Buy one for every day of the week."
Well, I followed that advice when I purchased bras a couple years ago. Lane Bryant has been a good source for bras, but they can be a hit & miss. Luckily, I found a big hit. They sell this adorable and sexy embroidered French full coverage bra. It has a little lace, a little padding, lovely lift, cute fabrics, lace on the straps. I bought a 5 bras, in neutrals and bright colors with polka dots, with color coordinating underwear. Love those all my pieces!
For the first time in ages, I have a flattering bust that is the teensy-ist bit pointy and lifted and gives such nice definition rather than being smooshed and flattened into a cup shape that is different than my needs. If you're in the market for a new bra and are a plus size with a bust over DD, I highly recommend you try Lane Bryant.
I even wear these bras hiking. They're way more comfortable than most sports bras because I don't end up with a headache! Mine are beginning to wear out. SO SAD!
After 2 bra "failures" I mean learning experiences, I finally realized that I was better off studying what already fits. I've done this with my T-shirts and pants. Why not bras? Silly me. It would have been wise to start there.
I spent time studying one of these French Cacique bras. I'm really fascinated by the RTW construction vs. construction in the bra patterns I'm using. Some techniques align, others vary. Both are good. It will be fun to try & adopt some of the RTW techniques.
For reference, Cacique and Lane Bryant size this bra as a 40DDD.
I like the look of the black lace bridge aligning with the black lace top of cup. It is a pseudo butterfly, similar to a design Beverly Johnson teaches. I really like that lace stops right under the lower cup seam. I think this brings the eye in toward the center of the body, giving the illusion that you are narrower. Illusions and where the eye travels are very important in our clothing and art. Use them to your advantage and you can excite your viewer, leading them to where you want them to look.
From feel and sound, it appears to be plastic boning. Plastic allows for conforming to the body, rather than poking like metal can often do. Though, because the material properties of plastic allow it to move and conform with body heat and wear, that also means it will lose it's original supportive shape. Depending on the application that can be a win or a fail. When the bra is worn on my body, these bow out. They return straight when off my body.
Every temperature point on the curve before the yield strength is in the "elastic range" which is where the material can return again to it's original shape. Though, it would also be nice to have a plastic that would slightly form to your body with heat for certain other applications.
It's really nice to make connections between my Mechanical Engineering background and sewing. Can you also see why I would be fascinated to learn about the materials and construction in high-tech gear? I'd love to visit the labs and meet the scientists and fashion designers at places such as REI, Nike, North Face, Patagonia, and K2. If you know of anyone there who'd be willing to offer a tour or an informational interview within the tech gear industry, please let me know!
Back to BRAS!
The lace is one thing that sold me on buying these bras. First it gave me a nice lifted and rather pointy shape (something I haven't had). Second, with the lace it felt so sheer and sexy and vulnerably exposed. I'd always worn molded bras before this. When I tried these bras on, I was worried about showing "birthday cake candles" as my friend Joel calls them, when cold. But, fortunately, no one has sung happy birthday to me on a cold non-birthday day.
Bra Interior / Lining
The puckering from attaching a shorter elastic to a longer piece of powerstretch is a totally fine application. It doesn't look puckered when worn and it allows the bra to really conform and firmly hold around the body, the critical area of a bra. Its value may be in offering longer term lastability over the smooth application as it may be less likely to stretch out and more likely to be comfortable. But I have to believe there is a case for the smooth - same size elastic to same size powerstretch application.
Given how much I've worn these, I'd say that alone speaks to the same:same over shorter:longer. It's intriguing really, If anyone has studied using identical fabrics with varied construction of the band, I'd love to know which construction allows for the longest lasting, most comfortable bra.
Have you looked at your own bras to see how you can translate some of those features into your bra making? Or even your clothing?
Can you shine a light on the bridge and cradle fabric?
Have you tested out comfort and lastability in bra materials vs. construction?