Christmas is almost here, and what a perfect time to use some of my luxurious and sparkly fabrics! Stretch panne velvet and gold stretch mesh are made up into a longline hack of my Iris Bralette pattern. This pattern hack is super easy, and creates such a pretty silhouette!
For the best fit on the Iris Bralette, you will want the vertical seam to fall in line with the apex.
What is the apex?
The apex is the fullest part of the bust, usually where the nipple lies. In the photo above, you can see that the vertical seam aligns with the fullest part of the bust, and also aligns with the vertical seam on the dress form.
I love sewing panties from cotton/spandex jersey, so of course I made myself a matching bralette. I was a bit disappointed when I tried it on and found that the support was not very good. For a moment I was confused, because the sports bras I have been wearing for years are cotton/spandex and seemed to be supportive enough. But I realized that the sports bras I wear depend on compression for support, which is not the case for this style.
Cotton/spandex jersey is widely available in solid colors; I had a hard time finding nice prints in my price range, but spoonflower is a good option. It comes in a wide range of weights and spandex contents. For sewing panties, I have used cotton/spandex ranging in weight from 150 gms/m2 (that's grams per square meter) up to 240 gms/m2. Content can range from 95/5 to 90/10. The fabric used in the bralette pictured above has been in my stash for quite some time and I have lost the exact fabric information, but I believe it is 95/5 and around 200 gms/m2.
As far as stretch goes, the cotton/spandex fabrics in my stash range from 80-100% crosswise stretch and 50-70% lengthwise stretch. Recovery (the ability to snap back to the original width) varies, usually with the lighter weight and less spandex fabrics having less recovery than the heavier fabrics with more spandex.
Cotton/spandex jersey is one of the few natural and breathable fibers suitable for bramaking. It is easy to find both in chain retail stores and online. With a dull surface and crisp hand, it is very easy to work with, as it is not at all slippery.
Lighter weight cotton/spandex jerseys do not provide a lot of support, but would make a good sleep or lounge bra. Heavier weight cotton/spandex jerseys would provide more support, but have a more stiff hand that is not very soft. Cotton in general is very comfortable to wear in hot/humid weather, but once it becomes wet it takes a long time to dry.
Athletic wicking knits are a rather broad category of poly/spandex knits designed to wick moisture away from the body. Very popuar for sewing activewear, these athletic knits come in a variety of weights and fiber contents. I will admit I have not yet sewn myself activewear pieces, so my knowledge of these fabrics is limited to this particular one I used.
This space dyed wicking fabric from Spandex World is a medium weight 88/12 poly spandex blend with 60% stretch both lengthwise and crosswise. While it does have a high spandex content, I did not find this fabric to be very supportive. It just doesn't quite "snap" back into place the way milliskin does. However, if you wish to make a sports bra to match a pair of leggings, the support can be improved with the use of a bust sling, and perhaps a firmer lining.
Wicks away moisture from the body, so this is a good option for sports bras. Athletic knits are widely available for making activewear.
Not a lot of support.
I first heard of milliskin when I bought the Watson Bra pattern and saw it on the recommended fabric list. I hadn't seen it before and wasn't sure where to get it, so I use other fabrics. Eventually I ordered some from Spandex World, and I'm so glad I did! Out of all the fabrics I have used for my Iris Bralette, I think this one is the nicest to wear.
Milliskin is a medium weight, 80/20 nylon/spandex blend fabric. Available in a wide range of solid colors, and matte or shiny finishes.
Both versions shown above, in the Iris Bralette, have 50% crosswise stretch and 30% lengthwise stretch.
Thanks to the high amount of spandex (20%) this fabric has excellent recovery, so while it has a high amount of stretch it snaps back to it's original size and provides a good amount of support. The surface is very smooth, and it wears well under clothing. I found it comfortable to wear, even it hot and humid weather.
It seemed like this fabric shifted around both during cutting and sewing. Also, it seemed to pucker a lot which I think was due to it being a very dense knit. I probably should have changed to a different needle, but I stuck it out with my usual ball point .90/14. A walking foot would have probably been a good idea too.
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