How To Make A Bra part 1 at Foundations RevealedFor some women they pinch, they dig in, and they restrict. For others, they cover pathetically without supporting or enhancing at all. The mainstream media may rail against the idea of corsetry, but bras are at least as maddening as corsets ever were.

What's the real problem with bras, and what can you can do about it?


I believe that the ultimate problem with bras originates with the limitations of mass production.

Mass manufacturing meets many of our 21st century, First World needs reasonably well. From plates, lawnmowers and deodorant to the little bobble head thingie that sits on your desk at work, most of what we want and need today can be produced in bulk at an affordable price (providing you leave aside the issues of Third World exploitation, of course.)


The problem with mass produced clothing


But when it comes to clothing, mass manufacture struggles to provide what we need. Walk into any high street clothing store today and look - really look - at what's on offer, and you'll notice how we are all dressed in what is beginning to amount to little more than potato sacks.

As manufacturers struggle with sizing, the clothes that they offer are looking more and more like, well, mumus and ponchos and kaftans. We are buying expanses of fabric that loosely, shapelessly provide adequate concealment for the maximum range of bodies. Throw in a drawstring, or a little elastic or lycra, and everyone's (theoretically) happy.

Am I overstating it? Compare our clothes to what we were wearing a hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, and you can see the vast effect that mass production has had on fashion: there's a reason why t-shirts are so universal.

Most of us embrace it, however, because the unintended side effect of shapelessness..... is comfort. (I'm wearing a t-shirt right now.)


But then there are bras.


Bras can't get away with loose, adequate concealment. Bras have to FIT. Individually. Perfectly. Comfortably. Whether you need to uplift and enhance the girls, or control and minimise them, you need something that works just for you.

Somehow, mass production has to provide solutions for an infinite range of shapes and sizes and needs.

We complain that it can't keep up - why won't they make something that fits ME? - but OF COURSE mass production can't keep up with individualised demand. Mass production was not designed for a garment that's so individual.

Mass production depends on the ease and low cost of producing a large quantity of one identical thing for a large group of people. If a crowd of people require an object that's slightly different for each of them, the system falls down. If it's a big enough manufacturer and the crowd of buyers is vast enough, it can make a range of varieties and please some of the women, some of the time, but others are inevitably left completely out in the cold.

But ALL women still need bras, and ironically, those who need them the most are the hardest to cater for, and therefore, those are the women who are left without adequate solutions.


So what to do?


You already know where I'm going with this. Most of you reading this are sewists. But bras are a little different from what you usually make. Patterning is a potential nightmare, and then you have to figure out stretch fabrics and findings and fit.

It's a new skill to get used to, but once you *do* tackle bra making, with the right instructions you might be surprised at the results. Because if you want something done properly, you might as well have a go at doing it yourself...



Make your first bra with Foundations Revealed

Check out our Bra Making section for more.


How To Make A Bra (Part 1 and Part 2 are free)

How To Make A Bra part 1 at Foundations RevealedAfter a look at sizing, you will draft (draw) the blocks (patterns) for the cups, cradle and wings of a simple underwired style, before our bra guru Mark walks you through the construction step by step.

Then you will use this as a starting point to draft and make a range of styles, including strapless designs.

"A wonderful read that is easy to follow and results are just delightful." - Katarina, Croatia

Soft (Non-Underwired) Bras (Part 1 is free)

How to Make a Non-Underwired Bra at Foundations Revealed

Many women hate underwires with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, and have had no end of trouble with those bits of bent metal.

So by popular demand, in this four part series Mark steps away from the metalwork and shows how to draft and make bras without any wiring. 

"I came to this site for the corsets but this series have quickly become my favorite articles here." - Indy, USA

Push-Up and Sling Bras

How to Make a Push-up Bra at Foundations RevealedMany women are looking for something that can make the most of a less generous bust. In this article on bra design Mark looks at more cup shaping options, push up bras, and sling bras, and try to solve the problem of "east westing" (that’s the technical term, we kid you not!) or how to make a "cowboy" bra that rounds them up and gets them pointing in the right direction.

"These articles are my absolute favorites; thank you so very much for demystifying bra-making & especially patterning!" - Elizabeth, USA

Plus-Sized Bras

How to make a Bra for Large Busts at Foundations Revealed

Many women of larger sizes struggle to find a good bra that gives adequate support and shape. In this article Mark discusses what is wrong with shop bought plus size bras, and why you should have a go at making your own.

"Mark, you are AMAZING. I am always impressed not only by your depth of knowledge, but also by your ability to instruct. Thank you so very much for all you do." - Sara

"Mark, you have a wonderful way of explaining things. Long may you reign as king of cups!" - Jane

I must say I probably have experienced every bra fitting problem there is.....I am wearing a 36 DD-DDD I thin some one who never wore a bra designs them and somehow markets them. All of the bras seem to be made of some stretch fabric. When you insert a heavy breast into these flimsy things they just do not support, the girls just flop over and dance around. I need to pack them in and support them. No wiggle, no jiggle. If I want them to shimmy and shake I'll do the shaking. I am not a young thing. The girls have had their ups and now their downs. What to do? Oprah had a show on bras, but then she can pay whatever to have hers fit and perform perfectly. No so this old lady.....
I'm sorry to hear you've had such trouble, Carolyn! I trust you'll have more luck if you try making your own!
A year or so late on the reply, but if you're still having problems you may stil see this. Sounds like you need a full cup, and it might be worth checking out if you need a smaller band and larger cup, as many do, and it usually makes you feel more held in place. The Bravissimo Melrose is a good option and if you like a non stretch, try the Panache Tango Balcony. Hope that helps a little.
Just to give you some general feedback about the site as a whole as well as about the issue of bras. I am a senior scientist who runs a fashion business on the side. After some marketing issues with my initial offering (transformable dresses that are well liked but hard to sell), I am transforming my business towards the development and sale of what I call "transformable corsets", an idea I started to develop several years ago. Your site has been, already, of inestimable use in providing a lot of information about corsetry. I am not a beginner in corsetry, but I am not advanced either - and I work with professionals to construct my garments for sale. I do all the initial design work and mockups myself, then turn things over to a professional seamstress I have known for several years to do the finished versions. With the corsets, I may end up doing more, but we shall see how things work out.

I am also interested in bras - although I have made a few trials, I am preoccupied with the development of comfortable bras. I am currently exploring knits as a way of avoiding seams, which appear to contribute to rendering bras uncomfortable. I don't mean course knits, but very fine knits. But I think knits is only a part of the issue, and I have a lot of work to do before I am even remotely happy with the work.
I have been dubbed the bra fairy, by account of the fact that i understand bras enough to help my bustier friends shopping for them. As anyone in the 'awkward' size range will know, definitely takes two people, else you collapse into a heap of frustration.

I have decided that europe is the best for bras, as they have realised that just adding another D on the end isn't efficient, and for anyone struggling, this woman does your work for you. She reviews lots of brands, and also teaches about boob shape/size/fit etc.

check her out.

I have a suggestion for those who would like to make a bra that actually fits them but aren't ready to draft the pattern yet. Look through your bra collection, select one that still fits you and get your seam ripper out. I very carefully unpicked one half of a bra and have made a pattern from it. During the process, I took photos to help me later put my poor abused bra back together again once I was done playing.

For those who have bras that seem to no longer fit, it could be the elasticity has gone. Get out your seam ripper and replace with new support panels.

We have the technology to rebuild...making it better than it was.

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