack of control over the overlocker / coverstitch mean that I probably won't make this one again in the short term.  I only have time for easy sewing at the moment.  I can report that using power mesh in the sides improved the support hugely, compared to the first version.

And last, but not least, a quick version of Jalie 2563.  My measurements fall between a T & U.  I made the T, but next time I will go down a size, or even 2.  The straps are meant to be adjustable, but my home made binding didn't work in the sliders so well, so I made them fixed in size.  Next time, I may go for a horizontal back, rather than the racer back, to avoid binding joins, which I don't know how to do neatly.


  1. I am always seriously impressed with your prolific bra making.

  2. All very nice! Bra-making / swimwear is picky work and they all look excellent. I've done swimwear, but haven't gone to the effort of researching good bra patterns, or where to source the supplies...

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  4. I love your pink & red sports bras. I have been meaning to make my own sports bras and you have just convinced me I should, they look great! Where did you get the pattern for the pink bra?? That seems to be one that gives good support. Thanks for the inspiration. Rosalia

  5. I really like the Merckwaerdigh pink bra. How supportive is it? Does it give you a nice shape or does it flatten?

    I've made several sports bras, one recently from a vintage slip pattern. Though most tend toward the styling of the Jalie, flat and not shaped around the cups. I'm drafting bra patterns and plan to dive into shaped cups for my next sports bras and definitely want wicking fabrics and underwires. Rose City Textiles helped me get some great wicking material just for sports bras. Lovely people.