One of the most important things I’ve come to understand in my garment making journey is that patterns are not built for my (your) body type. Few people can pick up a sewing pattern, sew it as-is from the package, and have it fit them perfectly. The other important thing that I am still coming around to in my garment making journey is fully knowing and accepting my body shape as it is so that I can make the necessary changes to patterns to get well fitting garments. For some reason I still struggle with that.
Sometimes I know I need to make changes to a pattern, but I want to be stubborn and force things to work out with minimal effort because I am looking for that finished project.
Sometimes I know what I need to change on a pattern, but maybe I don’t understand how to do it or the best way to accomplish that change.
Sometimes I am too stuck in my belief that any “body” can wear any garment, while at the same time not fully accepting the amount of alternations necessary to achieve a good fit for a garment that isn’t made with your particular shape in mind.
There are no bad patterns and no bad bodies, but you really need to put in that work to get a good fit for some items. And that is when you need to decide if it’s worth all of the work or if you should pick something closer to your shape. I like a challenge, so I usually fiddle around until I get something that works well, sometimes at the detriment to my sanity.
Despite my decent sized library of lingerie sewing patterns, I’ve made the Black Beauty Bra 8 times. Not because I love it that much, although it is a beautiful pattern, but I’m just stubborn and can’t seem to move on until I get it perfect. I have a fantasy bra project I want to make using this pattern as a jump off point. I need it to work! Along the way, I’ve learned quite a few things that don’t work and things I need to pay more attention to as I make bras in the future.
The first 4 were earlier in my bra making experience and I learned quite a bit along the way.
- On some of them, I used layers of mesh instead of power net because I wanted to use matching materials or kits and I learned that power net is a much more supportive material to use for my size breasts.
- I learned to change the style lines of a bra.
- I learned to not cut into your prettiest lace in short supply that you absolutely love before you get a halfway decent fit.
- I learned to check my measurements using the designer’s suggested method before buying a pattern.
- I also learned a way to accommodate asymmetrical breasts in a pattern.
- I even learned to never, ever throw away old modified pattern pieces as I am finalizing the fit.
Then my breasts change which means I need a new size and it’s time to start all over again. My breasts are bottom full, projected, with a narrower root. This bra pattern is best suited for wider, shallower breasts. For the next four Black Beauty Bras, this is the stage of learning to use a cradle that fits my wire size and adapting the cups to fit and learning to understand/accept my body shape in relation to the shape for which the pattern is best suited. Straight off of the printer, this bra is not for my shape.
This bra did not work unless I made a ton of modifications:
- Shallow Bottom cup depth (BCD) is the main reason this bra did not fit. I was being pushed out of the cup because the bottom cup was not deep enough. The bottom cup was split horizontally and vertically to increase the depth.
- I used a 34DD cradle for a 40 wire and inserted 34FF cups.
- The power bar for the 34FF was too wide and cutting into the breast, so I decreased the width.
- Straps were set too wide, as typical of a balconette style, so I shifted them in 3/8″.
- Lengthened the band for comfort.
- Cross cup length increase of 3/8″ to get the bridge to tack against the body.
- Lengthen the upper cup neckline which turns out I don’t need this added length probably due to horizontal increase of the bottom cup.
The fit is so much better but still the bridge does not lie completely flat against my chest wall. Maybe I need just a tad more cross cup width for more depth. For now, I think it is safe enough to move on to my fantasy bra project or move on to a different pattern.