Adding a Shelf Bra to an LMU Tank

I love patterns from Patterns for Pirates and not wearing a real bra all the time, so experimenting with adding a shelf bra to a P4P tank had to happen. Of the several options available, I chose to start with the Layer Me Up Tank since it is a fitted shirt which already offers some support as is. I didn’t take very many pictures along the way, but here is an overview of how to do it.


1. Prepare your pattern and cut out the required pieces for the shirt as instructed in the pattern’s tutorial.

2. Figure out (at least roughly) how long the shelf portion needs to be for you. I measured the length from the middle of the neckline to the edge of the fabric of the shelf bra in a RTW tank top (for me that was 7.5″). Add the width of the elastic you are using to this number (I used 1″ elastic for mine).


3. On the front pattern piece, measure that distance (8.5″ for me) from the neckline. Draw a line straight across the pattern. Transfer the line to the back pattern piece as well.

4. Cut front and back pieces for the shelf bra.

5. Sew/serge side seams of the shelf bra.

6. Measure your underbust. Cut a piece of elastic which is 80% of this measure. Stitch the ends of the elastic together forming a loop.

7. Pin the elastic and bottom of the shelf bra in quarters, then pin the elastic to the shelf bra (wrong side) together at each quarter.


8. Sew the elastic to the edge of the shelf bra, stretching the elastic, but not the fabric.


9. Fold the elastic up once and stitch close to the top edge, stretching only enough to flatten the fabric.


10. Sew/serge straps and check the fit. If the piece is too long, either roll the elastic up once more, or remove and reposition the elastic.

11. Sew/serge the shirt’s straps and side seams.

12. With shirt right side out, place shelf bra inside (wrong sides together). Match up seams and pin together.

13. Stitching closely to the edge, baste the shelf bra to the shirt along the arm and neck openings.

14. Add neck and arm bands or bindings.

Edited to add: all fabrics I used for this project are cotton lycra (95/5) from The Purple Seamstress.

Now that I have had some success with the LMU shelf bra, I may just have to try to do the same with the Essential Tank.


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