A Wire That Fits
I am happy to have the first guest post on my blog written by Jane Ramsey. Jane happily helped me test and experiment with changes for the new bra drafting book. -Jennifer
If you wear an underwired bra you may think the wire is an evil torture device. There are many reasons for this. A wire that pokes you in the armpit, or sternum, that creaks as you breathe, that digs into your ribs, that snaps in two….
All of the above are signs of an incorrectly fitting wire. Too big, too small, too long, too narrow….
Ideally you need to find a bra style that incorporates your best fitting wire. The easiest way is to make your own or have a custom made bra.
There’s a massive range of shapes and sizes of underwire. Short, regular and long. Vertical, flat vertical, regular, demi… this list is not exhaustive.
Then there’s wire size.
The numbering convention is based on the ‘right’ wire for a B cup. So a 40 wire works for a 40B and it’s sister sizes 42A, 38C, 36D, etc. This isn’t an exact science, our bodies don’t conform to these standards. Bra designers don’t always stick to the formula either. This can be a good thing, because we may need different wires even in the same size bra. If you’re making your own bras, or if you are having a custom made bra, finding the perfect wire for you is the best place to start.
For myself and my customers, I have a simple tool, a piece of heavy duty electrical wire, the type used for hard wiring a cooker or shower.
The plastic insulation stripped off, the ends looped round to prevent injury and then the wire bent into the approximate shape of an under wire.
To use, I simply place it in the breast crease, the inter mammary fold, with your arm raised, ensuring it follows the trace of the breast root, without sitting on breast tissue. This gauge of copper wire is malleable, soft enough to bend easily with your fingers, firm enough to hold the shape when you take it off the body.
An added bonus is, you can just flip the wire to check you need the same size wire for both breasts. Most of us are slightly asymmetrical, some of us have a greater degree of asymmetry. Rather than just padding out one cup of a pair of matched cups you might want to make different cups for each side… I digress, that’s a whole other blog post.
Once I have my bent wire, I compare it with printed wire charts to find the best match. There is very little difference between the sizes but the wrong size can dramatically affect your comfort and the fit of your bra. When wearing the right wire, you will barely know it’s there, unless you have other conditions affecting your sensitivity.
Wire fitting. 4 easy steps.
1. Bend the wire to the approximate shape of your breast root. (You can trace the wire in your best fitting bra as a starting point).
2. On your naked body, place the wire in your inter mammary fold, or breast crease.
3. Adjust the shape of the wire so it follows the shape of your breast root. Making sure it doesn’t sit on breast tissue.
4. Match it to your printed wire charts.
This wire trace is clearly bigger than the 40.
The 42 looks pretty close, the bend at the end of the wire was where I bent it so it didn’t poke Kathryn in the armpit.
Yes, all my mannequins have names.
The 44 is too big
Finally I checked against the vertical wires. A regular wire is much more suited to Kathryn. Some people have a wide, flat root, they would benefit from the flat vertical wires, as you can see, this chart is labeled with my best fit wire, a 42 vertical.
Just a reminder, weight fluctuations, water retention, dehydration, even our menstrual cycle can affect our breasts enough to make a wire that’s a perfect fit one day too big or too small another.
All of the wires mentioned above can be bought from www.Porcelynne.com.
Supporting you through the ages, Jane is a dressmaker with decades of experience having started sewing clothes by the time she was 10. She has a passion for historical clothing and the foundation garments that provide the right silhouette for each era and has recently expanded that passion to finding a comfortable bra that fits well.