Welcome to my first tutorial! (pic heavy)
After hailing the wonders that is a bra sling, I received a number of requests to for a tutorial. For those who are not familiar with a sling, it is a separate piece of fabric on the interior (or exterior) of the bra to aid in support. Sometimes called a side sling and look similar to powerbars. Here is a VERY comprehensive series of posts on power bars, internal slings and external slings [link HERE] by Silver Lining Atelier.
(From L to R) Satami Lace Bra 2196 non-stretch sling sandwiched in cotton knit and Panache Andorra non-stretch sling.
In today's tutorial we will be adding internal slings to the very popular Watson wireless bra pattern by Cloth Habit. I highly suggest this modification if 1.) you are of a larger bust and still want support in a wireless bra and/or 2.) your girls are a bit saggy and need some additional vertical assistance and/or 3.) your bust point tends to face east/west and you would like them more centered.
You will need the 2 cup pieces to begin. Draw a line 1/4" away from the edge - this will indicate the seam or sewing line. I've drawn short dotted lines in red.
***[Ignore the other lines - this is my modified version of the Watson where I've moved the cup seam more toward the Center Front and raised the height of the side wings.]
Now stack one piece on top of the other aligning the seam line. You need to eliminate the seam line as we will be making our sling in one piece.
Tape them together.
Here's the fun part - deciding what you would like the sling to accomplish. There is ONE main rule to keep in mind here - avoid the apex of the cup. Not only can it be uncomfortable having a free floating piece of fabric so close to a sensitive area, it is also more likely to be seen from the outside of the bra.
I'm using one of my corset bones to indicate where you would like the internal edge of the sling to end.
This version pushes the breast tissue toward center front and is the version used in the Panache Andorra.
This version pushes the breast tissue up and is sometimes used in wired sports bras. Also great for those who are well endowed and need some extra support. There is a great video tutorial on this by Jennifer Fairbanks [link HERE].
This version pushes the breast tissue both up AND forward.
Once you've decided what shape (and function) your sling will take, draw your line (as indicated by the corset bone) and trace.
Add a line to indicate direction of greatest stretch (DOGS). It should be perpendicular to your straight line. You want there to be almost NO stretch along your straight line as that's what provides the support.
Last step would be to decide what material to use in your bra sling. Both RTW examples in the title photo utilize non-stretch fabric, but I have personally also seen bra foam (regular 1/8" poly laminate foam covered in stretch knit placed on fold), sheer cup lining, and powerknit/powernet on the fold.
Today's example uses firm powernet (45% stretch doubled => 30% stretch). One of the reasons I used powernet this time instead of the Simplex (like I've done in the past) is due to proximity to the bust point (see photo above) and my desire to for the sling to be as invisible as possible. The knit used in today's tutorial is VERY soft and such a drastic difference between stretch percentages would likely be obvious. **Note** If you were to create a sling for non-stretch cups, you would also need to remove a small wedge from the pattern (reducing the overall length of the straight line) - thus helping to pull the girls up/forward. We didn't do this for the Watson (shown above) as it calls for stretch fabric.
Cut out your new internal sling and attach to your cups PRIOR to sewing into cradle. Complete the remainder of the steps as usual.
OPTIONAL: You can also use the same internal sling pattern for a lace external sling! The straight edge works really well along the lowest point of scalloped lace.
And here's the finished piece!
A few pics of the finished interior. The bra channeling is optional as this is wireless (although a short rocker wire also worked well for me!). I added it for a cleaner look although it ALSO adds a bit more support. For those who are especially well endowed, feel free to utilize multiple internal slings (perhaps one horizontal and one vertical) for even more support.