Designer Q&A + AUGUST/SEPTEMBER SEW ALONG | Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Y’all, it’s August.

You know what that means?! A new sew along!!!

Remember, though, Sew Busty is changing the way that we (lol, I) do sew alongs: They’ll now happen every other month, giving you more time to catch up! You can read more on that decision here!

As I talked about in this post, we’ll be sewing up the Untitled Thoughts Amelie dress for August and September! The sew along will cover the bra-friendly back without sleeves.

This pattern is available for a 24-50″ (60.6-127 cm) waist and comes in either B or DD garment sewing cups.

(Remember that garment sewing cups are not bra cups! Your garment cup size is probably smaller than your bra cup size! Read here for more! That said, if your garment cup size is not a B or DD, read on! We’ll have a tutorial for you!)

Here’s the schedule that you can expect for the Amelie sew along:

  • August 9: Choosing a Size and Materials
  • August 16: Doing a Full Bust Adjustment on the Amelie (which my lovely friend and Untitled Thoughts Designer Brittani, interviewed below, has authored for us!)
  • August 23: Sewing the Bodice and Waistband
  • August 30: Sewing the Skirt and Attaching the Bodice
  • September 6: Finishing Touches (including BUTTONS!)

Remember, for August and September, post any me-made garment that features buttons on instagram with #sewbustychallenge for a chance to win a prize! Submissions due by September 30.

Now, wouldn’t it be just dandy to hear more about Untitled Thoughts and Brittani, the designer behind the company, before we sew up the Amelie? I thought so too! So, without further ado:

Designer Q&A: Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Brittani Bumb (yep, that is my real last name! Loads of people have told me it sounds made up, haha!)

Q: What is your pattern company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: My pattern company’s name is Untitled Thoughts. I came up with the name based on my experiences growing up around my inability to express my true feelings most of the time. I was a big rule follower (still am!) and I found that a lot of my thoughts and opinions stayed inside my head rather than being fully expressed. Except when it came to clothing. I felt a real freedom to be myself through what I wore which was incredibly liberating for me!

So the name Untitled Thoughts really represents my views on clothing and it’s ability to tell the world what you are thinking without having to actually say anything. The name is also kind of a call to action for anyone who, like me, feels it’s hard to express their deepest thoughts. It’s my hope that my brand helps to release those feelings and give people permission to be 100% themselves! 

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: As a pattern company, Untitled Thoughts has only existed for a year and a half, but my brand has been with me since college, so roughly 8 years? It has grown and changed alongside me in my own journey with clothing!

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer? 
A: It actually happened totally accidentally! I was actually working at an indie fabric shop (Topstitch Studio and Lounge) when I was introduced to the online sewing community. I hadn’t even realized such a community existed! OR that one could be and indie pattern designer! It was a whole new world that opened up to me and I completely fell down the rabbit hole.

I started experimenting with pattern design using patterns that I had already drafted for my previous RTW collections and trying to adapt them into sewing patterns. Through that process, I realized that pattern making utilized a variety of skills I had picked up over the years. Never before had I had a job that required me to pull from all of these random skill sets, and I found that I really loved the diversity!

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Oh this is probably the hardest question of them all! Hmmm…. I tend to lean more towards #TeamShears, but I do love whipping out my rotary cutter for those extra special projects!

Q: What is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Dresses! I have always loved wearing dresses the most and tend to enjoy sewing them the most as well. It’s just so satisfying creating an entire outfit through one garment!

Q: Untitled Thoughts has a focus on sustainability. Can you share more about why sustainability is important to you?
A: Sustainability has been a part of my life for a very long time. I’m not entirely sure when my passion for the environment began, probably when I was a kid running around outside catching butterflies and playing with rollie-pollies! I even found a paper I wrote from my high school days in which I describe myself as a “tree-hugger” so I suppose environmentalism has always been rooted deep within my ethos.

It got much deeper once I graduated college and entered the traditional fashion workforce. I lived in NYC for a few years and my time spent there really solidified my views on sustainability with regards to the fashion industry. More recently, however, I have begun learning more and more about conservation and ecology and have unlocked a new passion I hadn’t realized existed for me! All of my work moving forward has been centered on these two ideas and how I can better serve the environment from those view points. It’s been an interesting road to travel, but one that I feel so deeply passionate about!

Q: And how does Untitled Thoughts practice sustainability?
A: Oh there are loads of little things (as well as big ideas!) I try to incorporate into the day-to-day practices here at Untitled Thoughts. I have outlined many of them in more detail on my website under my About section. These range anywhere from reusing packaging to CFL bulbs to composting to saving all of my scraps and turning them in to something new.

More recently, I decided that moving forward, all of my future patterns will be designed to be zero waste, or as low waste as possible. Through this process, my entire outlook on the design process and what I create and put out into the world has shifted! I’ve written a bit about my intentions for future patterns here. Since writing that blog post, I have solidified my stance a bit more on the direction I plan to take Untitled Thoughts in to the future. It’s both exciting and a lot of work, but I think it’s important work, marrying sustainability + design. 

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: It means a lot. I’ve always had the view point that diversity is incredibly important and is the most beautiful thing in the world. Whether it be the diversity of culture, of food, of personalities, of plant, of animals, of water…. diversity is what fills the world with so much to be joyful of! And body diversity is no different – it’s something that should be celebrated and enjoyed! So it has always been at the forefront of my mind when it comes to the garments I design. 

Because Untitled Thoughts was built on this idea of expressing your inner most thoughts and showing the world who you are, the idea of celebrating each persons’ unique body goes hand in hand. I’ve always championed people to celebrate their bodies, back when I was designing RTW garments, then when I moved into creating custom bridal wear, and now with pattern design. 

Q: What inspired you to offer your patterns for both B and DD cups?
A: Honestly, I was inspired by the community. It wasn’t until discussions regarding size inclusivity and bust size options began happening on Instagram that I was even aware that most patterns were designed from a B-Cup base. Even though I went to college for fashion design, this small fact was never even mentioned. Isn’t that wild? (Editor’s note: YES SO WILD. Okay, back to Brittani)

Once I learned that everything I had designed in the past was based off of one cup size, and that that cup size wasn’t the most universal, I realized that I needed to make some changes to my design process. Thankfully, there were designer’s like Helen from Helen’s Closet and Jenny from Cashmerette that had been researching this very issue and made their findings public. After reading through their research (and doing a bit of my own), I decided to add in the DD-Cup option to all of my patterns. I chose the DD-cup addition because it seemed to be the cup size that would be most beneficial to sewists at the time. 

I would of course love to continue adding additional cup size options to my patterns, but I am unsure how feasible it will be for me in the short term to get this done. As a one woman run-brand, I can only accomplish so much in a short time frame. But it is something I am constantly thinking about and hope to tackle when the time is right!

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when adapting your patterns for the larger cup size?
There have definitely been challenges, but I love challenges because it means there is still room for learning and growth! I think one of the biggest challenges has been getting proportions correct and ensuring that no one dart is too wide and short. The Amelie Dress was actually the first dress I designed to include the DD-Cup option, and it was a mess during the testing phase, even for the B-Cup Sizes! Center Front darts are tricky to get correct and my testers came back and told me that they were experiencing Madonna-esque tips at the bust. 

It turns out that my bust darts were too wide and short which left no where for the fabric to go. I didn’t realize that this was something to be concerned about, but after a bit of research, it turns out that there are certain guidelines that you can follow for the ratio of a dart’s length:width to keep the darts lying more smoothly. For the B-Cup option, I simply needed to add a second dart to help redistribute the excess fabric. But for the DD-Cup, I needed to add two additional darts, which you don’t commonly see in patters.

It’s little details like this that I find myself constantly looking for when designing for larger cup sizes. I want to make sure that my garments fit the same way across all my sizes, even when the base garment has differences between each bust size.

Circle back Monday to see the first installment of the Amelie Sew Along! 

Designer Q&A | Tasha from Unleashed Patterns

I’m really excited to chat with Tasha from Unleashed Patterns today, because Unleashed has one of the most inclusive size charts out there! Their Empowered Peplum & Dress pattern and their Enlighten Dress pattern are both available for waists 23-57″ (58.4-144.8 cm) and have garment cup sizes A-H available at all base sizes.

Yes, garment cup sizes A-H available at all sizes. You read that right.

(And remember, your bra cup size is not your garment cup size! The two are based on different measurements! I’m a J bra and a DD or DDD garment! Read more here.)

Anyway, let’s hear from Tasha!

Q: What is your name?
A: Tasha Gray

Q: What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: Unleashed Patterns. It was a team effort coming up with the name, but I love it because it spoke to my freedom to create patterns on my own terms. It also embraces our philosophy as a company in that we don’t adhere to social normatives. Our patterns are inclusive in sizing and labeling meaning we don’t categorize them as women’s and use chest vs breast, etc.

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: Unleashed patterns launched in September of 2020.

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer?
A: I began drafting patterns about 10 years ago but it was mainly for myself because I wasn’t finding styles I liked and that fit my body. After having children I began drafting patterns for them and that evolved into taking classes and teaching myself how to draft for multiple sizes.

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: #Teamrotarycutter but a good pair of shears are definitely necessary.

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Anything with pockets whether it be a dress, skirt, or pullover. I usually find a way to include pockets on patterns for Unleashed.

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: To me body diversity starts with acknowledging that we are unique and there is so much beauty in that. I often tell people that no one other than the person who made the garment knows what size(s) it is so don’t get caught up in that. The important thing is that it fits you and makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Q: Unleashed’s size range is one of the largest size ranges I’ve seen, with waists from 23-57″ (58.4-144.8 cm). Tell me about how you developed this range.
A: When Unleashed Patterns was just an idea, I knew that I wanted to have a range that went beyond what most existing companies were already offering. I know so many people who sew out of necessity because they can’t find properly fitting clothing off the rack. Sewing isn’t less expensive than buying off the rack but it is certainly more rewarding. I do what I can to make sure we include as many sizes as possible and we are also currently working to expand the existing range because there is a need and a demand for it.

Q: You offer one of the largest ranges of cup options of any pattern designer in your Empowered peplum. What inspired you to start offering full bust options for your patterns?
A: I often have to make full chest adjustments when making clothing for myself. After the release of the Empowered pattern and the overwhelming response of people who were so glad to have the full chest options included, I realized how many other people like myself needed to make this alteration. Because we strive to be inclusive and provide a great base to making well fitting garments, I made the decision that moving forward we will include full chest options whenever possible.

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when drafting the Empowered Peplum for a full bust?
A: Empowered was the first pattern from Unleashed to offer options for fuller chests so trying to find a middle ground as far as fit definitely took some effort. We went through several drafts in testing (thank you to our testers for their amazing feedback).

Ultimately I think we reached a base that worked for us and also including the fit section in the pattern was key. As a designer we can’t anticipate every individual fit adjustment or include it in the pattern pieces, but providing the information to help you achieve a great fit absolutely goes a long way.

Designer Q&A | Jenny from Cashmerette

We’re in the midst of a sew-along of the fabulous Roseclair dress from Cashmerette, so I thought it mighty appropriate to have a chat with Jenny, the designer behind the Roseclair and other Cashmerette patterns! I’m really excited about this, because as much as we love to talk about body diversity and inclusivity at Sew Busty, Jenny literally wrote the book on it. (Seriously, pre-order yours today!)

Q: What is your name?
A: Jenny Rushmore

Q: What is your pattern company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: Cashmerette! Way back when I set it up as a joint blog with a friend, we thought it had a nice ring to it, but it is essentially meaningless when it comes to the business, ha. 

Jenny in her own Roseclair dress

Q: How long has your company existed?
A:I’ve been blogging as Cashmerette since 2010, and started designing and selling patterns in 2015.

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer? And why did you decide to initially focus on sizes 12 – 32 and cups C – H?
A: When I learned to sew, it was  a truly profound experience. As a plus size woman with an H cup bust, I could never find clothes that fit me and that I liked – everything had to be oversized or stretchy. Suddenly the idea that I could change clothes to fit my body rather than changing my body to fit clothes was totally mind-shattering! But I quickly realized, back in 2015, that very few pattern companies went up to my clothes size, and none at all catered to my bust.

Not only that, but the majority (over 70%) of American women are plus size, and the average bra size is a DD, so I realized it wasn’t only me who wasn’t being catered to – it was actually MOST sewists. While I learned how to do a Full Bust Adjustment, it was often frustrating and made sewing so much more complicated for me, and I couldn’t understand why there weren’t simply cup sized patterns that catered to the average sewist. 

So, I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world, and thus Cashmerette began: initially, sewing patterns in sizes 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H, and over the years we’ve expanded to be 0 – 32 and cup sizes C – H!

Jenny in her fabulous Auburn Blazer

Q: What challenges, if any, did you face in offering cup options on your patterns?
A: It is definitely challenging to draft certain styles for large cup sizes, but we’re experts at it now! We worked for almost a year to develop our underlying blocks, which would fully cover a bra and not gape or pull, in both sleeved and sleeveless versions, for wovens and knits. At this stage, we know our stuff so it’s actually pretty straightforward – which is I think why so many people love our patterns!

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Rotary cutter all the way! I even use a rotary cutter to cut my paper pattern pieces…  

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: I really love sewing coats – I don’t often get time to do it, but when I do, I love the slow sewing, thought, and the end product. My me-made coats are definitely my most worn and loved garments.  

Jenny models her Upton Dress

Q: You’ve recently expanded your size range to cover sizes 0-10, as well as your original 12-32. Tell me about your decision to expand to smaller sizes.
A: After a couple of years in business I was reviewing the state of the industry and was delighted to realize that there are now over 100 pattern brands that cater to plus sizes (check out the Curvy Pattern Database for more) – what an enormous change in a matter of years!

However, ever since we first launched, we’d had requests from sewists who were smaller than our size 12 but who had big boobs, begging us to expand our sizes. It isn’t only plus size sewists who have to do endless FBAs – there are plenty of straight size sewists too. So, we decided to expand down, and right now we have four patterns: three of our best-sellers, the Concord T-Shirt, Montrose Top and Appleton Dress, and our latest launch, the Roseclair Dress. We’ve had some truly amazing feedback from our new audience, so it’s confirmed to me that it was the right thing to do! 

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 | 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 | 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.

Designer Q&A | Nevena from Briosa Patterns

I’m so excited to do a little Q&A with Nevena from Briosa Patterns today! Briosa is a really unique pattern company in that all of their patterns are totally FREE.

The Gioiello dress (and the upcoming Estate dress) have options for garment cup sizes B/C, D/DD, and F/G/H. They also come in an extended size range, up to US size 30/UK size 34!

Let’s jump right in:

Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Nevena. I live in the Northern Italy, in a town near the city of Romeo and Juliet – Verona.

Q: What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: The brand name is Briosa Patterns. Briosa is an Italian word and it means lively/vivacious. Briosa Patterns is all about sharing love and joy, and its name reflects its intentions. 😊

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: The first pattern Brio (a top for kids) was released in April 2020.

Nevena’s first pattern: The Brio Top for kids

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer? 
A: In 2012 because I was tired of low quality, ill-fitting clothes. I remember it was the year of the studs 😐 It was impossible to find a garment without them 😐  so I said to my husband: “That’s it! I am sick and tired of the fashion trends! I am going to learn to make my own clothes!” And so I did!

I remember it was hard for me to learn sewing. But I immediately fell in love with the pattern drafting.

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Absolutely #teamshears!
But I also love my Suprena electric cutter! I use it when I cut the same pattern in different fabric colours.

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Any project that is a quick sew. Something that I can finish in 2 to 3 hours.

Q: What made you decide to offer all your patterns for free?
A: The Covid situation. I wanted to entertain people with my patterns (our patterns because they belong to all of us) in a cheerful and carefree way. To have a space for us where we can have fun and forget about Covid.

I kept thinking: “What if someone could not afford my patterns? Or maybe they could afford some but not all.” This made me feel sad, so I decided not to sell them, but offer them instead for free. I do not want to create further separation in the world. We already have enough of that.

Also I do not want to do all sorts of extra jobs, like marketing, SEO, etc. I just want to create my art and let the world enjoy it freely! It’s a win-win for all of us!

Nevena’s first pattern with bust options: the Gioiello

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: The most natural thing in the world! All bodies are beautiful 🥰

I see it on myself. My body has changed since I had my daughter and I love it!

I want everyone to have Briosa’s patterns, and that means creating all these versions. If there is a small adjustment to do (that does not require advance pattern drafting skills) I leave the instructions. If, on the other hand, the pattern does require some advanced pattern alterations, then I make that version. By “make” I mean adapt. I do not draft them from scratch.

Q: What inspired you to start offering full bust options for your patterns?
A: I wanted everyone to have GIOIELLO and the full bust was one of the most requested versions.

The back of the Gioiello

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when adapting the Gioiello for a full bust?
A: It was necessary to create the princess seam for DDD cups because the GIOIELLO is a fitted design. The difference between the full and the under bust is substantial and the best option was the princess seam.

Want to try Nevena’s patterns? Join the Briosa Patterns to get the patterns for free!