Finished: Linen/Cotton Bra with Fitting Photos

I just finished my second MakeBra- this one is size 75G (European, keep reading for conversions).  My first MakeBra was a size 80F, and the band was too big.  On top of that, I used the basic 1/2″ (12mm) elastic the bra band was engineered for and it feels very jiggly and insecure when I wear it.

This time, I used both a smaller band size and wider, sturdier elastic.  Lincraft in the Myer Center in Brisbane’s CBD carries a mind-blowing array of lingerie elastics and findings.  Once I nail down my fit and engineering, I’ll have so much fun making pretty bras.  For now, I used a 1″ (25mm) wide soft band elastic.

I really couldn’t stop myself using some pretty blue merino net remnants to line the cups for contrast.  It’s so soft!

I used cotton-linen slub knit for the exterior, and I reinforced the gore with silk organza.  The stitching on this bra is not perfect, but it’s lightyears better than the first one.  I didn’t need to refer to the instructions while sewing, either!  Win!

Last time, I think I might have disappointed some of you by not modeling my creation.  When I started thinking about sewing bras I thought “useful, relatively simple project, something new to play with.” I was not thinking “I’m going to take my top off on the internet.”  In fact, I dismissed the idea outright.  However, since the last bra post several of you have emailed me, tweeted, etc and I realized that showing the fit and exploring it together would be very useful to many of you.  And probably to me, too.

So.  Ok.  I’m taking my top off.  I’m not a model, I’m not a skinny beanpole, I’m a grown woman who has had a child and also become lax about personal fitness.  And I like beer, that’s just not going to change.   If you don’t want to see me in my bra, please go away and come back tomorrow for Day 1 of the Tiramisu Circus!  I can’t wait!

If you’re a grownup and interested in bra fitting as well as the “band size” debate and tackling back fat issues, read on.

The black bra at the top is the “best fit” bra I found hiding in my dresser after the first bra post.  The center gore doesn’t lie flat against my breastbone, but it’s a darn sight better than my other bras.

The purple is the first one I made from my MakeBra pattern.  I’m rather surprised it looks so cute on.  It’s pretty “relaxed,” I feel like I’m braless in it.  Not in a good way.

The white is the most recent make.  I can see the straps are set too wide (easy to fix!) and I don’t believe the cup size or shape is correct.  Again, the gore doesn’t sit flat against my breastbone and the cups just don’t hold my breasts.  It’s “empty” at the bottom even after I re-arranged the breast tissue, and at the CF the cup looks like it could use an extra 3/4″ of space.  Or maybe I should make a bra with a wider gore?  Larger cup size or wider gore?

I have to laugh at the way my breasts have eaten the thin elastic band on the purple bra.  Where did it go?  It flipped up into my breast tissue.  It feels like my breast might pop out of the bottom of the cup at any time.

The other two have a better shape, I think the shape is best on the black bra and my next bra will be made from a similar cut.  The white one feels great.  When I put it on, I forgot I had breasts.  Really.  It’s a strangely liberating feeling.  But I can see the shape of the cups is not correct, even if it is comfortable.

If I had any lingering doubts about my band size, I’m over it now.  The top and bottom are the same band, but the white is wider.  They both lie through the “middle” of my back, as they should.  The poor purple one has ridden north.  Please notice, too, that all of the bands bite into my flesh.  Apparently, this is necessary in order for the band to help carry the weight of the breast.  Breasts aren’t meant to hang from the shoulder!  (This is analogous to my hiking/travel backpack which has a hipbelt to distribute the weight of the pack between my shoulders and hips.)

Also, CBS news got something right- a smaller band does indeed make for fewer back fat rolls.

Getting Sharey

Naked Zoidberg… From Futurama. This is how I feel right about now… ;)  He does look pretty happy though.

When I saw those photos of my back (not to mention while cropping and collaging them) I almost cried.  I don’t often get hung up on body issues, and I spend a fair amount of time and energy trying to help others conquer body issues through sewing.  But to have my self-image shattered by incontrovertible photographic evidence…

well…

I almost didn’t write this post.  I had no idea I looked like that from behind.

click for source.

I don’t weigh myself.  I don’t believe in it, and didn’t when I was thinner.  What am I, a prize pig about to be sent to slaughter to the highest bidder?  No thanks.  I don’t honestly know the point of using weight as a measure of anything, except to establish some sort of b*tchy body-size pecking order (speaking from experience here, I would love to hear yours!).  There are other ways to analyze the body for good health and fitness, which is more important than aesthetics.

I do know my measurements, and I have also noticed a steady decline in my fitness levels from a year ago.  I catch colds more easily, I can’t leap up the back stairs like I used to, less muscle tone and I haven’t been hiking or kayaking in ages.  My body also feels sluggish.  This bothers me much more than my mother’s gentle inquiry via Skype about the last time I weighed myself.

I’m only plugging this because I have found it to be incredibly useful. Click for source.

My husband became concerned about his own fitness a few weeks ago and started training for a 5K.  I joined him, and now we tag-team most mornings with our Ease Into 5K app.  I can hardly believe that in a few weeks I’ll be running at 30 minute intervals, but I know I like feeling fit and strong.  I miss it.  Besides, the program is very easy to start.  Nothing too hard-core.

But you know what will force me into my running shoes at 6am until I build the habit of a morning run?  Not the knowledge that I like feeling like an Amazon (I really, really do), but the image of my back rolls burned into my brain.

With body image issues, I’m generally of a certain mindset- “If I don’t like it, change it.  If I can’t change it, embrace it.”

Further Reading

Confidential To You: Your Bra Band Doesn’t Fit NY Times

Professional Bra Fitting: Boobs, Physics and Back Fat

The Correct Way To Measure Your Bra Size (I’m a convert.  Seriously. Also an awesome blog.)

Recent Article From NY Times: More Data Suggest Fitness Matters More Than Weight

What do you think?  Do you prefer wider bands to narrower ones?  How about the “Small band/big cups vs. big bands/small cups” debate?  What do you think about the female habit of weighing ourselves so we can compare a metric that means basically nothing?  Do you want to run with me?  What does your back look like? (You know, answer one or some or none of the above…)

This will be the last bra post for a little while, because starting tomorrow I’m spilling the beans about the Tiramisu Dress pattern, Cake Patterns, sharing knit guides and tips, and we’re having a pre-sale of the pattern (deep discount!) as it goes to print!  Squee!  I really really can’t wait to show you what’s been going on.


111 comments

  1. You are fabulous and strong! I salute your courage and honesty – and you look amazing. I wish I had a rack like that! Blokes love a girl with curves – not angles like me (tho my husband loves his little stick wife).
    I’ve become much more accepting of my body post kids…. weird considering they destroyed it. I had mighty babies for my frame, I didn’t put on much weight with them (9kgs) but am riddled with stretch marks thanks to a 8 1/2 pounder and then a 9 pounder.
    I don’t weigh myself, I figure if my clothes fit I’m happy. I don’t exercise much, people immediately think I’ve got a disorder if I do cos apparently only skinny people with eating disorders exercise. I eat well but I also like beer, how else to survive a hot Aussie summer :-)
    My husband is on a ‘fit kick’ his goal is to cycle 5000kms this year. He’s nearly there.

    • Aw thanks.

      Please please don’t compare yourself unfavorably to me! :D I know it’s well meant but we can’t do that to each other… I bet your husband thinks you’re hotter than Venus de Milo and wouldn’t trade you for anyone!

      It’s so amazing what our bodies can do, creating and nurturing life… Wow.

      Sigh- it’s weird and harmful, the expectations people put on our bodies and the judgements they make… :( I say exercise if you want to and others can just stuff it. (People make assumptions about busty figured ladies, too…)

      • Oh fret not these days I don’t compare myself to anyone. I’m content in my little frame and just enjoy its benefits and occasional pitfalls :-)
        Now run… run like the wind :-)

  2. I’ve been following your bra posts with great interest, as none of the bras I own are comfortable. As I sit here typing the underwires are digging into me! The first bra you made looks better on you, the gore is definitely more the width you need.
    Thank you for introducing me to Makebra, I shall be ordering from them very soon, and will blog about my efforts, although I can’t promise to post my own photos.

    I’m sorry the photos from the back upset you, but go running if thats what does it for you! I’m about to sign up for a pilates course, as I’ve never run in my life( asthma and bronchitis from a child, also terrible coordination). I need to lose a bit of weight as I’ve become too sedentary, keeping my husband company; he’s got gout and two dodgy ankles from rockclimbing injuries.

    • Oh no! Get bigger cups! :) You have to do what’s comfortable for you to do, but I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how your bra experiments go. :D

      No, no, the second one is not better. ;) It hangs about 1/5″ or so away from my body in the front, it’s all kinds of swingy and jiggly, really really isn’t good though it doesn’t come through in the photos. :) It’s also exactly the same pattern as the white one, except the purple one has a slightly bigger band, I didn’t reinforce the center gore, and also I stitched the underwires *to* the cups instead of just under them… Tiny details really but they all make a difference… :)

      Well, if the running helps my immune system and fitness feelings, then that’s fine… I won’t go running out for a “back lift” or anything. I just want to feel better. :)

  3. Bravo for being brave I say!

    Having carried a few 18kg hiking packs over long distances in my life a decent hipbelt for 12E (post baby) is essential :) I doubt I’ll even venture into bra making. I found a decent brand when breastfeeding and while expensive they work for me.

    Running – hmmm not my thing courtesy of a seriously dodgy knee, but I’ll think of you as I do pilaties. Swimming is next on my list once I find a swimming teacher. I’m one of those ‘bush kids’ who’s swimming life as a child consisted on the dam – not ideal conditions to learn to swim so this summer at age 40 thats where I’ll be.

    Off to have a sleep ready for the circus tomorrow….

    • I’m so pleased you have a great brand that works well for you! :)

      I spent my childhood in Florida, we were always in the water… I’m going to make a concerted effort to get to the water more this summer, but in the ocean etc… I wish I knew of a good local cold spring, we used to go dunk in those in the summer and it’s the best thing for hot, humid, strangling days…

      Hahahaha… I hope the circus isn’t too exciting… ;)

  4. I’m loving this post. I don’t weigh myself either and although I’ve put on weight in the last decade, I accept my body today than I did in my twenties. Go figure…
    I’m itching to order from makebra as well but since fitting is so tricky, I’m thinking I should wait until not breastfeeding anymore, since my size will most likely change then… But I love to read about your experience.

    • Thanks, Lin. :)

      Do you think it’s easier to find confidence in other areas (humor, intelligence, kindness, etc) that aren’t to do with looks as we get a bit older, and that takes the pressure off to be “attractive” or whatever? Like, developing those other aspects of character makes it easier to accept our bodies? Hmmm… :)

  5. I don’t weigh myself, preferring the ‘how tight are my jeans feeling’ method. I am a few sizes larger than I was 10 years ago but 10 years ago I couldn’t/wouldn’t run 5 kms. Now I think running is sort of fun. Maybe seeing yourself from an unusual angle is like hearing yourself on tape-a bit of a surprise. Thank you for these posts, they often make my day.

    • Yes! Exactly like that. I thought “Oh dear, do I really sound like that?” but about my back… If it still looks like that after I’m running 5k (and it well might, stretched out during pregnancy) then that’s ok. I’ll be able to run, I won’t care if I see the folds… But now… well..

  6. Wow, this is a really brave post! We have very similar bodies. I also wear 75G and have back rolls, I believe, last time I checked. Don’t let that bother you. I’m not bothered by mine. I think it’s normal, especially if you have big breasts, because the strap has to be super-super tight and then often makes for unseemly rolls. That’s why I don’t like wearing, slinky and tight jersey tops. It doesn’t look great if I can see my back rolls and bra straps from behind. If something’s a little tight and shows backrolls I simply wear a cami underneath. I love those. A wardrobe staple for the big-boobed, tight-bra wearing women. :)

    Your post was also really informative! I might try making my own bra too, now that you have done so much research on this topic. I have very few bras and the ones I have were sooo expensive because my size isn’t easy to come by and these bras are really a feat of engineering :)

    • I concur with Stephanie. The architecture required to support large breasts needs to come from a tight band, which can lead to observable distinction between the band and the back. It’s not a problem, IMO.

    • You’re both so insanely sensible and well-grounded! :) Stephanie, I think I could just shrug and get on with my life after seeing my back if I felt happy with my fitness levels. But I don’t, and if the folds fail to disappear after I can run 5K, well, then I think I can make peace with it. :)

      Thanks for the tip on camis!

  7. Yay for bra making! The improvement between your first attempt and second attempt is impressive- the fit is definitely improving and it is interesting to see the comparisons between the commercial bra and your two self-made ones. I must admit my preference is towards a bra with wider straps (elegantly done not just chunks o’ fabric) now days as it has taken years of shoulder pain/angry shoulder dints to get the message across. The problem is finding something pretty AND supportive that fits well when you are out of the standard A-C cup sizes.

    I tip my hat to you for blogging with courage, humour and honesty! *hat tip*

    I have to say playing roller derby has been one of the most amazing things for my body confidence. I now care more about what amazing things my body can do then a number on a scale. And being surrounded by a league of strong, fit and confident women doesn’t hurt either.

    (Totes love the 5k app. It’s great to run and listen to tunes with the friendly prompts still going. Kick running butt!)

    • Thanks!

      Yes, I’m going to try a similar cut to the black one next. In a few weeks. :) Pretty and supportive is precisely what I’m going for, and I’ll probably get some interesting design ideas once I’m comfortable with the fit and the process.. We’ll see!

      Oooooh Roller Derby! I used to have a derby roomie in Austin and while I absolutely ADORED and admired all those strong, bawdy, hilarious ladies they also scared me a little. Hehehe. But yes, being surrounded by women of that kind of strength and confidence is an incredible experience. :)

      (I will try!! Glad to hear you love the app too!)

  8. I have been contemplating making my own bras for some time but haven’t worked up the courage. Reading your posts makes it seem less daunting. I really appreciate you sharing the process with us.
    Looking at the results so far it looks like the gore on the purple one is a bit too wide and theite a bit too narrow on the white. The way the gore sits seems to make quite a difference to the entire bra. When it is too wide it feels like the breasts are being pushed apart and trying to sneak under the arm pits or else trying to escape from the middle.
    I am interested to hear that too wide straps is an easy fix. I have a narrow-ish rib cage and find that many bra straps are set too wide causing the straps to cut into the front of my arms and to roll/twist/pinch.
    Do you think the breasts would sit lower into the cup of the white one if the entire cup rotated inwards just slightly? Is that possible? It would mean sewing the next one with the peak more towards the middle of the shoulder blade. It looks like it cuts into the top of the breast, does it? I find that when bras do this to me it causes an unflattering line on my blouses/tops.
    I hope my comments are useful and I really look forward to learning more about the process.
    BTW – you are gorgeous. I haven’t met a woman who doesn’t have body issues and I am sure your efforts at helping others makes a big difference to those women.

    • Thanks, Dee.. .I’m glad it’s been helpful. :)

      I think you’re right about the gore shapes. Definitely.

      The straps being set too wide in the front is as simple as removing the stitching (or just cutting the elastic, really) and re-positioning the straps and then using a narrow zig zag stitch to secure them. That’s it.

      The cup feels like it wants to pull my breasts outward, and it’s just not right. Like my bust apex is supposed to point to 10 and 2 o’clock if you get me.. It doesn’t cut into the top of the breast, I think it looks like that due to the narrow elastic binding sewn through two layers of fabric and one of foam… But yes, I dread the quadriboob effect and tend to shun it. :)

      Thanks so much, you’re too kind. :)

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. I really appreciate it, although bra-making is still a far away dream for me at present. I’m sure you’ll feel better about yourself – and that has nothing to do with anyone else’s opinion! – by getting fitter and having bras that fit!
    I recently started jogging with my children, but have found a minitrampoline so much more pleasant, to be honest. I can jog on that without any jarring and have noticed toning up and more flexibility and stamina. Even just the enhanced circulation bouncing causes, is energizing and feels great. Back fat disappears when I do Callanetics (Cardio), so, all is not lost. :-) Just knowing it doesn’t have to be all downhill from here (I’m 55) is great, despite the greater effort I now have to put in.
    Good luck, and thanks again!!!

    • Yeah, no problem, Monique. You’re so right!

      That sounds amazing, I’m so pleased that 1) fitness doesn’t have to go away with age and 2) you found your inner Amazon. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

      • Certainly is, and I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful facial exercises that work (Ageless). :-) Sagging all over is SO depressing.

  10. Well done on a brave and very informative post! Those photos are extremely useful in examining fit – whether making or just buying a ready-made bra.
    I like your attitude to your body. It’s pretty much how I feel about mine these days. I do a yoga class once a week and it keeps everything pulled together a little bit more and I love how strong it makes me feel. Good luck with the running :)

  11. Thankyou for your real photos! Serious respect for posting them, honestly I think you look great though! Real women aren’t perfect, we’re not airbrushed and I think you are an outstanding example for you daughter and women everywhere.

    I like the band on the latest white bra and I like the cups more on the black one. The white bra cups look a bit small/low from the side, and the centre gore looks too wide to me, but then I never wear balconette bras as I always feel they sit too low and that I’ll fall out!
    I’ve just ordered from makebra because of your latest posts! I got the multisize pattern of the #4800 to try in the 95 band, I ordered the size from what the site said but am pretty positive the band will be too big as I wear a 16E/F (85E/F) in RTW but I figure the only way to be sure is to get it and make it up! Please keep on posting about bra making as it is going to be so helpful when I get started!

    The couch to 5K is a brilliant running program, I’ve done it a couple of times and it really works. I do karate now for my fitness, but I do need to up it as I’m finding my lack of fitness is holding me back in sparring which is seriously frustrating!

    • Thanks… You’re so sweet! And yes, that’s why I posted them… Real women aren’t perfect. Well, some of them are but I’m sure they have some terrible dark secret none of the rest of us can see.. ;) Because no one is perfect.

      Ye- same with me. I like the black cups and the white band. I think the band could go wider, even… I’m going to try the #4800 next, too! :) Then, once I get my system down, I’ll do some tutorials or something. That’d be fun… :)

      Oooh! I’d love to learn karate, it’s on my list of things to do. I know this isn’t the point of karate, but I like the thought of turning my body into a weapon, and centering my mind… ;) Not that I’d go picking fights or anything, but to be that strong would be awesome.

  12. Hi, congratulations on a fascinating post and I’m sorry to hear your photos nearly reduced you to tears, but how brave to keep going and post them anyway! You’re a very pretty woman, who cares about a “cuddly” back. Keep up the good work!

  13. I’m a fan of wide bands. Pretty, wimpy, narrow bands are a pet peeve of mine. The support comes from the back! I’m befuddled by the shortage of wide bands, especially in larger size bras. In most bras I wear US 40G/H even though a snug underbust measurement of my rib cage is 42-43 inches. There’s just not enough tensile strength in a narrow band to support my girls. I’ve tried posture bras, and I love the backs of those, but haven’t liked the front of them.

    Something you haven’t mentioned (yet) that concerns me a lot is bridge height.

    I have found that it is difficult to lift the busts’ apex above the gore/bridge. I look for underwire that come up as high as possible on the chest. I feel that lifting the girls up is like getting a breast reduction. Low slung looks so heavy, perhaps in part because it shortens my waist by a couple of inches.

    I have a pair of plunge bras that have the underwire ending just above the band in the center and my apex is not quite that low, but the shoulder straps bear more of the weight. Also the cups are stiff and the band digs in at the fulcrum point of outer breast and rib cage. And my apex point is still lower than in my regular bras.

    • Yes.. I felt like my breasts looked at that 1/2″ band and chuckled evilly.. “Puny Elastic! You can not contain us! Bwahahaha!”

      Sigh.. Surely we must be able to find something that’s uber supportive and not super ugly. Surely! Surely!

      And yes! You’re soooo right about how large breasts have to be carefully handled or they make you look bigger than you are. Sigh. Thanks for the tips on underwires, I’ll keep that in mind once I settle into some serious engineering work for the next bras…

  14. i look at these pictures and the first thing that come to mind is that you need to show off the girls. I mean, so you are not stick thin, but really, people invest good money to get breasts like yours.

    perhaps they need more padding on the side to stop them from going sideways and less fabric in the middle (I don’t know the proper terms, sorry) to encourage them to present themselves forward. When you have sorted out the perfect fit, your back will look smooth as well.

    anyway, you are doing such a great job with this. well done.

    I do struggle with the body image issue more since I started sewing, mainly because of pattern companies and their sizing. Yes I know it is just a number and I know it doesn’t matter, but as I trace it and then cut it, I do feel like I have let myself go and it makes me feel bad about myself. Then I tell myself off for losing my cool over a little number … anyway I feel I really need to combat the negative commentary that seems to run through my mind needlessly. Maybe sewing (in the long run) will accomplish that :-)

    • Hmmmm… Thank you, but I’m not really comfortable showing them off. I’m really, really not. Experience has shown me that 1) other women resent it and treat me accordingly and 2) Some men get ideas about me that aren’t based in reality. :)

      The money/surgery thing kind of doesn’t make me feel better. I’m sorry, that’s something of a sore point for me…. I have had the experience of people touching my breasts because they wondered if it was real or not, and then voicing surprise that my breasts are real. Way to make me feel like a freak…. ;) I used to sort of just put up with it from gfs and gay men with a bit of eyerolling and good nature but I just don’t think I should have to. Know what I mean? :D People who pay money to have breasts like mine have more dollars than sense..

      Thanks, Djamila! :)

      Well… I think you’re cute. :) There’s always the fitness option, too.. Even here in this heat.. A great side effect of good fitness is you start to feel physically invincible, and it really helps shut up all those niggling negative voices…

      • oh my word, I hadn’t realised people would touch them to check, I mean seriously, have they got no concept of personal boundaries. I obviously have lived a sheltered life, because it hasn’t occured to me that ‘normal’ people would do this. I mean I used to work in a profession where people did (the probation/parole service) hence one would dress accordingly, because despite what tv shows would tell you no woman would walk into a male prison wearing high heels and a skirt. Anyway, it is amazing how caught up people get with some tissue that evolved to nourish children.

        So in short with all my waffling, you are absolutely right, no one should have to put up with that. Good luck on your 5K thing :-)

        • Hahah… Well… It was always a sort of “ladies’ room” type experience, for whatever reason it would come up… Someone would talk about my boobs and their outlandish size and etc… I didn’t like it but it seemed churlish to be like “Shut The F*ck up about my breasts!” though I’d probably be more inclined to that now… I tried to deal with it in my early 20’s by being “cool” about it- “Yeah, they’re real, whatever.” But yeah… Crazy.

          We also live in a culture that fetishizes a body part that’s intended to nourish and comfort… I remember an African friend of mine in university who was like “Why do American men love boobs? They’re like greedy babies!” She just found it funny… Ha…

  15. I find that I’m bothered most by my body when I am wearing or trying on clothing that doesn’t fit right, and I’ve really come to terms with my breasts since I found a size and style of bra that actually fits (US 38F, balconette)—which required ignoring the suggestion of adding inches to your measurements to find your band size. So, I like a smaller band and larger cup. It makes my back hurt less, because the weight is distributed throughout my torso, not just shoulders, and it helps my shirts look a lot better. Back rolls are unfortunate, but I also have them—more so when I’m wearing a bra than without.

    Now that you’ve pointed it out, I’m going to have to pay attention to width of the bands when shopping in the future. I think more fabric on the wings would make a more comfortable fit, but I do see how they would displace more skin, thus making larger back rolls. What I don’t like are the super wide boulder-holder straps they put on a lot of larger bras—if your band and cups fit right, you shouldn’t need a ridiculously large strap. I have some that are .5″, some that are 1″ and they both provide the same amount of comfort, since they aren’t bearing a ton of weight.

    I just wish women would get educated about their actual bra size, so that the manufacturers might be forced to reevaluate the sizes they make, allowing those of us with larger cup sizes to find bras that fit at normal stores.

    Do I care about fitness? Yes, and I’m trying to motivate myself there, but it takes time away from sewing (which is precious, since I work full time). But, I agree about weighing yourself. The fact that my jeans are starting to be a bit tighter, and my bras aren’t quite right let me know that I need to reevaluate my diet (that is, we should probably start eating at home and healthier, not that I need to go on a fad diet).

    • That’s so awesome! :) Thanks for sharing your experience, I know I find it helpful to read stories like yours so I’m sure it’s useful for others. Thank you! :)

      And yes, eating sensibly is so important. SO important. One of the first things I do when I’m feeling “big” is to make sure I’m eating plenty of fiber. It’s amazing the difference it can make… ;)

  16. Oh boy, I suspect this post is going to create a whole lot of conversation.

    A. Good for you on posting pictures. I completely understand the feeling of being uncomfortable posting them on the net. It’s a weird feeling, but if you want to talk fit, it’s the best way.

    B. Second bra looks pretty, I love the blue interior. And why not put a lush fabric as a little treat to yourself?

    C. I do weigh myself, but not as often as I used to and I don’t beat myself up too much about the specific number. For me, it gives a good sense of “the buck stops here”. I am not very good at listening to my clothing as I will just turn to more and more knits until 15lbs has creeped on my short frame. But you are right, weight as a number means next to nothing. It can shift, it doesn’t speak to your levels of health. If it is going to upset you, then you are absolutely right to pitch it and focus on other metrics.

    D. I too enjoy beer. More so on tap than in a bottle/can. And darker beers over lighter. Like a nice porter or red. Guiness is quite tasty.

    E. What kind of weird synergy is going on where I started a couch to 5k running program with my husband. And it’s for many of the same reasons, we just need to get moving and doing something.

    F. I have back rolls like that too. You are not alone at all.

    • Yes, I hope so…

      A- agreed. definitely. But still, it’s the internet.. You know…

      B- Thanks ! And yes!

      C- Nah weight doesn’t upset me, it just occurred to me one day that it doesn’t accurately measure my health levels and bitchy chicks just use it to make each other feel fat. So I jumped off the scales… Seemed to make sense for me. :)

      D- Beer beer beer. I like it on tap, and also in steins etc… Tap beer is expensive here, though! I like honey and wheat beers… Hoegaarden, with the orange. Yum. I guess that makes me kind of girly. ;)

      E- Weird!!! Let me know how you go! :) You can do it!

      F- So good to know. I figured it was probably the case… :)

      • Mmmmm honey beers… yeah, I’m a fan of those too. Oh and stouts. I learned in Halifax that I particularly like stouts. Such a lovely flavour to them. My husband made some beer this summer, a porter that is really quite tasty.

  17. Good for you, Steph! You are a courageous strong woman, and I’m saluting you with cups of espresso this morning for posting such an honest post. That’s why we all love you! :) I agree with you about the white band – it sits where it belongs. And I’m thinking you need a wider gore AND a different cup shape. Perhaps the cups need to be deeper at the centre? It’s funny – just looking at the front pics, I’d have thought the purple one fit best – it seams to be the right cup shape, even if it is the wrong size. I’ve spent HOURS in bra fitting specialist stores, especially after each childbirth, because e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. changes with each child. Amazing how detailed the fitting process can be. I really prefer a molded cup bra, so would never attempt to make one. You’re doing great! And good for you & hubby to be tag-teaming on something that’s more important than measurements: a healthy body.

    • Mmmm espresso… :) Thanks, thanks so much.

      Nooo the purple one is quite quite hideous, but when I looked at the photos again after reading your comment, I think I see what you mean… I think they look “right” because that’s more or less what the average badly fitting bra looks like on a person. But the fit really isn’t adequate.

      Yeah he and I want to do some fun outdoorsy stuff this summer, and we realized we had to be fitter to do it! :)

  18. Thanks for sharing your photos! It really is so interesting and you did a great job getting the same shots for comparison. I’m sure your fitting discoveries will really help some people (I’m small-busted and am usually fine in a cotton sports bra, or at least most comfortable).
    You’re a beautiful person!

    • Aw thanks! Husband helped with the shots… I was all “Darling, I think I have to take my top off and post pictures on the internet.” And he said “Ok, where’s the camera got off to?” ;)

      I have to say, I spent years and YEARS of my life being sick with envy over my friends’ smaller chests.. You can wear such cute tops! Bandeau swimsuits! Strapless anything! :)

      Thank you. You’re so kind. :)

  19. OK, I’ve only read this through once – and it warrants many more readings – but I have to say that your bra efforts are fantastic! So much better than mine! :-) You are practically there after 2 bras. Very impressive.

    I also think that the back size is so much better on the 34 than on the 36. You know, I have a post in the queue about “back fat” (silly term!) wherein I’ll chat about my feelings on the topic.

    I think you should be really chuffed by your bravery. It’s not your responsibility to post pics of yourself, but it is such a public service to so many of your readers who may be struggling with the same body issues or to find bras that fit correctly in the band. And I think, as always, you look gorgeous.

  20. Fantastic post!
    Thank you for this honest and brave disclosure of the issues. I won’t be sewing my own bra but you’ve given me more tools to use in my search for a well fitting ready made garment.
    Also, I cannot wait for tomorrow and the launch of Tiramisu!

    Cheryl

  21. Thank you so much for writing this post. You are brave, and I appreciate that you are sharing the pictures. Your openness is admirable and you are someone to look up to. The analytical view is necessary to improve the engineering, but it has the side effect of concentrating on what we consider flaws, but are just what makes us real. Tissue is not plastic, but aesthetics seem to dictate some sort of hard surface, which likely would be really uncomfortable for cuddling/movement. I admire your sewing skills, and am looking forward to see how you improve the fit! I wonder if a wider bra band with more hooks in the back would distribute everything better? Same as using a wider backpack belt. Or something more long-line? The good thing about sewing is the possibility to customize, similar as using the wider bra band.

    I currently wear 65G/30F and am still surprised how much difference good fit makes (I can almost go running in my regular bras)! I’ve always had my ribs show (despite being padded in other places) so I do not get ‘rolls’, but on the other hand a lot of bras simply hurt (e.g. Wacoal) due to my lack of padding, thanks to too narrow wires, stretchy bands and or a band that does not run under the cups. Unless we develop artificial gravity (or whatever superheroines use) we need less flimsy bras, but not the kind that overcompensates by using very wide straps and too much material without improving the band.

    Mona

    • Awwwwwwww shucks.

      I’m super cuddly. ;)

      I’m really looking forward to experimenting more with bra engineering/styles. Absolutely. Who knows, I may stumble onto something good…

      Very, very well put about the problems with larger breasts and finding bras. :)

  22. Oh ya, I think I know how you feel about that stuff. Forgetting “aesthetics,” keeping fit is good mentally as well as physically. I run too, and after a too-long break, I recently started back at it again.

    As for the (universal) back fat rolls, this is caused by the clothing (bra) and not by the body. But for the bra, the fat is far less obvious. This is not to say that I like it, but as I see it, it is a clothing problem and not a body problem.

    As for bra fitting, have you thought about adding side boning?
    ~Jen

    • Ah ah! synchronicity… Excellent..

      I think you’re right. My back rolls are also caused by- sedentary job and lifestyle, beer, and cheese. Heheh.

      Yeah- I forgot to mention- the black one also has side boning and the others don’t. Sigh. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up in a half-corset… ;)

  23. I love this. I don’t have much to offer in terms of bra-fitting – it’s something I’m still figuring out myself. I will say that I went down a band size/up a cup size and it made HUGE difference in the way my bras fit (and the way my boobs feel!). I’m a big fan of the small band/large cup camp… I think those folks are onto something.

    I agree with you in the thoughts of not weighing myself (only at the doctor once a year haha) or working out regularly. Although I probably should pick that up again, just because it makes me feel better as a whole… sleep better, and I like riding my bike and NOT feeling like I’m going to die after half a mile haha.

    Anyway, you are a beautiful lady & really brave to post pictures that aren’t 100% comfortable for you. Also, I have back fat too & I decided to just ignore it… if I can’t see it, I don’t careeeee haha :)

    • HA! I love your way of expressing yourself. It DOES make a huge difference…

      The sleep thing is a definite plus. Absolutely.

      Thanks… :) By now, having written that and stared at my back and read and responded, I’m feeling very much like I don’t care what my back looks like… But I do want to be fit so I’ll keep on the running. :)

  24. Dude, good on you for keeping at bra making despite the fit and construction challenges you’ve faced! It’s funny, Suzanne over at Beau Baby had a post last night asking whether or not sewing and fitting clothes has made you feel self-conscious about body “flaws” and unique characteristics. Sewing really forces you to be honest about your body and what works for you and what doesn’t (hell, even your posts about color and that sort of thing aren’t something I ever thought about before I began sewing). It’s not always fun to confront ourselves honestly, but in the long run, I think we’ll look and feel better when we really examine what works.

    I JUST started training for a 5K (in a way-too-short time frame), and man, I just hate running! It’s so not fun. As someone who was a high school athlete, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I get winded walking up the stairs to my third-floor office. :( Time to build some strength and conditioning!

    • I’ll have to go look up the post, thanks Ginger!

      And yes, sewing definitely forces us to be honest about our bodies. Well, in a nice and gentle way mostly… A fun way, because properly fitting clothes are so awesome to wear. You’re so so right!

      Ooooh! I hate running too. My bestie trains for marathons and used to beg me to run with her, and drag me out to the track sometimes kicking and screaming… But I can’t afford the gym right now so running it is! I’ll be thinking of you when I’m out running. :)

  25. Oh, you have such a pretty bust! Does not look as if you need to narrow the bridge so that it hits your breastbone — you seem fairly wide set. I’m going to try making the holes for the cup shallower and farther to the sides on the band, on my next attempt at an all-woven bra, as well as increasing the overall volume of the cup. As I’ve grown older, I seem to have migrated sidewise … If you get the band right (juggling all those mounds of flesh out of the way makes this tricksy), the cup volume is a little easier to fix. You may find that you need more volume than you think.

    • Hmmm… Maybe. The shape of these cups is weird, they’re actually kind of pulling my bust to the sides more than it’d go normally… well. Whatever normal is… :) But that’s what it feels like… My breasts are being a bit pulled down and outward.. It’s just kind of awkward… hhhee.

      Thanks so much Lin, I really value your input as a veteran bra maker.

  26. So I do think that you’re right and a smaller band can be much better in terms of support. I’m not sure that wider elastic is necessarily a great step though, for me such a band would dig into my all-around rib rolls :-). I need a partial band in order to get support without having the elastic flipping up or out or something, much like your purple one is doing. But of course once I have that, a wider elastic is better, the half inch one wouldn’t work for me, 3/4 inch is much better.

    One thing I notice though: back band height. You’ve got 2 hooks. I don’t think they’d be at all adequate for my mere DDs, so I’m pretty sure you need 3 hooks’ worth too. Just like the tighter band provides more leverage, a higher band in the back helps that. And I’d like to point out that it really helps with back rolls too. Ask me how I know :-). I think they’re particularly horrifying because they happen totally out of our sight, and consciousness, one day they’re just there. Sigh. But really, without going as far as the no-back-fat specialized bra you can get that’s almost a t-shirt back there, I htink you’d be happier with 3 hooks. No matter what, be sure to check that your band pattern dips down in the mid-back, as that’s the key to keeping it from crawling up.

    Anyway, courage, it looks like you’re almost there :-).

    • Yes… I’m going to try 3 or 4 next time. I just don’t like to make a whole lot of changes all at once when I’m working something out… :)

      • A wise scientific seamstress, what a gem :-)! You’ve made a lot of progress in just 2 bras, so don’t worry, perfection is just around the corner.

  27. Kudos for unflinchingly posting the pictures you didn’t like. I would say wider gore. If you keep the cups the same size, but with more space in between it might keep that one cup from biting in. And I say to hell with scales. As a child, I saw my mom weigh herself at home & sometimes I would too. It didn’t take too long for me to decide that it was all not worth it. Although I’d be a terrible liar if I said I wasn’t concerned about weight. I just check mine in a different way, by seeing how flat or bloated my tummy is. So I suppose it’s the same thing, just not rated by numbers. Eh, most of us have these problems & it’s hard to fight against something that’s been instilled since childhood. I think all we can do is acknowledge it & try & live with as much love as possible.

  28. I am very impressed that you are running. I’ve started swimming myself. My old feet and knees couldn’t handle running. Swimming is my last option. It’s kind of nice, but it is murder on my hair.
    This brings me to the way your torso looks from behind. I am not sure what I look like, because I can’t really look at my own back. But now that I am changing with thirty or so other women four days a week at the gym in order to swim, I can assure you that your back is the norm.
    No thoughts on bras, I’ve never tried to sew one. They look tricky!

    • Oooooh! Swimming is good, especially if your feet and knees won’t take running.

      Thanks for that reality check. :)

      I think once I get the fit down, they won’t be too tricky… Maybe?

  29. PS: I notice at least you’re not calling this one ugly :-). Progress, eh?
    But I also notice you mention interfacing the center gore with silk organza. Good thought, but not enough. You need almost.. plastic canvas! Nothing’s too strong for that center piece Actually, I use a lightweight nylon “lining” I get from elingeria, it’s basically sheer but it doesn’t not stretch. At all, in any direction. I’m sure Australia must have something like that.
    Also, don’t hesitate to line cups with sweat-absorbing technical fabric. You’re heading into summer :-).

    • Nah, I don’t think this one is ugly.. Well, maybe a bit, but the other one was all kinds of newbie-mangled. :)

      HHAHA plastic canvas!

      Well, first I’m focusing on structural engineering, then performance engineering, then looks. We’ll see what happens! :)

  30. I actually have photos of myself up on Bratabase, wearing most of my bras. One thing I hate about commercial bras, is that even in a 34H (UK sizing), most of the pretty ones only have 2 hooks in the back. I much prefer 4 because the band is sturdier and stays in place better. I can’t wear a 32 band (WAY too tight), but on my pretty bras the band rides up. Bras are complicated… :)

    My tip is to pull the “back bulge” around the side. With my sports bras I find the look is amplified because they compress so much, so if you reach in under the band and pull your flesh forward (including pulling your boobs forward into the cups) you might notice a difference in fit. It doesn’t stay exactly that way – things settle out – but the back bulge over the top of the band does smooth out.

    • I’ll have to go look that up, thanks!

      I’m definitely going to experiment with 3 or 4… We’ll see… And yes, super complicated and also so simple.. Crazy…

      Thanks for the tip!

    • There’s another factor in that a bra band cut straight will ride up at the least provocation. If you cut the band so it dips down in the middle by an inch or so, it acts straight but doesn’t ride up. And it can be kind of subtle to see that on a commercial already-made bra, but it’s worth trying.. For sure my favorite Wacoals are cut that way.

      • I actually just read that most Panache bras are cut with a rise in the CB rather than a dip, so even if they aren’t riding up they will feel like they want to. Since most of my pretty bras are Panache, that’s probably it. I should try another brand. :)

        • Wow! That’s someone in a too-central position getting things radically wrong!! Too bad if you like their looks :-(.

  31. You are an amazing for posting these super helpful photos of your bra making work.

    I’m also in the small back/band larger cup camp. I am a 32H (UK sizing) and a larger band does not feel comfortable. At all. Bras are complicated and not every 32H fits me well or gives me that liberating feeling of a well fitting bra.

    I can’t wait to see the changes you make to your next bra. Awesome!!

    • Thanks, Leila! :) And thanks for sharing. It’s super helpful.

      The next one won’t be for a few weeks, but I’m pretty hooked on the process, so we’ll see what comes up next. :)

  32. Go Steph. The analogy to hearing oneself on a recording is so true! My beloved darling husband really disliked some of my favourite wedding photos of us, because he looked bald. Bless! He IS bald ( I love it, his head feels like a well worn leather jacket), but he can’t see the back of his head. We are all used to it. Same thing.
    “Focus on the fitness, not the photos”. It even has alliteration! :) Actually I am in no position to share any kind of advice about fitness and weighing etc as I am in the Darklands on both fronts. But I DO know that facing something, living with it, and accepting it is empowering. Not “putting up with it” but really getting it, without adding a judgement. So to post those pics was brave and sensible all at once.
    None of us give a tinker’s cuss about your rolls, but we are incredibly grateful that you are willing to put your photos up for technical analysis purposes. It is incredibly educating!
    Now, on a technical note, I am interested in the balconette style for larger busts. I have heard it so often said that it is more flattering and comfortable but I don’t understand why, given the strap is so offset from the central point of gravity. Is it something to do with centrifugal energy, or something?
    Also, do you do the bend forward and jiggle thing when putting a bra on? It can make such a difference to the fit and seat of it.
    Great clip on the link. It makes so much sense! Although I don’t like the fit of that last bra at all. She looks like she is coming out of the bottom of it. That cannot be right!

    • I think I may be able to clarify this as someone who’s made bras and who wears balconettes most of the time. The balconette is actually only the most supportive for larger busts if the largest piece of a 3-piece cup (the side piece that generally runs from the bottom to the top of the cup) is the piece that the straps attach to. In many instances, this isn’t how it works (the strap attaches to the upper piece) – and those balconettes are not as uplifting on large, dense breasts. On smaller breasts, the construction doesn’t make as much of a difference.

      • I just want to say- I went running this morning in the white bra and WOW. I’ve never even had sports bras that held me so comfortably while I exercise. The bra was immovable, but also didn’t squash me down painfully like most sports bras do. Amazing.

        So…. I think this model isn’t my ideal cup shape/style necessarily, but it’s definitely good enough for utilitarian wear…

        Awww, Mrs C, I hope your husband came around to love the photos as he should!

        And thanks, too. Wise, wise words from you as per the usual! :) (And no, I don’t like the boob coming out of the bottom… but they do make a few good points…)

      • Aha, I understand what you mean. I did some yanking around of my girls in the mirror to try and work out how the different point of support affects the shape. Not quite scientific and probably looked quite lunatic, but the support that comes around from under then up the sides, really made sense. So interesting!

  33. Just a quick note to add my heartfelt thank you for posting your bra making adventure, complete with photos. I’m going to go back and study your post and links when I have more time, but did want to let you know how much I appreciate it!

  34. I did a couch to 5k club earlier this year and it was the best thing I ever did. Surprisingly, my weight did not change. Nor did the size of my pants. Though things seemed to be a little bit tighter, if you know what I mean. But man, did I feel so much better. More energy and better brain function, I think. I’ve fallen out of the habit since school started back and I need to get back in to it. I’m checking out that app. I’d love to run with you ;)

    • Yes- and if that’s what I get from the 5K, I’ll be quite happy. Quite. The app is so good! :) I’ve been putting my stats on facebook, my bestie runs marathons and has always tried to get me to run so it’s good to know she’s keeping an eye on my stats… feels almost like university days. hahaha! (I’ll try to find you on facebook..)

  35. Wow. My respect levels for you have just flown through the ROOF. Thank you so much for having the all out guts and gorm to share. You rock.
    On a technical note – that black bra is an absolute beauty on you. And I’ve never consciously thought about it, but I know when I’m buying bras I can’t go for the skinny band/elastic ones, or ones with only one line of hooks! I get excited when I see 3 hooks! Wider elastic is just THAT much comfier, and more secure. Between the two bras you’ve made, I think the white one is more supportive looking, but the gore needs to be wider. It’s difficult to say from just seeing 2D photos though. I definitely don’t think larger cups would solve any problems.
    And a personal note – its amazing how far I’ve come in improving my self image since having to take pictures of myself and post them on the internet. I still slip back into oblivion every now and again though. The thing with taking pictures of yourself in the flesh is there is no ‘normal’ point of comparison. All the people we see in society with their kit off are the 1% of the population who ‘look good’ (to whose standards I’ll never know) doing it. I happen to think you look like the majority of us do when we’re standing around in our bras. And don’t forget – that body has created life and fed it too – no small feat. And we love you all the more for putting getting a good fit ahead of your fear of posting photos on the internet. Don’t let it get to you in the eat-you-up-from-the-inside way. I love your attitude about using that image to change for the better – I do the same thing.
    I’m currently nearing the end of week 6 of ease into 5k – it’s an AWESOME app and I can’t praise it enough. Its my goal to be able to run 5k straight by the end of the year (I don’t always get to do three runs a week due to my work commitments, so I often have to repeat sessions before I can move onto the next level). I love it so much I’ve downloaded the ‘bridge to 10k’ which is the next one afterwards. I never ever thought I’d ever (want to) be able to run 5km… let alone 10! Something to try for next year I think!

    • Thanks for that!

      a 3-hook (or 4hook?) back is next on my list of engineering stuff to try… sigh… I might end up wearing a longline if I do that! I’m also trying next the cut of bra (#4800) that is most similar to the black one. Fingers crossed!

      Could not agree more about the effect of taking photos of yourself. It is super, super helpful because there’s so many things I don’t notice irl, but I do in a photo.

      Nah, takes more than a bra to eat me from the inside… ;) It was just rather a surprise…

      Yaaaay! I’ve been really amazed by the app, too. I’m not that into running, I prefer weights/pump classes and spin classes if I’m working on my fitness. But alas, we can’t afford the gym for now (which is really why I got lazy..)… So pounding the pavement it is!

      Ooooh bravo for doing the 10! My goal after the 5 is to look at taking up a bit of surfing… I’m such a goals person… :)

  36. Well done you being brave enough to share undies pictures!! And woo to getting fitter! I really should do that, but finding time is difficult. Summer, with more sunlight later in the day, might make it a little easier though..
    I’m not sure I have anything constructive to offer about the fitting, except that they don’t appear to be the right shape, which is probably making it difficult to tell if they’re the right size as well. It took me a long time to figure out that was why some of my favourite bras didn’t fit right; not because they were the wrong size, but because they were the wrong shape. Of course finding the RIGHT shape is often easier said than done, and different bra makers use different sizes so it becomes tricky all over again.
    Side note, after seeing this post early this morning I decided to go check the fit of a few of my bras – comfy old ones that can’t be worn for long because they stretch within seconds, ones with too big bands, new ones that are good, etc.. and found that my most comfortable bra is also the one that looks the best in the back – its got 4 hooks, and the WWWWWIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEEE band helps hold in a lot of the back flab. And my husband thinks I bought it to torture him, so it keeps me amused too! All-round win!

    • Uuuuuuugh, the sunlight keeps me inside, it’s why I get up so early to go running… It literally sears my skin.. But the husband goes in the afternoon lately, he finds the later sunshine works quite well for him…

      Hhahahaha at your husband! I’ll give even wider bands a try once I sort out these cups… :)

      • I burn very easily, but when it gets dark at 5pm, when hubby gets home from work, and he leaves for work at 6am, my only other option is to take the kids with me, and that just leads to whinging and headaches and bad moods all round. so late afternoon/early evening in summer when theres light coming over the escarpment but not skin-hitting sunlight is my best bet for walking. (No running here, my knees couldn’t take it.)

  37. You are fabulous, you are a yummy mummy and a lot of us have those back rolls so they seem normal, I didn’t notice them as I was looking at the bra fit. I love your spirit of inquisitiveness and willing to share it all with perfect clarity. Fantastic, thank you for the post Steph.

  38. I actually read this post this morning, but couldn’t think of the right words to say how incredibly fabulous you are to brave the potential critiques of mean people in the interest of helping us all to get the right fit for our shape, no matter if that shape is the standard “beautiful” shape or if there is something about it we would rather looked different. And it really is helpful to see the differences in fit between the 3 bras.

    • Thanks, Carolyn.

      Sigh.. Mean people just make themselves look like jerks. But yeah… Still scary to just put those pictures “out there.’ But it’s for science! hehe. I’m really glad it was useful to you to see the fit.

  39. You know you are awesome for posting this, right?
    I don’t know anything about making bra yet. Next month, I am going to a conference to learn. So it has been really exciting to watch you post about it.
    I think I had a moment like you regarding my back roll(s). Now that I started going to the gym I do extra reps that target that area.
    I refuse to run, the weight of the ladies are too much to run for non-emergencies, and my knees are not at their best. I do enjoy swimming. It would be nice to find a comfortable sports bra. I heard some women my sizes wear multiple bras when they work out, that just seems insane. Do you think you would every tackle supports bra?
    Quick question, are the seams on the first bra similar to the bras you made?

  40. steph you are soooooo brave!
    to answer your questions. i want wide bands on my bra, wide and sturdy for the statics. and often i sew the gore in the CF smaller (at shop bought bras). so the breast be “inside” the body shape when you look at the front side.
    against my back rolls (you remember i´m 43) helps yoga very well, and – haha – gardening! all this running around with buckets and wheelbarrow, digging and weeding etc. is the best exercise in years. and please go hiking and kajaking again – its also good for your soul!

  41. I think you’re doing a great job so far. Thin and Curvy is an excellent resource for smaller ribs / bigger cup but I recently came across another blog that is even more helpful- this post on determining your breast shape in particular: http://brasihate.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/how-to-figure-out-shape-of-your-boobs.html Another factor to consider is how you like them to look (front and centre, rounded, lower and more natural etc) and this post is a wealth of information about the different constructions that go into each shape: http://brasihate.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/what-exactly-is-good-shape.html.

    From your (brave!) pictures I’d say that yours are wider set than mine, so the wider gore of your black and purple bras fits your shape better. Like me, I think you’re ‘full on top’ so that’s why the cups of the white one feel empty at the bottom. If there is unneccessary volume at the bottom of the cup, the bra will actually drag your upper breast tissue down to fill it and mess with your natural silhouette. And echoing others that three hooks is better than two :)

  42. Now I know absolutely nothing about making and fitting bras, but I wonder as I look at the pictures of your new white bra if the cups need to be a little further apart. You have wide shoulders and a tiny waist and your breast tissue seems to be more off to the side. I have the same issue and I find that a bra with the band between the cups never sits right on me. A bra with the cups separate from each other works better and sits close to my chest. Having said that, I am a B to a C cup, so that style may not give you sufficient support. I’m going to spend a lot of time looking at women in bras on the internet and in magazine because you now have me a little obsessed. Thanks for being brave enough to show us your bras. Now that I am certain I will make bras soon, I promise to do the same thing. As for back rolls, I would like to add that I wear a size 10 (Aussie) and work out four to five days a week plus run or walk every single day and I still have them!! I am very impressed with your bras so far and I thank you for making the job easier for the rest of us.

  43. I commend your bravery in taking your top off, for the good of humanity! I think you look fab! Is that weird to say? I do. And I think back fat is probably just a fact of life for everyone. But I’m with you – if you don’t like it, do something about that, whether it’s changing your body or your mindset, or both. Personally i feel like my body image is about six months behind what my body actually is at any given time. The thing that freaks me out in photos at the moment is how big my belly has gotten – I look the same from the front but much wider from the side.

    My fitness has been TERRIBLE the last few years, and it makes me so cranky. I’ve started doing taichi again and it’s amazing how much better I feel – and how much easier it is to make good choices like going for an evening walk instead of lolling about on the internet, with a bit of fitness. And longer days! It’s nice to start to feel like I belong in my body again, though. And I’m strong enough to wrestle my boyfriend and win! Always a plus :P

  44. You are right that the support in the bra comes from the band. Manufacturers make narrow bands since they look pretty and dainty on the hanger and they are cheaper to produce.

    The band fit should be firm but it should not cut into your body. My clients always request I eliminate back fat when I make their bras. To do this I make a wider band and use more hooks and eyes for the closure than they are used to seeing. I also use a power net with some weight and a firm stretch. The main reason this approach works is that the wider the band, the more surface area there is to spread out the pressure from supporting the breasts. The narrower the bra band, the less surface area to spread out the pressure. Another way to think about is to pull a narrow rubber band around your wrist then pull a physio band around your wrist. The larger band does not cut into your body, the rubber band does.

  45. Just ordered Tiramisu; very excited to get it. :-) I didn’t know the band thing (gore) in the middle of a bra was supposed to actually touch you – none of my bras do that! Clearly I need to reassess. Not sure I’m up for sewing one yet, though, as I’m focussing on dress skills for my wedding gown.
    I will run/walk with you! Downloaded the app this morning. I’m pretty much fully recovered from a hysterectomy now, but my back looks like yours (severe anemia and no activity, & reliance on cola/caffeine to get through the day – all over and I’m ready to RUMBLE, chickie! Let’s do this! :-D).
    Squish

  46. Thanks for your bravery in posting the fit photos! As so many say, I think that wider band with 3 or 4 hooks will help with the uplift. And I also think you need a larger cup size, then experiment with the bridge size to get it to lay flat against the breastbone. As another poster said, the higher the underwires come up the side and centre, the more secure I feel. Can’t wait for my stuff to arrive and am following your progress with interest!

  47. First of all I just want to say how very glad I found your blog through Sunni’s!! I love your polite candor, and your way of making your blog informative, entertaining and friendly all at once…. I feel like I’m sitting here chatting with a girlfriend :)

    Second, I commend you for being so brave as to post pics of yourself in a bra for our sakes – it really is the only way to demonstrate fit, and despite how we feel about ourselves inside, pictures really can have a way if destroying that inner goddess can’t they?

    We don’t all have the same body hangups but we all have stuff we hate; mine is a big ribcage, which means my waist is big for my other proportions. As you say, we gotta fix the stuff we can, and learn to love the stuff we can’t! lol It’s really tough when you’re faced with a feature you don’t have to see face to face – but you’re beautiful, and that feature is part of the package that makes you you, right now :)

    As a big busted gal myself I really wish I could wear those dainty thin strapped bras the smaller ladies can, but alas, I’ve come to accept the comfort and support I get from a wider strap more than makes up for it :) Nothing like a well fitting bra to make you feel a million bucks even in a basic tee!

    As for weight; I do weigh myself but that’s because I know what weight I’m at my healthiest and I’ve been slowly inching towards that goal for almost a year – I do focus on living a sustainable lifestyle, which is why it’s taking me so long; (I’ve only lost 30 lbs) but I don’t diet or deprive myself; instead I eat less, exercise more, and allow myself treats. I think loving your body should encompass both training AND treats! Balance is key :) Much luck on your running goal – me, I hate running; I’m much better at dancing! ^__^

  48. You’ve seen the pictures. I am a girl with padding. So I’m going to quote my husband at this point, and he has been known to say this in professional environments when guys get all blokey over a very thin girl:

    “After sampling the delights of a well upholstered sofa, why would you want to sit on a wicker chair?”

    Now, I’d still rather poke my eyes out with a spoon that pose in my skimpies anywhere, let alone online, but I’ve got to tell you that you LOOK AMAZING. And more importantly…you are amazing.

    I salute you.
    Yet again!

      • It’s so easy to be brainwashed by the pictures in the media we forget that we are real women with real bodies. Much more Michaelangelo that Hello magazine. This is a good thing!

  49. This is totally random… Just yesterday I did a search for fabric stores in Brisbane (I need some of that elastic they put at the bottom of the legs of cycling shorts with the silicone dots to stop some shorts riding up – already have some from the place in Indro and it’s really not that great – might have to trek down to Lincraft and see what they have) and came across your blog. Then Sal links to this post. Just odd as I’d never come across your blog before and then twice in two days! I’m a Canadian living in Brisbane btw… :-D

    • How cool! Lincraft usually have that kind of thing, though I can’t vouch for it’s quality/performance. :) I’m from Texas, but people always say Canadian. I lived with some Calgarians for a while and my English was never the same since….

  50. Oh, I am impressed! Bras are always something I have put in the too-hard basket, even though finding them is a major pain. The fit of both your bras looks really good, but I’m sure the next one will be even better. And I particularly love the blue gauze lining ;-)


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