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.

Bra Month | The Trouble with Underwires

Have you ever been poked or prodded by a bra wire? Sworn off wires completely because they’re uncomfortable?

Or maybe you’re pretty sure that your bras fit almost perfectly, but maybe there’s something a little bit off?

Let’s talk underwires.

Let me tell you a story …

I was obsessed with bra fitting long before I started making my own bras. To an extent, I think this obsession was out of necessity, being a hard-to-find size (30J, and living in the states!). So I had tried bra after bra. Mostly, I found a good fit. But something was always just a little off.

Here was my old bra:

Looks pretty alright, yeah?

But, if you look closely, the underwires aren’t in the right place. Like, at all.

Wires have sizes?

This was a question I asked, in shock, when I first started making bras. Like, what?! Wires have sizes?!

They do. In fact, they have sizes AND shapes. There are short underwires, short vertical underwires, regular underwires, long underwires, extra long, omega shape, flat vertical, super long 😱

Three sizes of underwires, each in a different shape, are laid on top of each other.

And they come in something like sizes 28-60. (Or at least that’s the range I’ve seen them in.

So what do these sizes mean?

Well, they’re a way of expressing the average breast root, or inframammary fold (IMF). The breast root/IMF is the place where your breast meets your chest.

Just like everything else, it seems, wire sizes are based on a B cup. So, for example, a 30 wire is the average size needed for a 30B bra, and a 52 wire is the average wire needed for a 52B bra. Then, most designers (ready-to-wear bra designers and bra pattern designers) use sister sizing to figure out the average wire size for larger and smaller cup sizes. So, for example, a 48 wire would be the most common wire for:

  • 30H
  • 32GG
  • 34G
  • 36FF
  • 38F
  • 40E
  • 42DD
  • 44D
  • 46C
  • 48B
  • 50A
  • 52AA

And so on. But, like I said, this is based on averages. Relying on this method is not the best way to find your wire size when you’re going for a custom fit.

Why? Average is meaningless.

Let me show you. Back to my old favorite bra:

On the above picture, I’ve marked where my breast root is. You can see how far this wire is from my IMF, which I’ve marked in yellow. Here’s a labeled image to make it more clear:

See that bunching under my breast? That’s very common when a wire doesn’t fit. Sometimes it’s because the wire is too small, and is constantly trying to close back to its original size instead of being stretched around the larger IMF. This causes a bit of a gap between the wire and the IMF at the bottom of the breast.

Other times, like in my case, it’s because the wire is too large, so it’s not properly anchored to my IMF, and it therefore wants to inch down, causing bunching. (Another reason for the bunching in my case is that the cup isn’t projected enough, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

Let’s compare to my me-made bra (a Porcelynne Eve), with a smaller wire:

See how the wire follows my IMF, ending much further forward under my armpit than in the teal, storebought bra?

No poking! And I promise that this bra is super comfy! I don’t even notice the wire through the day.

For me, this is the difference between a 44 vertical wire – sprung to about a 46 vertical size – as seen in the teal bra, and an unsprung 42 vertical wire, as seen in the me-made peach bra.

Sprung? Yes, so, some – perhaps most – bra patterns and ready-to-wear bras incorporate what we call wire spring. This means the bra slightly pulls the wires outward to put some tension on them and make them slightly larger than they are when they aren’t in the bra. You can read more about wire spring here.

How do I choose a wire for a custom bra?

You’re going to do a breast root trace! I’m going to demonstrate this on Tatiana, but it’s important for you to know that you should do this with your arm raised. In fact, for some people with very malleable breast roots, it’s best to do this while leaning forward.

To do this, you’ll need a heavy, but malleable wire. Floral wire works great for this purpose.

Click through the slideshow to see as I wrap the wire around Tatiana’s IMF. If Tatiana had an arm, her arm would be raised. And we wrap the wire from the middle, between Tatiana’s breasts, underneath, and around to the outside of the breast, closely following the IMF.

You’ll then pull it away from your breast, being cautious to not change the curvature of the wire. Your result should look like this:

You’re going to compare this to wire charts. You can try different charts from different suppliers. For example, Porcelynne, Bra Makers Supply (sold in the US through Gigi’s Bra Supply), or Emerald Erin all carry wires of different shapes and sizes. When you print your wire chart, make sure they’re printed to 100% scale and that the 1″ square measures 1″.

Here, I’m using the Porcelynne regular wire chart. In slide one, you can see that the 32 wire is just a tiny bit small, the 34 wire looks pretty perfect, and the 36 wire just a bit large.

Now, let’s talk about spring again. If the pattern I was planning to make incorporates wire spring – which most of them do – I’d probably want to go with the 32 underwire, so that when it is opened just a bit under the tension of the bra, the underwire would match the root trace I did for Tatiana. However, if using a pattern that does not incorporate wire spring like my favorite bra pattern, the Porcelynne Eve, I’d go with the 34, which already closely matches Tatiana’s IMF.

The regular wire shape happened to match Tatiana’s breast root trace, however, it’s important to check a bunch of shapes and sizes. For example, here, I’m comparing Tatiana’s root trace to the Bra Makers Supply extra long wire chart:

As you can see, the extra long wires are a bit long for Tatitana. But that may not be the case for you!

For example, I use a 42 vertical wire in Porcelynne wires, and a 40 extra long in Bra Makers Supply wires. My mom wears a vertical flat wire, because she – like many people – has a flat spot on the bottom of her breast.

Once you’ve matched your wire using your breast root trace and wire charts, I want you to order at least three sizes of wires.

Don’t just get the size/shape that you think will work. Breast root traces are the simplest way to get a pretty accurate view of your IMF, but they aren’t infallible. I thought I needed a 38 vertical wire based on my root trace, but I really needed a 42. Buy a few sizes, and maybe a few styles and try them onto your bare breast! (When I fitted my mom, we bought something like 6 different wires!) Even better, make a bra fitting band, leaving the underwire channeling open, and try out a few different wires on your body in a band. (The wonderful Kristen Kemp will be talking more about this in a post at the end of the month!)

Okay, I’m pretty sure I know my wire size and shape, but how do I put it in a pattern?

So, the first option is to use a pattern that already takes your unique wire size and shape into account. For example, my favorite wired bra pattern, the Porcelynne Eve, is a modular pattern that’s based on your wire size/shape. I use the Porcelynne Eve vertical wire band and non-uniform cups, but the pattern is also available for:

Annie and Myras similarly designs their bra patterns to be used with various wire sizes (though I’ve yet to try their patterns).

Need help finding a pattern? Check out our roundup of busty bra patterns!

The second option, if you’d like to use a pattern that isn’t modular, is to follow these instructions on how to modify your frame and cup pattern to match your preferred wire. I personally like to use option 3, but all of the options have pros and cons, as listed by Erin.

That’s it for now. Got more wire questions? Drop a comment and we’ll cover them in another post!

^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 | Jet Set Sew Along Live Chats

Want to chat LIVE about your questions and successes while making the Jet Set Bra?

We will be meeting twice more this month to chat about the Jet Set:

  • June 16 at 5-6PM Eastern USA time (UTC-4)
  • June 27 at 3-4PM Eastern USA time (UTC-4)

Even better? The Jet Set designer, Kerry, will be joining us June 27 to answer all your questions about fit and construction!

Click here to register on Facebook for the June 16 live chat. Not on Facebook? No worries. Click here to join directly via Google Meet on June 16 at 5 PM EDT.

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 27 at 3 PM EDT.

Community Blog | Bra Month | Accidental Exposures to Complete Confidence – Swimwear Journey with Marisol

Editor’s note: So this isn’t *exactly* bra sewing, but Marisol used bra patterns for some of these swimsuits, so I thought it appropriate for Bra Month to show all the things you can do with bra patterns!

The sun is shining, temperatures rising, and you’re at the beach looking at the water that is calling out to you. You take off your tshirt to show your new store bought swimsuit – the one that you had to carefully arrange yourself into out of fear of accidentally exposing yourself – and begin taking those much anticipated steps towards the water. Each step in the sand causes your swimsuit to shift out of place, so you begin tugging on it to put it back where it belongs. When you are finally in the water, a wave comes crashing down on you. Instead of smiling and jumping into the very next wave, you look down at your bust to make sure that you haven’t accidentally become exposed. You’re safe, this time.

This was my experience every single time I went to the beach until I decided to change the story and make my own swimwear, while documenting it on YouTube in my Sew the Perfect Swimsuit Series.

Let me take you on my swimwear journey.

Reversible Sharon Swimsuit by Sirena Patterns

As you can probably imagine, I had a couple of swimsuit requirements. They included:

  • One piece with a low back neckline
  • Bust support
  • No accidental exposure

But, having never made swimwear before, I wanted a bit more hand holding. That’s why I decided that my first attempt at a swimsuit was going to be with the only swimsuit expert I knew, Sirena Patterns.  After taking a look at her swimsuit patterns, I decided to try something that felt a little on the sexier side for me: an 80’s inspired one piece with a low neckline, low back line, and a high (for me) leg rise – the Sharon Swimsuit. I also wanted my swimsuit to be reversible – more on that in a bit. I chose nylon/spandex and poly/spandex fabrics from my stash to get going.

The instructions for this pattern were so incredibly clear and comprehensive. After reading about the different types of stitches and how to sew this one piece up, I jumped right in to my pattern adjustment: grading the hips out an additional inch. Although the Sharon is a fully lined swimsuit with a shelf bra hidden between the layers, it isn’t fully reversible. To make my version reversible, I used the burrito method to sew it up.

There were points when doing the burrito rolls when I thought, “There is no possible way that this is going to work out!” and then just like magic it did! If the thought of making a reversible swimsuit hurts your head, here’s a simple tutorial for you. 

Now that my swimsuit was completed, it was time to take it for a test dive in the pool. That’s when I discovered a couple of things, with the most important lesson being that 4-way stretch percentages really matter when making a swimsuit. Although my swimsuit had the 50% required stretch horizontally, it didn’t have that much vertically. The lack of stretch resulted in a swimsuit that crept up my rear with every single step that I took. On the plus side, the shelf bra (underlined with a power mesh) did a decent job of supporting my bust and I never felt like I was at risk of exposing my bust. (My backside was a different story.)

The Pleasant Surprise: Secure Straps and Shelf Bra that made me feel supported and secure

The Lesson: 4-way stretch really does matter

Minute Maillot by Patterns for Pirates

Now that I was feeling empowered to sew swimwear, I decided that my second attempt would be using the Minute Maillot by Patterns for Pirates. I decided to move away from the Sharon because I wanted a pattern that had a full coverage bottom, and this one provided different coverage options for both the neckline and the bottom. I chose to do the full coverage bottom with the low front and back neckline.

A couple of things jumped out at me while I was making my first Minute Maillot. The first thing was that the they called for you to only pull the elastic around the butt portion of the leg hole while maintaining a 1:1 ratio along the front. This really helped to keep the bottom from going anywhere it shouldn’t. Second, the shelf bra was not sandwiched between the layers like the Sharon Swimsuit. It was hanging out on the inside against my skin. 

A quick dive in the pool gave me some additional information. I noticed that my straps felt like they were going to slip off my shoulders as I swam and the shelf bra floated up beyond the neckline. Version Number 2 of the Minute Maillot was definitely going to have that shelf bra between the layers.

In fact, for my next version I decided to make another reversible swimsuit and used shorter elastic, pulling it starting much higher around the back curve so that it could help keep the straps in place. Shortening the elastic did the trick.

The Pleasant Surprise: Pulling the elastic tighter around the bottom and the back neckline made it much more secure

The Lesson: The floating shelf bra needed to be secured into the side seams (like the Sharon swimsuit) between the main fabric and the lining and the elastic needed to be pulled tighter at the bottom of the shelf bra for any chance of support.

Hacked Minute Maillots 

Now that I’ve finally gotten my one piece to fit how I like it, it was time to play with some pattern hacks. I decided to use the same cut lines for both swimsuits, but you can see that it resulted in two very different looks. I walk you through the hacks here, but essentially I cut a triangle shape out of the waist and added seam allowance to all of the cut lines. 

For the black and white mesh version, I cut the full swimsuit out of my mesh and I top stitched my main fabric right onto it, omitting the triangle on the front and the top and triangle piece in the back. Because the black mesh was not very supportive, I lined it with a skin toned power mesh in the back that was significantly sturdier. It worked wonders and my swimsuit does not pull forward. 

For the swimsuit with the gathered center piece, I made the top and bottom pieces as if they were separates, making sure to apply elastic to the bottom of the top below the bust and to the waistline of the bottoms. For the center piece, I slashed and spread the pattern so that I could then gather it on both ends. I also attached elastic to both the top and bottom to help keep the wrong side from showing. When the center piece was completed, I attached it to the underside of my top and bottom pieces on the widest side. I’ll admit, this hacked swimsuit is tricky to get in and out of, but it is worth every bit of the extra effort! Plus, these hacks are starting to get really fun to do.

The Pleasant Surprise: Hacking swimsuits is surprisingly easy and the options are limitless. Just remember to add in seam allowance.

The Lesson: If you are going for a mesh back, you have to have some kind of support so that it doesn’t stretch to oblivion and risk exposing more than you’d like.

Bikini from my Favorite Bra Pattern

My final swimsuit is a bikini! I hadn’t really planned on hacking a bikini for myself, but tat is indeed what happened. Originally I had purchased the Sophie Swimsuit by Closet Core, but after I made a toile using a sister size (because my bust size was off their charts) I decided that it just wasn’t going be worth the trouble of going through a ton of adjustments.

Instead, I turned to my favorite bra pattern that I knew fit well, the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie.  Because I still wanted something that had shaping similar to the Sophie, I decided to make several changes to my bra pattern.

  • Added significant height onto the upper cup pattern so that it could be reshaped
  • Removed the contouring on the bridge 
  • Lengthened the bottom of the band by  ½” 
  • Shortened the back of the band since my fabric had a lot of stretch
  • Narrowed the back band to fit into my clasp

Overall, I’d much rather make design changes to a bra that I know fits well instead of trying to figure out how to add the fullness to cups that are way too small for me. 

After I had all of the pieces shaped the way that I wanted, I sewed the bra cups and bands together making sure that all seams were encased and no raw edges were left out. I then added the straps and rubber elastics according to the Sophie Swimsuit instructions.  Friendly tip: DO NOT TRY THE TOP ON WHILE IT HAS PINS IN IT. Trust me on this and baste it first. Your breasts will thank you.

After the top was fully constructed, I noticed that one of the cups was pulling away from my body. I remedied this by removing the elastic along that edge and pulling it tighter. That little change solved the problem.

For the bottoms, I hacked my Minute Maillot pattern to include a front color blocked panel and added elastic to the waist.

The Pleasant Surprise: Using a well-fitting bra pattern for a bikini top was surprisingly easy and fun.

The Lesson Learned:  Two actually – pull your elastic across the top of the cups to help keep that rounded edge against your body and more importantly, DO NOT TURN YOUR BOOBS INTO PIN CUSHIONS! Remove all pins before trying it on for fit.

Reflecting On My Journey

I never would have imagined that I would have made so many swimsuits, but now that I have, I cannot believe that it took me this long.  I’ve never had swimsuits that fit me as well as all of these do and the style options are limitless. So go and make yourself a swimsuit of your own and revel in how well they fit. In fact, make several and rock that body of yours. 

Mari is a curvy sewist and vlogger who enjoys engaging with the vibrant sewing community by sharing her latest garments, DIY projects, hauls and sew alongs. She loves making people laugh while encouraging others to sew for their own beautiful and unique bodies. You can see all of Mari’s makes on Insta at @marisewsforcurves and on the Youtube channel Mari Sews.

Bra Month | Busty Pattern Review | Pin Up Girls Ingrid Wireless Bra

Let me tell you a secret: I have a complicated relationship with Pin Up Girls patterns.

On one hand, I love them, because the PUG Sweet 16 Bralette pattern was my first ever bra, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It taught me so much, not only about bra making, but also about my own body and myself in general. And it taught me that I can, in fact, put these 30J boobies into a bralette.

But, having made the Sweet 16 and the Classic, I also know that I end up needing a lot of alterations to these patterns for them to fit me, as they aren’t drafted for my narrow-rooted, very projected shape. And I hate doing a million alterations. It’s not the patterns’ fault, or the designer’s. Patterns, in general, are just drafted for a specific type of body. They have to be, unless they are custom drafted. And bra patterns are no exception.

Are you an average-to-slightly shallow projection, average-to-slightly wide rooted boobalicious person? Then PUG patterns are likely perfect for you, because that’s exactly the shape they’re designed for, in my experience.

But for me and my very projected, narrow-rooted boobs, I usually have to add projection and remove width on the wireline to make these patterns work for me.

But the Ingrid was different.

The Ingrid is a wireless bra, and it is exceptionally size inclusive in the cups, going up to a 9″ bottom cup depth – much higher than most bra patterns (though not as high as I’d like to see patterns go!). (Not sure what bottom cup depth means? Check out the Sew Busty Guide to Bra Measurements here!)

The style lines of the Ingrid reminded me a lot of the my trusty (but not super well-fitting) Panache non-wired sports bras, so when Gigi’s Bra Supply hosted an Ingrid sew along and gifted me the Ingrid pattern (with no obligation), I jumped at the opportunity to join!

My BCD lives somewhere between 5″, while wearing my well-fitting Porcelynne Eve bra, to 5.5″, when naked and leaning forward. Having heard from others with similar shaped breasts that the Ingrid runs a tad small in the cup, I made a toile in the 5.5″ BCD size with no changes – fully expecting to need to make changes after making my toile.

But when I tried it on, I didn’t need a lot of changes!

The apex was in the perfect spot, but the band was a bit too big and the cups were too wide. The power bar/side panel wasn’t sitting on my breast at all, so it wasn’t doing its job of pushing me forward. But I conquered all of that with one alteration: I ended up doing was taking a curved wedge from the side of the upper and outer lower cup, like this:

For my final version, I sewed it up in yellow duoplex from Gigi’s Bra Supply, as I was itching to have a yellow sports bra! I also chose the option with wider band elastic, as I like to feel a little more covered while I work out. For the straps, I used leftover black satin to cover some leftover cut and sew foam that I had from another project.

Now, the construction on this one is a bit more advanced, as it has a lot of pieces. The cup, by itself, has 5 pieces, and then you have the center front and the wings on top of that. So I would probably recommend this bra pattern to someone who is at an intermediate level, having sewn a bra or two before. An adventurous beginner could probably tackle it, given the time and dedication, but it’s not as well-suited for an adventurous beginner as, say, the Jet Set Natural pattern that we’re currently working on for our sew along.

But, after all this, I ended up with a fantastic sports bra.

It’s not 100% perfect. I do aerial dance, so I spend a lot of time upside down, and after a while, gravity starts pulling my breasts up out of the bra. They haven’t escaped, but I do get a bit of quad boob. But I can’t help but thinking that Beverly – the designer of PUG bras – wasn’t expecting people to be hanging out upside down in these bras 😂 To fix that, I’ll make the neckline higher on my next version.

This bra has excellent boob separation for a wireless bra, which I appreciate not having a uni-boob look.

While this bra passes the bounce test, after a few jumping jacks, my boobs do try to sneak together. On my toile, I had fixed this by taking in the center seam by about 1/4″ on each side, for a total reduction of 1/2″. I was nervous to do the same on my yellow bra, though, since I hadn’t applied elastics on the toile, and I was expecting the elastics to make things a bit more snug. They did a little bit, but not enough to make up for this alteration. So, on the next one, I’ll also take in my center front. Frankly, I may even go back and do that on this bra.

Overall, I’m quite chuffed with the Ingrid. I find it to be very nice as a sports bra, though I probably wouldn’t wear this as an everyday bra – it’s a bit too much bra for me for daily wear, personally.

If you’re in the US, you can get the Ingrid from Gigi’s Bra Supply. For my European friends, B’Wear carries it. And for everyone else, Bra Maker’s Supply has international shipping!

Bra Month | Jet Set Natural Bra Sew Along Week A: Common Bra Measurements, Choosing a Size & Materials

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 9 at 5 pm Eastern, I’ll be hosting a LIVE chat to answer all your questions! Click here to pre-register on Facebook. (The event will be view-able whether or not you have a Facebook account, but, since this is new, the event will be cancelled if pre-registration is super low.)

I’m so excited to show y’all the Jet Set Natural Bra! This bra not only makes me feel like a vintage QWEEN, it also is a pretty easy sew. For that reason, this sew along is appropriate for an adventurous beginner. So, yeah, even if this is among your first garments, I really think you can do it if you take your time.

Taking Measurements for Bra Making

I want to walk you through not just the measurements you need for this bra, but the measurements you’d need for pretty much any bra pattern out there. So break out our NEW bra project planner and measurements printable and let’s get started!

To help me with this, enter Tatiana the Tatas. She and her friend Bea, my dress form, will be modeling the measurements.

Underbust Measurement

The underbust measurement is important no matter what bra pattern you’re working with, since it determines your band size.

For this measurement, you are going to wrap your measuring tape around your ribcage, just under your breasts. It doesn’t much matter if you wear a bra or not for this one. You should hold the measuring tape snugly, but not too tight.

Now, a word of caution to the bra aficionados out there: You know that advice that you should buy a bra with a band that matches your underbust measurement, no matter what the size chart says? Well, while I generally agree with that advice for storebought bras, it doesn’t apply for patterns. Instead, you should follow the size chart.

For example, I’m also a 29.5″ underbust and wear a 30 band on all of my storebought bras. But on my favorite bra pattern, the Porcelynne Eve, I wear a 32 band? Why? Because this is where the size chart placed me. And it’s right.

the old fashioned bra measurement: full bust

So the first set of measurements is probably super familiar to you: full bust measurement. This is the measurement that, in addition to the underbust, the nice lady at Macy’s or another department store probably took on you when you shopped for your first bra.

Personally, I find this to be the most inaccurate way to measure for a bra or a bra pattern, but some patterns use this method, so I’ll show you it anyway.

As I explained in the Sew Busty measurements guide, you should measure your full bust with your best fitting bra on. Position the measuring tape parallel to the floor, around the fullest part of the breasts/chest.

On most people, the fullest part of your bust will be your nipples, but this isn’t always true. The measuring tape should go around the part of the bust that protrudes the most, like the peak of a mountain.

Hold the measuring tape firmly and snugly around your bust, but not too tightly. Nothing should be smooshed.

If you don’t have a well fitting bra, one option can be to take this measurement leaning forward, like #5 in this diagram from A Bra That Fits. Take the full bust measurement leaning, then take it with your best fitting bra (even if the bra isn’t great). Average the two – this average will get you close, and should be used as your full bust measurement.

Bottom Cup Depth (bcd)

This is a very common bra pattern measurement, and is the one we’ll use for the Jet Set Natural!

For the bottom cup depth, you’re going to measure this while wearing a well-fitting, non-foam bra. Measure vertically, from the root of your breast to your apex (again, usually, but not always, the nipple). This should follow the breast closely, but should not be so snug that something is getting smooshed.

If you do not have a well-fitting bra, do the same thing I had you do for the full bust measurement: Measure braless, leaning forward, then measure again wearing the best non-foam bra you have. Average these two measurements, and use this average as your BCD.

A note about The breast root

What is your breast root?

The breast root, otherwise known as the inframammary fold or IMF, is the place where your breast meets your chest. I’ve marked Tatiana’s IMF/breast root here in yellow. I’ve only marked the part that you can see, but it’s important to note that this measurement goes all the way around, from the front to the side, just like an underwire would sit.

This will become super important when we start talking about underwires, but that isn’t today 🙂

Horizontal Hemisphere

The horizontal hemisphere, or HH, is a slightly less common bra pattern measurement, but it’s important to getting a good fit on the Jet Set Natural and is also used in other bra patterns. Personally, I find this to be the most accurate measurement for my own body.

For this measurement, you’re again going to measure while wearing your best fitting, non-foam bra. Measure from the breast root on one side of your breast to the breast root on the other side of your breast, passing over the apex (again, usually the nipple, but not always).

If you do not have a well-fitting bra, we’re going to do the same combo we’ve been doing: Measure braless, leaning forward, then measure again wearing the best non-foam bra you have. Average these two measurements, and use this average as your HH.

Choosing a Size for the Firebrand Jet Set Bra

For the Jet Set Natural, we’re going to focus on three measurements:

  • Underbust
  • HH
  • BCD

Firebrand refers to these as measurements X, Y, and Z:

  • Underbust = X
  • HH = Y
  • BCD = Z

For choosing your base size, the important one is your BCD (bottom cup depth). Firebrand uses centimeters for these measurements, so all us imperial folx will have to convert!

For me, my BCD measures somewhere between 5″ (with my best fitting bra on) and 5.5″ (braless and leaning forward), so somewhere between 13-14 cm. I went with the 13 cm BCD size to start, and this was perfect on me.

When you go to purchase your Jet Set Bra pattern using the sewbusty 20% off coupon code, you’ll see a list of options with Z measurements. Choose the one that corresponds to your BCD in centimeters. Here, I’ve circled in yellow the size I would buy:

If your BCD is bigger than 15 centimeters, DO NOT FEAR. Simply drop Kerry a line at hello@firebrandlingerie.com letting her know your BCD measurement, and she will draft it for you.

Kerry is fantastic and doesn’t want anyone to be left out of her patterns, so, as she works to expand the size range that one can buy on her site, she’s offering this custom draft option. Thanks, Kerry!

Printing Your Pattern

The Jet Set is a bit unique in how it’s printed. It comes in a single page, which is perfect for all of you who use a projector or have your patterns printed on large-format pages. But, if you’re printing at home on letter or A4 paper, you’ll want to choose the “poster” setting in Adobe Acrobat:

You need to set your tile scale to 100%, and you can set your overlap to whatever size you prefer – this is the rough amount your pages will overlap. I like to set mine at 1/4″.

Once you print this way, you can tape the pattern together just as you would with other PDF patterns.

Pattern Adjustments

Figuring out your underbust measurement

So the band on the Jet Set bra is a little unique! If your underbust measures 40″ or smaller, I’m going to recommend that you cut the largest band. This is because the largest band measures 40″. (Please ignore the numbers on the band; they are confusing and we’re going to get around that.) We will then trim some off in a later step, but this makes things easier for now.

underbust greater than 40″

If your underbust measurement is greater than 40″ underbust, cut the largest wing pattern piece, then follow these nifty instructions from Kerry on how to make the band a bit larger. Again, the reason we’re doing this is because the largest band measures 40″. The numbers on the pattern are confusing, so we’re circumventing that by cutting the largest band and adding to it.

You need to find this number: ([your underbust in inches] – 40)/2. In other words, however many inches your underbust is over 40, divided by two. This is how much you’re going to add. So, if you have a 52″ underbust, you’ll add 6″ (52-40=12; 12/2=6). If you have a 42″ underbust, you’ll add 1″ (42-40=2; 2/2=1).

When Kerry says “add however much length you want to add,” go ahead and add the amount we just determined.

Dealing with HH in the Jet Set Bra

When you look at your pattern piece, you’ll see that they have a “Y” measurement listed. This is the horizontal hemisphere or HH. For example, on this 14 cm BCD pattern piece, the Y measurement/HH is 33 centimeters, or about 13″.

Smaller HH than listed y measurement

If your horizontal hemisphere/HH in centimeters is smaller than the Y measurement listed, Kerry has you covered with this video on how to alter your pattern:

Larger HH than listed y measurement

If your horizontal hemisphere/HH in centimeters is larger than the Y measurement listed, Kerry has you covered with this video on how to alter your pattern:

Choosing Materials

One of the things I love about the Jet Set Natural bra is that the materials can mostly be purchased at local sewing shops, though a few of the materials I’ll recommend you grab from a bra supply source:

  • 1 yard of woven/non-stretch fabric: I used a cotton poplin for my first bra, but you could use quilting cotton, satin, rayon, or even classic bramaking fabrics like duoplex or sheer cup lining. If you are newer to sewing, I highly recommend you choose cotton poplin or quilting cotton. You could, for example, use this brocade from Porcelynne, which is what I think I’m going to use this time …

  • 2 – 1″ G hooks: I bought these G hooks from Amazon. Of course, this is a way larger set than you need, but I forgot to buy them until I was almost done with my first Jet Set bra, and this had one-day shipping 😂 Porcelynne has them in smaller quantities in white, black, and even silver and gold!

Where to Buy Bramaking Materials

Here are a few of my favorite sources for the non-standard bra materials:

USA:

Canada

Europe

United Kingdom

Australia & New Zealand

Your Homework

  • Take your measurements and record them using Sew Busty’s FREE bra project planner printable
  • Purchase the Jet Set Natural bra pattern from Firebrand lingerie using the code sewbusty at checkout for 20% off
    • If your BCD is greater than 6″, contact Kerry at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to ask her to grade the pattern for you before purchase
  • Print and make any adjustments you need to your band and cup pattern pieces to suit your HH and underbust measurements, as described above
  • Purchase all the supplies listed above – fabric, elastic, strapping, slides and rings, and a G hook

The next installment of the Jet Set Natural bra sew along will take place June 14! We’ll be talking about cutting the fabric and sewing the lining and main fabric layers!

Questions about these last steps on the Jet Set Natural bra? Drop a comment below, or ask on the Sew Busty Facebook group or subreddit. Also join our LIVE CHAT about this week’s sew along installment on June 9 at 5 pm Eastern time. Click here to RSVP so I know you’re coming ❤


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Using the affiliate links in Sew Busty posts is a great way to support the costs of running Sew Busty, as when you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me pay for the hosting, domain, design, and other costs associated with administering this site. All opinions remain my own.

Bra Month | Bra & Bralette Pattern Roundup

At Sew Busty, June is Bra Month! Here’s some of the festivities we have going on:

  • An instagram giveaway going on RIGHT NOW, with a grand prize worth $135!
  • Monthly swag challenge: Make a bralette, or binder and post it on Instagram or Facebook with #sewbustychallenge by July 5 for a chance to win swag from the Sew Busty Shop!

To make your bra making easier, we have a sew-along of the Jet Set Natural bra coming up, starting Monday, June 7. This pattern already caters to many busty sizes, but the designer, Kerry, is amazing and is willing to grade the pattern for anyone who may be outside its current range. So, stay tuned Monday for my tutorial on how to measure yourself for this bra (and other bras; I’ll be going over all common bra measurements) and how to choose a size!

I’ll be using this fab teaching tool I just got to demonstrate measurements:

Now, if the Jet Set bra isn’t quite your cup of tea, there are other options so you, too can make a bra and enter the June Sew Busty Challenge!

For this list, I’ve chosen to include patterns that go up to at least a 36H cup or 5.5″ bottom cup depth. Have I missed one? Please ping me at lindsie@sewbusty.com or through Instagram messaging to let me know!

(Don’t know what bottom cup depth is? Don’t worry! You’ll learn on Monday when we go over how to measure for a bra!)

For bras I have made or have a friend who has, I’m including a “my thoughts” section. If this section is missing, you can assume I haven’t made the bra and haven’t heard enough about it to make a judgment call.

Big Boob Bralette Patterns

BRATOBE | FORME BRALETTE

Size Range: Drafted to measure. Currently tested up to a 9″ difference between underbust and full bust, but contact the maker Zdenka for larger cup sizes. I personally tested the upcoming non-stretch Forme pattern, and it worked great for my 11.5″ difference.

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I loved making my Forme bralette! I tested the to-be-released non-stretch version (currently, only the stretch version is available), and it just needed a couple tweaks, which I’m sure will be hammered out as Zdenka continues to test the non-stretch pattern. Everyone I know who has tried the Forme bralette has loved it. You can see my non-stretch version here.

Price: 550 Kč (roughly $25 USD)

PIN UP GIRLS | SWEET 16 BRALETTE (for non-US purchases, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.75-5.75″ BCD

Band Size Range: 28-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I would recommend the Sweet 16 to those who are average-to-wide rooted and have average-to-shallow projection. Personally, I’m an almost-omega, narrow-rooted, projected noodle shape, and I had to do a lot of alterations to make the Sweet 16 fit me well. But other people have had great success with it out of the envelope.

Price: $16.99

HOUSE MORRIGHAN | POPPY BRALETTE (underbust 30.4-40.3″ | underbust 38.3-50.6″)

Cup Size Range: A-I (for 30-40″ underbust) or C-I (for 38-50.6″ underbust)

Band Size Range: 30-50.6″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12.06

HOUSE MORRIGHAN | DAHLIA BRALETTE (underbust 30.4-40.3″ | underbust 38.3-50.6″)

Cup Size Range: A-I (for 30-40″ underbust) or C-I (for 38-50.6″ underbust)

Band Size Range: 30-50.6″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12.06

PRIMROSE DAWN | IRIS BRALETTE

Cup Size Range: A-K (not all cups for all bands)

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $14

LILYPADESIGNS | LOTUS BRALETTE & CAMI

Cup Size Range: 2.9-7.1 BCD

Band Size Range: 28-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

Sports Bra Patterns for Boobalicious People

PORCELYNNE | CHRISTINA & LAUREL SPORTS BRAS

Cup Size Range: A-N

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: These patterns are sister patterns, and you can mix and match pieces of them. Personally, this is probably my favorite sports bra pattern. I love it. That said, I don’t do high impact exercise, but this bra keeps me held in during dance class. I personally recommend sizing down one in the band and the cup for a more compression fit. (This bra is intended to be an encapsulation, not compression bra.) Here I am wearing my Christina!

Price: $15

GREENSTYLE CREATIONS | POWER SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: A-H

Band Size Range: 28-46″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12

GREENSTYLE CREATIONS | ENDURANCE SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: B-H

Band Size Range: 28-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $12 for split sizes / $20 for bundle with all sizes

PRIMROSE DAWN | MARITZA SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: A-L (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $14

SEW COMFY | ULLA SPORTS BRA

Cup Size Range: AA-K (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 26-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

Busty Wireless Bra Patterns

FIREBRAND | JET SET NATURAL BRA

Cup Size Range: 2.75-6″ BCD, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I freaking LOVE this bra. It was a pretty simple sew and fit basically perfectly on my first go, which has never happened with another bra pattern before. I highly recommend this as a first bra pattern, which is why we’re using it for this month’s sew along, starting Monday, June 7!

Price: $20, but for the month of June, get 20% off all Firebrand patterns using code sewbusty

FIREBRAND | JET SET BULLET BRA

Cup Size Range: 2.75-6″ BCD, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust, but designer Kerry is willing to grade to any cup size outside of her current range, as she works to expand the sizing. Contact her at hello@firebrandlingerie.com to have her make your size!

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $20, but for the month of June, get 20% off all Firebrand patterns using code sewbusty

PIN UP GIRLS | INGRID WIRELESS BRA (for non-US purchases, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.75-9″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-46″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I was very pleasantly surprised that this pattern fit me with minimal alterations. For me, I use my Ingrid as a sports bra, as it feels like a little too much bra for everyday wear. (I prefer daintier bras.) I love that this is maybe the most size inclusive non-sports bra pattern out there right now. I’ll be doing a full review on this one soon!

Price: $16.99

LILYPADESIGNS | LANAI WIRELESS BRA (4-7.1″ BCD | 5.6-8.6″ BCD)

Cup Size Range: 2.9-8.6″ BCD

Band Size Range: 28-44″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: I’ve never personally made this bra, but I’ve heard nothing but good things and I can’t wait to try it. It’s the only wireless bra I’ve seen have the gore (the center part between the breasts) tack (fit against the skin). This is a sign of great fit and great engineering!

Price: $17

Wired Bra Patterns for the Fuller Bust

PORCELYNNE | EVE MODULAR BRA

Cup Size Range: A-O (not every cup size is available for every wire size)

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

My Thoughts: This is, hands down, my FAVORITE bra pattern ever. It’s my absolute go-to. Here’s why: It’s a modular pattern, so you get to choose not only your band and cup size, but also your torso shape, wire size, and wire style. For me, as a narrow-rooted person, on most bra patterns, I have to alter them a ton to get the larger cup to work with my smaller wire. But not with this pattern, since designer Jennifer is an absolute goddess who did that for me and every narrow-rooted or wide-rooted person out there. THANK YOU JENNIFER. Basically, this is the closest to custom fit that you’re going to get in a pattern.

Now, the downside of that is there’s a bit more of a process to make this bra. We’ll have a blog post all about this later this month, but basically, you have to figure out your wire size first, then move step by step through the rest of the bramaking process. It also means that you have to buy the band pattern separate from the cups pattern. But trust me, it’s worth it.

Price: $16 total ($8 for a band pattern; $8 for cups pattern)

PORCELYNNE | ARIEL DEMI CUP

Cup Size Range: A-J (not every cup size is available for every band size)

Band Size Range: 26-51″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Notes: This, like the Eve, is a modular pattern, so cups and band ar sold separately.

Price: $16 total ($8 for a band pattern; $8 for cups pattern)

LILYPADESIGNS | LABELLUM BRA

Cup Size Range: 4-7.1″ BCD

Band Size Range: 29-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

LILYPADESIGNS | LAMINA BRA

Cup Size Range: 4-7.1″ BCD

Band Size Range: 29-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17

PIN UP GIRLS | CLASSIC BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

My Thoughts: I could not get the Classic to work for me, but I think it would be a great option for those who have a more wide-rooted, shallow shape.

Price: $16.99

PIN UP GIRLS | RUBY BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $16.99

PIN UP GIRLS | SHELLEY BRA PATTERN (for non-US orders, use this link)

Cup Size Range: 2.25-7.5″ BCD

Band Size Range: 26-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $16.99

AFI ATELIER | EXQUISITE BRA PATTERN (28-38″ bands | 38-48″ bands)

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 28-48″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.51

ORANGE LINGERIE | BOYLSTON BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

ORANGE LINGERIE | DEVONSHIRE BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

ORANGE LINGERIE | MARLBOROUGH BRA

Cup Size Range: A-J

Band Size Range: 30-40″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $17.99

B’WEAR | JESSICA’S TWIN BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 70-105cm underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed

Price: $17.03

B’WEAR | ANGIE’S TWIN BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I

Band Size Range: 70-105cm underbust

Printed/PDF?: Printed or PDF

Price: $17.03 printed | $12.61 PDF

LA BELLA COPPIA | JOSEY PLUS BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: C-J (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $20

MAKE BRA | DL01 BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: A-I (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 26-38″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

MAKE BRA | DL02-3 BRA PATTERN

Cup Size Range: C-K (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 30-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: 12€ for split sizes (about $15 USD); 18€ for bundle of all sizes (about $22 USD)

CLOTH HABIT | HARRIET BRA

Cup Size Range: A-H (not all cups available for all band sizes)

Band Size Range: 28-42″ underbust

Printed/PDF?: PDF

Price: $16.50


I did not include every Pin Up Girls pattern, as they have many, but I included all of those that are most popular. You can check out their whole catalog here.

I also did not include any patterns for which I couldn’t find a size chart. For example, Bravo Bella has a couple patterns that go to an I cup, and AFI Atelier’s free Maya Bra pattern goes up to a J cup, but I could not find a size chart for them.

If you try one of these, please let me know how it goes! Tag your posts on instagram and the Facebook group with #sewbustychallenge for a chance to win some swag!


This post was updated on June 6, 2021 to add a few patterns I had missed, including the Make Bra patterns and the Cloth Habit Harriet.

^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.