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10 Mar 2016

Drafting a sports bra pattern

Sports bra!

yes, I am currently trying to get some muscles into that body, and guess what, it's a great opportunity to sew! Because apparently now when I see something I like in a shop, the first thing that comes to my mind is :" I could so make that", not:"I am going to buy that". It seems I really don't want to make my life easy. 
So there you go, I made a sports bra, and you know what? It was super fun!

Obviously I went a little crazy with my fabric, but I will say that every time I put it on, it makes me smile. So, yes, I am saying it: "I love leopard prints!!".

I searched for a polyester fabric with approximately 10% elasthanne. I just checked on a sports gear catalogue, and this is the percentage used in all bra sports, so there you go.
The white fabric was in my stash. I use it for underwear or swimwear, it's quite sturdy and firm with a good recovery.

At first, I thought using just an elastic for the straps would be enough, but ah no. I was soo wrong. There was no support at all. So I had to design something strong enough to keep everything in place. And this is what I came up with.

  Blurry picture anyone?
 My pattern was designed for a small elastic strap. I was so lucky that I got to correct my mistake.
I have used the bra a few time now, and it's good, it's really good.  It makes me happy because when I had the idea to make a sports bra, of course I wanted to wear it immediately, but it took me a few hours to make the block pattern, then to create the pattern for my project, and then to create the straps.
Haaaaa, I was frustrated.
But then sewing it was quite quick, and easy. And finally when I got to try it and it fitted good and it looked nice, I was so pleased. Now I can make as much as I need!

Here is how I drafted my pattern:
I used ESMOD's method for underwear pattern drafting. I can't say that I love their method for drafting panties, but the bra part is good.

As usual with the flat pattern technique you take your basic pattern. In these case the basic bra.
I have put all my pieces on one sheet of paper and put it under plastic for frequent use.

Then I use tracing paper to copy the base in order to modify it.

The book explains how to make a real sports bra. By this I mean a bra with two cups, similar to a "normal" bra, but without underwires.

This is not really what I wanted to make. But I still traced the pieces, and then assembled them in a manner I thought would be suitable for what in French we call a "brassière". I think in English it could be translated in: bralette. For inspiration I took a look at the selection at Forever 21 and they call them sports bra, so, OK, there is maybe no special word for it.

This is what my basic pattern looks like. I really followed the instructions of the book, the only thing I changed is the width of the band. I enlarged it to accommodate a 3 cm (1,18") elastic.

Then I took this basic sports bra pattern and modified it. Above is my final pattern. two pieces for the breast, and a band for the elastic. My problem was then do draft the back.

I hope you can see clearly on this pictures. I used my Esmod bust block pattern. And tried to place my bra pieces as best I could, so that I could draw any shape of back, straps, front neckline, and  still have a good fit in relation to a sports bra. It has been really helpful.

Preparation takes time, and it got me frustrated, but I shouldn't have been. It's really useful, and now I can use it again to draft very rapidly any sports bra I dream of.

In this picture you can see that my pattern piece on top has little folds.
This is a crucial step when you design with stretch fabrics that will be stretched during use. You have to shrink them by the percentage of stretch in you fabric.
It's a bit of a pain, but héhé, no pain no gain.

Here you can see the three pieces of the back.
The fabric don't have the same "hand", so the shrinkage is different.

I really enjoy making my own patterns, and if this is something you would like to do then go for it!
It's fun, it makes you think, your clothes are really made to your measures and it fits perfectly.
Of course it's quite a time investment, What I try to do is to build a stock of basic patterns, that can be modified easily and quickly. I am getting there. And I feel so proud to be able to wear clothes entirely made by me, and it's really fun sometimes to copy designers clothes for a tenth of what they cost in stores!

Finally here are some inside pics, because we all love that! Sewing porn right?
I lined everything with mesh. I thought it would give more support. The raw edges were finished with a simple binding. There are lots of methods to do this. You can check out Megan's way. Then I simply top stitched with a zigzag. I can't believe a few years back, I would have never used a zigzag because I wanted a clean look with no visible stitches. What was I thinking? Top stitching is fun, I don't know why but it is, and top stitching with a zigzag is double fun!

That's it. I hope I am beginning to tempt you to try to make your own patterns. If I can do it, anybody can!
Buy pattern making books and join me! I really wish to share my experience and maybe help or inspire some of you into making beautiful, made to measure clothes. Any kind of clothes you can think of!

This sports bra was just a first attempt. Next time I will change the pattern a little, I already have ideas.
Soon I will explain how to make your own panties. It's really easy. And this time no need to buy any book.


1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks a lot for sharing this complete tutorial on how to draft sports bra pattern. I was just thinking something similar and wanted the pattern to get started. Your tutorial is going to be extremely helpful for me. Keep sharing such details here in the future as well.