I’ve got a few more bras under my belt now (above my belt?) and it’s been an interesting journey. On the one hand, the actual construction is easy enough and I can knock out a bra that 90% fits in 4 hours. On the other hand, improving that fit to 95%, let alone 100%, is HARD!
Here’s my progress so far:
Bra 2: Lowered the bridge and cups to a demi, tightened the band… still Granny-shaped, but at least it’s bright. Works best under racerback or high-necked tops.
Bra 3: Altered the cups to have a power bar, moved the straps out, raised the underarm, rounded the cup slightly… somehow it still fits exactly the same as #1 and 2.
Bra 4: Threw caution to the wind and cloned a RTW bra. Vertical-seamed lower cup, power bar, stretch lace on top. I tried underlining the lace with sheer lining, but it smooshed things so I cut it off. Fit is surprisingly like the RTW bra – which unfortunately means it has the same minor fit issues. Lower cup needs to come 1cm higher, and I’d like the overall shape to be a bit perkier. Band ended up too loose.
For contrast, here’s the Pin Up Girls Classic in white underneath my 4th bra, cloned from a Panache Jasmine balconette. They’ve got exactly the same size wires and are both quite full-coverage, but the PUG Classic cup comes up much higher and the straps are narrow-set which doesn’t work with most of my tops!
The mystery in all of this is how to make tiny tweeks that actually make some difference. People write about how even 1/4″ can make such a difference with a bra, but man, I seem to be able to change more than that without seeing any effect. With each bra there are so many variables: What if I changed the direction of greatest stretch? What if I straightened this curve? What if I changed the shape of the bridge? The end result is that I hunch over the sewing machine making a bra for hours, try it on, feel excited for 5 seconds then sigh and go back to make pattern adjustments. It’s addictive and satisfying, but not exactly fun.
There is plenty of bra sewing advice on the web, but usually for major problems and not for fine-tuning details. I’m hoping you can help me out with some fitting advice.
How would you solve the following?
- more perky Is it the cut? fabric? foam? double-layered powerbar?
- more underarm pulled into the cup How can I get the wire higher on the underarm without affecting the angle of the wire’s J curve?
- more forward thrust instead of lateral splay Narrower bridge or cradle? power bar again? different seams?
I’d love to hear what cut, style, or alterations you’d recommend for any of the fit issues above! Whether you are a lingerie expert, a newbie bra sewist, or you wear RTW, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time staring at a bra and wondering what is right or wrong about it. And hey, if you are lost like me, thats ok too!
PS. I foresee more bramaking in my future, so I’m starting a page on the left-hand sidebar to gather all my posts!