Don’t get your hopes up. I haven’t sewn any yet. Well, besides my high waisted OhhhLulu knickers. Those are fun.
What I’m really wanting to sew are bras and I’m actually forming the perfect bra in my head. I know that can be dangerous because even the perfect bra might end up flawed, either in fit or constructions as this will be my first attempt at making my own bras.
But then I remember that I’ve sewn corsets. If I can do a corset, I can do a bra, right? Actually, my latest Victorian corset is what has me thinking about bras. When I fall in love with a bra design online, I tend to discard the idea by thinking that it probably won’t fit me right. In some cases, that’s true, but most of the bras I’m looking at are for my size so I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Years of disappointment, probably. Believe it or not, even some of the bras made for larger busts won’t fit me.
You know how I go on and on (or so it seems) about cutting a smaller back? Part of what got me thinking this way was my bra band size. I buy a 34 back but after a couple of weeks, sometimes just a few days, I have to alter the band to about a 32 band. The bands stretch, yes, but I also don’t think I’m buying the right size to begin with. I could buy all my bras online but I’m still unsure what size to get from each company since they all differ and I’m picky about how my bra will fit. As you might have found in your own bra hunting, finding a smaller band and a larger cup is tricky. Not as tricky as it used to be, thanks to several bra-makers, but tricky none the less.
Back to the lines of the Victorian corset. The gores provide the support and the lift and while I don’t want to look like I do when I wear this corset, it taught me a lot about how what gores can do for the bust.
The picture below, an in progress pic I snapped during the mad rush of making this corset, shows you how the gores are working. They’re pushing my bust up into the Victorian shape. The coutil (a very closely woven herringbone) is doing a lot of the work.
Now let me show you the bras that have been beckoning to me. First, the Curvy Kate Tease Me Bra. See the similarities with the Victorian corset? It’s those gores. The Victorian corset is a lot more exaggerated but I can see how I can make this bra.
Don’t ask me why but I really want to make a long line bra, too. Again, you can see the gores I’m liking.
What patterns have I found?
I stumbled on this Ralph Pink Pattern, RP021.
This next set of patterns is for use with the PatternMaker software. All you need is the basic program to input your measurements and print out a customized pattern. You still need to muslin it and tweak but it seems like such a great starting point.
Not sure what your bra size is? Getting fitted at a store can be a good starting point but just remember that they are still sales people and they want to sell you something. I’ve been to several Nordstroms and they always argue with me over band size. Why? Well, if I go by the snug fitting 32 back I like, I’d need a 32HH, not an easy size to find there, which means no sale.
Check out this size comparison chart. You’ll see how the different bra sizes are categorized by volume, not by cup. Before I had kids, I wore a 34DD, aka a 34E and sometimes I even wore a 36E. I honestly don’t think I was wearing the correct size since I was always pulling my band down. In looking at the size comparison chart, I probably would’ve been more comfortable in one of the sister sizes (remember, we’re talking volume here) 32F or 30FF, also really hard to find sizes.
Bra fitting is such a personal thing. Some people prefer a looser band. No harm in that, so long as you’re properly supported by the band. The straps should not be doing all the work. Some people like push-up bras, some like a more low hanging look. I’m not here to judge. I consider bras as part of my daily costume. Whether modern, historical or something in between, undergarments play a role and I’m ready to have more bras.
How many bras do you have? Do like bra shopping? Is it tricky for you, too? I’m so determined to make bras this year. Anyone else hoping to cross bra-making off their to-do list?