We are SO excited about our newest release, Dani! Dani is a low-impact sports bra in women’s sizes and a great sports/training bra for youth sizes. It has such a fun strappy back that is perfect for pairing under open-back tops like Nicky, Jamie, Carli, or Stella. If you’re intimidated by sewing your own sports bra, fabric choices, or the binding finish, we’re here to walk you through it! In this post we’ll talk about the best fabric choices, how to add more support, widening the straps, using FOE in place of binding, an alternate method of constructing the cross back straps, common fit issues and how to address them, as well as our testers’ favorite ways to style Dani and which of our patterns they paired with Dani!
Fabric choice has a big impact on how this bra with fit. Want something with the ultimate comfort to lounge in, or just don’t need a lot of support? Choose something like a brushed poly or cotton spandex. Do you need more support, or do you want to wear this for workouts? Choose something with a high spandex content, specifically for athletic wear. This can be labeled as poly spandex, poly nylon spandex, athletic, performance, supplex, circular knit, etc. See below the difference fabric choice can make in overall fit.
This tester used brushed ribbed knit for a lounge-style bra with less support.
This tester used athletic fabric with an inner lining of power net, and has more support, while still falling into a larger cup size.
How to Maximize the Support
In addition to the fabric choices listed above, if you need more support, you will definitely want to include an inner lining of power net. We also recommend sewing clear elastic in the front neckline seam and side seams for even more support. In addition, depending on your fabric choice, you may find that widening the straps as outlined in the next section will provide additional support for a fuller bust or larger sewing cup size.
Widening the Straps
Sizes Grey-Yellow are drafted with a more narrow strap than Orange-Ruby, but modifying the strap on the smaller sizes is super easy! Simply cut the strap binding the same height as the larger sizes. Here is an example of the wider strap on the Pink SBA piece:
Using FOE in Place of Binding
Let’s face it, binding can be intimidating. For some tips, check out our Binding 101 post, but if you want a super quick and simple “hack” for Dani that will eliminate the need for all that binding, this is the one for you! All you have to do is replace the binding with 1″ FOE. You can watch this video for more help on attaching FOE. This makes the construction of Dani super fast, and provides beautiful results!
Alternate Cross Back Strap Construction
You can attach the back straps in the flat if you prefer. Follow through step 6 in the tutorial. Skip step 7 and go straight to step 8, pinning and then basting the back straps to the straps.
After you baste the straps in place, go back to step 7 and stitch the strap together in a loop. Then continue to attach the straps to the bra per the tutorial!
Using your cover-stitch machine on the Dani crop top creates a lovely professional finish. I like to use 3 threads for my reverse cover-stitching because it gives a nice full stitching effect, but you can do it with 2 threads equally as well. Make sure you position your needles in the centre of the strap before you start and keep them centred as you sew along the strap. I like to do reverse coverstitching on side seams and along the band and this works perfectly on the Dani pattern.
Using a contrasting colour thread to the spandex you are using, can create a stunning effect.
A tip for reverse cover-stitching on stretch fabrics is to adjust your differential feed. By increasing your differential feed, it allows the stretch fabric to feed evenly as you sew. Pinning or clipping your fabric in place is also super important before you cover-stitch. It makes it easier to achieve a neat finished item. When you do reverse cover-stitching, you are sewing on the wrong side of the garment so it takes a little practice to make sure you are positioned correctly and have neat stitches when visible from the front. Otherwise, you do not need to make any other adjustment to create a nice reverse cover-stitch.
With any fit issues, the most important thing is to make sure you are getting accurate measurements. Watch this video for more help on accurately measuring upper bust, full bust, and under bust.
With Dani, it is especially important to make sure you are sewing the size that matches your sewing cup size. Sewing cup sizes are calculated by subtracting the difference between your full bust and upper bust (This is different from RTW bras, which calculate based on under bust). The chart below shows which sewing cup size you fall into based on your measurements.
Smaller Sewing Cup Size than Drafted For
Here we have an example of a gorgeous tester (who was oh so kind to let me use her photos as an example here for all of you) who measures in a smaller sewing cup size than her measured size (she falls in a C sewing cup, while her upper bust size, Ruby, is drafted for an E cup). You can see that the bra is a bit long on her (a larger cup size requires more depth to the pattern pieces), and looks a bit loose across the front compared to the back. She needs an additional small bust adjustment for the optimal fit.
Larger Sewing Cup Size than Drafted For
If you find that the bra is not covering your bust well and the bottom band or elastic is not able to hold the bra in place, you may need a FBA.
Styling your Dani
It’s still in the middle of winter here, so layering is a must! Our testers used a variety of patterns to pair with Dani to show off that open back.
Dani paired with Nicky
Dani paired with Stella
Dani paired with Carli
Dani paired with Jamie
Some of our youth testers even made Dani with swim to make the cutest swim top! (Just make sure you use swim elastic in the band so that chlorine doesn’t tear apart the elastic!)
We hope you love Dani as much as we do, and that you feel even more confident going into sewing your own sports bra after reading this! Have any questions? Join us in our Facebook Group, where we gave a fantastic group of admins, team members, and members who are always ready to help! We’d love to see your Dani makes as well. Tag us on Instagram @madeformermaids and use the hashtag #danipattern!