Monday, March 9

Launched! Sewing Bras: Designer Techniques

Hello Everyone!

Great news! The second class in the Sewing Bras series on Craftsy has launched today! If you have wanted to know all about Designer Techniques for your bras, this is the class to watch! You'll be able to make dozens of designer bras from all the techniques (over 30 in all!) shown in this class.


The class starts off by showing you how to change your full band bra into a partial band bra. How to draft it, and how to sew it, with all the little tricks I've learned over the years. Then I move into how to change the straps...here is the tapered padded strap on a fuchsia partial band bra.


Here is a short tapered strap on the ivory and green bra. What's that fabric, you ask? It's ivory duoplex with a design on it that I made with fabric markers!


Next, we look at frame modifications such as the downward hike, and the thin band. We will also learn how to make a Gothic Arch such as shown here in the navy bra. Do you love those tiny straps on this bra? I show you how to do that!


What about front closing? Yes, two types of front closing are demonstrated!


Here's two different racer style Y-back options!


There's even a lesson on the keyhole bridge!


I also teach 3 different types of power bars - internal, seamed and ruched!


If you would like to take the class, but are waiting for a sale, wait no longer! Click on this link to get 50% off the price of the class!

How is a Bra like a Slipcover?

What do a bra and a slipcover have in common?

1. They are both expected to fit over a curved and shapely surface. The skill needed to cover a curved surface in fabric is needed to make both bras and slipcovers. This skill sets the women apart from the girls, so to speak. A skill you can learn very easily under the right instructor!

2. They are both made without specialized equipment. That's right - you don't need a factory full of industrial machines to make slipcovers, or bras. Just your home sewing machine, scissors, pins and thread. Who hasn't got that?

3. They are both a functional part of our lives. Slipcovers take the everyday wear and tear of daily life and extend the life of the chair underneath. Bras are worn under our clothes for modesty, but also to make the garment fit and look its best. 

4. Both can be made of beautiful fabrics. Who wants bold colours and dramatic prints? Or is delicate and pastel more your style? Are we talking about bras - or slipcovers?

4. Both have the ability to uplift. Want to give yourself a lift? Make a new bra for yourself, or make a new slipcover for your chair. Both will uplift your spirits in ways you can't imagine!

5. You can make both at Bra-makers Supply! Yes, in May, we are featuring a class on making your own slipcovers! Held by master upholsterer and video instructor, Ron Switchuk, in our very own ground floor classroom!

This is the first time we are offering such a class. With all the fabric stores on Ottawa Street offering great deals on fabrics suitable for slipcovers, this is a golden opportunity to learn from the best!




Bra-A-Week Challenge: Week 8

Catch up with Erin and her Bra-a-week Challenge! Click the link below.



The Sewing and Life Adventures of Emerald Erin: Bra-A-Week: Week 8: Hi All! Week 8 already! Wow I can't believe time is going by so fast, I hope your underwear drawers are benefiting as much as mine is!...

Saturday, March 7

Four Ways of Measuring

How exactly do you measure to determine a bra size? There are four methods that I know of and each one has its merits and pitfalls. 

METHOD 1 - RIB CAGE AND FULL BUST
This is the method used by bra fitters in retail stores everywhere. In fact, almost every website tells you to use this method to determine your bra size. Take your rib cage measurement directly under the bust. Add 4 or 5" (some websites say to add 6") to determine your band size. So if my rib cage measures to an even number such as 32", I would add 4" to obtain a band size of 36. Or according to some websites adding 6" would result in my band size being 38. If my rib cage is an odd number such as 33, I would add 5" for a band size of 38. 


Then, measure the full bust - that is the fullest part of the bustwithout compressing the breast tissue. Let's say that is 40". I then subtract the band size from the full bust measurement and I should come up with my cup size. So 36 from 40 is 4". Each cup size is equal to 1" so A=1", B=2", C=3" and D=4". If my band size is 36, then I would be a D cup. However if I used my band size as being 38, then my cup size would be B. So you can see where this method has a big downfall.


Understand that these measurements do not always tell the whole story. if a woman has a very small rib cage or a very wide back, these measurements will skew the bra size to appear larger or smaller than they actually are. 

METHOD 2 - HIGH BUST AND FULL BUST
This is the method recommend in my bra patterns where someone has only a tape measure and a mirror (and not their Fairy Bra Mother!) at their disposal. This method of determining bra size works very well for most women I use the High Bust Measurement (above the bust but still under the arms), and add NOTHING to determine the band size. After measuring over 10,000 women, I still find I am far more accurate measuring the high bust rather than the rib cage. I simply round up or down the high bust measurement to the nearest even number.  So in my case, I measure 36" on the high bust, so my band size would be 36. A 35.5” high bust measurement would also indicate a 36 band.


I still measure the full bust, but I subtract the high bust from the full bust, with 1” of difference equaling A cup, B cup is 2”, 3” is C cup and so on. My full bust is 40" so my bra size would be 36D with this method.


But once again, there are always some for whom the measurements don't tell the full story. if a woman has a very small rib cage or an athletic build, the high bust measurement can be skewed a little. 

METHOD 4 - BOTTOM CUP DEPTH
I have a third way of measuring – in fact, it is a very accurate and sure-fire way of measuring, but the downside is that you have to have a bra that already fits to do this. First measure the high bust to determine the band size. Remember that is over the bust, but under the arms. 


This method for sizing uses the Bottom Cup Depth. The Bottom Cup Depth determines the overall volume of the bra cup. No other measurement is as important as this one. This is the distance from the bra bust point to the bra wire line measured on the true vertical. You must wear a well-fitting bra in order to take this measurement.


In a perfect world, the bottom cup depth on your bra should measure the same as the bottom cup depth on your naked breast, but it often doesn't - because of the breast density and degree of flaccidity.The nipple will drift downward as the breast loses its self-supporting ability, which means that even if your bra size does not change over the years, your BCD will still decrease as you age. Nothing stops gravity.  So it is imperative to wear a bra that fits (not a foam lined bra, or a sports bra either). The bra is actually placing the nipple in the ideal location.

The Bottom Cup Depth (BCD) increases by 1/4” (6 mm) per size in not only my patterns and other commercial bra patterns, but as an industry standard.

Using the chart below, find the BCD in inches that corresponds to your own Bottom Cup Depth (measuring the bra from the nipple to the wire line directly below it. On each line, you will find the Pin-up Girls bra pattern sizes that correspond with that BCD. Just use the band size along the line that equals your high bust measurement. For me, that is 4" BCD and 36" high bust, so 36D

BC depth
Bra Sizes that use this BCD
2.25
30A
32AA
34AAA



2.50
30B
32A
34AA 
36AAA 


2.75
30C
32B
34A
36AA
38AAA

3.00
32C
34B
36A
38AA


3.25
30D
34C
36B
38A


3.50
32D
36C
38B
40A


3.75
30E
34D
38C
40B
42A

4.00
32E
36D
40C
42B
44A

4.25
30F 
34E
38D
42C
44B
46A
4.50
32F
36E
40D 
44C
48A

4.75
30G
34F
38E
42D
46C
48B
5.0
32G
36F
40E
44D
48C

5.25
30H
34G
38F
42E
46D

5.5
32H
36G
40F
44E
48D

5.75
34H
38G
42F
46E


6.0
36H
40G
44F
48E


6.25
38H
42G
46F



6.5
40H
44G
48F



6.75
42H
46G




7.0
44H
48G




7.25
46H





7.5
48H






Do not be discouraged if your ready-to-wear bra size and your bra pattern size are not the same. If the Bottom Cup depth is the same, the cup will fit the same way.

If you are using another bra pattern other than mine (and really...how could you?), check the BCD on your ready-to-wear bra against the pattern that you have. Make sure you are measuring between the seam lines, and not to the outer cutting line of the pattern.  If the Bottom Cup Depth of the bra pattern is the same as yours, you are in business!



METHOD 4 - SAMPLE BRAS
The fourth and final method is the method I use in all my classes. This is the most accurate method of measuring but it is only used by custom bra-makers and of course bra-making teachers (myself included). I have a set of sample bras in every BCD size. Once you get used to guesstimating the size of the breasts, you can quickly put a woman in a bra size that fits. My rule is to use the bra size that fits the best with the least alteration.

So there you have it - 4 different methods to determine bra size. Which method do you use and have you tried these others? I want to hear from you!