When I set out to write this blog post I did not think it was going to be so long or so hard to write. I consulted the other editors and they had some specific requests. Bathing suits, tank tops with built in bras and/or maternity options, and binders. I wanted to focus on patterns where there were reasonable options within a large variety of sizes, and ideally where the pattern company used a diverse array of models. The photos below are from pattern companies unless otherwise noted.
Starting off our roundup of bathing suit patterns is the Ipswich by Cashmerette. This suit comes in a lovely array of sizes going up to an underbust of 54″ (the biggest that I have found). It can be made as a top and bottom or as a one piece.
This Patterns for Pirates Sunflower Swim Top is super cute and goes up to a 60″ full bust measurement!
Patterns for Pirates Minute Maillot – goes to a 3X or 54″ full bust and is a nice size-inclusive basic!
The Seamwork Reno bikini top is very retro and size inclusive, running from a 33 to a 54″ bust!
Let’s not forget the Megan Nielsen Cottesloe, available from a 32″ to a 56″ full bust measurement.
5 out of 4 Agility Tank and Dress – nursing friendly, also can be used for a workout top or a sports bra. Goes to a 5XL or a 58″ chest.
5 out for 4 Classic one piece suit – also includes maternity option and includes FBA pieces in the pattern. Goes up to a 58″ full bust and 61″ hip.
Patterns for Pirates classic sports bra – goes up to a 5X
5 out of 4 patterns Resolution bra and tank could also be used as a binder in the right fabric! Goes up to a 3XL (50″ chest).
Patterns for Pirates Fierce bra – goes to a 5X
For smaller busted women, the Epervier bralette from Hari Ito Lingerie starts at a 28AA (but also goes to a 42G).
Jalie patterns has a wireless bra (and tank!) set that is nursing friendly and goes up to a 50″ full bust size (43.5″ underbust).
The lingerie designer MadaLynne has some really cute bralette patterns (and kits!), and goes to a 3XL (which seems to be a 45.5″ full bust). I think the Eloise is my favourite.
There’s also the Florence bra from Seamwork, which goes up to a 54″ full bust. We should all look this chill while modelling in our underwear, shouldn’t we?
This section was not easy to write as the sizing options for most underwire bra patterns are pretty terrible. And how each company actually works their sizing is a bit different, so I guess what I’m saying is do a muslin before you cut into your pretty fabric.
Based on my research, I think these are the two most inclusive wired bra pattern companies:
Pin-Up Girls patterns, which go from a 30 AAA to a 48H
Orange Lingerie, which goes from a 30A to a 40J
As a lady with a large back, I am disappointed in my options. But, if we’re being honest, I also gave up underwires when I turned 45 as a birthday gift to myself, so there’s that!
5 out of 4 Escapade Top and Dress – has tank with shelf bra and cups option, and maternity options – goes to a 5X
Nursing friendly 5 out of 4 Knot Your Average shirt and dress goes to a 50″ bust and a 53″ hip.
Any tank top named after Xena is okay by me, but this one by Sinclair Patterns also has a racerback and a built in bra, which we like a lot. Comes in US sizes 0-22 (31-50″ bust).
Another tank with a shelf bra and a maternity and nursing options is the 5 out of 4 Lakeshore tank.
Finally on my love affair with the 5 out of 4 patterns this month is the Versatility tank – it’s a plain tank with alllllllll the options – shelf bra, maternity, nursing, sports bra, nursing with shelf bra. I mean, this thing basically walks on water. Goes up to a 50″ chest. Shown below with the nursing option.
Lots of love to the sewists out there trying to convert regular patterns into binders. I did a pretty thorough internet search and can tell you that there is a hole for this type of pattern. I did, however, find an old blog post from occasional guest writer Jasika Nicole about a binder she made for her partner. Thumbs up recommendation from Jasika for Jalie pattern #3247 with some mods.
Mad thumbs up around the Internet for this tutorial on how to draft your own binder, available through Etsy.
I have seen a number of people (including one of our editors!) adapting the Sophie Hines Axis tank to act as a binder. Stay tuned for more info about how this experiment is going later in August.
Tanks for men
Um, if you thought finding size inclusive underwire bra patterns was rough, wait til you see your dazzling array of options for men’s tank tops.
Perennial Canadian favourite pattern designer Thread Theory has the Arrowsmith Undershirt for men. This pattern is appropriate for chests up to about 47″ in circumference.
Wardrobe by me also has a basic tank pattern for men for chests up to 45.5″ in circumference, which they have called a 3XL.
And Patterns for Pirates has a men’s muscle tank for chests up to 50″ in circumference, which is their 3XL.
It’s nice to know that men’s sizing is just as inconsistent as women’s sizing!
That’s it for our pattern roundup. What are you looking forward to sewing this month?
Kerry is a temporary editor with the Sewcialists who has never sewn a bra, tank top, bathing suit, or other item of lingerie. She’s looking forward to trying something new.