Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jalie 2563 Sport Bras, Meet Hot Yoga

Classic marketing research from the 1960s concluded that a prospect needs to hear about a product or service three times before making a purchase. Later research expanded that number to five times, and then seven, and so on. I can't even imagine how many times I must receive a marketing message these days before making a novel purchase or behavioral change, but it's exponentially larger than three.

Whatever that magical number, hot (or Bikram) yoga finally reached it and I decided to give it a go about four months ago. Even though I'm not fully convinced by some of the claims (notably, that sweating a lot "detoxifies" the body), I instantly loved it with all the fervor of a new convert. And you know what that meant: new sewing projects!

The joke is somewhat on me, because the answer to what one wears to hot yoga is really, "Not much." Even the most modest outfits tend to be form-fitting, because wet sweaty fabric draping around the body creates a very unpleasant sensation. After a bit of experimentation, I concluded that the ideal combination of items for me is: sports bra top or tank plus capri length athletic leggings (tight fitting, not loose or bootcut).

I also discovered that the RTW sports bras I already own (one by Moving Comfort and one by Panache) were, to my surprise, overkill for yoga. There isn't much of a need for support, since there is no jumping around whatsoever. I started out wearing my highly engineered bras with a tank top, but eventually I had to concede that these bras don't really allow for unrestricted arm and shoulder movement. They do give my breasts a more "lifted" appearance than compression bras, but I have now obtained the yogic enlightenment to decide I don't care so much about that anymore.

Jalie 2563 is a predictably wonderful starting point for all sorts of sports bra concoctions. I have now made both views in size T multiple times.

View A, lengthened to tank length with an inner shelf bra made from Powerstretch:

The main fabric is activewear knit from FabricMart, which is soft and stretchy and perfect. It looks all linty and pilled here, but this is the fault of my washing machine, which is leaving tons of lint on everything these days (any tips???).

View A made in all one color by combining the panels:

I think it makes a lot of sense to combine the panels into one front and one back piece for the inner layer of the bra top, even if you are doing the color blocking on the outer layer. Fewer seams to create bulk and potentially chafe. It would have been nice if Jalie included such an option. For similar reasons, I sewed the outer layer and the lining each as one complete bra, and then attached the two wrong sides together. This way, the shoulder and panel seams are enclosed within the layers and feel smoother against the skin.

View B, per the pattern:

Both the outer and inner layers of this bra are made from an activewear knit from Hancock's with a high percentage of lycra (I think 10%). It is nice and firm. I think this particular configuration is the most comfortable of the bras I have made, with the stipulation that I am unhappy with my foldover elastic choice. This is the 3/4" unfolded size, and it just seems too thin and delicate for the task. Everything stays in place just fine, but the scale strikes me as wrong. Unfortunately, the 1" unfolded size of FOE is very difficult to feed through lingerie sliders, even the 5/8" size. I'd love to find a better source for high quality FOE intended for binding activewear.

View B variation, tank length with inner Powerstretch bra:

Sorry for the unhemmed lower edge: I need a walking foot for my Bernina 1090 and a new twin needle before I attempt hemming a stretchy knit again.

For this variation I trimmed the back piece straight across on the upper edge.

This is the wider foldover elastic, here applied with a regular old zigzag.

Inside out, showing the Powerstretch inner bra:

And inside out, from the back. Straps are simply zigzagged into place, but you could use lingerie rings and sliders to make the straps adjustable. When I can avoid that, I like to. Less hardware, less adjusting down the road. But I did just buy a pack of 25 clear rings and sliders in the 5/8" size on eBay for $7.50 (so, so much less expensive than at Hancock's or Joann's).

And, the fanciest-looking variation, another View B takeoff:

The rings make the straps look adjustable, but the truth is I made them too short the first time around, and then had to improvise a fix. This thicker FOE wouldn't go through the lingerie sliders, so the rings are just for decoration.

Even though this variation looks a little complicated, it's simple to do. Instead of enclosing the front edge binding in the armhole binding, extend the neck binding for 20" or so on each side. You can reinforce the spot where the two bindings meet with a little zigzag tack if you want. I haven't done that yet, but I will if the area starts to show signs of strain.

So many more variations are possible!

On a different note, check out this amazing deal on eBay for Patagonia sports bras for $5 each. I got two and I really, really like them. Very comfortable and the construction quality far exceeds what I can produce with my domestic equipment. I will be buying at least four more for wearing every day. These are, as I understand, military surplus. That means they are only available in sizes M and (in some other auctions I saw) L. The color is...I don't know...beigeish, greenish drab. It's not a color I would wear on its own, even in hot yoga class. But for the price and the workmanship, I love it!


  1. You must be one of the best dressed in yoga class! I love how they are all slightly different. I don't need a lot of sports bra support so at the moment I'm using some Fruit of the Loom ones from Wal-Mart;). However, this winter I lapsed on my exercise commitment and it shows. Thanks for reminding me I need to get back to it!

  2. I love all your variations. My favorite is the double crossed strap. Thanks for the tip on how to do it. I can't say I'll be doing hot yoga or yoga anything unless they're yoga pants.

  3. Wow, these are brilliant, Virginia! I've been having conversations with my eldest daughter about the tricky area of bras... She doesn't like the whole process of getting measured properly, but she's growing, and she's actively sporty, so support tops of this type would be ideal. I'll have to show her and see what she thinks. I'm so impressed with all the different versions you've made, they really look great. xxx

  4. These look great, so professionally made! and perfect for yoga. I especially love the charcoal one with double straps woven together at the back. Very cool :)

  5. I love that double strap variation! This is my go-to pattern for sports bras and tops, and now I'm going to need to copy you...

  6. Your collection for yoga bras and tops is simply wonderful. I think, you must be one of best dressed in your yoga classes. Will be great if you can showcase your collection of alo yoga pants as well as really curious to see those too.

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