Hello Sew Busty! I am LC Courtney and I’m here to guest post and chronicle my modifications on the Petite Stitchery Colby bralette. I am outside the size range for the largest cup — a 5 inch difference — as I have a 6.5 inch difference between my upper and full bust. My best fitting RTW bra is the Elomi Matilda in 38 H. My chest tissue is full on bottom, shallow on top, and gravitates into my armpit area if left unsupported.
Hopefully I can share something that you can find useful in your own bra making adventure!
Before we get too far, I am by no means a bra sewing extraordinaire. I have plenty of education in trial and error though. I’ve dabbled in sewing for a little over a decade and have dyscalculia. If you are searching for a post with super technical math formulas I am not your person.
Onto the good stuff. My first version of the Colby turned out beautifully but after wearing it for some amount of time, the band tended to migrate up under my bust and the top of the band sat near the bottom of my chest tissue. The strap seam was pulling too far forward as well.
The fix seamed (ha!) easy enough. It was fairly evident that I needed more material at the bottom of the bra. Using a soft tape, I determined that the seam migrated up about 2 inches up from where it needed to actually sit. Because we know in sewing that you can always cut off more but not really add it back, I added the entire 2 inches to the bottom of the Colby pattern pieces, knowing I might need to cut a little off later.
A little paper, some tracing skills, and a Sharpie gave way for a more generous pattern.
Like my original version, I chose double brushed poly for both my main and lining fabric.
On this one, I added a layer of mesh in the side cup portion to encourage my breasts to stay closer to the front of my chest and not migrate toward my armpit. I’m happy with the extra support this choice provided. When I make another, Colby I will add the mesh to the back pieces as well.
*Quick tip- a glue stick can be your friend here. Glue your mesh to your desired pattern pieces and treat it as one.
If there is one takeaway I can give you for this pattern it is- DO NOT SKIP THE CLEAR ELASTIC, I repeat … DO NOT SKIP THE CLEAR ELASTIC (silicone elastin if you want to Google search and purchase some for your sewing stash).
I prefer the elastin over the thicker swimsuit elastic you can buy. I put clear elastic into every single seam with the exception of the neckline & where I joined the bottom band prior to folding it over.
You won’t stretch the elastic while you are sewing, but are using it to really reinforce the seams. I have a Brother serger and there is a little hole in the presser foot you can feed the elastic into and it really makes adding it a breeze. If you don’t have a Brother, I believe there are similar feet you can order for the same purpose. You’ll get a much sturdier finished garment using the clear elastic.
I missed taking a fit photo here, but when I sewed up the bralette layers, it was pretty clear I should have considered the vertical stretch a little more and only added about 1.5 inches to the pattern pieces. I cut off .5 all the way across the bottom. This ended up changing the depth of the V on the back but I’ll chalk this up to a happy accident because I’m really pleased with the back.
A couple of other design/construction details ahead: I opted to add a small flutter sleeve in lieu of burrito rolling and having un-frilly armsyces. I also used my sewing machine instead of serger for the neckline only. It was easier to keep the V detail crisp(ish) on my sewing machine. I love my serger but crisp points isn’t something it excels at.
Without any more of my chatter, here is the finished product:
I’m looking forward to making a few more Colbys over the summer in various materials and possibly one in swim. If you have a go at your own Colby, I’d love to see! Please tag me on socials. LC Courtney on Facebook & @lccourtneyy on Instagram.
Thank you to Lindsie and the Sew Busty Community for having me here. Happy sewing!
LC Courtney (she/her) is a desert dwelling sewist. She enjoys sewing knits and listening to podcasts. You can find her on Instagram @lccourtneyy.