The optional built-in bralette in the Tropo Camisole does make it a bit harder to sew the camisole, but I think it’s totally worth it. Personally, I wear my Tropos all the time and only wear them with bralettes because I don’t need a lot of bust support and I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about bra straps showing under the camisole. If you’d like to sew a bralette into your Tropo Camisole but want a little extra hand-holding, read on!
You can sew the bralette out of a variety of fabrics. (See the Tropo Camisole Fabric post and the Tropo Camisole Bralette Fabric post for more info). This example is using a sport lycra. Depending on your bust size and shape, desired level of support, and the fabric you are using, you may wish to change the shape of the bralette. I shaved off about 3/8” from the bottom of each side, front and back. You can baste your bralette together and wear it around the house for a bit to determine if you want to change the shape before actually sewing it.
Sew the sides of the bralette using a stretch stitch. In this example I’ve used an overlocker (serger) but you can use any stretch stitch. You can sew the bralette right sides together or wrong sides together, depending upon the fabric and your preferences for what is touching your body. Many of the fabrics you’ll be using for the Tropo Camisole won’t matter which side is in, but if your jersey is embossed or painted you won’t want that against your skin. The seam allowances will be away from skin in the finished bralette so place the sides of the fabric together that you want against your body in the finished garment.
Cut your elastic to length. The pattern has suggested lengths, but your unique body with your specific elastic may need a different length. Wrap the elastic you’ll be using around your underbust, where it will fit on your finished bralette, and cut it so that it is snug but not restrictive. Mark your elastic in quarters (so you have 3 marks with the join between ends as the 4th mark). I’ve used a Clover Chaco Liner but you can use a fabric safe marker or even mark with a pin if you’re having a hard time getting a mark on your elastic. When selecting your elastic you want to make sure it’s not scratchy as it will be directly against your skin. I’ve used a plush waistband elastic in this example and it has turned out to be my favorite of the samples I’ve sewn. (More on elastic selection in the Tropo Camisole Bralette Fabric post).
Sew the ends of your elastic together by abutting the ends and using a wide zig-zag to hold them together. You don’t want an overlap in your elastic as it will be much less comfortable. I find that I can wear my Tropo Camisoles with built-in bralettes all day long comfortably except for the one where I overlapped the elastic ends (as a test) as the elastic digs into my side at just that overlap point.
Pin the elastic to the bottom of your bralette, matching the marks to center front, center back, and sides. Note that your elastic might be larger than the bottom of your bralette or your bralette might be larger than your elastic depending on your fabric, elastic, your unique body, and any modifications you make to the bralette in sizing. When you wear the bralette you want the full width of the elastic against your skin – this helps prevent anything from digging into your skin with wear. If your elastic has a plush side, orient it in. Then pin the bralette, seam side out, on top of the elastic so that the fabric overlaps the elastic by 1/4”.
Sew the elastic to the bralette using a wide zig-zag.
Baste the camisole and bralette together along the top and underarm using a basting stitch (a long straight stitch or a very long but narrow zig-zag). And that’s it!
In this photo above the bralette and camisole is turned all the way inside out to show off the fact that the whole width of the elastic goes against your skin. Your basting stitches might pop with wear but they’ll be hidden underneath the fold-over elastic (FOE) which will be fully secured when you stitch it on later.
This is the camisole still inside out with the basted bralette pulled up to show that the seam allowances are together and the bralette fabric overlaps the elastic on the side that is not against your skin.