This week in bra making forum a member posted a picture of a Victoria Secret bra and pointed to a design detail on the bridge and asked how to recreate it. I happened to have that bra in a couple of different sizes so I offered to write this post as an analysis on how to recreate this RTW detail on your own bra. The technique uses a variation on the Gothic Arch an alteration that has been covered by Beverly Johnson on both her blog and in her Craftsy classes.
It also features an open bridge attached at the top and utilizes a stabilizing piece of bridge lining behind the gothic arch to further reinforce it. Now the key to making a bridge like this work is having the measurements just so and the bridge in the right place so the cups don’t fall forward. This is not a partial band bra even though it looks like it from a distance. It is still a full frame bra but you’d need to thin the band pattern on most commercial bra patterns. However, it’s easy to do this at the same time you change the arch.
For this comparison, I am using the measurements from a 38C bra. I will also provide the measurements for the 34B. The bridge width is exactly the same for both sizes at 25mm which is a pretty standard measurement. In general bridge width does not change when grading a pattern up and down in size.
For this example I have used the bridge from Elise Pattern‘s Chelsea bra which I have previously reviewed. Start by drawing a center line down the middle of the bridge. If your bridge is cut on the fold you will not have to do this step. The measure down 10mm from the top of the bridge and draw a line parallel to the top of the bride. This measure was the same for the 34B and the 38C. This becomes the top piece for your two piece bridge. Then measure down 33mm from the top of the bridge (30mm for 34B) and mark a guideline.
Mark a point down 27mm (22mm for 34B) from the first line you marked or 37m from the top. The draw a line from each side of the bridge from the temporary guideline you marked towards the center to the point just marked to create a V shape. This becomes the top of your lower bridge.
Then mark down 15mm from the center of the V you just marked. At this point you have to decide how thin you want your band to be. This measurement is arbitrary. Remember in the photo example that while the lace adds width to band because the pattern will be cut out with the pattern edge lining up with the valleys you only make it as as wide as you’d want the lowest point of the lace to be. On the example bras this is 12-14mm. You then connect the points up to form an inverted v as shown. Remember to true up your other band pieces if you end up thinning the band to make sure all the seam lines match.
Your final pattern pieces should look something like this. You don’t need to add seam allowance to the bottom piece because the decorative elastic is sewn directly ontop of the lace and the lace. You might want to mark the pattern piece on the bridge stabilizing lining and then cut away after you’d sewn it. The top piece should be placed on the fold along the top of the bridge and seam allowance added to the bottom edge.
The floating stabilizing lining piece is very simple. Mark a parallel line a few mm above and below the V points. Cut out with the bottom edge along the fold because you want the seam to be on the top edge because it adds strength where you need it. This bridge looks flimsy but is in fact reinforced twice with bridge stabilizer. In the example bra the top bridge piece is made out of a folded piece of very firm ribbon. To sew this variation please follow the gothic arm sewing tutorial that the Fairy Bra Mother has written but skip the part where it tells you to flip the elastic on the inside. All you need to do is sew the elastic on the front in the criss cross pattern.
Hope this was 2% helpful.