Bralets have been on my DIY to-do list for a very long time. For something so small, there were just so many factors to consider, bralet style, material choice and construction method. I’m a lover of simple projects so I didn’t want to make something overly difficult.
Stoff og Stil seem to be stocking a lot of fashion neoprene which has turned me into an idea sketching maniac. They recently brought in this mint variation for Spring and that’s when I decided to make a neoprene bralet! I love using this material as I find it to be one of easiest stretch fabrics to work with.
I know in a previous inspirational post I had posted very delicate bras with lots of lace and dainty features, but for a DIY project, it seemed a bit too tedious for me personally to be able to make it neat enough. So I went with a sportier look which works really well for me since I’ve been needing more dance wear for my pole dancing practices.
Choosing a sporty look meant that I could make a pattern from a sports bra I already owned making this project even more appealing to me.
So here is how I came up with the pattern for the top.
Note: This is a very general and basic outline of how I created this pattern. I did a little bit of pattern tweaking with the width and curve of the front piece and a bit of shape tweaking with the lower back piece when I created my first top. Once you’ve perfected the pattern to your liking after creating your first top, you can make so many different variations!
1. Trace the general outline of an existing sports bra and add a seam allowance of 1cm-2cm. Cut this out.
Since you’re going to be using a stretchy fabric as well, using your actual measurements is not super necessary.
2. Make two copies of the first cut out. These will become the lower and upper back pieces.
3. Cut one copy into a ‘T’ shape as shown in the pictures above.
I made this about 4 cm wide with a 7cm drop from the top for the upper curve.
4. Cut the other copy in half slightly above the widest part of the pattern.
This is optional, but you can now cut a curved notch into the pattern from 1cm from the edge to the middle of the piece as shown in the image above. This is a general back piece that can now be used to create either a thick back piece or a slimmer one with a curve in it. If you want, you can go ahead and make two back bottom pieces, one curved and one straight. The distance between the bottom of the curve to the bottom edge of the back is 5cm.
Now that you have your pattern pieces, trace them onto your fabric and cut out the pieces. See below for how I put everything together.
I decided to go with the curved back piece, I think it creates a more minimalistic look with the full front and as little as possible to the back.
1. Cut your desired neckling into the front piece. Make sure to leave enough space at the straps to attach the back top piece.
I made mine approximately 5cm from the top to the lowest part of the neckline. You can make this as high or low as you like, but remember that your head still has to go through!
2. Attach the back top piece to the front piece. Right sides facing together and sew across.
3. Attach the back piece to the front piece. Right sides facing together and sew both edges.
At this point, you can try on the piece to make sure it fits through your head and to see if things need tightening and to gauge how long the top back piece needs to be.
4. Hem the neckline.
I did this by folding the fabric back approximately 1cm, pinning everything in place and then sewing all around using the zigzag stitch. If you have a cover hem machine, you could use that for a better finish.
5. Hem all other raw edges else in the same way.
You may find going around obtuse curves difficult, but a little bit of stretching here and there while pinning things in place should help. If you like, you could leave all edges raw since it is neoprene and frying would be minimal. But I personally prefer to hem the edges.
6. Decide how long you want your upper back piece to be, cut off excess from the bottom and then attach it to the lower back piece.
I adjusted this a couple of times to get the right amount of tension. Due to the thinness of the upper back piece, it does tend to stretch a little more and doesn’t provide as much support as a thicker piece would so I cut off about 10cm.
And there it is!
This was my first piece so it took a little while to make, but I’ve made some variations since this first piece using the same pattern and played with the shape of the back and front here and there. I’ll post up some of my other pieces later on.
This top also has a lot of potential for adding in lining and padding. I have not needed to do this with the neoprene as I find it to be supportive enough for my needs, but if you wanted to line it, you could just make another layer of the front piece and sew it in during construction. If you wanted padding you could place that in as well during construction when you add your lining. If you wanted even further support, you could also add a waist band to the bottom of the top.
This is just a very basic way of creating a simple bralet but it has so much potential for customisation!