I am sure by now you have seen the newest pattern, Lucy! It is a fantastic swing halter pattern that flatters everyone! Many people have voiced concerns over what bra to wear with this top.
There are numerous solutions: convertible bras, strapless bras, adhesive bras, and the bra clips!
But, what if you really don't like any of those suggestions? A shelf bra may be just the solution you are seeking! It's a super quick and easy modification. Follow along to see how I added a shelf bra to my latest Lucy!
If you haven't scooped up the pattern yet, you can find it here: https://soniaestepdesigns.com/collections/all/products/lucy
- Lucy Pattern
- Maggie Pattern
- 1.5" elastic (I love plush elastic or waistband elastic for this)
- Fabric for Lucy
- Fabric for your shelf bra (Here is where your personal preference will come in to play. You can use any material really, providing it has enough stretch. I went by the specifications in the Maggie pattern as that is what we were using. I wear a 40G bra and love super supportive tops so I actually utilized some nice supplex for my shelf bra.)
I utilized the Maggie Tank Pattern to make my shelf bra for Lucy. Totally awesome tip here: the Sonia Estep Designs group on facebook has a pinned announcement with a code that makes Maggie FREE! Once you have your code ready go here: https://soniaestepdesigns.com/product/maggie/ , apply your code, check out, download, and tape. Now you're ready!
Place your Lucy pattern on top of your Maggie. You will need to do this with both front and back bodice pieces.
You will need to make your Maggie Pattern pieces have the same neckline as your Lucy. To accomplish this, I laid the Lucy down on top of Maggie. I always start by modifying my front bodice. Then I move to the back bodice.
Match up your armscye, as I have done in the photo above. Using the front bodice of your Lucy, trace the new armscye onto Maggie's front bodice. Also trace the neckline. For me, I determined the waist line on Maggie was the perfect length for my shelf bra, so I shortened the pattern to the line. You may need to go a few inches shorter. For background information, I am a 40 G and using supplex that doesn’t have great vertical stretch. 😁 A friend of mine used Dbp for her shelf bra and she made her cut approximately an inch below the lengthen/shorten line. She is a 36c.
Now repeat for the back!
New bodice pieces.
Now you should have your Front Bodice of Lucy, your Back Bodice of Lucy, Neck Binding, Arm Binding, Front Bodice of Maggie and Back Bodice of Maggie. These are all of your pieces! See how easy this is going to be?
Now you will sew up your shelf bra pieces on the side only. Do the same for the bodice pieces of Lucy.
Now, turn your Lucy bodice right side out. Leave the shelf bra wrong side out. Match your pieces up so the right side of Lucy is matched up to the right side of your shelf bra. On my photos, you will probably notice that my shelf bra is attached differently. I did this intentionally, because I didn't want the serged seams against my sensitive breasts.
The beauty of making our own clothing is we get to customize it for the perfect fit and feel!
Now you will take your serger (or sewing machine!) and stitch the shelf bra to the Lucy bodice. You will stitch the arms, the neck and the back. Because I still plan on using the arm binding, you can see where I just serged around the edges. This will later be hidden by the binding!
Now, your pieces are connected! Push the shelf bra inside so now you only have the right side of the fabric of Lucy showing. Now you will follow the pattern instructions and attach the arm bindings (hiding your serged or stitched seams). Then you attach your neck binding! See how quickly this is moving along?!?!
Now, you are at a point to where you can try on your Lucy to see how you like the fit. I utilized 1.5" elastic for the band on my shelf bra it's comfortable, it's secure and I don't have to worry about it rolling up. I measured around where my band will sit. My measurement is 40 inches. I multiply this by .80 to get my elastic length. This number works great for my elastic, but please remember each elastic is different. My math tells me 32" and then I need to add a seam allowance. I use 1/2", but use what makes you comfortable. The key is to be uniform with all seam allowances.
Now you will sew the elastic together to make your band. I use clips or pins to mark my elastic into quarters. I then mark the quarters of my shelf bra. This helps me ensure that I properly stretch my elastic as I attach it. In the photos you can see that I used my serger (with the knife disengaged) to attach my elastic. I love this because it just goes together so quickly!
Hem your Lucy, toss it on and go walk around grinning from ear to ear knowing that you have mastered a simple modification to a pattern and now you have a top you don't have to wear a bra with!