Hello fellow seamstresses!
It’s Brandi. I live in Florida and sew mostly bikinis and workout wear. I love sewing, being creative, lifting weights, surfing and eating cheeseburgers. I may CrossFit 5-6 times a week so I can eat cheeseburgers on the regular. It’s awfully humid and sweaty working out in the southern, wet heat. The right fabric makes a HUGE difference.
I just made an awesome sports bra and need to share it with you. I used Ohhh Lu Lu Sews latest bralette pattern, the Hyacinth. There is a free version on her website https://www.ohhhlululingerie.com/product/the-hyacinth-free-bralette-pdf-sewing-pattern/ and the version with the add ons for all these awesome options on her Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/listing/608848929/easy-bralette-sewing-pattern-pdf-the?ref=shop_home_active_9#. I sewed view G.
I had to modify it just touch for it to be a sports bra. Before we go over that, let’s talk fabric. All the fabric I used is in the Phee fabric shop. I used the red and white matte stripes for the main http://pheefabrics.com/red-white-matte-stripes/ and white supplex for the lining, straps and band http://pheefabrics.com/white-supplex-18-oz/. If your heavy chested or want even more support, add some power net to the front. Lining with the 18oz white supplex was great for me. Let’s go over sizing.
Ohhh Lu Lu has a great range of sizing.
I’m a 30G cup (36” bust and 29” underbust) and somehow fall into Ohhh Lu Lu’s small. Since I have such a tiny rib cage, I usually pick the size I measure to for the front piece (this time a small) and size down one for the back piece (extra small).
Now on to modifications. First adjustment I made was squaring off the front bust line on the bottom. I wasn’t sure if it would ride up once I put the band on so I just squared it off like this. I added a red line on the photo so it’s easier to see.
I knew I didn’t want to use lace or fold over elastic (FOE) for my sports bra. Every where the pattern calls for lace trim or FOE I added a 3/8” seam allowance so I could use 3/8” elastic. You can do this on the pattern itself or mark it on your fabric. I mark it on my fabric. I’ll throw my clear ruler on the pattern and fabric just to double check my extra seam allowance is actually 3/8”. Impressively, I nail it every time. Make sure you add a seam allowance to the front and back. Since the pattern calls for plush elastic at the bottom, it already has a seam allowance. No need to add more to the bottom just where it calls for using FOE or lace trim.
For the band you have 2 options. One, you can either use a pattern piece from another sports bra pattern along with the elastic measurements it calls for or two, you can measure the width of the front and back pattern pieces, decide what width elastic you want to use, double the height and add a seam allowance. I used a 1.25” sports elastic from Joann’s. My band height is approximately 3.25” tall with the seam allowance and the same length of my front and back pieces. I also added a 3/8” seam allowance to both back pieces of view G and cut out 4 pieces (shown in white supplex). Here’s most of it cut out.
Now to cut out the straps. This is my favorite blog post about making straps. It shows you several ways to make them. http://strawberrymilkrun.blogspot.com/2011/10/sewing-swimwear-spaghetti-straps-using.html?m=1 I did not make adjustable straps. I measured another sports bra from the bottom of the cup (not the bottom of the band but where the band attaches to the bottom on the cup) up over the strap to the bottom of the back piece (not the bottom of the band) to get a idea of how long my straps need to be in comparison with how the Hyacinth. I needed my straps to be about 9”. I cut my straps at 12” just in case things went haywire.
Time to sew! Finally. I sewed my straps and back accent pieces first. I sewed the back accent pieces right sides together (RST) and added 3/8” elastic on both seams. I like sturdy sports bras. Take a strap and push it between the two pieces of fabric to the top of the accent piece while it’s still inside out like this. Sew across the top where my finger is. Trim any excess.
Pull the strap and wiggle the fabric around and you should be able to pull it right sides out. Mine was a little stubborn so there was lots of wiggling the fabric around to get it to pull ride side out. Repeat on the other side and you should have something like this!
Now follow the steps in the instructions sewing the side seams (remember Ohhh Lu Lu uses a .5” seam allowance) and baste only the bottom your accent pieces in place per Ohhh Lu Lu’s instructions. This is where I went on my own path on finishing the sports bra. I put the front and front lining RST and sewed 3/8” elastic with my elastic foot (so I don’t have elastic measurements) to the top center front. I opened it up, right sides up and under stitched the elastic to the lining with a stretch stitch. This will help the elastic from wanting to flip outwards while your wearing it but the right side on the center front will still look seamless! It looked like this under my machine.
I then attached my straps to the front in the same manner we sewed the strap to the back accent piece, basting them in place to make sure they weren’t twisted. This is a great spot to try it on and check everything. If the straps feel like they are good to go, sew from down for good. Now I finished around the underarms and back of the sports bra with the *wrong sides touching* using 3/8” elastic on the lining side. Just like sewing bikinis. Then I turned the elastic under and top stitched using a zig zag stitch. Now it looks like this.
Now it’s time to add the band. I sewed the side seams of my band together then I sewed just one side of my band to the bra RST matching up the side seams. Stay with me here. This is a little different than most pattern designers instruct you to sew the band. I like this way. The band won’t twist and roll around. Once you have your elastic cut, measure the half way point and mark it. Place your elastic on the wrong side of the band starting about an inch before one of the side seams. Leave some of the fabric hanging, like an extra seam allowance about 1/4-3/8”, disengage your serger blade and serge the band making sure the needles are catching the band while you still have some fabric hanging to the right. It should look like this.
Don’t forget to stretch your elastic as you sew it. The center point you marked should match up with the other side seam. Sew or serge all the way around over lapping your elastic at the end. Flip the band up and top stitch with a stretch stitch or coverstitch making sure you catch the seam allowance. This is what the wrong and right side of my band look like.
Ta-dah!!!! You now have an awesome sports bra.