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Bra size confusion

Janet_M._Hill | Posted in The Archives on

I am hoping that someone will have the expertise to answer this question. I want to make a bra and have found several web sites that offer bra patterns. I’ve looked at the sizing instructions, most specifically; the instructions that say to measure around the fullest part of the breasts and then just above the breasts and find the difference between those measurements. 1-inch difference is an A, 2 inches is a I and so on. I’m wondering if a DAD size is the same as an I (A=1, I=2, I=3, I=4, I=5, I=6 or D=4, DD=5, DDD=6)? Also, my measurement for around my ribs is two inches smaller than the smallest size for the “full figured” bras. Is this going to cause me significant trouble in making a bra?

Thanks for your help,


  1. Véronik_Avery | | #1

    Hi Janet,

    the formula for choosing a bra size is this:
    Less than 1" (2.5 cm) A
    1" (2.5 cm) A
    2" (5 cm) I
    3" (7.5 cm) I
    4" (10 cm) I
    5" (12.5 cm) I also called ID
    6" (15 cm) I also called DAD or EE
    7" (17.5 cm) G also called FF or EEE
    (please credit no affiliation, just a satisfied customer)
    You do have to add 4" or 5" to your rib cage measurement - whatever that will make it an even number.
    Check the above site, they have a lot of info and can sell you all the findings you'll need.

    1. Tessa_Elston | | #2

      *The letters on the two messages above looks odd - where an ' I ' is used a lot, also the DAD? Probably some mis-typing? or is my browser fooling me?To clarify differences then: 1"=A; 2"=B; 3"=C; 4"=D; 5"=E (or DD); 6"=F (or DDD or EE); 7"=G (or EEE or FF)The standard suggestion is to measure the under bust (ribcage) tightly, and then the full bust loosely.Under bust measurement + 5 (or 6 ) inches = band size (in inches)Full bust measurement - band size = cup size (1"=A; 2"=B; etc)High bust measurement is also = band size.Band sizes increase by 2 inches and cup sizes increase by 1 inch.Most manufacturers suggest measuring under the bust (ribcage) but some use a high bust or above the bust measurement. Some people also prefer using the high bust measurement but try both waysThe complete low down using a 34B for example is below so you can see how it all works out.Under bust measurement is 29 inches; (or 28 inches)Full bust measurement is 36 inches; High bust measurement is 34 inches.Most bra manufacturers have a size calculator on their websites which you can use to check your size. Try these among others:http://www.hanesherwaybras.com/bra-size.htmlhttp://www.barenecessities.com/csi/fit_sizing.aspJanet, you mention measuring above your bust and then comment that your ribcage is 2" smaller than a pattern. It is *really* important that your band fits correctly to give you good support. You must work out your band size first. It may be that you don't fit into the full figure pattern. You may need a regular pattern with larger cup size and your cup size is larger than the pattern allows. If this is the case, yes, you may have problems fitting it. You may want to email the company supplying the pattern and give them your measurements and ask what size they suggest. Cynthia Elam replied to an email of mine. Her web address is http://www.elanpatterns.com

      1. Janet_M._Hill | | #3

        *Thanks for the suggestions. I e-mailed Elan Patterns for a suggestion on sizing. I don't know what happened to the letters on the sizes, either. There must be a glitch in the program, or spell checking fixing what it thinks are errors!Thanks again,Janet

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