The Bra Dilemma Solved
by Cynthia Elam
from Threads #71, pp. 36-40
For some women, it's easy to find bras that fit in styles they like. But many others aren't so lucky, spending endless time and money in search of that elusive perfect style and fit. And even if they do find it, chances are that the style will be discontinued the next time they shop. (In fact, it's estimated that 85 percent of women who wear bras are wearing the wrong size.) And others of us are just tired of spending so much money on so little fabric.
|Just because you want a bra that fits, doesn't mean you have to wear beige. You can fit and sew your own bra to get just the style, size, fabric, and features you want. From left, above, a stretch-satin basic bra resembling a Victoria's Secret classic (Élan B530); a navy polka-dot swimsuit top that's easily adapted from a basic bra; and an orange-lace padded push-up bra that flatters a smaller-busted figure (Élan B540).|
|More on bras
• How to Turn Ready-made Bras into Strapless Dress Support
• Adapt a Bra to Accomodate a Prosthesis
• How to Install Bathing Suit Bra Cups
Well, if any of this sounds familiar, you'll be pleased to find out that making your own custom-fitted bra can be a quick and rewarding project. And rest assured, if you're able to cut accurately and sew a precise 1/4-in. seam, you can make a bra.
For the first bra, plan to spend an evening or so. After this one is fitted and finished, you'll find that additional bras take two hours or less. Best of all, once you perfect the fit, you can keep the pattern forever, secure in the knowledge that you've solved one of a woman's trickiest wardrobe problems. Don't miss other Threads techniques like this by purchasing a print subscription which comes with FREE access to our tablet editions.
The four elements of a basic bra include a bra band, cups, straps, and a closure (see Anatomy of a bra). Variations in these key elements determine the bra style. A full-band style, for example, offers the most support; it has a continuous band that extends around the body, with the cups set into it (see Styling options). A partial-band style has a band attached at the sides of the cups, with a center-front piece or hook separating them. The bra band may be a single layer or lined.
|Anatomy of a bra: Variations in the four basic elements of a bra-bra band, cup, strap, and closure-determine bra style. This basic bra has a partial band, a two-piece cup with underwires, wide comfort straps, and a back closure (Élan B530).||Styling Options: In addition to the basic bra style, other style variations include full band, padded push-up, front closure, and sports bra, based on the patterns in parentheses. You may find similar features on other patterns.|
Cups can be made of one, two, or three lined or unlined sections, with two being the most common. Cups may or may not include underwires for shaping. Lace cups are often lined with sheer tricot to add stability and reduce scratchiness. You can even add padding to the cups to make a push-up bra like the orange lace one in the photo above.