Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

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How to Add Bra Cup Pockets for Removable Foam Cups

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

There are a few ways you can add bra cups to a sewing pattern. We showed you how to add sewn-in cups in this blog post here, and today we want to teach you how to sew pockets for removable bra cups. This method can be used for swimsuits and other form-fitting tanks but we will show you how to do it using the Slocan Tank pattern in the bralette view. 

You will need

  • Bra cups/foam
  • Lining fabric (or extra main fabric)

Pattern Adjustments

Before we get into construction, we will need to make an extra pattern piece. 

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Trace or print off another Front (1) pattern piece (you will still need to use the original, that is why you need another copy of the pattern piece to work with).

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

On the new front piece, make a mark at around the midway point of the neck curve. Make another mark on the armscye side, about ⅔ of the way down from the strap attachment. There is no need to be 100% precise here.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Connect the two marks with the slightly curved line. Cut the pattern piece along this line and discard the top part. Label the bottom part as Inner Lining. You will need to cut one of these pieces (on the fold) out of either lining or main fabric.

Cutting

When cutting the pattern out, make sure to cut the front pieces as follows: 

  1. One Front, on fold, out of main fabric
  2. One Front, on fold, out of lining fabric 
  3. One Inner Lining, on fold, out of lining fabric
Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Cut the rest of the pieces as directed.

A couple of notes:

  • You can also line the back piece here if you are making a bralette and want it slightly thicker. 
  • You don’t need to use specialty lining fabric, you can use the same outer main fabric instead. Keep in mind that there will be three layers of fabric when finished, so a thin lining fabric may be preferable. 

Construction

Follow the steps below to construct the front before you proceed with the rest of the instructions. 

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Mark the center fronts on both the neckline and hem of the lining pieces.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

On the Inner Lining piece, finish the new scooped edges with your preferred method. These will be your bra cup pocket openings. We prefer to serge/overlock this edge and leave it that way. No need to be fancy.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Still working with the Inner Lining, draw two lines 1/2” (1.3 cm) away from the center front.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

With the right sides facing you and matching center front marks, lay the Inner Lining on top of the unaltered lining piece. Both right sides should be facing up here. Pin the two pieces together.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Using a stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine, attach the pieces along the two lines you drew in the previous step. Treat the two joined lining pieces as one from now on.

With the right side facing you, lay the attached lining pieces on top of the wrong side of the main front. The lining with bra cup pockets should be facing you (the inside of the bralette) so that you can access the pockets once the bralette is finished. Baste the pieces in place if desired.

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

Continue with the construction of the top, treating the front and two lining pieces as one. Once you’ve sewn your bralette you will have pockets on the inside to insert the bra cups! Because the bra cup pockets are constructed out of two lining pieces, they will not be visible from the right side. 

Removable Bra Cup Tutorial - Slocan Tank - Sandpiper Swimsuit - Helen's Closet Patterns Blog

FAQ

Can I sew the one line of stitching in the middle of the bralette instead of two? 

  • Yes! We like two lines for better breast separation, but you can sew just one. Especially if you have a larger bust. In this case, one line may work better. 

Can I skip the ‘Front Lining’ and just sew the ‘Inner Lining’ and the main outer fabric to make the pocket?

  • If you do this, you will have visible stitching on the outside of your top. That is why we have two layers of lining. If you skip the stitching in the center front, the cups can move around—but it is possible to do it this way. 
Slocan Tank sewing pattern by Helens Closet
About the author

Helen

Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

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