I warmly recommend making a test bra before cutting the actual bra. You’ll sew it fast because it lacks all components needed for the actual bra.
Test bra gives you knowledge about the cup fit and already teaches you a few bra-making techniques. Both save your time later on and improve the final quality of the bra!
The best test cup is made out of foam lining because it reveals the points that need adjustment. If you don’t have foam, use muslin instead.
Cut the foam cups and join the pieces together with the zigzag.
The band of the test bra
Cut the band out of an inelastic fabric. Cut the front area according to the pattern but heighten the cup curve under the armpit by about 1,5 cm (9/16″ ). That is because the band of our test bra doesn’t have any elasticity, a property that is very important in the actual bra band in most of our models.
If the model you are working on has a seam allowance at the top of the bridge, cut it off. The test bra doesn’t need it. Turn the wings of the pattern off and cut long, narrow tapes to tie them at the back when fitting the test bra.
Attach the cups
Sew the cups in place with a long straight stitch. Stitch the seam allowances down to the band just near the foam edge. Close the tunnel at the front about 5 mm (3/16″ ) away from the top so the wires won’t come out when fitting the bra.
Insert the wires.
Test Straps and the “closure”
Pin the temporary straps to the cups.
Tie the tapes (”wings”) and pin the straps at the back.
If you do the fitting yourself
With the cups on your backside, tie the tapes in front of you. Then flip the bra around your body and raise the straps in place. Hold the straps in one hand at the back – the other hand is free for making any fitting alterations.
A tip for a lonely fitter: pin the shoulder straps on the back of the waistband of your pants. 🙂
View the test bra cups from three directions; from the front, from above, and from the side. Pay attention to the following factors:
- Is the cup comfortable to wear? How does it feel?
- Does your bust fill the cup from all sides?
- Does your bust fit into the cup, so it doesn’t bulge out anywhere?
- How is the fit of the underwire? Does it strive on top of the breast tissue or does it surround the bust beautifully?
- Is the width of the cradle proportional to the width of the chest?
- Does the center part of the bra between the cups lean on your sternum? However, that kind of bra model doesn’t fit everyone, as it may feel uncomfortable.
- Does the cup rise to a comfortable position in your armpit?
- If there is something to alter in the cup, consider whether the alterations will be easy with only small changes – or should you switch to a smaller or bigger cup.
If you are lucky and do have none or only minimal changes to make, you can re-use the foam cups for the actual bra.