Strappy Back Hack for the Noelle Bralette

The Noelle bralette from Madelyn Intimates is one of my go-to again and again patterns. I have made so many variations in the past and have even shared on the Phee Blog how I make the pattern work for my gigantic boobays in a past a few months back and I have hacked it into a swim top more times than I can count.

But when it came to making a new swim suit for this summer I wanted to update my tried and true pattern with a sporty (-ish) strappy back but found instructions nowhere on the internet to do such a thing. Super annoying.

Which means I made my own and of course I am going to share with you all how I did the thing today (because that is what we do in the sewing world right!?) So lets stop with the chatter and just jump is because no one wants to read me babble right? Yeah I agree.

Supplies: – Noelle Bralette Pattern printed assembled and adjusted if necessary – at least 1/2 nylon spandex from Phee – 1/2 yard of powernet from Phee – 5/8″ swim elastic (at least the length of your under bust measurement) – 1/4″ swim elastic less than 12 inches- sewing machine, needles, thread, pins, etc. etc.

We will need to adjust the back piece of the pattern to allow room for the ties. This is going to be a personal choice but I took 1 1/2 inch off of the pattern piece in the middle/fold. Instead of cutting on the fold we will cut two mirrored back pieces.

Start by cutting out your fabric using the front and back pattern pieces out of both your outer fabric and powernet lining. Then cut two strap pieces that are two inches in width by the length of your fabric. There should be two front pieces, four back pieces, and two strap pieces when your are done cutting.

Sewing step one is sewing the bust darts like instructed in the pattern booklet. Personally I sew both the powernet lining and outer nylon spandex darts at the same time but you could also do them separate and sandwich the extra material in the middle, total personal preference. Then attach your side pieces in your preferred method.

Then finish off the top neckline of your bralette using the 1/4″ inch elastic in a 1:1 ratio with the neckline length. Full written tutorial on how to apply swim elastic here. and a video tutorial from Phee swim week last year here!

Fold the short edge of the middle piece in 1/4 of an inch and top stitch in place

Then finish off the lower edge using the 5/8′ elastic and the same method used for the neckline. Cut the elastic 3.5 inches shorter than the bottom edge of your piece and stretching to fit as you sew to provide a snug fit.

Now the fun part, adding the straps. Get your pins or clips ready because you are about to need A LOT of them! Basically we will be applying these straps like a quilt binding but the nylon spandex fabric can make it a bit trickier.

Lay one strap piece on top of the unfinished under arm edge with right sides together leaving a 1/2′ tail on the end to allow for finishing. Sew along the edge using a 1/2″ seam allowance being sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Fold the unattached edge of the strap piece and round to the back of the top piece, enclosing the raw edges Think double fold bias tape here! Continue folding the strap piece all the way to the end using a generous amount of pins in the process. Stitch the strap closed using a narrow triple zig zag stitch close to the inside edge of the strap along it’s entire length.

Finish off each edge of the strap by turning the raw ends to the wrong side by 1/2 inch and top stitching. Trim any excess fabric if necessary.

Now we need to create the loops that will hold the straps along the back of the piece. Cut two 8″ by 1.5″ straps of fabric and fold them in half length wise with the right sides together. Stitch using a stretch stitch and 1/4 inch seam allowance before turning right side out.

Then attach to the wrong side of each back piece creating three loops that are about 1/2″ high. I like to sew two rows of top stitching when attaching the loops, one over my previous line of top stitching and another one close to the edge.

Then finish trimming up any loose threads, thread the back loops using the straps, slip your new creation on and head to the water!!

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