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Sports Bra Upgrades

Customize any version for style and comfort
Threads #208, April/May 2020
Making your own sports bra opens up a wide range of options, from better fit and support to creative strap configurations. Pattern: author's own. Fabric: author's stash.

Anyone who lives an active lifestyle knows that a conventional bra doesn’t provide essential support during exercise or other strenuous activities. Enter the sports bra. The original designs were engineered to compress breast tissue. This works for some figure types; other wearers want bust support without feeling too confined. Most women also want options for strap styles, adjustability, and fabrics that wick away moisture and conform to their curves. Every person has different wants or needs when it comes to sports bras, and the easiest way to find the perfect fit and style is to make a bra yourself.

There are many styles that are functional and stylish. With a little sewing experience, you can make a sports bra that suits any activity, from walking your pup, to skiing, running, and yoga. I’ll walk you through selecting materials and patterns, as well as techniques for attaching elastics and sewing straps.

Appropriate pattern options

Finding the right pattern is essential in creating a sports bra that you’ll rely on. Review key design features to achieve a proper fit with the right degree of support.

Where to find

Some of the larger commercial pattern companies publish sports bra patterns, such as Simplicity and KwikSew. In addition, independent pattern companies, including Jalie, Green Style Creations, and Bramakers’ Supply, offer sports bra designs.


Sports bra designs are customizable, from pattern and strap arrangements to construction methods.

Flat-front sports bra
Flat-front bras support the bust through compression.

Flat front

This design is flat and uses the fabric’s stretch to conform to the body’s shape. The style is best for people with smaller busts, as it predominantly uses compression as a method of support.


Princess seams on sports bra
Princess seams enable bras to comfortably fit larger busts.

Three-dimensional front

People with larger busts may find that…

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