Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy

Being that I’m very into my workout routine I was ready to dive into sewing up whatever sports bra I could find!  I stumbled across two patterns and both were for free.  I decided to go with the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy because it seemed to have a good amount of support and I really liked the style lines.

Ultimate Sports Bra

The Low Down:

The So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra is a free pattern with a comprehensive video tutorial.  You can download the pattern here.  This is ONLY the pattern.  This link will direct you to Craftsy.com where you will need to sign up for an account if you do not already have one to access this pattern.  Directions are not included so you have to either go read the directions here or watch the tutorial here.  I highly recommend watching the tutorial and keeping that in the background as you sew. I also recommend watching the tutorial before you head to the fabric store which was something I really wish I had done.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard of Spandex/nylon 4-way stretch or lycra milliskin nylon Spandex
  • 2 yards of foldover elastic to match the main fabric. Either 5/8” or 3/4” width.
  • Thread to match
  • #10 ball point needle
  • Optional: Bra cups

Purchased from:

I purchased all of my supplies from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  If any of you have been there you know you can get some great fabric for an outstanding deal.  The So Sew Easy blog provides links in the materials section of their tutorial for you to easily purchase these items on Amazon.com.  Otherwise, your local fabric store or favorite online shop.

The Process:

I usually prep my pattern, fabric and instructions in steps.  It takes me a few days to get everything together as I don’t have big blocks of time to spend on them each day.

Untitled 1

Day 1:  Cut out paper pattern and fabric

Tip from Mayra of So Sew Easy:  When pattern pieces are drafted on a fold and you are using slippery fabric always trace that pattern piece and draw the matching side so your new pattern piece is one unfolded pattern piece.  This will prevent slippage issues and inadvertently cutting incorrectly.  She also suggests using a rotary cutter. 

To be completely honest, I didn’t do this.  Not because I didn’t want to but because I cut the pattern and fabric out before I watched the video/read the tutorial.  My pieces turned out just fine though.

Day 2: Watch video on my bus ride home.

Day 3:

This happened to be a Saturday and my husband was out kayak fishing so guess what I got to do?!  Work on this pattern until my sewing machine and I got into an altercation… haha

Ultimate Sports Bra  Ultimate Sports Bra

I carefully watched each step of the tutorial in sequence with my sewing.  I sewed the back pieces together with ease once my machine cooperated (more on that to come).  Next was the front and the sides.  Then you apply the facing which was my favorite step because the facing is applied to the front interior and you sew the sides to the bra but not on a seam. The outcome is the zigzag stitch appears on the right side of the sports bra giving it a RTW princess seam look.

You can see that here:

Ultimate Sports Bra

You will also see that the facing is left unsewn where it lies on the straps.  This is left open so you can add bra cups if you so choose.

Ultimate Sports Bra

Sew the shoulder seams together then measure the sleeve opening and the neckline opening with your measuring tape.  Subtract 1” then measure your foldover elastic and cut.  Be sure to double check this as for some reason I messed my measuring up and I’m not sure how.  You will need to fold each in half lengthwise and sew the ends together at 1/4” to create a circle.  Measure as directed and sew them on the openings while stretching the elastic being sure that they enclose the fabric and reach around the whole perimeter of the opening.

Day 4:

Finally, you will create a band for the bottom of the sports bra where you will be directed to measure around the opening of the bra and subtract 1”-2”.  You will then draw this on a piece of large paper and create your own band pattern.  Attach to the bottom of the bra and you are complete! 🙂

Hiccups:

My machine!  Sometimes it really seems like it is plotting against me… Here is my frustration: I spent so much time and thread trying to get the tension just right.  I am using a regular sewing machine by the way so I use a zigzag stitch for my knit projects.  My machine doesn’t seem to care for a narrow zigzag stitch unless it really really feels like it.  For the most part it will sew in a wavy line then skip a few stitches then just maybe do what it’s supposed to.

Unhappy stitches below:

Ultimate Sports Bra

My machine seems to favor a wider zigzag but doesn’t like it if I switch between zigzag and straight stitch.  It gets confused… Let’s just say my seam ripper should just be medically attached as a 6th finger.

I cleaned up the mess and this is how it turned out.  Not bad when my machine is happy!

Ultimate Sports Bra

Recommendations:

  • Watch the tutorial before you get your supplies and before you start sewing this project.
  • Test your machine’s zigzag capacity on thread that you don’t mind wasting if using a regular sewing machine.
  • Double check your foldover elastic and band measurements before you cut.
  • If you’re anything like me you’ll need to keep that seam ripper handy. 😉

Ultimate Sports Bra

Florence Bra by Seamwork Magazine Sewalong

Florence Bra by Seamwork Magazine Sewalong

Sewing up a bra for the first time always seemed so complicated to me.  Then I got to chatting with my sewing pal Helen and discovered that she was also a bit intimidated by the idea.  We knew we wanted to sew one up eventually but had not committed to it so Helen being awesome and proactive said “Let’s have a bra sewalong!”

I have never sewn anything with anyone before except for school projects so I was all for it!  I’ve always wanted a sewing buddy and Helen couldn’t be more perfect to fit the bill!  Now if only that pesky Atlantic Ocean wasn’t between us! Luckily, IG made it easy for us to send photos and messages and have a sense of collaboration despite the time zone difference.  Helen is also just so wonderful to chat with that it doesn’t even feel like she’s that far away anyway!

We already had a few projects in the queue and I was about to go on a two-week vacation so we decided to start at the beginning on June.  We went with the Florence bra by Seamwork since we both have it.  Unfortunately, things got pushed back about two weeks into June because I had unbearable jet lag and was struggling to figure out what supplies to buy.  Ultimately, I went with all black because I really wanted to start and I knew I would love black either way.

Sewalong Approach

We approached our sewalong by completing one step each day and sending each other pictures and updates the next day.  This worked out pretty well for us as we were able to brainstorm together when my mornings and Helen’s evenings overlapped.  It was also great to get tips from each other on things that worked and didn’t work.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Sizing & Straps

As for the Florence pattern, I didn’t have any issues with it luckily.  I cut out an XS for the band and a M for the cup. The pieces were easy to put together and cut out. That made me really happy!  Then I had to conquer the straps and sliders.  This was a first for me and of course I was like … wait, how??  I struggled with looping the strap back into the slider as it didn’t seem it would fit.  I eventually found a way to do it and now I look at it and think “What was so scary about that?” 😉

Florence Bra Seamwork MagazineNext step: Sew up the cups

I used a wide zigzag stitch and it turned out pretty well.  Everything was still coming together nicely and in a timely manner.  So I moved onto attaching the straps to the cups and thank goodness for our sewalong because Helen warned me that the top portion of the cup that attaches to the strap pops out if you don’t tuck it in as you are sewing.  With that in mind, I was able to sew it up without a hitch.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine                     Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine      Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Although, once I saw how the straps attached to the cup I wasn’t convinced that the fit would look right.  The strap seemed like it would pull the cup away from the body and towards the arm.  I moved forward anyway since I wouldn’t really know until I attach the cups to the band and try it on.

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

The Band

The next day, I attached the cups to the band starting from the side to the center front.  I carefully pinned them so I could make sure the points met in the center.  At this point the bra was practically done.  I just needed to sew up the back seam of the band, attach the straps to the back and sew elastic around the bottom of the band.  I really wanted to try it on so I sewed up the back seam and attached the straps but left the elastic for the following day.

Yay!  I was almost done and I finally got to try it on.  I was really hoping I would love it and want to wear it all the time. Once I tried it on all my fears were eased.  It fit just right and it looked so pretty.  I’ve been dreaming of having a pretty lace bralette and I finally had one!  I didn’t want to get too excited since I still had to attach the elastic band and that could ruin everything… haha.

Florence Bra Seamwork MagazineThe following afternoon I sat down and carefully attached the elastic.  There was no way I was going to let the final step of my bra making ruin this for me! Everything looked fine, things were going smoothly and sure enough I was done!

Florence Bra Seamwork Magazine

Now, for the final fit test! 

Drum roll please!  I’m sure you guessed it by now but IT FIT!  I was very pleased and honestly now I want to sew up a whole bunch more lingerie.  It’s just so beautiful and dainty and fun!

If you want more bra fun check out Helen’s Florence bra here!  It is bursting with color and she is so thorough in her description of her experience it is definitely a must read for anyone looking to sew up Florence or any bra for that matter. 🙂

Happy Sewing!

For more bra sewing fun check out these posts:

Bare Essentials Bra Pattern

So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra

Kwik Sew 3167 Camisole and Panties