Hey everyone! I'm here to tell you how to hack your Elevate Crop top into a swim bra or low impact lounge bra! The Elevate was originally drafted to be a top, so it doesn't offer much support on its own, but with a little hacking and a few yards of elastic it can be turned into a great swim top or low impact lounge bra.
Fabric and Supplies:
Main fabric: I used a Poly Spandex athletic fabric for my main, but any athletic fabric with 4 way stretch and good recovery will be fine - supplex, athletic nylon spandex, athletic brushed poly etc.
Lining Fabric: I used supplex to line my bra, but techsheen or power net would also work. It is essential that you choose a good supportive fabric for your lining!
Elastic: 3/8 inch knit elastic for the neck and arm holes
1 1/2 inch knit elastic for the band
1/4 clear elastic to gather full bust pieces (optional)
Bra Cups (Optional) I did not use cups in this version, but you certainly could for added support and extra coverage.
Step 1: Print your crop top
I used the U back option for this hack and I sized down one size. This creates more negative ease and will provide more support.
Step 2: Add Seam Allowance
I added 3/8 inch seam allowance all around the neckline and arm holes. This will allow you to add the 3/8 inch elastic later for additional support.
Step 3: Cut out your fabrics
You will need a Front and Back in both your main and lining fabric. We will cut the band piece later.
Step 4: Sew Shoulder Seams
If your are using bra cups, now would be a good time to tack them to your lining. You could also slip them in between your main and lining later on.
On this step, we will sew all 4 layers with one seam. First, layer your pieces as follows:
Back Main - Right side up
Front Main - Right side down
Front Lining - Wrong side down
Back Lining - Wrong side down
Tip: Baste the main fabrics and the lining fabrics together before sewing all 4 layers together
Sew shoulder seams with a 3/8 inch seam allowance.
Step 5: Gather Side Seams with 1/4 clear elastic - This Step is for Full Bust pieces only!!!!!!!!
Tip: Baste the lining and main fabrics together before gathering.
Gather the front side seams using clear elastic. Cut your clear elastic to the same length as the back bust side seams.
Step 6: Sew Side Seams
For the full bust piece, I widen my serger stitch width to 3/8 inch for this step only. This allows me to serge right over the elastic without cutting anything off. If you're using the regular bust piece you can sew as normal.
Step 7: Add 3/8 inch elastic to the neck and arm holes
Tip: Baste the lining and main fabrics together first and exercise your 3/8 inch elastic before attaching!
The elastic is sewn with a 1:1 ratio. You want to stretch the elastic *slightly* around the curve of the neck and the curve of the underarms. You will attach the elastic to the wrong side of your bra. Start sewing your elastic around the edge, once you get back to your starting point, cut the elastic so it butts together and then finish off.
Step 8: Fold over and top stitch elastic
Fold the elastic under to encase and top stitch.
Step 9: Attach bottom band
This is your last chance to add cups! Slip them in between your lining and main before you sew on your band.
Measure around you lower bust. This is the measurement you will use to make your band. I did not add seam allowance because I wanted it to be a little snug. Cut your 1 1/2 inch elastic to this measurement. Then cut the casing for the elastic from your main fabric the same length and 4 inches wide (3 inches to cover the elastic, and an extra inch for seam allowance and wiggle room).
Cut your bottom band and sew short ends together. Fold band in half and attach to the bottom of your bra with a 3/8 seam allowance. Leave a gap in the back to thread elastic through.
Thread elastic through the band and overlap ends by 1/2 inch and sew.
Sew up the gap and you're done!!!