Needed: fabric with two-way stretch, polyester thread, a ballpoint needle in a 10 or 11, and matching or coordinating FOE.
Cut out pattern pieces in your size. This saves the pattern for later use.
Cut fabric pieces out. Once you cut the pieces out, you need to mark the pattern and cut away ¼” on all edges that will have FOE to compensate for not using the regular elastic. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with a bra that is too big.
I am also adding an underbust support – this is my own preference. At this point I baste the underbust support to the back side of the bra front. I’m showing this so you don’t wonder what those white pieces are as we progress through the instructions.
Sew the front of the bra to the back at the sides and shoulders.
Now it’s time to start with the foldover elastic. For the smaller bra and cup sizes, you’ll want to use the smaller numbers in the instructions for how far to go and how much FOE to stretch; larger sizes use the bigger numbers.
First off, mark your fabric 1” in from one of the front edges. Pin the FOE 1/4" in from the very edge and then at the 1” mark.
Next I measure and mark 4” in on the fabric, measure 3” of the FOE, and pin the FOE at the mark. You can see the gap where the FOE will have to be stretched.
Find the center back of the bra, and measure the back amount you are using. I’m doing the 5” so I measure 2 ½” on each side of the center and mark. Now you need to pin the FOE to the bra from where you ended the first stretched section to the new mark, stretching the FOE slightly to prevent it from rolling. The thing is, you need to stretch the FOE without stretching the fabric. This does take a little bit of practice.
Next you work your way back around to the front. Before pinning the front elastic, mark 1” in from the edge, and then the same distance you did on the other side – this will enable you to know when to stop pinning your FOE so you can gather it near the front edge. Make sure you stop ¼” from the front edge.
Set your machine for a medium wide (3) lightning zig zag stitch or, if you don’t have that option, use a narrow ( 2.5 or 3 on my machine) and long (2 or 2.5 on my machine) regular zig zag stitch. If your machine doesn’t do zig zag stitches, use a medium long straight stitch – 3.5 or so – and decrease your tension to prevent bird’s nest thread bunches on the underside of your stitching or puckering of the fabric as you sew.
Begin at the left front of the bra, with the fabric face up, and begin to stitch, anchoring or using a backstitch at the beginning to secure the thread. Sew the first inch, removing the pins before you sew over them and risk damaging the machine. How you will need to stretch the FOE to make the 3” (or whatever your measurement is) cover the longer section of fabric. Continue up to the shoulder, gently stretching the FOE to keep it secure on the fabric and sewing slowly enough to make sure you catch the fabric inside the FOE. Work down the back to the center; repeat the stretching portion; repeat what you have just done as you work your way back to the opposite front edge of the bra.
Measure around your armholes. Subtract 2” and cut a piece of FOE that length. Sew the ends together with a straight stitch, right sides together. Pin and then sew the FOE to the armholes, stretching slightly to make the FOE fit the armhole. Repeat with the second side.
Next you need to sew the band around the bottom. Measure the FOE just like you would measure regular elastic. Quarter the elastic and pin it to the bottom of the bra. Now, anchoring the elastic at both ends, attach it to the bottom of your bra with the same zigzag stitch as you used for the front, back and arms.
Following the instructions, apply hook tape to the front opening of the bra, then fold it under and tack the opposite edge to the bra fabric so it’s hidden.
Now gather the other edge so it’s 4” long, then apply the eye tape to this edge as directed. This next photo shows what it looks like after it’s been sewn right sides together, then turned under and tacked so the eyes face upwards. This will not show once the bra is hooked since the fabric on the hook side will cover it.
The last photos show the finished product. I hope this helps you understand how to apply FOE to a sports bra instead of using regular elastic. I prefer the FOE myself. While this tutorial shows a ¾” FOE being used, you can use 7/8” FOE or even the 1” size. In fact, I prefer the 1” FOE for the bras I make with cotton lycra since the bra itself offers a bit more support and the wider FOE adds a nice touch to it.
Front Closing Sports Bra pattern courtesy of Lingerie Secrets Sewing Patterns
Blessings to you and yours - may the love of God reign and rule in your life.