Community Blog | Bra Month | Accidental Exposures to Complete Confidence – Swimwear Journey with Marisol

Editor’s note: So this isn’t *exactly* bra sewing, but Marisol used bra patterns for some of these swimsuits, so I thought it appropriate for Bra Month to show all the things you can do with bra patterns!

The sun is shining, temperatures rising, and you’re at the beach looking at the water that is calling out to you. You take off your tshirt to show your new store bought swimsuit – the one that you had to carefully arrange yourself into out of fear of accidentally exposing yourself – and begin taking those much anticipated steps towards the water. Each step in the sand causes your swimsuit to shift out of place, so you begin tugging on it to put it back where it belongs. When you are finally in the water, a wave comes crashing down on you. Instead of smiling and jumping into the very next wave, you look down at your bust to make sure that you haven’t accidentally become exposed. You’re safe, this time.

This was my experience every single time I went to the beach until I decided to change the story and make my own swimwear, while documenting it on YouTube in my Sew the Perfect Swimsuit Series.

Let me take you on my swimwear journey.

Reversible Sharon Swimsuit by Sirena Patterns

As you can probably imagine, I had a couple of swimsuit requirements. They included:

  • One piece with a low back neckline
  • Bust support
  • No accidental exposure

But, having never made swimwear before, I wanted a bit more hand holding. That’s why I decided that my first attempt at a swimsuit was going to be with the only swimsuit expert I knew, Sirena Patterns.  After taking a look at her swimsuit patterns, I decided to try something that felt a little on the sexier side for me: an 80’s inspired one piece with a low neckline, low back line, and a high (for me) leg rise – the Sharon Swimsuit. I also wanted my swimsuit to be reversible – more on that in a bit. I chose nylon/spandex and poly/spandex fabrics from my stash to get going.

The instructions for this pattern were so incredibly clear and comprehensive. After reading about the different types of stitches and how to sew this one piece up, I jumped right in to my pattern adjustment: grading the hips out an additional inch. Although the Sharon is a fully lined swimsuit with a shelf bra hidden between the layers, it isn’t fully reversible. To make my version reversible, I used the burrito method to sew it up.

There were points when doing the burrito rolls when I thought, “There is no possible way that this is going to work out!” and then just like magic it did! If the thought of making a reversible swimsuit hurts your head, here’s a simple tutorial for you. 

Now that my swimsuit was completed, it was time to take it for a test dive in the pool. That’s when I discovered a couple of things, with the most important lesson being that 4-way stretch percentages really matter when making a swimsuit. Although my swimsuit had the 50% required stretch horizontally, it didn’t have that much vertically. The lack of stretch resulted in a swimsuit that crept up my rear with every single step that I took. On the plus side, the shelf bra (underlined with a power mesh) did a decent job of supporting my bust and I never felt like I was at risk of exposing my bust. (My backside was a different story.)

The Pleasant Surprise: Secure Straps and Shelf Bra that made me feel supported and secure

The Lesson: 4-way stretch really does matter

Minute Maillot by Patterns for Pirates

Now that I was feeling empowered to sew swimwear, I decided that my second attempt would be using the Minute Maillot by Patterns for Pirates. I decided to move away from the Sharon because I wanted a pattern that had a full coverage bottom, and this one provided different coverage options for both the neckline and the bottom. I chose to do the full coverage bottom with the low front and back neckline.

A couple of things jumped out at me while I was making my first Minute Maillot. The first thing was that the they called for you to only pull the elastic around the butt portion of the leg hole while maintaining a 1:1 ratio along the front. This really helped to keep the bottom from going anywhere it shouldn’t. Second, the shelf bra was not sandwiched between the layers like the Sharon Swimsuit. It was hanging out on the inside against my skin. 

A quick dive in the pool gave me some additional information. I noticed that my straps felt like they were going to slip off my shoulders as I swam and the shelf bra floated up beyond the neckline. Version Number 2 of the Minute Maillot was definitely going to have that shelf bra between the layers.

In fact, for my next version I decided to make another reversible swimsuit and used shorter elastic, pulling it starting much higher around the back curve so that it could help keep the straps in place. Shortening the elastic did the trick.

The Pleasant Surprise: Pulling the elastic tighter around the bottom and the back neckline made it much more secure

The Lesson: The floating shelf bra needed to be secured into the side seams (like the Sharon swimsuit) between the main fabric and the lining and the elastic needed to be pulled tighter at the bottom of the shelf bra for any chance of support.

Hacked Minute Maillots 

Now that I’ve finally gotten my one piece to fit how I like it, it was time to play with some pattern hacks. I decided to use the same cut lines for both swimsuits, but you can see that it resulted in two very different looks. I walk you through the hacks here, but essentially I cut a triangle shape out of the waist and added seam allowance to all of the cut lines. 

For the black and white mesh version, I cut the full swimsuit out of my mesh and I top stitched my main fabric right onto it, omitting the triangle on the front and the top and triangle piece in the back. Because the black mesh was not very supportive, I lined it with a skin toned power mesh in the back that was significantly sturdier. It worked wonders and my swimsuit does not pull forward. 

For the swimsuit with the gathered center piece, I made the top and bottom pieces as if they were separates, making sure to apply elastic to the bottom of the top below the bust and to the waistline of the bottoms. For the center piece, I slashed and spread the pattern so that I could then gather it on both ends. I also attached elastic to both the top and bottom to help keep the wrong side from showing. When the center piece was completed, I attached it to the underside of my top and bottom pieces on the widest side. I’ll admit, this hacked swimsuit is tricky to get in and out of, but it is worth every bit of the extra effort! Plus, these hacks are starting to get really fun to do.

The Pleasant Surprise: Hacking swimsuits is surprisingly easy and the options are limitless. Just remember to add in seam allowance.

The Lesson: If you are going for a mesh back, you have to have some kind of support so that it doesn’t stretch to oblivion and risk exposing more than you’d like.

Bikini from my Favorite Bra Pattern

My final swimsuit is a bikini! I hadn’t really planned on hacking a bikini for myself, but tat is indeed what happened. Originally I had purchased the Sophie Swimsuit by Closet Core, but after I made a toile using a sister size (because my bust size was off their charts) I decided that it just wasn’t going be worth the trouble of going through a ton of adjustments.

Instead, I turned to my favorite bra pattern that I knew fit well, the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie.  Because I still wanted something that had shaping similar to the Sophie, I decided to make several changes to my bra pattern.

  • Added significant height onto the upper cup pattern so that it could be reshaped
  • Removed the contouring on the bridge 
  • Lengthened the bottom of the band by  ½” 
  • Shortened the back of the band since my fabric had a lot of stretch
  • Narrowed the back band to fit into my clasp

Overall, I’d much rather make design changes to a bra that I know fits well instead of trying to figure out how to add the fullness to cups that are way too small for me. 

After I had all of the pieces shaped the way that I wanted, I sewed the bra cups and bands together making sure that all seams were encased and no raw edges were left out. I then added the straps and rubber elastics according to the Sophie Swimsuit instructions.  Friendly tip: DO NOT TRY THE TOP ON WHILE IT HAS PINS IN IT. Trust me on this and baste it first. Your breasts will thank you.

After the top was fully constructed, I noticed that one of the cups was pulling away from my body. I remedied this by removing the elastic along that edge and pulling it tighter. That little change solved the problem.

For the bottoms, I hacked my Minute Maillot pattern to include a front color blocked panel and added elastic to the waist.

The Pleasant Surprise: Using a well-fitting bra pattern for a bikini top was surprisingly easy and fun.

The Lesson Learned:  Two actually – pull your elastic across the top of the cups to help keep that rounded edge against your body and more importantly, DO NOT TURN YOUR BOOBS INTO PIN CUSHIONS! Remove all pins before trying it on for fit.

Reflecting On My Journey

I never would have imagined that I would have made so many swimsuits, but now that I have, I cannot believe that it took me this long.  I’ve never had swimsuits that fit me as well as all of these do and the style options are limitless. So go and make yourself a swimsuit of your own and revel in how well they fit. In fact, make several and rock that body of yours. 

Mari is a curvy sewist and vlogger who enjoys engaging with the vibrant sewing community by sharing her latest garments, DIY projects, hauls and sew alongs. She loves making people laugh while encouraging others to sew for their own beautiful and unique bodies. You can see all of Mari’s makes on Insta at @marisewsforcurves and on the Youtube channel Mari Sews.

Bra Month | Busty Pattern Review | Pin Up Girls Ingrid Wireless Bra

Let me tell you a secret: I have a complicated relationship with Pin Up Girls patterns.

On one hand, I love them, because the PUG Sweet 16 Bralette pattern was my first ever bra, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It taught me so much, not only about bra making, but also about my own body and myself in general. And it taught me that I can, in fact, put these 30J boobies into a bralette.

But, having made the Sweet 16 and the Classic, I also know that I end up needing a lot of alterations to these patterns for them to fit me, as they aren’t drafted for my narrow-rooted, very projected shape. And I hate doing a million alterations. It’s not the patterns’ fault, or the designer’s. Patterns, in general, are just drafted for a specific type of body. They have to be, unless they are custom drafted. And bra patterns are no exception.

Are you an average-to-slightly shallow projection, average-to-slightly wide rooted boobalicious person? Then PUG patterns are likely perfect for you, because that’s exactly the shape they’re designed for, in my experience.

But for me and my very projected, narrow-rooted boobs, I usually have to add projection and remove width on the wireline to make these patterns work for me.

But the Ingrid was different.

The Ingrid is a wireless bra, and it is exceptionally size inclusive in the cups, going up to a 9″ bottom cup depth – much higher than most bra patterns (though not as high as I’d like to see patterns go!). (Not sure what bottom cup depth means? Check out the Sew Busty Guide to Bra Measurements here!)

The style lines of the Ingrid reminded me a lot of the my trusty (but not super well-fitting) Panache non-wired sports bras, so when Gigi’s Bra Supply hosted an Ingrid sew along and gifted me the Ingrid pattern (with no obligation), I jumped at the opportunity to join!

My BCD lives somewhere between 5″, while wearing my well-fitting Porcelynne Eve bra, to 5.5″, when naked and leaning forward. Having heard from others with similar shaped breasts that the Ingrid runs a tad small in the cup, I made a toile in the 5.5″ BCD size with no changes – fully expecting to need to make changes after making my toile.

But when I tried it on, I didn’t need a lot of changes!

The apex was in the perfect spot, but the band was a bit too big and the cups were too wide. The power bar/side panel wasn’t sitting on my breast at all, so it wasn’t doing its job of pushing me forward. But I conquered all of that with one alteration: I ended up doing was taking a curved wedge from the side of the upper and outer lower cup, like this:

For my final version, I sewed it up in yellow duoplex from Gigi’s Bra Supply, as I was itching to have a yellow sports bra! I also chose the option with wider band elastic, as I like to feel a little more covered while I work out. For the straps, I used leftover black satin to cover some leftover cut and sew foam that I had from another project.

Now, the construction on this one is a bit more advanced, as it has a lot of pieces. The cup, by itself, has 5 pieces, and then you have the center front and the wings on top of that. So I would probably recommend this bra pattern to someone who is at an intermediate level, having sewn a bra or two before. An adventurous beginner could probably tackle it, given the time and dedication, but it’s not as well-suited for an adventurous beginner as, say, the Jet Set Natural pattern that we’re currently working on for our sew along.

But, after all this, I ended up with a fantastic sports bra.

It’s not 100% perfect. I do aerial dance, so I spend a lot of time upside down, and after a while, gravity starts pulling my breasts up out of the bra. They haven’t escaped, but I do get a bit of quad boob. But I can’t help but thinking that Beverly – the designer of PUG bras – wasn’t expecting people to be hanging out upside down in these bras 😂 To fix that, I’ll make the neckline higher on my next version.

This bra has excellent boob separation for a wireless bra, which I appreciate not having a uni-boob look.

While this bra passes the bounce test, after a few jumping jacks, my boobs do try to sneak together. On my toile, I had fixed this by taking in the center seam by about 1/4″ on each side, for a total reduction of 1/2″. I was nervous to do the same on my yellow bra, though, since I hadn’t applied elastics on the toile, and I was expecting the elastics to make things a bit more snug. They did a little bit, but not enough to make up for this alteration. So, on the next one, I’ll also take in my center front. Frankly, I may even go back and do that on this bra.

Overall, I’m quite chuffed with the Ingrid. I find it to be very nice as a sports bra, though I probably wouldn’t wear this as an everyday bra – it’s a bit too much bra for me for daily wear, personally.

If you’re in the US, you can get the Ingrid from Gigi’s Bra Supply. For my European friends, B’Wear carries it. And for everyone else, Bra Maker’s Supply has international shipping!

Bra Month | Jet Set Natural Bra Sew Along Week A: Common Bra Measurements, Choosing a Size & Materials

At Sew Busty, June 2021 is bra month! Catch up on all the bra month posts here!

As part of bra month, we’ll be doing a sew along of the Firebrand Jet Set Natural bra. This bra, and all Firebrand patterns, are 20% off throughout June 2021 with code SEWBUSTY. See the full sew along here.

On June 9 at 5 pm Eastern, I’ll be hosting a LIVE chat to answer all your questions! Click here to pre-register on Facebook. (The event will be view-able whether or not you have a Facebook account, but, since this is new, the event will be cancelled if pre-registration is super low.)

I’m so excited to show y’all the Jet Set Natural Bra! This bra not only makes me feel like a vintage QWEEN, it also is a pretty easy sew. For that reason, this sew along is appropriate for an adventurous beginner. So, yeah, even if this is among your first garments, I really think you can do it if you take your time.

Taking Measurements for Bra Making

I want to walk you through not just the measurements you need for this bra, but the measurements you’d need for pretty much any bra pattern out there. So break out our NEW bra project planner and measurements printable and let’s get started!

To help me with this, enter Tatiana the Tatas. She and her friend Bea, my dress form, will be modeling the measurements.

Underbust Measurement

The underbust measurement is important no matter what bra pattern you’re working with, since it determines your band size.

For this measurement, you are going to wrap your measuring tape around your ribcage, just under your breasts. It doesn’t much matter if you wear a bra or not for this one. You should hold the measuring tape snugly, but not too tight.

Now, a word of caution to the bra aficionados out there: You know that advice that you should buy a bra with a band that matches your underbust measurement, no matter what the size chart says? Well, while I generally agree with that advice for storebought bras, it doesn’t apply for patterns. Instead, you should follow the size chart.

For example, I’m also a 29.5″ underbust and wear a 30 band on all of my storebought bras. But on my favorite bra pattern, the Porcelynne Eve, I wear a 32 band? Why? Because this is where the size chart placed me. And it’s right.

the old fashioned bra measurement: full bust

So the first set of measurements is probably super familiar to you: full bust measurement. This is the measurement that, in addition to the underbust, the nice lady at Macy’s or another department store probably took on you when you shopped for your first bra.

Personally, I find this to be the most inaccurate way to measure for a bra or a bra pattern, but some patterns use this method, so I’ll show you it anyway.

As I explained in the Sew Busty measurements guide, you should measure your full bust with your best fitting bra on. Position the measuring tape parallel to the floor, around the fullest part of the breasts/chest.

On most people, the fullest part of your bust will be your nipples, but this isn’t always true. The measuring tape should go around the part of the bust that protrudes the most, like the peak of a mountain.

Hold the measuring tape firmly and snugly around your bust, but not too tightly. Nothing should be smooshed.

If you don’t have a well fitting bra, one option can be to take this measurement leaning forward, like #5 in this diagram from A Bra That Fits. Take the full bust measurement leaning, then take it with your best fitting bra (even if the bra isn’t great). Average the two – this average will get you close, and should be used as your full bust measurement.

Bottom Cup Depth (bcd)

This is a very common bra pattern measurement, and is the one we’ll use for the Jet Set Natural!

For the bottom cup depth, you’re going to measure this while wearing a well-fitting, non-foam bra. Measure vertically, from the root of your breast to your apex (again, usually, but not always, the nipple). This should follow the breast closely, but should not be so snug that something is getting smooshed.

If you do not have a well-fitting bra, do the same thing I had you do for the full bust measurement: Measure braless, leaning forward, then measure again wearing the best non-foam bra you have. Average these two measurements, and use this average as your BCD.

A note about The breast root

What is your breast root?

The breast root, otherwise known as the inframammary fold or IMF, is the place where your breast meets your chest. I’ve marked Tatiana’s IMF/breast root here in yellow. I’ve only marked the part that you can see, but it’s important to note that this measurement goes all the way around, from the front to the side, just like an underwire would sit.

This will become super important when we start talking about underwires, but that isn’t today 🙂

Horizontal Hemisphere

The horizontal hemisphere, or HH, is a slightly less common bra pattern measurement, but it’s important to getting a good fit on the Jet Set Natural and is also used in other bra patterns. Personally, I find this to be the most accurate measurement for my own body.

For this measurement, you’re again going to measure while wearing your best fitting, non-foam bra. Measure from the breast root on one side of your breast to the breast root on the other side of your breast, passing over the apex (again, usually the nipple, but not always).

If you do not have a well-fitting bra, we’re going to do the same combo we’ve been doing: Measure braless, leaning forward, then measure again wearing the best non-foam bra you have. Average these two measurements, and use this average as your HH.

Choosing a Size for the Firebrand Jet Set Bra

For the Jet Set Natural, we’re going to focus on three measurements:

  • Underbust
  • HH
  • BCD

Firebrand refers to these as measurements X, Y, and Z:

  • Underbust = X
  • HH = Y
  • BCD = Z

For choosing your base size, the important one is your BCD (bottom cup depth). Firebrand uses centimeters for these measurements, so all us imperial folx will have to convert!

For me, my BCD measures somewhere between 5″ (with my best fitting bra on) and 5.5″ (braless and leaning forward), so somewhere between 13-14 cm. I went with the 13 cm BCD size to start, and this was perfect on me.

When you go to purchase your Jet Set Bra pattern using the sewbusty 20% off coupon code, you’ll see a list of options with Z measurements. Choose the one that corresponds to your BCD in centimeters. Here, I’ve circled in yellow the size I would buy:

If your BCD is bigger than 15 centimeters, DO NOT FEAR. Simply drop Kerry a line at hello@firebrandlingerie.com letting her know your BCD measurement, and she will draft it for you.

Kerry is fantastic and doesn’t want anyone to be left out of her patterns, so, as she works to expand the size range that one can buy on her site, she’s offering this custom draft option. Thanks, Kerry!

Printing Your Pattern

The Jet Set is a bit unique in how it’s printed. It comes in a single page, which is perfect for all of you who use a projector or have your patterns printed on large-format pages. But, if you’re printing at home on letter or A4 paper, you’ll want to choose the “poster” setting in Adobe Acrobat:

You need to set your tile scale to 100%, and you can set your overlap to whatever size you prefer – this is the rough amount your pages will overlap. I like to set mine at 1/4″.

Once you print this way, you can tape the pattern together just as you would with other PDF patterns.

Pattern Adjustments

Figuring out your underbust measurement

So the band on the Jet Set bra is a little unique! If your underbust measures 40″ or smaller, I’m going to recommend that you cut the largest band. This is because the largest band measures 40″. (Please ignore the numbers on the band; they are confusing and we’re going to get around that.) We will then trim some off in a later step, but this makes things easier for now.

underbust greater than 40″

If your underbust measurement is greater than 40″ underbust, cut the largest wing pattern piece, then follow these nifty instructions from Kerry on how to make the band a bit larger. Again, the reason we’re doing this is because the largest band measures 40″. The numbers on the pattern are confusing, so we’re circumventing that by cutting the largest band and adding to it.

You need to find this number: ([your underbust in inches] – 40)/2. In other words, however many inches your underbust is over 40, divided by two. This is how much you’re going to add. So, if you have a 52″ underbust, you’ll add 6″ (52-40=12; 12/2=6). If you have a 42″ underbust, you’ll add 1″ (42-40=2; 2/2=1).

When Kerry says “add however much length you want to add,” go ahead and add the amount we just determined.

Dealing with HH in the Jet Set Bra

When you look at your pattern piece, you’ll see that they have a “Y” measurement listed. This is the horizontal hemisphere or HH. For example, on this 14 cm BCD pattern piece, the Y measurement/HH is 33 centimeters, or about 13″.

Smaller HH than listed y measurement

If your horizontal hemisphere/HH in centimeters is smaller than the Y measurement listed, Kerry has you covered with this video on how to alter your pattern:

Larger HH than listed y measurement

If your horizontal hemisphere/HH in centimeters is larger than the Y measurement listed, Kerry has you covered with this video on how to alter your pattern:

Choosing Materials

One of the things I love about the Jet Set Natural bra is that the materials can mostly be purchased at local sewing shops, though a few of the materials I’ll recommend you grab from a bra supply source:

  • 1 yard of woven/non-stretch fabric: I used a cotton poplin for my first bra, but you could use quilting cotton, satin, rayon, or even classic bramaking fabrics like duoplex or sheer cup lining. If you are newer to sewing, I highly recommend you choose cotton poplin or quilting cotton. You could, for example, use this brocade from Porcelynne, which is what I think I’m going to use this time …

  • 2 – 1″ G hooks: I bought these G hooks from Amazon. Of course, this is a way larger set than you need, but I forgot to buy them until I was almost done with my first Jet Set bra, and this had one-day shipping 😂 Porcelynne has them in smaller quantities in white, black, and even silver and gold!

Where to Buy Bramaking Materials

Here are a few of my favorite sources for the non-standard bra materials:

USA:

Canada

Europe

United Kingdom

Australia & New Zealand

Your Homework

  • Take your measurements and record them using Sew Busty’s FREE bra project planner printable
  • Purchase the Jet Set Natural bra pattern from Firebrand lingerie using the code sewbusty at checkout for 20% off
    • If your BCD is greater than 6″, contact Kerry at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to ask her to grade the pattern for you before purchase
  • Print and make any adjustments you need to your band and cup pattern pieces to suit your HH and underbust measurements, as described above
  • Purchase all the supplies listed above – fabric, elastic, strapping, slides and rings, and a G hook

The next installment of the Jet Set Natural bra sew along will take place June 14! We’ll be talking about cutting the fabric and sewing the lining and main fabric layers!

Questions about these last steps on the Jet Set Natural bra? Drop a comment below, or ask on the Sew Busty Facebook group or subreddit. Also join our LIVE CHAT about this week’s sew along installment on June 9 at 5 pm Eastern time. Click here to RSVP so I know you’re coming ❤


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Using the affiliate links in Sew Busty posts is a great way to support the costs of running Sew Busty, as when you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me pay for the hosting, domain, design, and other costs associated with administering this site. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Bra & Bralette Pattern Roundup

At Sew Busty, June is Bra Month! Here’s some of the festivities we have going on:

  • An instagram giveaway going on RIGHT NOW, with a grand prize worth $135!
  • Monthly swag challenge: Make a bralette, or binder and post it on Instagram or Facebook with #sewbustychallenge by July 5 for a chance to win swag from the Sew Busty Shop!

To make your bra making easier, we have a sew-along of the Jet Set Natural bra coming up, starting Monday, June 7. This pattern already caters to many busty sizes, but the designer, Kerry, is amazing and is willing to grade the pattern for anyone who may be outside its current range. So, stay tuned Monday for my tutorial on how to measure yourself for this bra (and other bras; I’ll be going over all common bra measurements) and how to choose a size!

I’ll be using this fab teaching tool I just got to demonstrate measurements:

Now, if the Jet Set bra isn’t quite your cup of tea, there are other options so you, too can make a bra and enter the June Sew Busty Challenge!

For this list, I’ve chosen to include patterns that go up to at least a 36H cup or 5.5″ bottom cup depth. Have I missed one? Please ping me at lindsie@sewbusty.com or through Instagram messaging to let me know!

(Don’t know what bottom cup depth is? Don’t worry! You’ll learn on Monday when we go over how to measure for a bra!)

For bras I have made or have a friend who has, I’m including a “my thoughts” section. If this section is missing, you can assume I haven’t made the bra and haven’t heard enough about it to make a judgment call.

Big Boob Bralette Patterns

BRATOBE | FORME BRALETTE

Size Range: Drafted to measure. Currently tested up to a 9″ difference between underbust and full bust, but contact the maker Zdenka for larger cup sizes. I personally tested the upcoming non-stretch Forme pattern, and it worked great for my 11.5″ difference.

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I loved making my Forme bralette! I tested the to-be-released non-stretch version (currently, only the stretch version is available), and it just needed a couple tweaks, which I’m sure will be hammered out as Zdenka continues to test the non-stretch pattern. Everyone I know who has tried the Forme bralette has loved it. You can see my non-stretch version here.

Price: 550 Kč (roughly $25 USD)

PIN UP GIRLS | SWEET 16 BRALETTE (for non-US purchases, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.75-5.75″ BCD

Band Size Range: 28-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I would recommend the Sweet 16 to those who are average-to-wide rooted and have average-to-shallow projection. Personally, I’m an almost-omega, narrow-rooted, projected noodle shape, and I had to do a lot of alterations to make the Sweet 16 fit me well. But other people have had great success with it out of the envelope.

Price: $16.99

HOUSE MORRIGHAN | POPPY BRALETTE (underbust 30.4-40.3″ | underbust 38.3-50.6″)

Cup Size Range: A-I (for 30-40″ underbust) or C-I (for 38-50.6″ underbust)

Band Size Range: 30-50.6″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12.06

HOUSE MORRIGHAN | DAHLIA BRALETTE (underbust 30.4-40.3″ | underbust 38.3-50.6″)

Cup Size Range: A-I (for 30-40″ underbust) or C-I (for 38-50.6″ underbust)

Band Size Range: 30-50.6″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12.06

PRIMROSE DAWN | IRIS BRALETTE

Cup Size Range: A-K (not all cups for all bands)

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $14

LILYPADESIGNS | LOTUS BRALETTE & CAMI

Cup Size Range: 2.9-7.1 BCD

Band Size Range: 28-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

Sports Bra Patterns for Boobalicious People

PORCELYNNE | CHRISTINA & LAUREL SPORTS BRAS

Cup Size Range: A-N

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: These patterns are sister patterns, and you can mix and match pieces of them. Personally, this is probably my favorite sports bra pattern. I love it. That said, I don’t do high impact exercise, but this bra keeps me held in during dance class. I personally recommend sizing down one in the band and the cup for a more compression fit. (This bra is intended to be an encapsulation, not compression bra.) Here I am wearing my Christina!

Price: $15

GREENSTYLE CREATIONS | POWER SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: A-H

Band Size Range: 28-46″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12

GREENSTYLE CREATIONS | ENDURANCE SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: B-H

Band Size Range: 28-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12 for split sizes / $20 for bundle with all sizes

PRIMROSE DAWN | MARITZA SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: A-L (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $14

SEW COMFY | ULLA SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: AA-K (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 26-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

Busty Wireless Bra Patterns

FIREBRAND | JET SET NATURAL BRA

Cup Size Range: 2.75-6″ BCD, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I freaking LOVE this bra. It was a pretty simple sew and fit basically perfectly on my first go, which has never happened with another bra pattern before. I highly recommend this as a first bra pattern, which is why we’re using it for this month’s sew along, starting Monday, June 7!

Price: $20, but for the month of June, get 20% off all Firebrand patterns using code sewbusty

FIREBRAND | JET SET BULLET BRA

Cup Size Range: 2.75-6″ BCD, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $20, but for the month of June, get 20% off all Firebrand patterns using code sewbusty

PIN UP GIRLS | INGRID WIRELESS BRA (for non-US purchases, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.75-9″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-46″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I was very pleasantly surprised that this pattern fit me with minimal alterations. For me, I use my Ingrid as a sports bra, as it feels like a little too much bra for everyday wear. (I prefer daintier bras.) I love that this is maybe the most size inclusive non-sports bra pattern out there right now. I’ll be doing a full review on this one soon!

Price: $16.99

LILYPADESIGNS | LANAI WIRELESS BRA (4-7.1″ BCD | 5.6-8.6″ BCD)

Cup Size Range: 2.9-8.6″ BCD

Band Size Range: 28-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I’ve never personally made this bra, but I’ve heard nothing but good things and I can’t wait to try it. It’s the only wireless bra I’ve seen have the gore (the center part between the breasts) tack (fit against the skin). This is a sign of great fit and great engineering!

Price: $17

Wired Bra Patterns for the Fuller Bust

PORCELYNNE | EVE MODULAR BRA

Cup Size Range: A-O (not every cup size is available for every wire size)

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: This is, hands down, my FAVORITE bra pattern ever. It’s my absolute go-to. Here’s why: It’s a modular pattern, so you get to choose not only your band and cup size, but also your torso shape, wire size, and wire style. For me, as a narrow-rooted person, on most bra patterns, I have to alter them a ton to get the larger cup to work with my smaller wire. But not with this pattern, since designer Jennifer is an absolute goddess who did that for me and every narrow-rooted or wide-rooted person out there. THANK YOU JENNIFER. Basically, this is the closest to custom fit that you’re going to get in a pattern.

Now, the downside of that is there’s a bit more of a process to make this bra. We’ll have a blog post all about this later this month, but basically, you have to figure out your wire size first, then move step by step through the rest of the bramaking process. It also means that you have to buy the band pattern separate from the cups pattern. But trust me, it’s worth it.

Price: $16 total ($8 for a band pattern; $8 for cups pattern)

PORCELYNNE | ARIEL DEMI CUP

Cup Size Range: A-J (not every cup size is available for every band size)

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Notes: This, like the Eve, is a modular pattern, so cups and band ar sold separately.

Price: $16 total ($8 for a band pattern; $8 for cups pattern)

LILYPADESIGNS | LABELLUM BRA

Cup Size Range: 4-7.1″ BCD

Band Size Range: 29-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

LILYPADESIGNS | LAMINA BRA

Cup Size Range: 4-7.1″ BCD

Band Size Range: 29-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

PIN UP GIRLS | CLASSIC BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I could not get the Classic to work for me, but I think it would be a great option for those who have a more wide-rooted, shallow shape.

Price: $16.99

PIN UP GIRLS | RUBY BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $16.99

PIN UP GIRLS | SHELLEY BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $16.99

AFI ATELIER | EXQUISITE BRA PATTERN (28-38″ bands | 38-48″ bands)

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 28-48″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.51

ORANGE LINGERIE | BOYLSTON BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

ORANGE LINGERIE | DEVONSHIRE BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

ORANGE LINGERIE | MARLBOROUGH BRA

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

B’WEAR | JESSICA’S TWIN BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 70-105cm underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $17.03

B’WEAR | ANGIE’S TWIN BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 70-105cm underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed or PDF

Price: $17.03 printed | $12.61 PDF

LA BELLA COPPIA | JOSEY PLUS BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: C-J (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $20

MAKE BRA | DL01 BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 26-38″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

MAKE BRA | DL02-3 BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: C-K (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

CLOTH HABIT | HARRIET BRA

Cup Size Range: A-H (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 28-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $16.50


I did not include every Pin Up Girls pattern, as they have many, but I included all of those that are most popular. You can check out their whole catalog here.

I also did not include any patterns for which I couldn’t find a size chart. For example, Bravo Bella has a couple patterns that go to an I cup, and AFI Atelier’s free Maya Bra pattern goes up to a J cup, but I could not find a size chart for them.

If you try one of these, please let me know how it goes! Tag your posts on instagram and the Facebook group with #sewbustychallenge for a chance to win some swag!


This post was updated on June 6, 2021 to add a few patterns I had missed, including the Make Bra patterns and the Cloth Habit Harriet.

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Instagram Giveaway Deets

Sew Busty is SO EXCITED to host another giveaway, this time BRA THEMED!

We’re offering three fabulous prizes:

To enter, you must:

  1. follow @SewBusty, @PorcelynneSupplies, @FirebrandLingerie, and @GigisBraSupply on instagram
  2. like the giveaway post on the Sew Busty insta account
  3. tag your sewing buddy in the comments on the giveaway post on the Sew Busty insta account

BONUS ENTRY: share the giveaway post from the Sew Busty insta account in your instagram story or grid & tag @sewbusty

**The grand prize is only available to residents of the United States, but the other prizes are available worldwide!

The giveaway will run through 11:59 pm eastern time on June 6. Best of luck!

Here’s what grand prize sponsor Jeannie of Gigi’s bra supply has to say:

I’m excited to offer an awesome prize for your new Sew Busty giveaway.

It’s no surprise that the Sew Busty Community has great interest in bras. Research has verified what we know to be true: more than 85% of people were wearing poorly fitting bras1 … and for larger busts, it’s even worse … 100% of people with large cup sizes were wearing the wrong bra.2

But as you know, it doesn’t have to be this way. Sewing a supportive, beautiful,comfortable bra is possible, and with the right pattern, fabrics and elastics, it’s easier than you think.

That’s why we’re offering a Complete Bra Package with everything for bra making success…$135 value!

  • Beautiful bra making scuba and lace fabric combo (all of these of the winner’s choice)
  • Coordinating findings
  • Pattern
  • Pair of Underwires
  • Full Bra Test Fit Kit with professional bra making fabrics of sheer cup, powernet, test underwires and findings
  • Cut and Sew Foam for the cups
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Free shipping coupon to make their next bra!

The fine print on the grand prize: These can ship only to the USA (including Alaska and Hawaii) and can be fulfilled only with the product we have in stock. This is a product bundle and cannot be redeemed for cash. The winner will choose all of the products in the same shipment, except the underwires, which can be shipped separately so the winner can use the Test Fit Kit to determine the perfect size. Winner has until Dec 31, 2021 to redeem the prize.

  1. Eighty-five percent of the participants were found to be wearing ill-fitting bras and the bra sizes determined by self-selection or using bra-sizing measurement systems were significantly different to the correct bra size” J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Nov;13(6):568-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.03.003. Epub 2010 May 7.
    Optimising breast support in female patients through correct bra fit. A cross-sectional study. McGhee DE1, Steele JR.
  2. Of the 102 women suitable for inclusion in the study, all wore the wrong size bra.” British Journal of Plastic Surgery (2003), 56, 230–236 q 2003 The British Association of Plastic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. doi:10.1016/S0007-1226(03)00122-X An investigation of the suitability of bra fit in women referred for reduction mammaplasty.

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Welcome to Bra Month & 5 Things I Wish I Had Known As a Bra Making Beginner

Welcome to bra month, busty babes!

When I started Sew Busty, I didn’t intend for it to be a community about bra making. I meant for it to be a community mostly about garment making. But over and over again, bra making has come up in the Sew Busty Facebook Group and Subreddit. And, let’s face it, bras are some of my favorite things to make.

So, what the hell, Sew Busty can be about bra making for a month.

(Don’t you garment-makers worry, though! Sew Busty will still mostly be about garments. Join us for bra month for a fun challenge, but then circle back with us next month, when we’ll be making a dress.)

My Jet Set Natural Bra, which is the sew along pattern this month!

What can I expect from bra month?

FANTASTIC QUESTION. And, lemme tell ya, I’ve got a HUGE MONTH planned for y’all. Here’s what to expect:

  • Bra Making Giveaway: Sew Busty will be hosting a giveaway on instagram June 2-6! We have some amazing prizes for you from Porcelynne, Firebrand Lingerie, and a grand prize worth more than $100 from Gigi’s Bra Supply! If you’re not on Insta, you may want to hop on just for this!

  • Sew Along Mondays: Every Monday in June, expect another installment of the Jet Set Natural Sew Along, which will include an exclusive 20% coupon for the pattern! We will start June 7 with a post on taking your measurements, choosing a size, and making pattern adjustments. This sew along is appropriate for an adventurous beginner, so grab your sewing scissors and join in the fun!

  • Sewing Challenge: Sew Busty is going to start doing monthly challenges. This month’s challenge? Make a bra, bralette, or binder, of course! Post a pic of your make (flat lays are totally okay; no need to model!) on Instagram, in the Sew Busty Subreddit, and/or in the Sew Busty Facebook Group with #sewbustychallenge at any time before July 5 for a chance to win swag from the Sew Busty Shop!

  • Busty Bra Pattern Round Up: The Busty Pattern Database has had a bra tab in beta mode for a while, but NO MORE. On Saturday, I’ll be posting a round up of bra patterns that come in at least an H cup.

  • Bra Fit Posts: I’ll be talking about breast shape, wire fit, and more, with posts throughout the month!

  • Community Posts: We’ll be featuring posts on the bra making journeys of members of the Sew Busty Community!

  • Expert Posts: This month will bring a post from Kristen of Sewing by Carolyn (and certified Porcelynne bra drafter!) on making an underwire bra, a post from Jeannie from Gigi’s Bra Supply on using scuba to make bras, and a post from Kerry from Firebrand Lingerie on finding inspiration from historical lingerie.
One of my favorite bras I’ve ever made: a longline Porcelynne Eve

ARE YOU READY YET?

No? Okay, how about I tell you about what I wish I would have known when I started making my own bras?

5 Things I Wish I Knew When As a Beginner Bra Maker

1. Your bra doesn’t fit you. No, really.

I was a HUGE bra fit addict. I spent so much time reading all the resources on the A Bra That Fits subreddit, following lingerie influencers, and lurking on Bratabase. I had heard the statistic that something like 80% of bra-wearing people wear the wrong size, and that this percentage only gets worse for the more big-boobed among us. But I thought I had it figured out!

Well, turns out, my bra was the right size, but the wrong fit.

Huh?

2. boobs come in all shapes (and sizes).

This goes along with #1 – but, before I started making my own bras, I didn’t fully realize to what extend boobs come in different shapes. I knew the lingo – projection, root height, root width, fullness, close set, wide set … but I hadn’t ever really become intimate with these concepts.

As I’ve discussed on Insta before, I was wearing the wrong wire. I’m what we call narrow-rooted and projected in shape, concepts Madison Alexandra explains in this fantastic TikTok video:

In fact, I’m so narrow-rooted that no bra maker makes a bra with the correct volume cup and the correct wire. Not even Polish bra designer Ewa Michalak, who is known for her narrow wires. So, my bras not fitting wasn’t really my fault, but it was much more of a problem than I ever realized.

I’ll be doing a whole post on boob shape later this month, so I’ll leave it at that for now. But, please trust me, your bra probably doesn’t fit.

3. Make a structured bralette or simple wireless bra first. (YES YOU CAN WEAR A BRALETTE!)

There’s a reason I’ve chosen the Jet Set Natural as our sew along this month: Because I believe it’s often a good idea to start one’s bra making journey with a bralette. Why? A few reasons:

First, as I mentioned, you’re probably wearing the wrong bra, and it’s pretty likely that you’re less familiar with your breast shape than you think. For me, I knew I was somewhat narrow-rooted, but I had no idea the extent to it. Making a bra is an experience in getting really intimate with your own body, and a bralette allows you to do that with a bit more simplicity. By making a bralette, you’ll learn all about your breast shape, which will help you when you go to make a more elaborate bra.

My first bralette! A pink Pin Up Girls Sweet 16

Second, a bralette or simple wireless bra is an easier fit. It’s more likely that, on your first or second try, you’ll end up with something comfy and wearable. Wired bras and more complex wireless bras usually require more fiddling to get to a comfy place. I want you to have fun and avoid frustration, and a bralette is a great way to do that.

Third, bralettes and simple wireless bras tend to have fewer parts and fewer seams, which means they go together more quickly. I’m a slow sewist, and it only took me about 4 hours to make my Jet Set bra. A wired bra takes me about 8 hours.

Now, I want to note that some expert bra makers disagree with this advice, and that’s okay. They tend to point out that you should make the type of bra you want to wear, and I don’t think that’s a crazy point. Some of this depends on learning styles. I’m a methodical, walk-before-you-run type of gal. Others prefer to jump in the deep end. So, pick your poison!

4. your first bra probably won’t fit.

Okay, I don’t want to discourage you, but let me tell you about my first me-made bra. It was many, many sizes too small. MANY.

My first me-made bralette, a Pin Up Girls Sweet 16. This is before I spent any time in it. That quad boob only got worse lol

I sent it to a nice teen who needed new bras, and they apparently really liked it. But, on me, it was just all wrong.

This has to do with a few things – figuring out your measurements without having a perfectly-fitting bra, learning how to take those measurements, and just variability in how patterns fit different people.

Now, I will say that the Jet Set Natural is the first bra I’ve ever made that fit on the first try, and that’s part of why I chose it for our sew along. I’m hoping others will also get a perfect fit on their first try! But, don’t use your fanciest, most expensive fabric for your first bra. Save that for your second or third. And don’t get discouraged if your first bra isn’t perfect.

5. bra making is addicting

SO ADDICTING. I got to the point that I needed to force myself to make more garments because I had like 8 bras and no shirts that fit. 😂 I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

Don’t forget to join the Bra Month Challenge for your chance to win some Sew Busty swag! Make a bra, bralette, or binder and post a pic of your make (flat lays are totally okay; no need to model!) on Instagram, in the Sew Busty Subreddit, and/or in the Sew Busty Facebook Group with #sewbustychallenge at any time before July 5!