This post will cover my drafting process of the band draft from the Foundations Revealed website article by Mark Garbarczyk. The band is drafted based on a size 34B R1 underwire available from my store. My experience with drafting the cup portion of this draft can be found here. I will be using the size 4 cup I previously drafted. I also posted my error analysis of a mistake I made in my 36B band draft. One thing to consider when following any drafting methods is that the diagrams are designed to be clear as possible and may differ from what you are seeing on your paper. The reason for this is unless we erase anything everything that is placed on the paper stays there. This can end up looking very messy and confusing. For clarification purposes, many of these guidelines are removed in following diagram steps. However, this can trip you up if you are very literal or do not pay close attention. As I sometimes wasn’t. So I will show the points where I encountered some confusion.
The first step of the band draft is to establish the balance point on your underwire. Make sure to label it on both sides. This is how I find the balance point on my wires. Part of it is visual by I find the grid of the cutting map to be very useful to reinforce what my eye is telling me.
The first step has you trace, tilt and spring open your underwire. You line up your underwire against a pair of guidelines placed at a 90-degree angle, lining up the inner edge of the wire, and then mark the balance point. If you don’t have an underwire you can use your breast root trace or a tracing of a underwire from a chart. I have provided printable underwire charts for all the wire styles that I stock. If you would like to draft your pattern in illustrator I can send you an Illustrator file of the underwire tracing for the style and size you need. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A small guideline is then marked 5mm down from the tip of the center front of the wire. The wire is tilted to line up with this guideline. This causes the balance point to move back but you do not remark the balance point. The tilt allows the wire to fit better against the chest in the final bra. This was the step I ended up skipping in my 36B draft partially because in the next diagram the balance point on the wire itself is removed so if you didn’t catch in the previous diagram that the balance point had moved back you might not notice that this had occurred. Moving the wire back causes the wire line to become longer at the arm. I traced my wire both before and after I tilted it but it is only necessary to trace it after it has been tilted back.
The wire is then sprung open 15mm to reflect the position the wire will be once the bra is on. The wings/band of a bra places tension on the wire causing it to open up and to conform to the shape of the breast. This is why the shape of your underwire doesn’t need to be exactly the same shape as your breast root. If you are using your breast root trace instead of an underwire you do not need to spring the tracing. Two small guidelines are then marked 8mm above the ends of the wire to allow for wire play. Failing to put this ease in will mean your wire won’t fit into your final bra. Or if it does it may squeak or break out of the channeling.
This photo covers steps 4 through 6. The center front of the bra as been marked 12mm from the wire line. Also, 3mm has been added to the wire line. This is not for seam allowance. The 3mm is added because when you sew the channeling onto the frame that is space where the wire cannot be because it’s closed off. Also because you don’t attach the channeling exactly on the cup to cradle seam. So if you didn’t add that 3mm your wire would end up sitting 3mm under your breast root because the wire can’t be exactly where the cup cradle seam. So this allowance the wire will end up being in the position in which you have just drafted it to be.
The distance between each end of the cradle and the balance point has been measured and compared to the cup pattern and the cup pattern adjusted. I had to add 1mm to the cup for seam A and subtract 10mm from seam B. You can see where I removed the 10mm on the right. The 1mm I have to add I will do at the stage where I transfer the pattern to add seam allowances because the measurement is too small to accurately add more paper to the pattern.
This photo shows the final steps that complete the band draft. These last steps are straight forward. Draw the guidelines and calculate the measurements required based on the back measurements of your mannequin. The issue I had was that the suggested 17.1% measurement for the cradle side seam and the 9.3% measurement for the top of the underarm didn’t meet at a point that fitted in harmony with the rest of the guidelines. I adjusted the cradle side seam to be 19.1% of my mannequin’s back measurement which intersected with the 9.3% line in a position that fit in with the rest of guidelines. The underarm and side seam are not critical fit lines so it is acceptable to adjust these based on your preferences without negatively affecting the fit. I didn’t, however, have this issue in my 36B draft though this is the draft where I didn’t tilt the underwire so the underarm and the wire are at different angles to each other. However, you can see that the bottom of the cradle and band has a less pleasing flow than the 34B draft.
At this point, the draft is finished and all I need to do is transfer the pattern pieces to oaktag, add seam allowances and sew the first mockup. I had already walked the cup and cradle seam in the previous step and side cradle seams will match because they will be simply cut apart. I will show the final pattern pieces in the next post about the Foundations Revealed Method.
I will move onto another drafting method before I test sew this one simply because I’m more eagar to draft patterns than sew bras this week. Also, it is more effecient to sew up several bras at once. Suggestions for which method from my original list that I should tackle next?