I get emails from a few online bra stores. They’re full of bras, so full of design ideas. Does anyone else do that?
One came from HerRoom recently with a video attached. The video is part of a fitting series, and was talking about how the ‘center panel’ should fit. The center panel is what I’m familiar with as the bridge. I watched to see what they’d say because I’ve had so many issues with bridge-fitting. You can watch the video here. A wonderful little extra right under the video is a transcript of the video. Here’s the part that got my attention:
“The center panel should rest firmly against your sternum. If it doesn’t, your bra cups are not deep enough so you need to go up a cup size. If your center panel is significantly pulling away from your sternum, you probably need to go up several cup sizes and down a band size.”
I knew a lot of the information in the video, including the information in the above quote, but it did give me reason to re-think my bra-making bridge issues. I had followed the instructions in the Bra Makers Manuals and ‘Frankensteined’ my bras that didn’t go all the way back to the chest wall. I did this more than once, and one of those times was with the teacher here. And even doing that. I did not get the fit I was looking for. After what felt like too many attempts, I’d given up. It was suggested I just use a lower bridge and that does work. But I’m not really one leave things alone or give up. I wanted to find a solution to this.
So, with that very persistent personality trait, and the video stirring up questions in my mind, I thought about the RTW bras I have that fit with the bridge going all the way back to the chest wall. The Prima Donna bras I have do not do that. Neither the Deauville bra, nor the Duchess bra achieve that aspect of fit, but the Deauville is somewhat better. However, because they didn’t fit to begin with, I didn’t even look at either of those to help me in drafting a new pattern.
The one RTW bra I have that does achieve this fit level is the Fantasie Vivienne.
This picture is from the internet as, at the time of this writing, I had not made a Fantasie clone yet. The cups on this RTW fit perfectly AND the bridge does go all the way back. But the bridge does not fit properly – it’s too wide. The wire is not the correct size either. Although it’s the closest I’ve ever found in a RTW bra. It’s even got Vertical wires. Those wires are one size too big. And too big is still too big.
I was thinking, if the bridge not going all the way back is a cup-depth problem… and these cups fit perfectly… then I can use the cups. And I’ll fix the bridge and the wire size. I’d want to fix the bridge, even if the other bridge fit better because I have a custom bridge that also adjusts for a flat spot. I’d also want to use the cradle I made for the Vertical wires I use.
Out came the pattern drafting paper, and I started to re-draw my custom bridge and cradle, starting with my wires. This method is described in the Bra Makers Manual.
Here’s the first steps of that new bridge. You can see how it is the same shape as the Vertical wire. I felt like I was off to a great start here. I know the cups fit, so at this point no changes to them (at least not yet). And with the cups fitting, the depth should be spot on.
I now have a cradle and bridge drawn, and the bridge had the custom aspects added, and I have cups that fit. I’m feeling pretty confident at this point.
Now to address how some of the changes I’m making affect the cloned pattern I already have. I’m using a different wire and it’s not the same height as the wires that came in the RTW Fantasie.
You can see the difference in the wires here. I have to say, although the RTW wires are a bit sturdier, they are a LOT less pretty to use.
I measured the difference between my new custom bridge and the cloned one, and took that amount out of the upper cup as well. It was only a 1/4-inch, so not a huge amount, but that excess still has to go somewhere. The next adjustments to make will be to the lower cup to help it fit into a smaller cradle.
As this is getting quite long, I’m going to sign off here, and next week I’ll have the conclusion of alterations and hopefully a perfectly fitting bra, with a full bridge that goes all the way back to the chest wall!