Another attempt at making a soft bra... This time, I used my own pattern. The bra sloper I drafted a couple of years ago is for a full cup, underwired bra with a vertical seam. So far, I have always used it to make underwired bras, usually with a horizontal or diagonal seam. Sometimes, I made strapless versions, occasionally a plunge.
This time, I experimented with integrating the cup shapes into the cradle and wings while keeping that vertical seam. This means there is no place for an underwire anymore but crucially, there still is shaping at the bust.
I also cut it in kind of a plunge style, with center from at the underbust line, much lower than it would be for an underwired bra. I knew that was a bit of a risk but I liked the idea style-wise.
I cut this test bra from lycra and finished it with strong bra band elastic at the bottom and fold-over elastic at the top. I had my doubts about the material. The front part of a bra is normally not supposed to stretch. However, both in RTW and in sewing patterns, you can find soft bra styles like this made from both stretch and non-stretch materials. It seemed like to only way to find out was to try it.
I am actually very pleased with the result. Yes, with a style like this you need slightly tighter shoulder straps than I usually wear, because they actually keep the cup in shape. And on a next version, I would cut away a little bit from the outside edge of the cup because those are ever so slightly cutting in my upper chest muscles (which were probably smaller when I drafted that bra sloper anyway). And a bra like this would probably not be supportive enough if you had a larger cup size.
However, I only have to deal with my size, I think I can fix the one problem it has and it actually looks very nice. Kind of like a 1970's bikini top. I can already imagine a lot of variations I could make on this design. And it suits the slightly more sporty look I seem to be developing...
I'm calling it a success and making matching panties now.