Picture this: You come home from a long day, and no matter how comfortable and well fitting your bra is, you’re dying to take it off and slip into something stretchy, soft, and just supportive enough to keep the girls from flopping all over the place. Oh wait, you have nothing like that. Because you’re like me – a small band, big bust, and you’ve found through trial and error that bralettes are not made for your life. If it’s big enough to cover your breast tissue, it’s ginormous in the band. If it fits in the band… oh, forget it.
Somewhat inspired by PetiteCollegiate’s post about her Tashface Handmade bralettes, I decided I’d try to make one that solved my problems. I’ve operated a sewing machine approximately 5 times in my life so I figured this would be a comedy of trials and errors. Surprisingly, it took only 2 attempts to come up with one I was willing to post publicly.
I wish I could say I have a nice little pattern to offer up that works great for all of you dying for a custom bralette, but I don’t. I kind of winged it. I started with a pattern, but I think I attached the two pieces of the cups backwards and I kind of starting improvising, laughing to myself all the way.
I already had an extra set of bra straps from a convertible bra, and the white fabric is jersey material and the black is stretch lace, both from Michael’s. The stretch is kind of a PITA to sew with, but is very comfortable. It also isn’t the most supportive thing in the world, so don’t expect boobies lifted to the heavens. The band is actually 3 pieces… I started with two 1/2″ pieces of white elastic attached to the claps but it wasn’t stable enough so I stitched a 1″ black elastic to the inside of it to hold it together and then added lace over all of it, to hide the Frankenband I’d created. If I did it again, I’d just use a piece of 1-2″ elastic to begin with. The loops I created to hook the bra straps on are a bit big, so they like to fall off a lot.
I found the cute little bows at Walmart and hand stitched them on last. There is also a strip of 3/8″ elastic stitched onto the outer edges of the cups for added boob-containment. The cups are obviously very, very, very wide. I think this is actually pretty common of bralettes, and without wires it doesn’t bother me. At least I know I’m not going to slide out of the sides of it! If I did it all over again (and I probably will), I would overlap the cups in the center a little farther. The shape is… awkward. And very minimizing. Under a tee shirt my boobs literally disappear.
The band is too big and you can see it riding up my back. I found it difficult to judge how tight to pull the elastic around my ribcage when measuring it, because even though I gently stretched the band when attaching the cups, the more you stitch through elastic the more it will tighten up. So you want to leave some allowance for that (the band on my first bralette attempt wouldn’t close around me). I stole the bra claps off an old 34D bra I haven’t worn and they are nude colored, therefore not pictured haha. At least the band being too tight is something I can fix.
To sum up: It was fun. It was frustrating. It’s comfortable. It’ll do. I’ll do it again, I’m sure. And this experiment has taught me a lot, and I know what I want to change when I do it again, to improve the shape of the cups and the fit of the band. If anybody else is as bored as I was and equally frustrated with bralettes, I’d highly recommend giving it a go. Maybe after a few more attempts I’ll have better results and advice for all you DIY’ers out there!