Ok, enough delay! Now back to the good part of this blog. Patternmaking! This post will cover my drafting process of the darted cup from the Foundations Revealed website article by Mark Garbarczyk. Now I have used this method before so as expected this went a little more smoothly than you might get on your first time, though I did make some small but correctable errors which I will mention. For the most part, I followed the spirit of my original guidelines of the test and did not make my own interpretations, or adaptations based on previous experiences except where noted.
This method has you begin by drafting a size 4 cup. You then grade the pattern up or down to the size cup you need. A chart is provided to help you determine which size you need and which measurements to use to grade with. Based on the measurements I took I determined I needed either a size 4 or size 5 cup for my 34B mannequin. The over breast measurement was 20cm. I opted to draft both sizes so I could show the process of drafting a cup other than the standard size 4. I choose to draft a band based on the size 5 cup and a size 36 underwire ,which I felt matched the breast root of my mannequin better. I also drafted a band based on a size 4 cup and a size 34 underwire for testing, which is the draft I will be documenting in the next post. I will also show you a couple of easily avoided mistakes I made from the first draft. My pain is your gain.
Setting your compass to varying lengths and tracing an arc helps creates the basic size 4 cup draft. I’ve labeled these on my cup draft for clarity, but you need not do this in your own work. These lines are then connected together using a ruler and a french curve based on a diagram provided in the instructions. This is the first part of the instructions where I would have liked to have seen a little more clarification as to how far out the curved lines should come. I would have added a small guideline to ensure the curve didn’t come out too far. Also, this would make sure both of the dart legs were even. I opted not to put any, in order to follow the spirit of my original guidelines. Looking at the cup pattern afterward, I believe the outside curves could use some more volume in order to fit into the cradle seam better. This is where a short guideline approx. 1/16″ to 1/8″ at the midpoint of the bottom two 9.4cm lines would have helped. I might also have placed a similar guideline approx. 2/3rds up on the dart legs. Apart from those small details, the instructions were very easy to follow and the draft came together easily.
The next step (if you need a cup size other than size 4) is to transfer the cup block you’ve just created to oaktag. If you don’t have access to oaktag, a simple solution is to glue a manila folder together and then transfer your pattern to that. I do all the time for small pattern pieces as I find the double thickness to be sturdier than the oaktag I can find locally. I opted to redraft the cup directly onto oaktag for illustrative purposes.
To grade up or down to the size cup you need, you refer to the supplied chart and lengthen and shorten the lines you’ve already established. You mark the corners, then use your size 4 cup to trace the basic shape out at the corners.
You then connect everything together as you did for the size 4 cup. At this point the draft for a single dart one piece cup is complete. You do not want to add seam allowances to this pattern until you have completed the draft for the cradle and band. At this stage, you would transfer your cup to oaktag (or a manila folder) and proceed to the next stage.
I hope this has been useful so far. As stated above, the only real issues I found with the instructions is there could be more guidance on how to shape the contours of the cup. I feel if you didn’t have a lot of experience with bra patterns you might not have developed the “eye” for knowing when a curve is off. I will redraft my cup based on the corrections I noted above. I appreciate any comments or feedback you might have regarding this project. The most challenging part of this project was documenting the process and I hope you’ll appreciate how much my photos improve in the next installment.