Halter Neck Bikini Top
Softer, More Subtle, More Suited To A Larger Bust ....
The halter top may not be the smallest bikini top, but in my opinion is aesthetically superior to other styles of top. It visually enhances the size and shape of the bust. It can provide not just support but also lift and centering for the bust. My halter in the photo on the left does not have a preformed cup fitted and it's adequately supporting a 10DD bust simply because I extend the pattern further to the side. It can be used with or without a preformed cup however. Generally speaking, I do not recommend using gathering instead of a dart (photo on the right) for cup sizes over 10C unless you are also using a preformed cup. Without the preformed cup, in this situation, the bust drops into the gathered area exactly as pictured! Be warned!
The photo below illustrates the pattern we're going to make. This pattern is based on the Women’s One Piece Block we created previously (using 12% horizontal negative ease and 0% vertical ease) and The Darted Triangle pattern. Before you start each step, take a good look at the illustration to help you follow the drafting process. At the end of each step your draft should match the illustration.
On the left, a wider Halter neck by myself from back in 2002 ... photo by Chris Huzzard. On the right a photo found on the Internet (I do not own copyright); used for the purpose of illustration/education only.
Place the Triangle Bikini Top over the bust point of your traced one piece block (just the top half is enough). Draft in a strap centred on a vertical line extending from the bust point to 6cm beyond the shoulder.
Draft in the neckline. This line should be a smooth, gradual curve from the tip of the strap to the maximum convex on the triangle. Don't be tempted to start your curve half way along the strap or you may need to shorten the strap a little more making the garment firmer and both less likely to stay in place and also limiting the fitting range within each size. Extend the base line of the triangle about 7cm to the side. This arbitrary amount will determine how much the halter will wrap the body.
Draft in the outer line of the halter. This line should again be a smooth, gradual curve from the tip of the strap to the tip of the extended line. The curve should be about 1-1.5cm inside the armhole to prevent it gathering under the arm. You could stop at this point, add seam allowance and you'd have a halter suitable for a size 10B/C.
As we're creating a halter top for a 10D-DD cup we need to take a couple more steps. Create two guide lines, each extending from the bust point out to the maximum convex of the triangle or thereabouts.
Trace and separate the panels. Extend the centre strap guide 1cm below the bust point and then 1cm to the left and 1cm to the right. Place the panels as illustrated.
Re-curve the halter. Note that the bust point has not been moved to the ceter of the separated area, but instead remains at the bottom point of the top section. You do still need to pull the dart back 1cm (in this case the original bust point) and extend the bottom of the dart a fraction to maintain the right angles either side of the dart seam.
Remove unnecessary guidelines. If necessary retrace the front and back panels. Add seam allowance to the pattern based on how you intend to assemble it. I've shown this pattern with 10mm allowance for overlocked seams (8mm to blade plus 2mm off cut) and 10mm allowance for folding over 9mm elastic. If you were to use a binder attachment to apply the elastic and casing fabric to the edge, then you wouldn’t need any seam allowance on those particular seams. Finally, be sure to clearly label your pattern pieces with a title, panel name, garment size, cutting instructions, author’s name, date and revision number.