Pattern: Barrett Bralette by Madalynne Intimates
From the website:
Pattern Overview: The Barrett is a sporty femme pull-on bralette (no hooks & eyes) that has adjustable shoulder straps, a triangle opening at center front and a wide elastic band at the bottom. It has a forgiving fit, and is meant to be an everyday basic style with a twist via cool fabrics and novelty hardware.
Intended Bra Makers: The Barrett is a soft bra, meaning that it does not have underwires. The amount of stretch your fabric has and the firmness of your elastics will play a big role in the amount of support your bralette provides. The pattern is available in sizes XS-XL and is intended for small to medium cup sizes – cup sizes AA-C.
The pattern is free (download link at the bottom of the post)!
Date Sewn: 08/02/2020
My measurements at this time: 36 high bust, 38.5 bust, 32 underbust
I am a 32-34D in ready to wear bras. I know this pattern states it is drafted for an AA-C cup but I thought I would try it out anyway.
Size used: The pattern size chart states to use size XL for my bust measurement so that is what I traced and cut. THEN when I was reading the sewing instructions, buried in paragraph it talks about using the size for your band as what you would use. WTF. My pieces already cut out, I wasn’t too pleased. My Band size is an “XS” according to this paragraph, yet my bust size is an XL. I was confused. I sewed the cups according to the pattern and then used my wonder clips to clip the back band to the cups and tried it on. Clearly it was going to be too big. So I recut the band to the Small size – thinking XS with my cup size wouldn’t work. Then I cut 1/2” off the side width of the side cup (where the band and side cup meet) because I had to make that smaller somehow and I had already sewn the cup front and side together. I really feel like this whole size chart and then band size should all be clearly laid out and easy to find.
Instructions: Were they easy to follow? No. Honestly they were not. I read them all first before even tracing the pattern and was very confused. But I went line for line as I was making it and I got through it. The style of the instructions are not like any I’ve used before. Normal pattern: sew A, then b, then c, etc. these instructions talked about why you would sew something a certain way, THEN told you sew A. Some parts I feel it talked about step C before even getting to sew Step A. I can’t explain this well enough but it was weird to read. I could follow the instructions, but it was difficult. Plus there are not clear pictures on what to sew and how to sew it. I get this is a free pattern, but step by step pictures would have been helpful.
Fabric: Diamond Crochet Lace Knit Mint, it is 65% Polyester/35% Cotton and said it had 25% stretch but when I did my own stretch test it was more like 50% one way and very little the vertical way. I purchased this mint lace from fabric.com in Feb 2016 for $5.93/yard. I used so very little for this, maybe 1/4 yard. For the lining I used Stretch Lining – Lt. Weight (Nude) I purchased from Spandex world in May 2017 for $5/yard; It is labeled as 100% Polyester – Fabric Weight: 4.5 Oz/Sq Yard.
I used some pink picot elastic (1/4”) for most of the trims. I used a pink “lace look” fold over elastic (foe) for the underband because regular elastic always bothers me there (allergic to latex) but for some reason foe doesn’t. I also used foe for the straps.
For the bra strap rings and sliders I used these clear ones from Amazon. I like them because they were cheap to buy, work great, wash well, and came to me fast. I used the 10mm size.
Thoughts: I liked the look of this pattern so I thought I would give it a go. I’ve sewn sports bras and swim suits plenty, but this was my first “real bra” sewing. It looked easy enough for my first time with no wires or back hooks. I think it turned out cute looking. The keyhole front that I thought was so cute doesn’t lay correctly on me. I think I need about 1/2” taken out of the lower center V where the keyhole is. This would help it lay more flat there instead of buckling. Is this because I went with XL cups and not the width of the S band? I’m not sure. Is it the height that needs to be shortened on me instead? I don’t know.
This bra took me a long time to sew. I started it at 10am and finished about 4pm. I did have a short break here and there but for the most part it was just bra sewing time. The pattern states that it could take an hour to sew. Ha! 6 hours for me, which could probably be shortened to 4 hours now that I know what I’m doing, and I’m not a new sewist.
Wearing the bra, the cups are comfortable. The straps are adjustable so the right length. The band is the right tightness. However it’s that keyhole that causes all the problems. Between the buckling up there and the constant folding up underneath my breasts; it is annoying to wear. The foe sits about 1/2” lower than where my breasts end and crease. So it tries to constantly ride up into that crease – I hope that makes sense.
I’ve wanted to make this pattern forever so I’m glad I tried it out.
Thanks for reading!