I'm super excited that I recently learned how to sew my own bras! I was in the test group for the Greenstyle Creations Endurance Bra. I was a bit skeptical at first for a couple of reasons: one being that I have not really had too much success in sewing anything for myselft, and a second being that it's a bra. I mean I had never sewn a bra before.
I did however learn a lot through the process. Keep in mind that this is a sports bra with a front zipper (which I totally love). It is comfortable and as far as fabric choices go--the sky is the limit!
OK. This first tip is actually one that I learned long ago when sewing anything stretchy. Forget ball point needles. Just use needles that are marked "stretch". Specifically, I use Klasse' Stretch Needles. Since first using these needles, I know that I will never use another. For these bras I used size 75/11 needle.
2. Buy a whole yard of cut and sew foam (and order 1 inch FOE online too).
The pattern calls for a piece of cut and sew foam that is basically a fat quarter. You will be able to get 2 bras out of this amount. But after sewing my muslin and getting a good fit, I wanted to sew several more bras. Purchasing a whole yard of cut and sew foam saved me waste and also saved me from needing to buy more and pay more shipping. This foam is not readily available in local shops, so you will need to order it online. I ordered from Arte Crafts. When I did the math, it was less expensive to buy a whole yard than to buy 4 fat quarters. That was a no-brainer at that point. Oh and I got free shipping because my order was over a certain amount. Sewing the foam is so much fun and it is easily my favorite part of the bra sewing process.
Second place is attaching the FOE. By the second bra, I had realized how much I needed to stretch the FOE in order to get enough support and fit from the elastic, so all of my bras fit really really well. The foam adds support in the bra so you definitely need it. It's also soft and comfy, so no worries about rubbing or itching.
My local sewing supply store only sells 1 inch FOE in basic black and white. While that is ok for some bras, I wanted a nice chocolate brown, so I ordered online from Diaper Sewing Supplies. I must say I am impressed with their color selection of 1 inch FOE--they even have prints. You need at least 3 yards per bra using the Greenstyle Endurance Bra pattern, so again order plenty so you can make more than just one or two bras.
3. Once you have a good fit, cut out several bras at one time, then sew them production line style.
Trust me when I say that you will want to sew more than 2 bras! The first bra is definitely a muslin. While it might be wearable, it might be your perfect fit. You will definitely know what adjustments need to be made after making a muslin in order for the second bra to be a perfect fit. For my first muslin I used this orange flower print. it is actually swim lycra. For the lining I used solid white swimwear lining, although you can use the outer fabric as the lining as well.
My second bra fit exactly the way I wanted it to fit. I had to go down one cup size, after making the muslin, for the perfect fit. Once I had that perfect fit, it just made sense to cut out several bras and then sew them all production line style. Much, much faster that way! Also once you have made one bra, the sewing really goes much faster. I found that I didn't even need the instructions for the future bras that I sewed.
There are three back options in the Greenstyle Endurance Bra pattern. You can make a traditional sports bra with racer back, criss-cross straps, and there is even an option for adjustable back bra straps. This bra pattern could easily become an everyday bra with that last option. I still need to cut out and sew at least 2 more bras. I'm so excited to be able to sew my own bras! Bras are expensive to purchase and I've only ever been able to own one or two new bras at a time. This pattern has definitely opened up possibilities to me!
This pattern also allows you to customize the bottom band. For this bra I added 2 inches to the bottom of the band and used 1.5" elastic instead of 1" elastic. I love the support that this added to the bra. This pattern calls for knit elastic. I always just thought that elastic was elastic. Not true! Knit elastic retains its shape when stretched. I am now a huge fan of knit elastic for certain applications.
Before sewing these bras, I had already watched a Craftsy class about bra making. The class is for a more traditional bra with underwires and a back closure. You can totally sew Greenstyle Endurance Bra without the Craftsy class, but I did find the information helpful as far as measuring and terminology. There is even an entire lesson in one of the bra making classes on sewing with cut and sew bra foam.