A few months ago I made the Simplicity 8228 lace bralette out of some of the crochet style lace that I stock in my store Arte Crafts. I made view A, the halter bralette. It’s been a while since I made this. I don’t remember any issues with the construction process. The instructions were clear and the pattern walked correctly. I would make one change to the construction order, though. Instead of using channeling that overlaps I would make a binding out of the lining mesh. Sewn on in one continuous piece would give a nicer finish, be slightly easier to sew and not require a specialized notion.
However, the issue I had which seems to have also been vexing members of the Bra Making Forum is the sizing. It is most definitely not RTW for some sizes. The general consensus is that it runs small however if you are at the lower end of the size spectrum it fits almost spot on.
I currently wear a 34D in most brands. I was 33.5″ underbust 37.5″ overbust at the time I made this pattern and notes. For this pattern, I cut a 36DD. I almost always ignore the pattern recommendations for reviews because I like to compare sizing to RTW because that’s the way most people understand their bra size. Also, the pattern recommendations put me in a 38A which seemed inappropriate to me.
I cut view A from galloon stretch lace and lined with a light 100gsm Powernet as recommended by the pattern. The result was a bra that came nowhere close to fitting. The mannequin it is displayed on is a 34B and it fits that perfectly. The band fits a little snug for a 36 band. At first, I had to recheck that I had indeed cut a 36DD. The cups are very small for a DD cup when you factor in that a DD cup is supposed to have about 5″ of projection Also, the halter neck strap is very short. I couldn’t stand with my back straight and it put a lot of pressure on the back of my neck. While a stretchy fabric is a key to this design it can’t compensate for both the cups and the strap being too small.
Now you wouldn’t expect full coverage from a bra like this since it is very high cut on the sides but you would also expect it to contain most of your breast tissue. Here is an example of how a similar style from Free People fits. If I had cut the recommended size, a 38A which is the sister size of 36B, 3 full cup sizes smaller the finished bra would have been even smaller.
The finished garment measurements are 70cm / 28″ under band including the hook and eye closure and 170mm across the fullest part of the cup excluding the scallops of the galloon lace. The flat pattern measurement of the band is 68cm without the hook and eye. The flat pattern measurement of the overbust without the seam allowance is 169mm. A typical measurement for a 34B overbust (from breast root to breast root over the fullest part of the breast) would be 185-195mm. A 34 band would have to stretch to ~75cm and a typical under band length exclusive of hook and eye would be 64cm. The hook and eye fully closed would add 2.5cm. So the band is close to being true to size for a 36 band but the cups have the volume of a 34B/36A cup.
To answer the reason why this pattern fits true to size on the smaller cup sizes but runs small in the large cups you need to take a look at the grading between sizes. For each cup pattern piece, there is only 3mm difference between each cup size for a total cup grade of 6mm. This is less than half of a typical A to B to C cup size grade which is 12.5mm. So for each cup size, you go up on this pattern you are getting the equivalent of less than half of a traditional cup increase. The increase from cup size to cup size is so small an error in cutting or sewing of a few mm could drop you down another size. Instead of this pattern having 5 full cup sizes it has 5 half cup sizes or 2-3 regular cup sizes.
The halter neck strap length does not change at all from size 32A to 42DD and is 34cm in length for each size. You would also expect this to increase by 12.5mm per size. See the Grading Supplement in the file section of the Bra Making Forum for more information about standard 50mm system bra grading. This was a document provided to the group by Dr. Kristina Shin author of Patternmaking for Underwear Design.
The grade changes are as follows based on flat pattern measurements. Band size increases 63mm per size (2.5″) a greater increase than a standard 50mm step from 32-34-36 etc. The halter neck has 0 grade being the same for every size. The cup grade is 3mm per size both for letter increases (36B to 36C etc) but also between consecutive band sizes of the same cup size. Example 36D to 38D.
Based on this information if you are at the lower end of the size range (A or B cup) I would recommend making the pattern up as is perhaps shortening the band to fit. If you are a C cup or larger I would recommending increasing both the overbust seam at the fullest part of the cup. How much you need to add will depend on your actual measurements and the base size you have chosen. I have an overbust of 21cm which is a difference of 4cm over the flat pattern measurements. So I would add 2cm/20mm to each cup piece. If you have to add a significant amount to the overbust I would recommend adding it unevenly with more applied to the outer cup to prevent east-westing. This will keep the vertical seam closer to the center front. How much to add to the halter neck will also vary, but I would recommend at least 12.5mm per band size over 32.
I would recommend this as a quick fun project if you are a smaller cup size since you will not need to alter the pattern and it will provide adequate support. For larger cup sizes the halter neck might be uncomfortable and the alterations necessary for a correct fit complicates the process. It’s a popular RTW style but usually sold to fit only up to a 40″ bust. Coming soon to the blog more in-depth pattern reviews including the new Cloth Habit Harriet. If there is a pattern you’d like me to do an analysis for send me a message either through the blog or catch me on the Bra Making Forum.