Of bras and breasts

I hate bras. I didn’t wear one until I was 45. I was so disappointed when women began strapping themselves in again after the great bra-burning of the ’70s. I do realize that larger-breasted women needed some kind of support. And then there was Madonna. Sigh.

When I came across the free Mallori Lane “bralet” pattern, I thought that might be something that would work for me, so started collecting scraps of knit fabric and mesh fabric. The pattern calls for a short back panel, with two horizontal strips of elastic above that. I decided that would be murder to pull on and off, and so subbed a full back panel.

Instead of a vertical dart, or pleats, under the breast, the upper front panel has a wavy bottom. That attaches to a rectangular band. This two-piece design means the unit doesn’t totally flatten the breasts. I might as well say I quite like the flattened look — it was in vogue, I believe, between the no-bra and the Madonna periods, when lots of women were trying camisoles and tight tank tops under their blouses and sweaters. Still, I liked the idea of getting the little bit of lift provided by this design. Here are the two front pattern pieces.


And here’s the finished product.


I shortened the lower band and omitted the called-for elastic because it seemed more comfortable that way. And I should have used black picot elastic, but didn’t have any. On the other hand I do have a commercial-sized roll of white, so that’s what I used and will continue to use if I make any more of these.

The pattern called for any kind of mesh at all as an inner liner. I know nothing about mesh. My favourite discounter had some scraps of something with holes in it, which I assumed meant it fell under the category of “mesh”. Here’s the inside.


I had to improvise the straps as there was no black bra strap elastic available in Vancouver, or Bellingham (I hopped the border this weekend with a friend who wanted to do some shopping there. I wanted to check out the Bellingham Joann’s Fabric store. They had Vogue patterns on sale for 4.99 USD — about $7 CAD, so I picked up four!)

I could only find half-straps in Vancouver, so slipped some satin ribbon through the rings to add the extra length. I wore this thing for a bit this morning before taking the pics, and this puppy is warm! Okay, here it is.


That’s a pretty bright picture, isn’t it? You think I like red?

I’ll wear this thing a lot to see if it’s comfortable enough over the long term. If so, I foresee lots of colourful versions coming up in the future.



16 thoughts on “Of bras and breasts”

  1. Oh, I totally hear you on the bra loathing. I’m no fan either. My fave piece of (selfmade) clothing are two vests with incorporated “shelf bra”. Basically the upper half is double, with a rubber band in casing holding the short part close to the body. Obviously these vests are close fitting, or there would be some strange pulling in the side seam, but they’re very comfortable. And there are no annoying slipping straps. Woot!


      1. Well, I had to check, and the short inner “shelf” is in both front and back. I could try making one with just the front shelf. At some point. Thanks for the info.


  2. Hi Felicia! Your bralet looks really cool! I would like one too!!
    I’ll keep my eyes open for a pattern.
    I can’t wear normal tops, because a most stupid disease. If I could make a wish for one single garment I’d love to get back, it would be a good bra πŸ˜‰

    I must try to sew one!!! Thanks for the inspiration….


  3. Wow! Couldn’t agree with you more, especially in this heat & humidity! I think Colette’s Seamworks online mag had a bralet pattern some months ago. Sssh! Send me an email for more about a matching bit, as I have a suggestion.
    Also, check these out. Your country determines which easily ships to you so read carefully as everything isn’t on both sites, but it’s the same company.
    Have fun, everyone!


    1. Personally I’m betting that if all those scientists who engineer spacecraft decided to design a method of holding and supporting women’s breasts, we’d have something totally comfortable by now.

      Liked by 1 person

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