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Messed Up Monday: Getting a better fit with a full bust adjustment for sports style bras

I love when designers do as much of the work for me as possible. But I'm also a stickler for good fit. And this is one thing that has be...

I love when designers do as much of the work for me as possible. But I'm also a stickler for good fit. And this is one thing that has been nagging at me for the longest time.

So today on Messed Up Monday, I've got how to get a better fit with a full bust adjustment on a sports style bra.

There are several designers of sports style bras that include "cup size" length lines on their tops. However, in the larger cup sizes they make length extensions on the front and back. This doesn't work.

Several reasons.
#1- My back does not change length just because my front is longer. I need the same back length as everyone else for my shoulder size.

#2- the extra length in the back makes the band sit strangely. You have one of 2 options. Have it scoop down your back and creep up all day long, If you don't yank on the back all day long, it will eventually move to annoying position #2. Sit parallel to the floor but then the front falls forward and your boobs look bad and your neck also hurts because there isn't enough support in the band and your breasts are hanging off your neck.
Back Band Pulled down. See how it scoops toward the back.

Back band pulled down

If you look carefully you can see where the fabric starts to bunch when the band is shifted up. Over time, that fabric is going to shift to the front.
Back band pushed up to be level with the front. See how the back gets all scrunched up?

Here you can see the front start to pull all the extra fabric in the back to the front. The cross back starts to put pressure on the back of the neck. It also starts to distort the back as it shifts around.
We're going to fix that and it is going to be super easy. Ready?

Pick your pattern size by your over bust measurement + the cup that your pattern is drafted for. You can use this blog post at Free Notion to check out the cup size that many designers draft for. If your designer isn't on the list, definitely ask them what size they draft for.

In my case, I am a 33" over bust. For this post, I am using the Stitch Upon A Time Brazi. This method will work for ANY designer that drafts a longer cup length but extends that to both the front and back pattern pieces. SUAT drafts for a c cup bust, so I go with the size that is for a 36" full bust. My full bust is 37". That puts me solidly into the size Medium. Due to my height (5'1") I have already removed 1" from the front straps and 1/2" from the back straps. While the adjustments may look scary on these cross back straps they are really no different than how I did the adjustments on my 1 Puddle Lane Miss Ruby Tuesday.

I used the D cup length line for the front pattern piece and the C cup length line for the back pattern piece. If your fabric is really stretchy, you may be able to just stretch the side seam to fit. If not, put in a row of gather stitches along the front side seam and then gather the front side seam to match the back side seam. Sew the 2 together. Proceed as usual.

Yes. It really is THAT easy. I know, you're shaking your head. But that's it. This will stop the back, neck and shoulder pain from wearing these styles that are a result of too much length in the back pattern piece.

Please note, this only works if your shoulder size puts you into the right pattern size. For example, the size medium for suat, matches up for anyone with a 33" over bust and up to a 39" full bust or a sewing F cup. If that is you, then you're set. What if it isn't? Then you're going to have to do some blending of sizes. Using the shoulders that match up to your over bust measurement + sewing cup size of the pattern. Then blend to the pattern size that matches your full bust measurement. You will still only use the back pattern length of the smallest size (size C up) and blend the side seam. This will give you a better fit and a nicer band.

As you can see from my photos, this won't stop gravity. It is up to you to decide how much support you need in your bra cups and whether you need compression/supportive fabric. I used compression fabric in my 5 Out of 4 X Factor Tank here. The support is amazing. I did however have to take off some of the length since the compression fabric prevented any sort of need for added length. I'll talk about that on another post. Additionally, I feel like the length on the back of my dress is still a tiny bit too long. You can see a few wrinkles across the back that say the length is too long. But it is really really close. I'll fix that on my next dress.

And for better support, always put elastic into the bottom band. Before you cut your elastic, try it on for size. Not all elastic stretches the same and it would be a shame to add it but make it not tight enough. Be sure it really is strong enough to offer enough support to do its job.

Please note, the skirt I used here is the skirt that comes with the brazi, but it is hacked ever so slightly. To achieve this look, I took my under bust measurement (30") and divided by 4 (since the pattern piece is 1/4 of the total skirt). That gave me 7 1/2. I added a 1/2" seam allowance (the seam allowance used on the brazi). I measured from the side seam along the top of the skirt pattern piece to the point that was 8" from the side seam. I lined that mark up with the fabric on the fold and then lined up the hem line as usual. That makes a more true a-line without the front gathers that make me look pregnant.

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