How to Add a Padded Shelf Bra


I don’t have huge knockers.

In fact, I very happily have the “sport edition” of boobs. But, I do still require padding because all boobs have nips. Big boobs, small boobs. Nipples don’t care. And I do like keeping mine from making frequent appearances.

I modified this Jalie 3247 pattern to have built in padding rather than inserts.

Why? Well…

  1. High neckline sports bras are notorious for allowing inserts to float all over the place. So, you could go from looking like you have a uni-boob to three boobs to a boob by your neck and another one under your arm pit!
  2. Creating separated pockets for inserts became too bulky. (So if you have the trick for this, please do share!)

The following tutorial shows how I added a built-in shelf bra with very light padding.


  1. Identify the front pattern piece. 1
  2. Cut out a lining piece that covers the breast area.2
  3. Mark the centerline of the newly cut piece. 3
  4. Make a mark 1/2″ away from the centerline. Repeat this for the other side of the centerline. This measurement depends on the distance between your beasts and the size of your pads. If you don’t have those measurements, simply fit the cups to your body and measure. For my case, my pads are approximately 5″ wide. A distance of 1″ total between the pads (i.e. 1/2″ on either side of the centerline) would allow for sufficient coverage of my boobs’n’nips. 4
  5. The band of this pattern requires 3/4″ elastic. But, I used 3/8″ instead (because I never have all the supplies I need). Depending on your band elastic, make a mark vertically from the bottom of the pattern that is twice the size of the band elastic. 5
  6. Based on your marks from steps 4 and 5, align the innermost side or corner of your cups with those marks. Pin your cups in place. 6.png
  7. Zig-zag stitch the cups to the lining piece. 7.png8.png
  8. Turn the lining and cups over. Release the tension on the cups by trimming away the material inside the zig-zag stitches. 9.png10.png
  9. Finally, layer your new shelf bra over the wrong side of the shell (I used Phee’s white circular knit as the shell). 11.png

I made this sports bra and panty set as the base for a Leeloo costume (from The Fifth Element).

Untitled design

But, even though you may not want to be an orange-haired action figure, you’ve GOT TO GET THIS CIRCULAR KNIT BECAUSE IT IS THE SOFTEST THING IN THE WORLD! (Besides labradoodle puppies)


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One thought on “How to Add a Padded Shelf Bra

  1. Pingback: How I “Petite” Patterns

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