Bra Month | Community Blog | Using Scuba for Bra Making with Jeannie

A ready-to-wear look easy enough for Beginner bra makers??

It’s easier than you think to have the look and feel of a custom or high-end retail bra, even for beginner bra makers. The answer is found in scuba print fabrics!

What is scuba bra making fabric?

Scuba fabric is a double-knit fabric made with finely spun polyester fibers to create a smooth hand with a low luster sheen and a full-bodied drape.  While named after the material used in scuba suits, this is not thick neoprene.  

Instead, the scubas we select for bra making have a slight spongy feel like ready-to-wear, a medium to medium-light hand so they will drape well with some stretch.  Scuba is printed on one side with a very soft back.  The Gigi’s Bra Supply exclusive scuba prints include both animal prints and floral prints.  Because the scuba print fabric has a stretch of 10% to 25%, we would back the scuba with either sheer cup lining, duoplex or cut-and-sew foam to give it the stability you need for cups.

Additionally, scuba print fabric is absolutely gorgeous!  

Using a backing fabric provides the freedom to ignore the DOGS (degree of greatest stretch) of the scuba fabric, allowing us to position our pattern pieces in any place and any direction to give the perfect printed pattern matching between the left and right cups.

The technique that makes this so approachable for a beginner is called “fussy cutting”.

With fussy cutting we add one additional step – just one step!

Fussy cutting is a term often used in quilting to feature a special part of the fabric, for example, you might want to feature a certain flower or color you especially like.  Fussy cutting is a great way to customize the scuba to feature any of the design elements … for this Bluebells and Roses scuba, I would have the bluebells face inward toward the center front, which means the fabric would be mirroring (the Left Cup bluebells will face toward the Right Cup, and the Right Cup bluebells will face toward the Left Cup at the center front).

This Pin Up Girls Bralette pattern has a prominent center front so I would use the ¼ inch seam line to match up the center front…remember, you are stitching these together so you’re matching at the seam line, not at the edge of the fabric.  Other patterns might have cleavage in the front … in that case, you might want to match up or mirror the design on a different part of the cup.

We will prepare our pattern pieces for the cups as normal, and then add ¼ inch seam lines at the spot where you want the scuba fabric to intersect … either at the center front, or at another match point.  The cups are curved so you’ll have to choose a spot you want to feature, and not try to match up the entire cup.  Next, place the pattern pieces on cardstock or heavy paper to trace a Left Cup and Right cup.  Cut out the pattern piece and you’ve created a cardstock window to use on the scuba.  Cut out a Left Cup and a Right Cup frame so you can see how each cup will intersect at either a match point or the center front.

Next, we lay out the scuba print fabric on the cutting table and use the cardstock window frames to frame the floral or print exactly how we would like it to appear.  Remember, because we are lining the scuba print with a stable fabric like sheer cup lining, duoplex or cut-and-sew foam, we do not need to worry about direction at all.

Once we have the design we want lined up in the window frame, mark on the paper frame any details. Then use a fabric marking pen to transfer the pattern onto the fabric, and be sure to transfer match points onto the fabric. (You can put them on the back or front in the seam line, but you will need them to make sure your pieces line up correctly.)  Once you’ve traced the pattern piece onto the fabric, use a small rotary cutter or good sharp scissors to “extract” the fabric piece that is exactly the size, shape and print pattern that we desire!

When our scuba pieces are cut out we will place them on top of the corresponding pieces of sheer cup lining, duoplex or cut-and-sew foam (remember, with the duoplex and cut-and-sew foam, we do follow the direction of greatest stretch, as shown on the pattern, as normal).  We can use fusible webbing to secure the two pieces of fabric together, or we can use a wash-out glue stick to temporarily connect them.  By using either method, we make it easier to sew because it is as if we are working with one combined fabric, instead of messing with keeping two fabrics in alignment.

We’ve already looked at the mirroring of the bluebells.  Now take a look at the animal print fabric.  This print has a darker section and a lighter section of the design.  I’ve used the window to put the darker designs toward the center front.

The grey and red scuba bralette features another way line up the scuba – notice how the leaf design continues from one side of the center front to the other.

Whether you are mirroring a design, or matching, the ¼ inch seam line marks will show you where the fabric pieces will intersect … those ¼ inch seam lines will be your best buddies as you sew the cups.

Now sew the fabric pieces and enjoy your gorgeous new bra!! 

Here are the steps for bra making scuba success:

  1. Decide which parts of the beautiful scuba you want to feature
  2. Add ¼ inch seam lines to the pattern pieces in the areas where you want to match the design, or mirror the design.
  3. Make a Fussy Cut Frame by tracing the pattern pieces onto cardstock.  Make a Left Cup frame and a Right Cup frame ensuring that the center fronts are faced the correct direction.
  4. Use the Fussy Cut Frame on the fabric to “frame” the bra cup pieces to highlight your preferred designs on the fabric.  Trace the pattern onto the fabric.  Keep the pattern pieces handy and to transfer all match points and ¼ inch seam lines.
  5. Place/adhere the scuba fabric piece onto a backing fabric (sheer cup lining, duoplex or cut-and-sew foam)
  6. Sew the fabric pieces as directed in the pattern.
  7. Wear your gorgeous new bra!!

Give yourself some grace the first few times you try matching or mirroring.  It might take a few tries for your eyes to “see” how the pieces will come together.  Even if the design doesn’t line up exactly as you planned, you’ll still have a gorgeous new bra!

Jeannie New is the owner of Gigi’s Bra Supply, an online bra supply store featuring professional quality fabrics, elastics, findings, and patterns for bra making…and USA distributor of Bra Makers Supply, Canada.  We’ve helped thousands of customers finally get a supportive, beautiful, comfortable bra.  We love our customers…and we love comfy curves! ™  

Bra Month | Community Blog | Bullet Bra with Cesca

A broken leg, lockdown and lecture strikes led to me putting my university course on hold; in a desperate need to fill my time (to prevent me driving my mum crazy) I returned to sewing. I’d outgrown my clothes again, my cup size growing “disproportionately” to RTW clothing. Once I had a few garments under my belt – and obsessed with period murder mysteries during third lockdown – I fell in love with vintage fashion, the sexy allure of foundational garments. I grew a burning desire to buy some, especially bullet bras (or as I prefer, torpedo titties). Sadly, my new bra size fell just outside of most vintage bra companies, and I could hardly afford a custom make. 

Filled with grandiose plans and optimism I scoured the internet for a cheap pattern. How hard could making a bra without wires be?  Thankfully, I found a free pattern by VaVoomVintage, complete with an easy 4 day sew along. (Reader, it took me far longer due to exams and coursework.) Still on my few days off, I cut out the DD pattern, added an inch to the cups and retrieved my torn cotton pyjama trousers. I cut my pieces, basted the cups together in an attempt to check the fit (difficult because of my short roots and pendulous breasts). I forged ahead with sheer determination.

I do like a French seam (and I lack good pinking shears) so I used this in almost all seams, except when I forgot to leave enough seam or simply got confused and stitched right sides together anyway. 

Spiral stitching. I procrastinated, scared of catching a finger; I watched VaVoomVintage’s video, and searched for other blogs by those who made her pattern. Luckily, as I raided my local library for sewing books, I found “Lingerie Design: A Complete Course.”

I took the plunge without marking my circles: a mistake. I recommend grabbing a compass or a circular object to mark concentric circles on the cups either separately before seaming together, or pressing down the fabric after stitching the seams, or – probably neatest – fill the cup and draw circles on the 3D shape. Then slowly stitch in separate circles/semi circles or a spiral, gently pulling the fabric away as you go. Contrasting threads and different patterns also would look wonderful as VaVoomVintage points out.

The rest of the sew along is straightforward, although before assembling everything think about the unfinished edges. I folded mine twice and stitched on the sewing machine for an untidy result. A trim added at the end might work better or a rolled hem foot.

I ploughed on, making bra straps from the carefully unpicked and resewn ex-cuffs of my trousers, attaching by hand. The underband was 10cm too large on me, so I folded in the excess on each side before adding the hook and eyes by hand. For a final flourish I added buttons to the front from the original placket that I had saved. 

The fit is difficult to tell without sewing the entire bra. I had to shorten my side bands again but could not lengthen the height, so I added in an extra piece between the armhole and the bra strap for more support. The band is still too big! Next time I would squash the side band and lengthen the height so that it keeps everything in when attached to the cups. Elastic straps are probably far more comfortable. The cups fit well, although I wish I had marked my circles particularly the bust apex, where the centre of the circles should be.

This pattern was easy enough to make though and a very fun foray into lingerie sewing without faffing over underwires (the enemy of my sticky-outy rib cage). I also liked how simple it was although the instructions were a little sparse. I have made up my own instructions which can be found and saved from my Instagram @lemonysews

I’m a mathematician who likes to sew vintage garments. I’m interested in the history of fashion, especially Wartime Britain, and the topology & geometry of garments. See all of Cesca’s makes on insta @lemonysews

Bra Month | Community Blog | Lingerie Books Review with Cyndel

I am a process person. The more intricate and detailed something is, the greater interest I have in it. So, when I started sewing lingerie I was hooked. Every quarter inch, the arch of every curve, mattered. My brain was happy and wanted more. So, I did what every other obsessive nerd would do and I went book shopping 🤓

Since my initial book purchase, my lingerie sewing and construction book collection has grown to have several books. I quickly became known in the bra making community as the person with the books. I read them all (probably more than twice), took notes, and shared what I was learning on my Instagram. My followers would frequently ask about the books and which one(s) they should get, which led me to film a YouTube video breaking down the most utilized books in my collection and their pros and cons. This article is that video in text. 

Prefer video format? Check out Cyndel’s video:

Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction by Norma Loehr (Orange Lingerie)

This was the first book that I bought when I started sewing lingerie and it is the one that I recommend the most to anyone getting started in lingerie sewing. This book, as the title would suggest, is all about sewing bras and getting the perfect fit. This book does not contain information about drafting bra patterns. 

What I love about it:

  • Clear and easy to read
  • Lots of photos (though at times there could be more)
  • Troubleshooting guide by bra part (cup, cradle, etc.)
  • Pro tips throughout the book – these really helped up my lingerie sewing game from the start!

To be honest, there isn’t anything I don’t love about this book. It is super handy for its intended purposes. If you are advanced in your bra making, I think most of the information in this book would be familiar to you – so that would be my only caution. 

A lovely floral pink bra, currently available in Cyndel’s shop!

Bra Pattern Drafting (Pt. 1 & 2) by Merkwaerdigh 

Sewing bras for me quickly evolved into sewing bras for others. Ethically, I knew it was important to me to learn how to draft my own patterns – which led me to purchase this digital book from Etsy. I think it is important to know that prior to learning to draft bra patterns, I did have limited pattern drafting experience – enough to know the lingo and very *slowly* bust out a draft. 

The thing that I think is coolest about the Merkwaerdig method of bra pattern drafting is that literally anyone can do it. In many ways, learning how to draft a bra pattern this way would be a good stepping stone into another method if you’ve never drafted patterns before. You can absolutely create a solid master bra for yourself with this pattern. I will say though, this design will take more tweaking to get an accurate, fitting bra for yourself. Though clear measurements are provided, this method uses an even grading system that assumes the body grows equally between sizes and uses two sizes (36B and 46B) as the “mother size” of all sizes. In my experience, that means there is a lot of room for human error in grading that leads to sizes fitting more poorly as they move further from the mother size, but if your intention is only to create a pattern for yourself, this method would be more than sufficient.

What I love about it:

  • Anyone can draft a bra using this method
  • Measurements and clear directions are provided with diagrams showing the drafting process 
  • Clear grading instructions are given to size up or down
  • Fairly short in comparison to other drafting books
  • Great way to learn terms and tools of pattern drafting

Some things for consideration:

  • It’s not as accurate as other methods, but if you’re willing to make some test bras and figure it our, this method could be great for you
  • Though the grading instructions are clear, I personally do not love the even grade system or the idea of mother sizes – I also am not confident you could apply the grade rules to the master pattern that you have made alterations to, I think you would have to make adjustments to each individual draft
Cyndel recently made this quilted ice blue bra with champagne lace bra as part of a weekly bra sewing challenge.

Bare Essentials: Bras by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks (Porcelynne)

This is the second drafting book that I purchased. The first half of the book is about bra fit and construction and the second half is about drafting and grading. If you think you have long term interest in bra pattern drafting but are just getting into lingerie sewing – this may be the book for you! It is the best of both worlds. 

From a construction standpoint, this book teaches you all you need to know about basic construction *plus* how to make some tricky alterations to hone in on a perfect fit, but unlike the first book mentioned it does not have a trouble shooting guide per say.

From a drafting standpoint, this method is deadly accurate. I have never made a more well fitted bra on a first pass than I have with this method. It uses some pretty specific measurements from your body in addition to your preferred underwire size. For my needs, this method was too specific for me to make a wide variety of sizes as I would have no way to procure the specific measurements needed (fun fact: there really is no standardization in bra sizes, but if you’ve ever worn bras before you probably could have guessed this). That being said, if you’re looking to make a bra pattern for yourself or loved ones, this method is worth the time and effort it takes as you will have less frustration with the fitting and final outcome.

What I love about it:

  • Best bang for your buck – in depth construction, fitting, and drafting/grading information
  • Most accurate method for drafting bra patterns
  • Teaches fit alterations that can be otherwise tricky 
  • Clear and well written with lots of step-by-step diagrams
  • Instructions for both drafting and grading by hand OR digitally

Some things for consideration:

  • From a drafting standpoint, I would say it would be beneficial to have some experience drafting patterns to utilize this method, otherwise it may be confusing
  • Though this drafting method is the most accurate, it can be time consuming (though you’ll likely have less trouble down the road) 
  • If you are looking to use this method to draft a wide variety of sizes, you’ll really need to consider how you will procure or standardize the measurements needed to do so
Both of these bras – a pink bra with a strawberry design and an ivory bra with a pink floral design – are currently available in Cyndel’s shop.

The Bra Makers Manual (Volume I & II) by Beverly Johnson (Bra Makers Supply)

If you have been around my Instagram, it is no shock to you to see these books on this list. For me, they have been the most practical in my bra pattern drafting journey. I basically carry Volume II with me at all times. Like other books on the list, you’ll find information on construction and fit (even the bra throughout history) as well as drafting and grading – though I would recommend these books more for their drafting information than construction.

This construction method is a happy medium between the Bare Essentials and Merkwaerdig Method in that it is detailed, but not too specific. All of the information you need is in the book – which means if you are hoping to draft for a wide variety of sizes, Volume II is a practical start. One of the biggest differences in this book compared to others is it uses an uneven grading system which assumes the body does not grow evenly between sizes (and actually makes a lot of sense when you read it). 

What I love about it:

  • It’s written like a guidebook, just flip to the section you need and go from there
  • Best method for drafting a variety of sizes with accuracy
  • Step-by-step diagrams throughout the book
  • Easy to read and understand
  • All the information you need is in the book

Some things for consideration:

  • As with the Bare Essentials drafting method, some previous pattern drafting experience would be beneficial for all the same reasons
  • This book does not contain clear information on grading – it does on grade rules – but not on the actual process of grading 
This ivory bee bra is another that Cyndel made as part of her weekly bra challenge. Isn’t it fab?!

In conclusion, every book in my collection has advanced my lingerie sewing skills or knowledge in some way. I think having these different books with similar but slightly different perspectives has given me an in depth understanding of lingerie design and construction I would not have if I just read one book. And of course, these are just my thoughts and opinions which are based on how I think and understand the world – the books I have found the most helpful may not be your favorite, or vice versa for the books that have been less helpful for me, they may be the best for you. Everyone learns differently so it is great that there are so many resources out there for us to utilize. My hope is if you are looking to purchase a lingerie sewing construction and design book you can take some of the guesswork out of the process and pick a book that will meet your needs!

And finally, I love to be a friendly face in this community. Sometimes it can feel as though lingerie sewing information is gatekept which can be very frustrating. I try to answer all questions that I get to my inbox regarding bra design, fit, and construction (I will even send you videos). I share my process in my stories frequently and love to learn from my followers as well. I hope you’ll connect with me @WednesdayLingerie.

Cyndel is the sewist and creative behind Wednesday Lingerie, her small handmade-to-order lingerie shop. She is a passionate designer and educator.

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Sew Busty will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain Cyndel’s.

Bra Month | Community Blog | Why I Love Vintage Bras with Kerry

Editor’s Note: Since we’re making the Firebrand Jet Set Natural bra this month’s sew along (use code SEWBUSTY for 20% off her patterns through the end of July!), I thought it only appropriate to hear more from Kerry – the designer behind Firebrand Lingerie – about where her love for vintage lingerie comes from. Throughout this post, you’ll see pictures of Kerry’s vintage lingerie collection. Let’s dive in!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of lingerie. For my 13th birthday I asked for a delicate pink lacy teddy. Much to my surprise, my Mom actually bought it for me! Sort of scandalous if I think about it now! From then on I chose to wear the most pretty, feminine lingerie I could find.

At age 17 I went to work in the lingerie department of The Jones Store, a longtime staple of Kansas City department stores. There I really fell in love with bras. This is where I learned how to fit. I loved being able to put a person into the correct bra size and see how their whole attitude changed. I felt like I was changing the world, one bra at a time.

At the same time, I became a lover of vintage clothes, especially the 1940s and 1950s. This was a time when women got dressed, even when just running out to the grocery store or to the hairdresser. In my teen years I would scour the racks at the thrift store for vintage dresses, which were pretty easy to come by at the time. This is where my love of vintage lingerie began. I loved the simple femininity of bras from the 1940s, which gave way to the astounding architecture of bras from the 1950s. By the time I was an adult, I became a collector of vintage underthings.

I’ve been collecting vintage lingerie for years now. It started with vintage stockings. I amassed a collection of over 1000 pairs. Along the way I also collected corsets, girdles, and bras. My focus shifted to bras more recently, especially since I am still amazed by their construction.

When I decided to merge my love of vintage bras with my love of sewing and patternmaking, I came up with the idea for Firebrand Lingerie. The first pattern I released was the Jet Set Bullet, a true bullet bra in the 1950s tradition. It, along with the rounder but still vintage inspired Jet Set Natural, have been the cornerstones of my little pattern company.

Along the way, my bra collection has grown. I still seek out the most unusual bras I can find, mostly from the 1930s to the 1950s. The oldest bra in my collection is a delicate lace bandeau from the 1920s.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of collecting vintage lingerie. I like to photograph my collection and share it on Instagram @firebrandlingerie. In addition, I’m working on releasing new patterns in true vintage style, with inspiration from my collection. I certainly hope you find vintage lingerie as alluring as I do. Thanks to Lindsie at Sew Busty for allowing me to share one of my greatest passions with you. I hope you find a little inspiration from my words! Have fun, and happy sewing!

Want to hear more from Kerry? Join our Jet Set Bra sew along live chat on Sunday! More info here! Not on Facebook? No worries. Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 27 at 3 PM EDT.

Kerry Phillips is a lover and collector of vintage lingerie, especially bras. She started Firebrand Lingerie to fill a niche for sewists who love vintage lingerie as much as she does. You can find her designs at and @firebrandlingerie on instagram.

Bra Month | Jet Set Natural Sew Along Week C: Sewing the Main to Lining, Making Straps & Applying the Closure

At Sew Busty, June 2021 is bra month! Catch up on all the bra month posts here!

As part of bra month, we’ll be doing a sew along of the Firebrand Jet Set Natural bra. This bra, and all Firebrand patterns, are 20% off throughout June 2021 with code SEWBUSTY. See the full sew along here.

Meet the designer and ask all your fit questions! On June 27 at 3 PM Eastern USA time (UTC-4), the Jet Set designer, Kerry, and I will be hosting a LIVE chat to answer all your questions about this week’s sew along content! If you’re on Facebook, click here to pre-register. If you’re not on Facebook, no worries! Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 27 at 3 PM EDT.

Per last week’s post over the past week, you should have:

  • Sewn and topstitched your horizontal cup seam on your main and lining
  • Sewn and topstitched the underband and wing onto the cups for your main and lining
  • Sewn and topstitched the center front.

Today, we’re going to sew the main to the lining, make straps, figure out how long your wing needs to be, and apply the closure.

Finishing the Keyhole

Before we can sew our main to our lining, we need to finish the keyhole. Remember how you stopped stitching at the pattern markings? Fold the 1 cm (3/8″) overhang inward, pinning it into place, like this:

Stitch this about 3 mm from the folded edge. Do this on your main and lining. The result should look like this:

We will then attach the bottom band elastic. I like to cut about 3″ of your 1″ elastic for this, and we’re going to baste it to the lining.

Place the elastic on the wrong side of the lining so that the points of the keyhole are centered. (Note that you don’t want the elastic centered with the whole band, since we currently have 1 cm of seam allowance.) If you’re using an elastic that is plush on one side, place the elastic with the shiny side up, so that the shiny side will eventually be facing the same way as the right side of the main fabric.

Baste at the edges of the elastic. The result should look like this:

Put this aside. Time to make straps!

Making Straps

In my opinion, the best way to decide how long to make your straps is to measure them on your favorite bra. Specifically, look at the length of the adjustable part of the strap and the length of the non-adjustable part. Keep in mind also that the Jet Set is higher-set than most bras, so you may need straps that are a bit shorter. We can fine-tune the strap length next week, so right now just focus on getting a good estimate.

You’ll need to cut four lengths of 3/4″ strap elastic – two for the adjustable part of your straps, and two for the non-adjustable part.

Once you have estimated lengths cut, you’ll need to take the piece you want to be adjustable and add a slide to the end. Put the strap through the slide so that the shiny side is facing up, like this:

Now, fold it inward, and using a narrow zigzag stitch, stitch over the raw end. I like to use a zigzag that is 3 mm wide and 2 mm long. You should end up with this:

Follow this same procedure on the other adjustable strap length. Then, set your adjustable strap lengths aside.

The next step is to attach a ring to the end of your non-adjustable strap lengths. You’ll just feed the strap elastic through a ring, and stitch over the raw edge, as seen below:

Now, grab the adjustable strap lengths. Plush side up, feed the adjustable strap up through the ring that’s attached to the non-adjustable strap, like so:

Then, fold the adjustable strap back and weave the end of it back through the slide. The shiny side should now be facing up, like this:

Repeat these steps for the other strap. Set your straps aside so we can start sewing the main to the lining!

Stitching the Main to Lining – Step 1

Right sides together, begin pinning your main to your lining, matching up each seam and corner. I like to start by pinning seams together, and then corners, and then fill in the rest.

As you sew, you’re going to leave 3 places open: the last 2.5″ or so of each wing (on the top, bottom, and side), as well as the keyhole. Stitch everything at a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance. Your keyhole should look like this when you’re done:

Unfortunately, I don’t have a great picture of my wings being unstitched, because I got very in the zone and stitched all the way around, then had to seam rip 🤦‍♀️ Do as I say, not as I do!

Figuring Out Your Wing Length

Now, try your bra on inside out! I know it doesn’t have a closure, but the purpose of this is to figure out where to cut the wing. It may be easier to have a friend or significant other help you hold it in place and mark it, but I did it all on my own, so it is possible 🙂

You want to have about a 3-4″ gap in the back, where the wings don’t meet. Mark on one wing where it would need to be cut in order to have such a gap. Here’s my mark:

Then, extend this mark, making a line parallel to the current end of the wing:

Cut along this line, cutting through both lining and main fabric. Now, take the scrap from this side and place it on the other wing, like so:

This will show you where to mark your other wing. Make a mark and cut through lining and main on this side as well.

Pinning the Straps and Preparing the Back Closure

You can now pin your straps onto your bra. Do this by lining up the raw end of your adjustable side of your strap to the top of your wing about 1″ from the edge of your wing. You want the shiny side of the strap to be facing the right side of your main fabric, and you want the angle of the strap to be slightly inward. Do this on both sides.

Next, we’re going to make an adjustable back closure, very similar to our adjustable straps. For this, we’ll use our 1″ elastic.

You want to start by cutting two strips of about 2″. Fold these and pin them onto the main fabric wing on the right when it’s facing you. I put mine about 5/8″ from the top and bottom of my wing, like this (you can also see the angle of the strap in this picture!):

Adjustable back closure option (requires 2 1″ slides)

Now we’re going to make the adjustable side of the back closure. Cut two 5″ lengths of your 1″ elastic. This will almost certainly be longer than you need, but we will trim in the next step.

Follow the same procedure as above for putting it through a slide, then stitching. Then, thread the elastic through a G-hook. At this point, you need to decide whether you want your G-hook to face up or down. Down is more common, though I have one ready-to-wear bikini that uses an upward-facing G-hook, so I’m trying that this time. If you want your G-hook to face down, the open end must be downward when you’re looking at the back of the G hook, with the hook to the right.

Thread the elastic back through the slide. Repeat for the second length of 1″ elastic. The resulting straps should look like this. Again, remember that I am having my G hooks facing up this time:

For the next step, you’ll want these straps on their longest setting, so wiggle that slide as close to the G-hook as it will go.

non-Adjustable back closure option (No 1″ slides required)

Cut two 3″ lengths of your 1″ elastic. Follow the same process as described for applying the ring to the non-adjustable part of the strap, above.

At this point, you need to decide whether you want your G-hook to face up or down. Down is more common, though I have one ready-to-wear bikini that uses an upward-facing G-hook, so I’m trying that this time. If you want your G-hook to face down, the open end must be downward when you’re looking at the back of the G hook, with the hook to the right.

Determining the Closure Length

Now, I want you to stitch closed only the right side of the wing (the side with the loops). Once you’ve stitched closed the right side, temporarily flip the bra right-side out. Hook the G-hooks into the loops, and try on the bra. While it’s on, you’re going to pin the adjustable side of your strap to the other wing such that your band is the right length. Mark the spot where the straps meet the wing with your marking pen or chalk.

Take the bra off and flip it back inside-out. Re-align your adjustable back straps so that they’re 5/8″ from the top and bottom of the left wing (when the right side of the main fabric is facing you with the bra upward), aligning the marking you made above with the edge of the wing. The shiny side of the elastic (if your elastic has a shiny side) should be facing the right side of your main fabric.

Pin into place and clip excess strap, like so:

Now, we’re going to close this side. If you’re not 100% sure about the placement or length of your back straps, you might want to baste this first so that you can easily remove the stitching and move things a bit. Once you’re sure the length and placement of the back straps is correct, though, use a regular stitch to finis the 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance all the way around the bra.

Flipping the Bra Right Side Out

The only opening should now be the keyhole. Clip your corners at the front strap points and wings, not getting too close to the seam allowance, like this:

Flip the bra right side out, pulling it through the keyhole. You can use the straps to help with this. It should look like this:

Use a point turner tool to massage the corners (at the front strap points and wings) into sharp points.

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Your Homework

This week, you should:

  • Sew together your main and lining
  • Try on your bra twice – once to figure our your wing length, and once to figure out your closure length
  • Create your straps and back closure

The next installment of the Jet Set Bra sew along will take place June 28! We’ll talk about some final topstitching and attaching your straps to the front.

Questions? Don’t forget to join our live chat on Sunday! More info here! Not on Facebook? No worries. Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 27 at 3 PM EDT.

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Designer Q&A | Jennifer from Porcelynne

Since I just wrote my review of the AMAZING Porcelynne Eve bra pattern, I thought it only appropriate that we have a chat with Jennifer, the lovely designer behind Porcelynne and the Bare Essentials Drafting method!

Q: What is your name?
A: Jennifer Fairbanks

Q: What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: My company is called Porcelynne. It has had a long history of evolution. The name came about one day at work when I was living in NYC. I had this pale pink shirt on and apparently I looked the same color of my shirt that day and someone said I looked “porcelain.” The idea of the word porcelain stuck with me for a few years and when I moved back to Florida to start my own business, I stopped using my last name and went by my first and middle name Jennifer Lynne. Porcelynne is a hybrid of my work nickname and the spelling of my middle name.

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: I unofficially started my business in 2000, meaning I was experimenting with what I wanted to do, but when I moved to San Francisco in 2002, I considered that the official start of my business.

Q: When and how did you decide to start Porcelynne?
A: My business started as a design business. I used to design and manufacture lingerie. I did this for about 8 years and really loved it. About 6 years into it, I opened up my own store in San Francisco’s Mission District. I loved that experience, but it was grueling. I immersed myself into every aspect of design. I eventually burned myself out and closed the store 2 years later.

I moved into a live/work loft and continued to design for another year. It was at that time I wrote my first book about running a fashion business. The economy crashed shortly after I finished my book, so I put in for a transfer for my day job at FIDM and closed my design business. I sold out of all my lingerie supplies in record time and realized that was something I could do, sell supplies. Who doesn’t love shopping for things you can’t keep? The supply business sustained, I wrote a few more books, opened another store, closed that store and moved to Florida in 2017. The business has continued to change and evolve and I am growing with it.

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Team shears all the way. After I nearly severed my cat’s tail, I won’t touch a rotary cutter unless I have to (and there are no cats or kids around).

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Boyshorts. I live in them. I just made 2 pairs of my new Ashley Boyshort and I am eyeing a big pile of fabrics to cut them out until there is no fabric left to cut.

Porcelynne’s Ashley Boyshort pattern – newly released!

Q: Tell me about the history of the Bare Essentials Method and the Eve pattern – which came first?
A: The drafting method came first. I didn’t redesign my drafting techniques until after the second edition. I was determined to find a better way to draft since my body was drastically changing from when I wrote the first edition. The initial ways I drafted worked when I was perky and childless. That changed during pregnancy and even more after.

I knew what worked for me prior to the child and I had to adapt it to work for me now. So I broke down the math and the body into little segments and into the most basic parts. My husband loves math as much as I do, so we had fun working on it together.

I saw so many people struggling to draft, so I came up with Eve. That pattern took me months of work and now helps people get into a custom draft without the custom draft.

Q: What is your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to start making their own bras?
A: Experiment and expect failure. We all learn from mistakes. Don’t feel like you can’t do it just because you haven’t done it before. I had to start somewhere. Just think of how many failed experiments I had with writing my books. The more I figured out what didn’t work, the more I learned what did work. I know it can get frustrating, so experiment and don’t be afraid to slap a unicorn patch over a bad sewing job. We have all done it.

Porcelynne’s Laurel Sports Bra Pattern

Q: If someone isn’t sure whether to start with the Eve pattern or start with the BE drafting method, what’s your advice?
A: It depends on what type of patience you have and how you learn. The Eve takes a lot of the initial drafting work out of the equation, but there will still need to be edits. If you are the type of person who likes to know why, why, why, then draft, or at least experiment with drafting. You can always go back to the Eve.

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: Every person is unique, including their body shapes, sizes and proportions. Some may be genetic and some may be environmental. The point is, we are all different. This is amazing, but can also be very frustrating. Pattern makers usually design around a specific proportion, which might not be you. For my own business, I know that curves are important shapes to draft for, so I use myself as my base size.

Q: How did you decide what size chart to offer for your patterns?
I created my charts based on me and my proportions. I know my proportion isn’t really reasonable over a certain size, so I keep my size chart within what I know I can fit people into.

Porcelynne’s Ariel Bra Pattern

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when making your size chart so inclusive?
For boobs, it was just time dedication. As for the sports bras, I had originally drafted for up to a J, then one of my testers got a little bigger, so I increased those cups up to an N to accommodate her. For everything else, I used to be my Medium back in the day and now I am my XL. My size chart has stayed the same since I had my business, but I have expanded up to a 3X for my loungewear.

Q: Do you have any plans to extend your size chart further in the future?
A: For clothing, not likely, unless I had testers who were willing to test my larger sizes so I can adjust my grading for different proportions. The biggest problem with testing larger sizes is that I mess up a lot and it could be a huge drain on fabric consumption. I have recently expanded into Youth sizes, so I can make clothes for my daughter.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Right now, my biggest challenge is understanding youth sizes. My daughter is developing early, so you will be seeing training bras and bralettes in my future.

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Busty Pattern Review | Porcelynne Eve Bra

I want to tell you about my absolute favorite bra pattern today.

Are you ready?!

It’s the Porcelynne Eve, and it is, in my opinion, the gold standard in wired bra patterns.

Most bra patterns take into consideration two things: the cup and the underbust. But this doesn’t capture the beautiful diversity in people’s bodies – that we can have wide roots or narrow roots; that we can have V-shaped torsos or barrel-shaped torsos; that we can have close-set or wide-set breasts.

The Porcelynne Eve takes all of that into consideration.

You see, the Eve is a modular bra pattern, meaning the band and cup patterns are sold separately. Why? Because it allows you to get a more custom fit, without a ton of alterations to the pattern. Here’s how it goes:

1. First, you choose your wire (using a breast root trace, like we talked about recently!), then you get the band pattern that corresponds with your best wire shape

2. Next, you make a fitting band. We’ll be talking more about this later this month! This helps you make sure you’ve chosen the best wire size.

3. Once you’re sure your band and wire fit properly, you purchase the cup pattern that corresponds with your wire size. You sew up the cup, baste it into your fitting band, and check for fit again!

4. Finally, you make a final bra that’s custom fit for you!

You can see all the modular patterns here!

The band pattern includes bands for different torso shapes. So, for example, there’s a different band pattern for me, with my 5″ difference between upper bust and underbust, than there is for my friend, who might have a 1″ difference between upper and underbust.

The instructions, which Porcelynne has very generously made available on their blog, even go through common alterations, such as narrowing or widening the bridge, fine-tuning the torso shape adjustment, and dealing with breast asymmetry.

For me, the modular pattern makes a huge difference. I mentioned on the bra pattern roundup that I couldn’t get the Pin Up Girls Classic to work for me, because it was going to need a ton of alterations to fit my narrow roots? Not so with the Eve. I barely had to alter the pattern at all. I followed the instructions for a slight torso shape adjustment and widened the bridge a smidge, and that was it. And both of those are super easy adjustments to make – nothing like altering the whole cup for a smaller wire.

Now, I want to make this clear: I think the Eve is the gold standard in bra patterns. (And no, no one is paying me to say that; I recently became a Porcelynne affiliate, but I had been singing this pattern’s praises long before I even knew that was an option! The affiliate program just helps me pay for the maintenance of Sew Busty 🙂)

But there is one thing I don’t like about the pattern: the size calculator. For me, the size calculator put me in a size 4 cup. (The Eve uses numbers for cup sizes, so they don’t directly correspond to ready-to-wear sizing.) If it wasn’t totally sheer, I’d show you the results of my size 4 trial … it was MAJOR QUAD BOOB.

I ended up with a size 14 cup. Now, that sounds like a lot of cup sizes, and it is. But I do want to mention that the Eve’s cups are all a ready-to-wear half cup bigger than each other. In other words, a size 14 cup is really only 5 cup sizes – not 10 – bigger than a 4. But still.

So my advice is to ignore the size calculator when it comes to choosing your cup size, and instead check your horizontal hemisphere measurement against the cross-cup measurement chart that’s included at the end of the instruction booklet. (Don’t know about the horizontal hemisphere measurement? Check out our guide to bra making measurements here!)

My horizontal hemisphere is about 12″ (12.5″ if I measure leaning forward). The cross-cup measurement of the size 14 cup for the 42 vertical wire (my wire size) is 11-7/8″, so wayyyyy closer to my actual breast measurement than the 10-1/32″ cross-cup measurement of the size 4 cup for the same wire. I’m sure the calculator works for some people (I’ve heard, for example, that it works great for those with shallower projection!)

So, basically, I’d recommend doing your first toile using the cup that most closely corresponds to your HH, not the one the calculator suggests. (But use the calculator to figure out what torso shape to use for your band and what torso adjustments you might need!)

Overall, the Eve is absolutely the best bra pattern ever, in my humble opinion. It’s the closest to a custom draft that you’re going to get without either paying hundreds of dollars or spending hundreds of hours.

I’ve made this bra now a bunch of times, and have even made it into a sloper from which I made a vertical-seamed bra!

Also, I just want to show you the difference between the fit of a t-shirt while wearing my old, too-wide-at-the-root, ready-to-wear bra, and the fit of a t-shirt in my Porcelynne Eve. These pics were taken the SAME DAY.

What do you think? Are you curious to try this pattern?

^Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Community Blog | Bra Making Journey with Emma

I like to think it was my lucky day when I stumbled across a bra sewing pattern!  Before I began sewing bras, I’d never owned a bra that was very comfortable or fit the way I wanted.  I’d spent valuable time and money trying to find a comfortable, well-fitting bra and typically settled for one with a “good enough” fit.  I have a small to medium size frame, large top-heavy breasts, and encounter the typical fit issues with RTW bras such as quad-boob and ill-fitting bands.  I somehow came across bra sewing on Pinterest and before that moment, it had never occurred to me that I could sew my own bra. I figured that if I could sew clothes, I could probably sew a bra.  Without hesitation I purchased the pattern, the Marlborough Bra from Orange Lingerie, and I was off!

A collection of Marlborough bras by Emma

Sewing my first bra took many hours of sewing, ripping, and re-sewing pieces together with tons of trial and error.  The pattern directions were foreign to me as I had never sewn anything like this before.  Sewing the bra took google searches, lots of cussing and head scratching, but once I was done, I was so proud!  And holy shit, the bra kind of fit and it was kind of comfortable.  It wasn’t pretty from all the seam ripping, repeated sewing, and crooked top stitching but I loved it.  I ran to show my husband, wearing the wonky bra like I was wearing a prize bra made out of gold!  This bra while not perfect, fit better than any RTW I had ever owned.  I was hooked!

Emma’s first bra, scrapped for parts!

With my first bra under my belt, I felt like I could sew another one but wanted to focus on the fit.  Fitting a bra is a whole other can of beans and has been the hardest aspect of bra sewing for me.  A bra may fit well enough to stay on your body but it may not fit correctly, for example, it may be too loose in the upper cup or the band may dig in. My first bra was too small in the cups and I began altering pattern pieces just like I would with a clothing pattern.  I would search online for tutorials and blogs on how to fit a bra from a pattern and would find many different ideologies as to what order to make pattern adjustments and how to go about making each adjustment.  I would spend a lot of time making these alterations and my final outcome would be better, but was still not the fit I was going for.

When searching for bra pattern alterations, I came across a YouTube video on how to draft a custom bra. Thanks again, internet!  Bra drafting is when you take your body measurements such as full bust, high bust and under bust and use them to create a bra pattern that is custom to your body.  I was hoping that by starting with my own measurements I would have better luck at fitting a bra with less alterations.  Bra drafting is similar to drafting a bodice sloper using lines and curves to create a close-fitting custom pattern.  

I draft by hand with pencil, paper, rulers, a compass, and erasers, lots and lots of erasers.  I use the Bare Essentials method from the book “Bare Essentials: Bras: Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design” by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks (I also use the 2nd edition).  The book also offers instruction for creating a bra sewing block from the initial sewing pattern which means there is no limit to the styles of bra I can create.

What Emma’s table looks like when she’s drafting!

Drafting took a LOT of trial and error and I’m not embarrassed to say it took me at least 50 drafts to get anywhere near something that looked like a bra pattern.  I was constantly scratching my head and asking myself, “what am I doing wrong?” I would re-read directions and even had my husband try to draft to see if he could figure out what I was doing wrong.  I kept trying and failing, would take a break and then try again.  I found a “Support for Bare Essentials” Facebook group where I could see other people trying to draft with similar drafting issues as well as tips and tricks.  I eventually sewed a successful bra and with few alterations, I have a very well-fitting bra!

A self-drafted bra by Emma

Bra sewing and drafting can be exciting, frustrating, confusing, addicting, and I personally find it a whole lot of fun.  With each bra I’ve sewn and drafted, I’ve learned something new.  I encourage anyone reading this who may be on the fence about sewing or drafting a bra to go for it, you won’t be alone!! There are so many bra making forums and communities with people who want to share their knowledge about bra sewing!

Hi my name is Emma, I’m a craft obsessed woman who also loves sewing bras. I live with my awesome hubby John and our 2 sweet boys, Luke and Wade.

Bra Month | Jet Set Sew Along Week B: Cutting and Sewing the Main & Lining

At Sew Busty, June 2021 is bra month! Catch up on all the bra month posts here!

As part of bra month, we’ll be doing a sew along of the Firebrand Jet Set Natural bra. This bra, and all Firebrand patterns, are 20% off throughout June 2021 with code SEWBUSTY. See the full sew along here.

On June 16 at 5 PM Eastern USA time (UTC-4),  I’ll be hosting a LIVE chat to answer all your questions about this week’s sew along content! If you’re on Facebook, click here to pre-register. If you’re not on Facebook, no worries! Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 16 at 5 PM EDT.

Over the past week, you should have:

  • Taken your measurements and chosen your size based on last week’s post
  • Purchased, downloaded, printed, and taped together your pattern. (Haven’t done this yet? Make sure to use our coupon code: SEWBUSTY for 20% off!)
  • Adjusted your pattern to suit your HH and underbust measurements
  • Gathered your tools, including fabric, elastic, strapping, slides and rings, and two G hooks

By the end of today, you’ll have something that looks like a bra! Woohoo!

Cutting your fabric

Some copies of the Jet Set Pattern don’t have grain lines drawn on them, so the first step is to draw on your grain line. It should be perpendicular to the apex on your cup pieces, and parallel to the bottom edge for your band and wing, as seen in this slideshow:

You’ll want to cut each pattern piece out of your main fabric and lining. For this post, I’m only showing you my main fabric. I’m using boring, cheap muslin for my lining! It’s not interesting. 😂

Before unpinning your pattern pieces from your fabric, be sure to transfer your pattern notations. I do this by sticking a pin through each mark and using my water-soluble fabric pen to make a dot on the fabric on each spot, pulling back the pattern paper to make my mark on the top fabric, as seen in this slideshow:

Sewing Your Cups

The first thing I like to do once I have all my pieces cut out and unpinned is to lay everything out, right side up. This helps me to make sure I don’t sew anything backwards, which, with bras, can be easy to do.

Then, I flip the upper left cup over on top of the the lower left cup, matching the apexes. Then I pin it together, starting with the apex, then each end, then filling in between those pins.

We’re then going to sew this with a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance. Do this on both main cups and both lining cups.

Topstitching the Cup Seam

Now, we’re going to finger press (or press, if you’re using fabric not easily finger pressed) the seam allowance open, and topstitch the horizontal cup seam. While topstitching, make sure to catch the seam allowance under each respective side.

I like to topstitch by using a foot with a clear center point. I then set my needle to somewhere between 1.5-2 mm to the right to topstitch on the right of my seam, following the seam with the center point of my foot. Then, I switch my needle to be between 1.5-2 mm to the left (matching this amount with the other side), and topstitch to the left of my seam.

While topstitching, I check from time to time to make sure I’m still catching the seam allowance. Check out this slideshow to see the process, starting with setting my needle:

Why do I switch the needle from right to left like this? Well, it’s important to start from the same spot when topstitching each side. Trying to topstitch from outer cup in on one line and then from inner cup out on the other can cause some funky tension issues.

Once it’s all sewn together, you may notice that your center cup is not a straight line, but is instead a bit bent. This is correct! This is what will create bust separation!

Attaching and Topstitching the Underband

The next step is to attach the underband. Before you do this, you need to snip the bottom of your cup at the point, snipping just shy of 1 cm (3/8″), like so:

With right sides together, start by poking a pin through the pattern marking on the underband and then through the corresponding marking on the cup, aligning the fabric edge. Then pin the very end of the pieces together, finishing by matching between these two pins. Stitch this at a 1cm seam allowance, stopping at the pattern marking. Repeat for the other cup.

Once you have this sewn together, finger press the seam allowance open and follow the same topstitching method as discussed above: position your needle 1.5-2 mm to the right, stitch down that side of the seam allowance, then position your needle the same amount to the left and stitch down that side of the seam allowance.

Combining the Cups

The next step is to sew the cups together. You want to make sure your horizontal seams match, so I like to start by putting a pin through my horizontal seam on one cup, then through the horizontal seam on the other cup, pinning the cups together here. I then check each side to make sure the pin is aligned with the seam on each, as you can see in this image comparison:

Pin the rests of the center seam up to the pattern marking.

Now, we’re going to stitch from the top of this center seam down to the pattern marking. Be sure not to go past the pattern marking!

Finger press the seam allowance open and topstitch, using the method described above.

Attaching the Wing

Remember how I said that, if your underbust measurement is less than 40″, to cut the largest wing? And if your underbust measurement is above 40″ to add inches to the wing per the instructions in last week’s post? You are not going to trim it at this point. We will trim it next week, if needed.

So, for now, we’re just going to attach the wing you cut to the cup and underband. Start at the bottom of the underband, and pin upward. You may have a bit of overhang on one piece or the other at the top. Don’t worry about this.

Sew at a 1 cm seam allowance.

Once again, you need to finger press the seam allowance open and topstitch!

The last step we’re going to do today is to trim that little extra where the cup meets the wing. You may not have this extra, as I altered my wing a bit, and honestly may have introduced this issue. But if you do have this little extra, just trim it off like this:

Make sure to do this entire process on both your main and lining.

Your Homework

This week, you should:

  • Sew and topstitch your horizontal cup seam on your main and lining
  • Sew and topstitch the underband onto the cups for your main and lining
  • Sew the cups together and topstitch on your main and lining
  • Sew the wing onto the cups, topstitch, and trim if needed on your main and lining

The next installment of the Jet Set Bra sew along will take place June 21! We’ll talk about combining your main and lining, inserting the band elastic, and start talking about your closure.

Questions? Don’t forget to join our live chat on Wednesday! More info can be found here! If you can’t make it, feel free to drop a comment below, or ask on the Sew Busty Facebook group or subreddit.

And, as a preview of things to come, on June 27 at 3 PM Eastern USA time (UTC-4), Kerry, the designer behind the Jet Set Bra, and I will host another live chat to talk with you about construction and fit! Click here to register on Facebook for the June 27 live chat. Not on Facebook? No worries. Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 16 at 3 PM EDT.

Bra Month | Designer Q&A | Lily from LilypaDesigns

I’m so excited to do a little Q&A with Lily from LilypaDesigns today! LilypaDesigns offers fabulous bra patterns, and boasts one of the most inclusive size charts, as far as cup sizes go: Her Lanai bra pattern goes up to a KK cup!

Let’s see what Lily has to say about bra making!

Q: What is your name?
A: Lily Fong

Q: What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: Lilypad was something they used to call me in primary. This is my way of owning it.

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: We are in our third year!

Q: When and how did you decide to start LilypaDesigns?
A: I started LilypaDesigns in January of 2018 with the ultimate goal of teaching how to make bras (I’m also a credentialed teacher). The world of bra making seemed elusive and secretive to the uninitiated. After spending several months immersed in the bra making groups and sewing my own, I noticed there weren’t many pattern options for larger cups. Even my 32FF at the time (not very large in the grand scheme of things) needed sister sizing.

Around this time, I had drafted the precursor to the Lotus Wireless bra and the response to that make was very positive with several inquires about a finished pattern. It just clicked. I need to create bra patterns so I can teach people how to sew bras! This amalgamation allows me to use my experience and interests in teaching, designing, drafting, sewing and owning a business.

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Rotary cutter all the way! Faster and more accurate.

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Bras, of course but lately I’ve been making pants.

Q: Tell me about the history of your patterns. Where did you start, and how have your designs changed over time?
A: LilypaDesigns was created with the large bust, small band in mind. It’s a category that was underserved and still is. I spent the first few years focusing on basic bra patterns to highlight fit and refine my pattern making process. Now I can expand the size range and make patterns that are, uh, more frivolous. 😉

Q: What is your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to start making their own bras?
A: Use your measurements and make a muslin!

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: Every body is unique and deserves to be comfortable. A supportive, well-fitting and, dare I say, stylish bra shouldn’t be confined to smaller cup sizes. This is the reason why we featured a regular person as our model for our first and only (thus far) photoshoot.

Q: How did you decide what size chart to offer for your patterns?
A: From what I understand, most lingerie based businesses have the size chart defined before the actual designs. This makes sense perfect sense to me as it relates back to the target market. Since I created the company to create designs for those with large bust, small band, I began with the typical “Plus” size range and added a few more on the high end to reach a larger audience.

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when making your size chart so inclusive, especially for the Lanai?
A: The Lanai was a labor of love. It was created partially to challenge the common narrative that wireless bras could not create breast separation, could not tack against the sternum and/or could not be as supportive as a wired bra – in larger cup sizes. It is distinctly different from the modern bralette and what I consider a “true” wireless bra where the support remains the same as its wired counterpart – but without the hardware.

My professor, (a 50+ year veteran in the lingerie business) has stated that “we have lost much of the knowledge of fitting, pattern cutting and grading” wireless bras. I began drafting with this in mind and made my testers aware of what I was trying to achieve.

There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have been able to achieve my goal in such a short time span without the help and insights of my pattern testers. Having achieved my initial goal for the DD-GG size set, I applied that knowledge to the A-DD size set than set my sights on the behemoth, the GG-KK size set. To be perfectly honest, I was f*king scared. There was no data on how to draft for this size set. No course to take, no book to reference, no pattern to point me in the right direction.

This doesn’t even include all important the ROI question – is there enough interest in a GG-KK size set to support the pattern development? F*ck it. It’s a massively overlooked category, let’s do it. My first draft was a total shot in the dark (with a few basic assumptions) that I informed my wonderful pattern testers to limit their expectations. They did that but also took the time to discuss the unique anatomical challenges that many in this size set experience.

This new understanding also highlighted the fact that I don’t have enough data to draft a bra to the proper proportions. Hence, a survey was produced to collect 3 measurements. While there weren’t enough responses for a statistically significant result, it was enough to get an average. Armed with both qualitative and quantitative data, I was able to produce a pattern that I am proud to put my name on. In short, each of the size sets of the Lanai Wireless was drafted for a specific shape that fits the majority of each size set. While the design was mine, much of fit was in no small part due to some very astute pattern testers to whom I will always be grateful. One can say that I work directly with my clientele in the development process.

Q: Do you have any plans to extend your size chart further in the future?
A: I will revisit extending the sizing more next year. This will give me some time to analyse the data for the different size sets as I released the GG-KK version of the Lanai earlier this year.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Do dreams count? I dream of a bra-revolution similar to what occurred in Poland in regards to RTW lingerie. Where the consumers began a grassroots movement to educate the public about bra fit and demand better options from designers. This spurred has a number of entrepreneurs to start independent lingerie companies that catered to this demographic. The most well known designer to come out of the bra-revolution was, perhaps, Ewa Michalak.

I also dream about producing my own lingerie line, with semi-customizable bra elements and an entirely new bra sizing system. Similar to how a body shape can be approximated by the figures 36-24-36, a bra would be approximated using similar measurements. Modern bras are not designed around a dress sloper as in the past but around actual breast measurements.