Ever since I became pregnant, there’s been a shift in my sewing. For one, I’m getting a lot less sewing done, unfortunately (working on it!). For two, I’m having to focus less on patterns with cup options, and more on patterns that will serve my changing body.
This means out with the underwire bras (which I’m still salty about! I miss them 😭) and in with the stretchy bralettes. (With a healthy dose of baby powder to prevent between-boob yeast infections, because that’s a thing, y’all.)
I’ve been struggling to find a nursing bra pattern that comes in my size. The ever-popular Lotus Bralette from LilypaDesigns, which has a built-in nursing option, is a smidge too-small for my current 14″ full bust to underbust difference. And while Lilypad’s Lanai Wireless bra, which also has a nursing option, comes in my size, I’m reluctant to work out a non-stretchy bra pattern right now. (The last time I tried to make a non-stretchy bra, it fit one week and then didn’t fit the next, which was SO FRUSTRATING! Growing boobs are HARD.)
So when Yawning Mama, a fairly new pattern brand, did a call for testers of their new set of bralette patterns, including both a nursing AND a pumping bra (which might be the first pumping bra pattern on the market!), I jumped at the opportunity.
Oh! The Options!
This bra pattern comes with so many options. For those who are breast/chestfeeding, the Nursing Mama Bra (yeah, I don’t love the gendered language either), the Cross-Front Bra, and the Pumping Mama Bra are all boob-access friendly. The Nursing Mama and Pumping Mama bras have options for side slings or full slings, giving the maker options based on your individual preferences.
For those who aren’t feeding a babe (or, in my case, about to!), the Cross-Front Bra and Empress Bralette are both great options.
Both the breast/chestfeeding bras and the non-nursing bras can be made into a camisole (including maternity option!), tankini, or tunic using the cami add-on pack.
Let’s Talk About Sizing
Alright, now let’s talk about sizing. When I first saw the size chart, I was unconvinced that this pattern would work for me, and I bet some of you are similarly skeptical.
My current underbust is 32.5″ (82.5 cm) and my current full bust is 46″ (116.8 cm). So, based on this size chart, my underbust is a size small. But the biggest cup size for a small — the green cup — is only for a 43.5″ (110.5 cm) full bust, a full 2.5″ (6.4 cm) smaller than my full bust measurement. So I asked “uhhhh, hey, sooooo how will this fit me?”
The designer, Danielle, was super helpful. She instructed me to choose the small size for the back and underbust, but to choose the medium green cups — if I wanted it to fit snugly — or the large green cups — if I wanted some more room to grow. Since my milk has yet to come in, I chose to use the large green cups.
My First Toile
For my first go at this bra, I used some cotton spandex that Yawning Mama had sent for tests (shout out to designers who provide materials for testers!). The only pattern change I made was to make an omega adjustment to the dart, making the dart 1″ wider at the bottom.
It … did not work.
I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but this bra had almost no support, and the darts were about an inch too far to each side for the placement of my apex. The side seams are also about 1″ too far back.
This bra works pretty well as a sleep bra (which apparently I need to get acquainted with before baby comes, since I usually sleep braless!), but not so much for day-to-day wear.
But I could tell that this bra was promising, we just weren’t quite there.
So I prepared to make some changes:
- Move the darts inward by 1″ by removing 2″ from center front fold
- Use activewear nylon spandex for more support
- Use 1″ elastic at band instead of 1/4″ elastic for more underbust support
- Keep the 1″ enlargement of darts
Making It Work for a Busty Body
Now, I’ll quickly note that all of these changes are ones I’d strongly suggest for the small band, large cup among us, and for even the large band, large cup busty folks, I’d highly suggest using a fabric with a firmer stretch and more recovery and using 1″ elastic at the band.
Made as-directed, this bra really isn’t appropriate for busty folks who seek lots of support for a day-to-day bra. If you’re into lots of comfort and just want something to keep your twins from flailing around, by all means, make this bra as instructed — some people prefer that kind of fit! But if, like me, you want a bra that holds you up, make these changes.
Because the pattern doesn’t have larger cups drafted for a small band, for example, I wasn’t super surprised to find that the darts were in entirely the wrong place, since the large green cups likely anticipated my breasts would be wider rather than projected.
This goes back to the issue of breast shape that we see in underwire bra making — we all know that I’m narrow-rooted and projected, and that most bra patterns anticipate my breasts being much wider than they are. But, in a simple bralette like this, it’s not a change that’s drastically hard to make.
My Final Bra
Armed with a handful of changes and fabric with a firmer stretch and better recovery — my old favorite sports bra nylon spandex from Porcelynne — I had another go.
This one fits so much better. It’s supportive, though not as supportive as an underwire bra (or probably even as my Porcelynne sports bras), but this may have more to do with the fact that I sized up instead of down in the cup to account for more growth down the line.
Overall, I definitely plan to make more of this pattern. I’ve been mostly wearing Molke bras since becoming pregnant, so I’m also curious to try the Cross-Front bra from this pattern set.
I also love the full sling option, and I think I’ll also give a go at adding this sling to a Porcelynne Jackie bra pattern, since that pattern seems to lend just a smidge more support.
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