I went on a bit of a bra-making tear in about February, which is the time of year that tends to happen, if past years are any guide. I made two sports bras and three for everyday wear.
The first sports bra was the Jalie Coco, which I made with a few amusing sort-of-coordinating stretch fabrics that I bought at Ann's Fabric in Hamilton when I was there last year.
I have a beef with over-the-head sports bras which is that they are hard to deal with when you've been sweating (which you probably will do while wearing a sports bra, right?). One of the things I thought I would be able to do with this pattern is to insert hooks at the CB of the band. The pattern isn't written that way, and so far I haven't had the energy to figure out how to modify it. But that would make it a lot easier to get on and off, I think.
Something I realized after wearing this a few times (which I should have realized a lot earlier, since I tend to be short through the armscye area) is that I should have shortened the straps. They look OK but I feel like the bra is sitting too far down on my body.
The Coco bra has minimal if any shaping and relies on compression to hold everything together. It is fully lined. I used some power mesh from stash in the front and side, and the straps are self-lined. With this type of lining and the firm lower band, the bra is very supportive. The front lining is designed with the option of inserting bra cups between two lining layers, and as a result the front lining is a little complicated. I did not even consider making this option and dumbed the pattern down by combining the CF lining piece with the "cup" lining piece. In this way I got rid of two seams that had no shaping built into them and seemed to have the potential for show-through bumpiness.
By contrast, the next sports bra that I made has fully shaped cups with plenty of seams. This is the Greenstyle Endurance sports bra. It has a front zipper for easy on-and-offing, no matter how sweaty you are. I went ahead and shortened the straps by about 2.5 cm based on my Coco experience, even though I had never made anything like it before. I love the fit and feel of this bra and the shortened straps are perfect for me.
The Endurance is sewn with a seamed bra foam inner layer in front, a lined back and all edges are encased in wide fold-over elastic. Surprise! I had bra foam and wide FOE in stash, along with a remnant of colourful nylon lycra and a shortish coil separating zipper. I even had a little scrap of scuba knit for the top and bottom zipper shield.
I found the bra foam super easy to sew. The edges are butted together and sewn with a 3 step zig-zag - no bulky seam allowances. It's very comfortable against the skin too.
I skipped the step of stitching down all the seam allowances in the outer fabric, which wasn't the smartest thing since quite predictably, once I washed the bra the seam allowances all did that little rolling thing that jersey knits always do. Luckily this is not noticeable in my busy print, and I can't feel it. Next time.
The bra has a nice racer back and the FOE finishing makes it look very snappy. It is easy to get on and off, although I sometimes find it hard to get the zipper connected at the lower edge when putting it on (negative ease). Maybe a molded plastic zipper would be easier.
If you are still with me, the other new bra pattern I tried out is the Atelier AFI Exquisite bra. This is a very lovely "balconette" bra with seamed cups. The cups are supposed to be made from non-stretch fabric and decorated with lace.
I used a stretch fabric but lined it to reduce the stretch factor. And I made a slightly smaller size than recommended. I adjusted the bridge to be narrower than the pattern based on my earlier bra experiments. It turned out perfectly. I'm actually amazed at the fit, especially given that I had previously tried the free Maya pattern and didn't care for it.
You'll just have to believe me when I say it fits me better than my plastic display form.
I also made 2 versions of my self-drafted bra pattern, including one that is a complete clone of this one and I finally made up the full band version of the same pattern. I had previously made the pattern using the information in Beverly Johnson's Bra Maker's Manual (vol. 1). It worked out fine, although my elastic application left a bit to be desired.