I want a comfortable bra. I wear a 30E sized bra, and they are not easy to find. Cheap bras and expensive bras all have the same deficiency in my unusual size. Little or no support on the sides makes me look saggy and older. If I find some side support, it feels like the iron maiden lined with sand burrs. So I have been trying to draw a bra pattern that is both comfortable and supportive.I am starting by making a pattern for a well-fitting cup. I want support without itching, so, in this first iteration of the bra pattern, I am eliminating all but the most necessary bra components to focus on fitting the cup. I plan to use a minimized band of plush elastic, unwired cups, a front hook [comfort requirement for me], and strap loops attached with a tab.
I used a string bikini swimsuit top as a starting point, and distributed the cup fullness where I need it.
Then, I disassembled the swimsuit top and drew a pattern. Notice that I have no pleats in the underarm cup portion. The flat fabric here exerts gentle pressure toward the center of my chest, and prevents breast tissue from being pushed out of the cup and under my arm. I have a small rib cage relative to my cup size and this has always been a problem for me. The flat side cup gives me more support to keep the boobs on my front where they belong.
As I folded the cup under to make a casing and band in that area, I chose to use pleats instead of gathers to make the band more comfortable…no gathers to itch. [I know, they look like gather in this picture.]
I am relying on a nearly perfectly fitting cup and a snug – not tight – band for most of my support. The straps are still necessary, however, because the angle of upward force keeps the cups in place on my body.
At this writing, I have finished the project and have test worn my bra. I love front hook bras, but I am unhappy with the fit in front and I had to make adjustments. NOW I know to make the front of the bra stable, not stretchy.
Here is how a hook mounted on elastic behaves when worn. My computer is currently needing a smaller cup size than I wear, but nevertheless, the bra acts the same.
Tension pulls the cups apart in the front and makes the whole thing uncomfortable – and less supportive. The band has stretched too loose. This happens easily on no wire bras.
The fix for this is to remove the hook, eliminate elastic under the cup, and replace the connection with twill tape or reinforced woven fabric tape. I am using seam binding I found in the scrap box.