All this week I have been planning a project with a lofty goal. To test and compare different bra making pattern drafting methods. The basic idea is to gain first hand knowledge of each method in order to be able to recommend the best method for someone’s needs. While I have tried a couple of methods already I will be restarting each from scratch. I will make an underwire bra pattern from each method and sew up a sample. The hope is to be able to cover every variation in each method. However I may rotate through the methods for variety. If the method includes grading I will also compare those methods also.
The guidelines I will follow are:
I will follow the method exactly as written and will not make any alterations or adjustments based on prior knowledge or intuition. This way I will be able to simulate the experience of a novice following the same method and any mistakes will be typical of someone at that level. I will analyze any mistakes made post project and offer recommendations on how to correct and/or avoid.
I will make exactly the same size for each method. Because bodies can and do fluctuate I have ordered a PGM Lingerie form in a size 8 which is approximately a 34B. This size was chosen precisely because it is a standard sample size for the bra industry. Using a mannequin will eliminate any variation in the fit.
I will sew up all the samples with the exact same materials unless the method recommends something radically different. For fabric I will use tricot and sheer cup lining for the cups and powernet for the band. I may depending on availability use duoplex which is similar to tricot but only if I can source enough for all samples. I will use the elastic, channeling, hooks and other findings available from my store Arte-Crafts.
I will sew up the pattern “as is” only making adjustments as suggest by the pattern method. This way the finished sample will reveal what kind of shape the method actually drafts.
For the methods I’m going to compare I’ve narrowed it down to six based on the criteria that they needed to be: in print or readily available used, in English and under $100 (though I didn’t find any textbooks that were over $100). The methods are as follows:
Foundations Revealed. How to make a bra by Mark Garbarczyk. The basic 2 articles on how to draft the basic bra block is free however the other variations are behind a paywall. The first month is free then it is $15/mo
Patternmaking for Underwear Design 2nd Edition by Kristina Shin, PhD. 2nd Edition
Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear 2nd Edition by Ann Haggar
ESMOD Women’s Underwear (Become a Pattern Drafter Series) by Najah Ouahab Rassas. This is in English and French. I haven’t received it yet but I have high hopes.
Bare Essentials: Bras: Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design (Volume 2) by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks. Available in Kindle format and paperback. I will be using the kindle edition.
The Bra-Makers Manual Volume 2 Additional Techniques For Bra Design Draft Fit And Construction by Beverly Johnson. Available in CD format or paperback. I will be using the CD edition.
I may not cover each method in exactly the order listed but I will be starting first with the Foundations Revealed method which I have used (though as per the “rules” I will pretend I haven’t) before since it is available free of charge so if anyone wants to draft along they can start straight away. I will start as soon as my dress form arrives. If you have any feedback or suggestions as to how I should cover this project or ideas for other guidelines I should consider leave a comment below.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post which is instructions on how to adapt a full framed bra band to use a lace edge while still maintaining the curved edge of the band. I cover how to do the alteration using both the pivot and the slash and spread method and compare the results of the two and the pros and cons of each method.