When the Sewcialists challenged the Curvy Sewing Collective to sew something brave this May, I immediately thought of making a sports bra. Because of my large bust, bra sewing has always intimidated and also tempted me. I have a tough time finding sports bras that fit comfortably and also offer support. In fact, it seems like most sports bras do one of those if I’m lucky. I have a couple which do neither.
But, honestly, who likes wriggling a sweaty body into different bras to try them on? Even finding some to try is tough. Can you find a store which stocks a selection beyond small, medium, large and extra-large?
I decided to try the GreenstylesCreations Power Bra. It has a big size range and a lot of options. Their Facebook group is full of great versions many of them sewn up with matching leggings. The seaming provides shaping and the option for contrasting panels and the racer back version has a pocket option. Bra pockets? Sign me up!
Pattern Name: GreenstyleCreations Power Sports Bra
Size Range: 28”- 46” band (71 – 117cm) Cup Sizes A-H
What Size Did You Make? Their size chart put me in a 38F, so that’s what I made.
What are your measurements?
Full Bust 44” Underbust 38”. I wear a 38G in standard US bras.
What adjustments did you make and how long did they take?
My first version I used the lower neckline and made no adjustments. I found the neckline a little low. I attached a layer of powermesh to the lining.
For version 2, I used the higher neckline and cut the straps a little wider. I cut the side cup slightly higher to contain my extra fluff. I interfaced the end of the strap to give extra support. I also sewed foam bra cups to the lining.
What fabric did you use?
Version 1 used athletic knit and a sturdy swim knit. Both had the recommended 70% stretch. There was also a layer of powermesh sandwiched inside. This version offered very little support.
For the body of the second version, I used a heavier knit with only about 40% stretch. I lined the inside with a swim knit and sewed in foam cups. I trimmed the cups slightly so that they would fit inside and not get caught in the seams. I interfaced the straps to eliminate the vertical stretch.
What was the construction process like? Did the instructions make sense to you?
The pattern is well drafted and goes together smoothly. I used my regular sewing machine for most of the construction, but I switched to my serger for some of the larger seams. It would certainly be possible to use only a regular machine. Basting will keep those layers of slippery fabric from sliding away as you sew.
Unfortunately the instructions don’t get into details about how to add more support. There are directions for adding removable cups, but no instructions for attaching cups to the lining or suggestions about more supportive fabrics.
How do you like the pattern’s fit? Do you think the design works well for your particular body shape?
The fit of this bra is okay. I prefer more coverage at the side to contain the side boob fluff. I did raise that a little In version 2, but it needs to cover a bit more. I was pleased to get the right bust size based on my measurements, but the sign of a good sports bra is also the function. Those of us with larger breasts will need a lot more support than is offered by the recommended fabrics.
Sewists on the GreenstylesCreations Facebook group had a number of recommendations for extra support. Mostly they suggested sturdier fabrics like Techsheen which only has 25% stretch. One would have to use these only in the front or run the risk of being unable to get the bra on.
There are a wide variety of sturdy meshes and fabrics to provide support. If you are inexperienced like me, it may take some trial and error to find the perfect mix for your level of activity.
My second version provides enough support for the brisk walking and easy hiking that I do. It still allows bouncing, so jogging would be out of the question.
Finally, since the racer back view has a nice sized pocket, I have a place to stash my phone. Secret pockets are always a benefit. Secret bra pockets? I think that’s the best kind of secret pocket.
Will you make the pattern again? If so what fit or design changes will you make?
I already have a third version planned. I looked at some store-bought sports bras, the supportive ones use a low stretch material for the whole front. I’m considering using bra foam inside instead of using foam cups. Some curvy swimsuits use bra foam, so it may be a better solution.
I will raise the side bust a bit more and probably try out the keyhole option.
I was really worried about trying to make a sports bra, but it wasn’t that difficult. Like any new sewing skill, it takes a little practice to get the right fit. Luckily, sports bras are a quick project and don’t take much fabric. I don’t have the perfect bra yet, but I understand how to keep improving.
I didn’t find a lot of resources about sewing supportive sports bras. Do you have tips or suggestions for those of us starting out?
If you want to join us and Sew Brave this month, find a project that pushes you outside your comfort zone. You can check the #SewBraveSewcialists on Instagram to get inspired.