I go to work wearing one I bought after a fitting, and it's probably the best bra I have ever owned. It also cost an arm and a leg. It is highly structured and has underwires and while it doesn't slide around at all or ride up in the back, it does affect my breathing, which I find a bit scary.
I found some thick, soft stretch jersey at my new favourite fabric shop (which unfortunately is closing at the end of the month) and decided to experiment.
I first wrote down a description of the construction and as I took it apart, I noted down in which order things had to be done. I then set to work with scissors, fabric, thread and sewing machine and by the end of about an hour I had a bralette which I think is considerably prettier than the original:
I did change three things about the original design:
- I only used a single layer for the cups, instead of two, since the fabric is pretty thick.
- I made the back in one piece because it was obvious that the centre seam was unnecessary.
- The third change was unplanned but necessary: The original bralette had become stretched out of shape by heavy wear, which made the pattern unreliable, and to top this I couldn't find the walking foot for the sewing machine (a good thing to have when sewing stretch fabrics), so the edges got a bit stretched when I was doing the hemming. Therefore I found a bit of gaping in places along the upper edges, which I fixed by making dart seams, two in the back and two in the front.
The new bralette is a pretty good fit, but the cups are a bit small. That's okay though: I have plenty more fabric and plan to make another with bigger cups. I even think that if I make it with a double layer of fabric in the cups, it may have enough hold for me to wear it outside the house.
Now I intend to begin my next experiment: To make my own panties. Just look at that fabric. I even found underwear elastic in matching colours:
Postscript, added June 10:
I wore it to work, and it hardly felt as if I was wearing one at all. However, when I went shopping during my lunch break both breasts popped out from under the bralette when I reached up to get down something I wanted to buy (thank goodness I was wearing a tunic and not a tight sweater). The next one will have a) bigger cups and b) stiffer elastic.