It’s called the Sweet Sixteen Bralette, but it’s not just for teenagers. It’s called that because there are 16 different style options within one envelope!
Bralettes are great entry points to sewing bras and other lingerie for a few reasons.
1) They use almost all of the techniques needed for a bra, except for the underwire. So you can practice 1/4 inch seams, top stitching, and elastic application.
2) Bralettes are easy to fit – just two measurements, with this pattern, and you’re off to the races!
3) It’s easy to make something better than what you can buy. To be frank, I’ve never found a bralette in a shop that fits well and feels supportive enough for me.
4) It doesn’t take very much fabric or a lot of notions to make a bralette, so even if you have to try a few times before you get a result you love, it won’t cost much to practice and learn.
This was my first time making this pattern, so I kept it pretty simple style-wise, while focusing on getting pretty firm support. I followed the pattern as written, except for two things: I only used powernet for the back (an option the pattern has is to line with powernet) and I glue-basted the (also optional) nonstretch fabric for the frame lining to the very stretchy rib fabric I used as my fashion fabric. The instructions were to baste at the sewing machine, but I was afraid that connecting a nonstretch to this very stretchy rib would drive me nuts.
I used the optional foam lining. Cut and sew foam is just about my favorite thing for anything bra-adjacent. I also used the hook-and-eye back (you can also choose a one-piece back). I love not having to pull the bralette on over my head.
When I make this pattern again (and I will, I see a lot of these in my future), I will either choose a less stretchy fabric or be more aggressive when basting it to the foam lining. On this version, the fashion fabric is a little more baggy than I would like.
If you’ve never sewn cut-and-sew foam or fold-over elastic, this is a great pattern to try both of those techniques for the first time. Beverly’s instructions and diagrams are very clear.