Thursday, May 10, 2018

Foam Jasmine Bras

Oh my gosh, it’s been almost a month since my last post! Things have been crazy around here, we somewhat unexpectedly decided to put our house on the market, and move to a new place! We’re staying in the same city but moving to a larger lot with acreage, woods, and a creek. Bonus: one bedroom will be set aside for a sewing room! We’re thrilled, but it was sudden and there was a lot of work to be done to sell our current home. The majority of my sewing room was packed up and taken to storage. I did hang on to a few things and all my machines, so that I don’t lose my mind without sewing! So let’s see what I’ve been up to in the last month.

BRAS! While I was frantically packing, I realized that it would be a perfect time to make all those Jasmine Bras I’d planned a while back. Small pieces of fabric, elastic, and notions that I already had on hand. I can make them entirely on a regular machine, the pattern was small, and it was actually a need in my wardrobe. Perfect!

I made these two Jasmine Bras last year, in size small. I realized recently that they were fitting a little loose in the cups. I’m no longer nursing, and yeah, I’m not a D cup anymore. I decided to try the XS and the fit was much better. I’ve also been wanting to try sewing foam bras, both for lift and coverage. I have plenty of fancy lace bras, but reality has shown me that I’m WAY more likely to reach for a knit T-shirt bra.

In the last couple months I have made FOUR Jasmine Bras that meet the above requirements. They’re just so fun! I can easily churn one out in a single day. Planning is everything here though. I made myself a chart of all the designs I wanted, the notions I needed in which color, and how much. I placed an order with Sew Sassy Fabrics and got everything at once. Having the notions on hand and the pattern copied to cardboard means the sewing happens quickly.

First up is a black modal jersey bra with pre-formed cups sewn to the wrong side of the lining. I think these cups are from Wawak. This one is super soft and stretchy but the cups were difficult to sew evenly. I attached them to the lining before assembling the rest of the bra. The upper edges are finished with 1/4"  FOE from The Fabric Fairy, the bottom band is 3/4" plush-backed elastic and the straps are 1/2" pre-made from Sew Sassy Fabrics. Closure also from SSF.

Next, I used the precious scraps of my favorite jersey print, these electric colored feathers on grey, from Girl Charlee. The lining is a hot pink bamboo knit from I've had both of these large scraps of fabric for probably four or five years! The upper edge is finished with 3/8" turquoise picot elastic from a flash deal website. The bottom band is the same elastic mentioned above and the straps are 1/2" strapping (no rings/sliders) from Sew Sassy Fabrics. Closure also from SSF. This is my first bra with cut and sew foam (from SSF). I ordered a 1/2 yard which ended up being maybe 50" wide? I didn't measure and it doesn't say on the website. I used Sarah's great tutorial here for assembly.

Sarah mentions that cut and sew foam tends to limit the vertical stretch of the fabric. I found this to be true. Additionally, by using picot elastic instead of FOE, I lost vertical length because I turned under the fabric to topstitch. Cotton jersey is also less stretchy than modal/spandex knit. All this to say, I find the feather bra to be slightly smaller than the black one. The pattern is exactly the same, but you can see how slight changes to fabric, finishings, and cups can make a big difference.

After the feather bra, I got the hair brained idea to try a different sewing order to recover some of that vertical stretch. Sarah's tutorial sews all the pieces together through the vertical seams. I opted to assemble each layer alone, then try to attach the elastic along the edges without catching the foam. I thought, if the foam is only anchored at the side seams, perhaps the fabric itself can stretch vertically and the foam will be more "free floating".

Spoiler alert: Sarah's way is better. Trying to stretch the lining and outer away from the foam and sew elastic to them was pretty challenging, even after I trimmed the foam. It worked out fine, but I prefer the other way.

This "test" bra is the one I REALLY needed in my underwear drawer. I only have one nude bra and it doesn't fit quite right anymore. The outer and lining are nylon/spandex milliskin from Girl Charlee (previously used in swimsuits). The upper edges are finished with 3/8" nude picot elastic. The bottom band is 1/2" nude plush-backed elastic. The straps are 1/2" pre-made. Closure and all notions from SSF.

The fit on this bra was not that great. The fabric is super stretchy, and even though I shortened the band slightly before sewing it up, it wasn't enough. I ended up taking the closure off, removing maybe 3/4" and then sewing it back on. I'm also not crazy about the 1/2" band elastic vs. 3/4". The 3/4" on the other bras feels way more secure. This bra will get worn, but only in the situation where I need a nude bra.

LASTLY (for now!) I found a generous scrap of this bird jersey hiding in my bag of lingerie stuff, and couldn't resist just one more. Especially since it matches this pair of boxer wear!

I really hit my groove with this sixth iteration of the pattern. The lining is the same hot pink bamboo knit from above. The upper edge is finished with 1/4" black picot elastic from SSF. The rest of the notions are the same as the feather bra. The band is a touch shorter than the pattern and I also have the shortest piece of band elastic yet (about 25 1/2"). This bra feels PERFECT. I did go back to Sarah's method for assembly, except I trimmed the upper and lower edges of the foam to make elastic application easier. I managed to add a bit more vertical height to the cups by sewing the band elastic slightly off from the edge, instead of lining it up exactly. You can't see a difference because you then turn the band elastic back and topstitch.

PHEW! There's more than you ever wanted to know about non-wired foam bras. But I think that seeing how different fabrics and notions play together can be very helpful. Here they all are with the bottom bands aligned, you can see the sizing is slightly different on each.

The biggest take-away here is that it took me SIX times sewing this bra before I thought I ended up with a perfect product. So just keep plugging away at it and you'll find what works for you!


  1. That's a good reminder. I'm apt to be sad that I've 'wasted' my sewing time when something isn't quite right, when the reality is that it's probably still wearable, and the time I put in will make the next iteration that much better.

    1. And how often do we put aside something not quite right, only to forget what was wrong with it?


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