Interestingly, there is no standardization in the lingerie/bra industry. So, when we go out to buy what we think is "our size" it makes sense why it doesn't always fit from designer to designer or year to year. In the Bravo Bella Patterns, based on my fitting with Monica at Sew Expo, I went from buying 40DDD at some place like Lane Bryant to a 40 I. Yes, that is the letter "i"... whoa nelly. You'll learn more about that in Monica's DVD's or if you take a class from her.
After fitting a muslin (which Monica and all teachers highly recommend), I discovered that I might not be able to quite fill that "I" cup. But, as you are learning, it's not my style or preference to toss out something that is "nearly" there. I will find a way to fit it and make it a useful functional piece. So I made some adjustments. I didn't want to rip out the seams on the cups because the cotton knit wouldn't have held up. Instead, to pull the cup tighter to my body, I took out ~ 1/2" - 3/4" from the circumference that meets the underwire and I could still take out more because the cup wrinkles (not from my machine, but because there isn't enough volume to fill the cup).
It's ok that it doesn't quite fit though, because I'm still wearing it and, most importantly, I learned a great deal from the experience. In fact, it was so much easier than I would ever have expected. Monica's instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
Videos: Bras 101 Basic Fitting, Bras 102 Basic Construction (both shown below & used with the instructions included in the pattern.
Kits: Cotton Bra Kit (used above), Stretch Satin Bra Kit (shown below)
I've noticed that in the last month or so, other sewists & sewing bloggers have been also hit by the lingerie bug. My friend Rae and I were just discussing how to take a pattern from our best fitting ready to wear underwear (I'm in Maddie's camp, it's always been underwear to me. Panties seems so ... like I need to be wearing rows and rows of ruffles)
Do check out the lovely under things made by:
- Kathy of Kathy Sews: Pin Up Girls Bra and Rosie Lady Shorts (Ooo it's pink! And entire set is pink!! Need I say more?)
- Melissa of Fehr Trade: Lingerie (all of Melissa's fun Lingerie Makes)
- Maddie of Madalynne: Minimum Stretch Underwear (interesting for those who design)