Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 7

Today is the day the bra is finished! I hope this series has helped you work your way through this project. Today we complete the waistline, the center front and the front strap attachment. Not too complicated. But just as everything else, don’t rush and it will turn out beautiful.

As for my own Jackie, I had to finish up the strap attachment. I didn’t fully think rough through the fold over elastic on the necklines with the strap, so I improvised and I think it works out well.

The first thing I did was trim up the back straps so they were straight then applied fold over elastic to the raw ends. I also trimmed up the strap end and covered that too with fold over elastic. Its a big thick, but my 20 mm FOE did the trick with no problems.

I trimmed up the fold over elastic so about 1/2″ was left hanging on both ends. I folded the separated strap pieces towards the front and the back strap point towards the back and ran a basting stitch across them to hold them in place. It was pretty bulky. I probably should have just sewn a regular stitch on those.

I then worked on the front strap position. I pinned the flaps on the front strap points under and folded it towards the back side. I decided to only stitch the edges that have the fold over elastic on it to give a cleaner finish. I reinforced it with like 3 stitches, so its not going anywhere, so its definitely an option for less messy stitches.

The last thing to do is attach the back strap points. I overlapped them and stitched in the middle. It allows the stitch to be hidden in the ditch of the fold over elastics.

My bra is officially done! Its definitely a beauty.

Below are the videos for the final steps of the Jackie.

Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 6

We are nearing the finish line for our Jackie Sew Along. I am taking a different process to create a Jackie bra. I clean finished the back neckline and armhole with fold over elastic and added a hook and eye.

The first think I did was line up my hooks and eyes to the center back and cut off the excess. I have random supplies laying around, so I am using the eyes from a stash of left over beige and the hooks are black. I though the would make a nice combination.

I then pinned the back necks carefully and overlocked them together to keep them in place. I think I forgot to photograph this step, but then I took fold over elastic and covered the back neckline and the armholes. I love this fold over elastic. Its wider than most and is just really easy to work with. Plus it doesn’t stretch out of shape.

The hooks and eyes went on so beautifully. I straightened up the back and slide it between the flaps on the eye tape. I used a straight stitch right on the edge and backstitched to secure it. The hooks I apply in two passes. The first pass with them open so I can get a full grip with the foot. Then I close it and offset the needles to stitch on the edge for a second secure stitch. I think this is the nicest looking hook and eye I have ever applied.

The last thing I need to do to complete this bra is to attach the straps. I am planning to cover the raw edges of the strap with a piece of fold over elastic, but I haven’t decided if that is what I’m doing. Until then, this is my beauty. I really like using the beige eyes with the black hooks. I have a ton of extra beige eyes and since I have discontinued the, I will likely be using this combination for a while.

Now for the rest of you. This week is the neckline. You will need some narrow elastic – 6 to 8 mm in width or 1/4″- 5/16″ wide.

The front neckline I spend just a little extra detail on because that is what people will be looking at (if you show them). The design has a bit of a squared neckline. Not completely square, but angled for sure. Its a bit tricky, but as you can see in my video, even a crappy sewing job can still look good.

I am, by far, not the most meticulous in my sewing. I can be when I want to be. You should see my wedding dress. I spent days working on that beauty making all the edges clean finished. But for every day stuff, I’m not perfect. Between the distraction of having my kid talk to me while sewing and the 99% chance I’m sewing without my glasses on, its always fun to see what the outcome is.

Anyway, just take your time on the neckline and it will all come together.

Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 5

My own Jackie bra is coming right along. Today I added band elastics to the bottom and trimmed up the armholes so I can use foldover elastics as my finish.

The first thing I did was pin the double layers securely at the hem, then overlocked the right side of the elastic to the right side of the bra, right on the edge. My seam allowance is only 3/8″ here, but because I am using a few non stretch panels, I decided not to trim anything off and attached right on the edge so the seam allowance would be 1/4″.

I then flipped the elastic to the backside and zigzagged the seam allowance down to the top of the elastic.

I didn’t want to finish my Jackie today since this sew along still has a few weeks, so I also decided to prep the armhole for fold over elastic. I pinned the double layers carefully and trimmed down the armhole the 3/8″ seam allowances.

I then overlocked the edges to keep them secured. I know I didn’t do much today, but I seriously have had no time to sew this past month. I am working on several projects at the moment.

I will be attaching the hook and eye next week and changing the back neckline to work with the hook and eye, then the last week of the sew along I will finish it up by adding fold over elastic to the armhole and then my strap.

For everyone else, this week is all about the zipper, how to shorten it and how to attach it.

Lets make our zipper shorter! We need to customize the length of our zippers. You will need an 8″ zipper for this task. And guess, what? I sourced all the zippers you will ever need for this.

Now, I recommend using a toothed zipper, meaning either a resin/plastic tooth or a metal tooth. I’m not sure how a metal tooth will do during workouts and outer clothing, so the recommendation is really the resin toothed zipper.

Coil zippers can split, no matter how heavy duty they are. Line up the zipper to the center front panel and add 3/4″ to the total zipper length.

You can then chop off the rest and remove the top 1/2″ of zipper teeth with pliers or cutters. You need to secure the top of the zipper. You can do this with hardware, or just wind thread between the top two remaining teeth at the top until it becomes bulky enough to stop the zipper from coming off.

This video can walk you through this process.

Attaching the Zipper

Attaching the zipper isn’t very complicated, but you need to have a zipper foot handy. This is one of the shortest video in the series, so I will let the video do the demonstrating for you.

Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 4

We are officially in Week 4 of the Sew Along. I’m working on my own version, so I’ll share that first, then I’ll share what those that are working with the Sew Along are working on.

I started today by attaching fold over elastic to the neckline of the center front.

I then attached the side fronts to the center front and burrito rolled the lining so I could clean finish the princess seam. I used a straight stitch since the front panel doesn’t stretch. I had to pin this carefully before sewing, because the side panel stretches and I needed to make sure these line up the same for the self and lining. This also makes it easy to work on the rest of the neckline.

I then pulled it right side out. You can see the clean finish of the inside.

I then clipped the seam allowance on the side panel where it meets the neckline of the center front panel. Once I clipped it to lay flat, I cut the seam allowance off up to the strap. I could have done this before sewing, but I cut my notches off so I didn’t have a point of reference to where the point is they joined together.

I clean finished the strap point, then I then took a piece of fold over elastic and folded it to make a 45 degree angle and attached it to the front neckline up to the strap with the shorter folded angle in the front.

I decided to end it at that point today. I’ll work on my waistband elastic next week.

If you are working with the videos, this is the week to work on the Zipper Shield or the Hook and Eye tape. I have created two different options for the shield of the zipper. One is a straight shield, but the other is a hook and eye tape designed specifically for this purpose. Normal hooks and eyes are spaces about 3/4″ and are fairly narrow in width. One of the participants had a brilliant way to hack together the hooks and the shield. Here is a picture showing her genius. She attached the hook and eyes to the shield so the pattern pieces would match.

The special hooks and eyes I’m using with my kits came from my haul from Fredericks of Hollywood. The eye tape is 1 3/4″ wide and the hardware is spaced 2″ apart on center. This allows a minimal amount of hooks and eyes to help secure the sports bra, prior to zipping it up.

Not everyone needs to hook it before you zip it, but if you are like me and gravity prevents any actual containment prior to zipping, you may benefit from helping to hook the twins in place prior to secure it with a zipper.

Because there are two options for protecting your skin from the zipper, there are two separate video tutorials for today. One is the shield with the bottom tab included in the pattern piece and the other is the hook & eye tape with the separate bottom tab.

Make note that you would use either the shield or the hook & eye/bottom tab combo, not both.

Zipper Shield

Hook & Eye Tape

Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 3

This week we begin to assemble the body of the sports bra. My bra construction is a little different from the ones in the instructions and the videos. I am going to work on the body this week and next week as I am not including a zipper on mine and I want to make progress on my own next week.

The first thing I did was glue the lace overlay to the stretch fabric for the side back. This was a trick shown by one of the sew along participants and I think this will forever be in my sewing stash now.

I wanted to treat those as one pattern piece and sandwich it between the two layers of the center back. I decided not to top stitch this seam as the sandwiching pulls the seam allowance so there is no need to top stitch it.

On the front, I sewed the center front to the middle pieces and sandwiched it between the two layers. I then had to top stitch as the lining fabric is just not as thick and it rolled too much. The seam is not perfect and caused some puckering on the sheer panel. I clipped a few of the overlock stitches to try to release it. I figure this is fine since it is secured with the top stitch. It looks a little better than it did, but its still not perfect.

Here is the inside of the front to show you the sheer lining.

I then sandwiched the side back between the side front panels. I’m not attaching the fronts together yet as I plan to do a fold over elastic, although any decorative elastic will work. I have to do a little creative construction on that. I’ll be working on that next week.

I also trimmed up the edges of the seams where they all join. I didn’t line up the side front to the side back properly so it was all shifted up a bit. But with the stretch fabrics, all is forgiven. Until next week, here is the video for the zip front version.


Jackie Sports Bra Sew Along Week 2

This week we work on straps. I am super excited about these straps. Not only do they look awesome, but they are very versatile because they adjust.

The secret ingredients – cut & sew foam on the strap and an adjustable bra strap. Here is my newest set of straps.

The straps are a little more complicated to put together, but once you master it, you will be doing this on all your straps. There are two layers of fabric, 1 layer of foam, a length of strap elastic with matching hardware and an extra set of rings to attach to the front of the sports bra.

You can make varying widths of strap elastic, from 1/2″ to 1″. The only caveat about using a different width, is that the front strap point must be narrowed to accomodate the desired elastic used. I kept the strap width 1 3/8″ or 35 mm so it would be consistent with mixing and matching patterns with the Christina and Laurel, but nearly all the strap elastics require an adjustment.

Even if you use the 1″ elastic, I would recommend using the 1″ ring, rather than the 35 mm slides I carry. I had the problem with the slide twisting on its side, so unless you are using cut and sew foam on the entire body, I’d switch it for a 1″ ring.

I didn’t share my own fabric layout last week, so here it is. As you can see, I’m making mine asymmetrical and mixing it up a bit. I’m not doing the traditional Jackie construction, but a “bra” construction. The center panel is non stretch cup lining, the middle cup is a lace fused satin, also non stretch, lined in a 15 denier cup lining. The side and most of the back are cut in two layers and is of my new double brushed nylon spandex (coming soon to my shop). The side back is a spandex from my stash and the lace is from my shop. I thought I had the same lace as the front lace but I couldn’t find it.

The strap assembly is the easiest so I did that first. I have about a yard left of the tan strap elastic I used to carry, so I used that for this along with some gold hardware for a little bling.

The strap I machine basted the contrast to the foam, then basted the black fabric on top. It is very clear how bad I was at cutting and how much the fabric stretched when basting. I sewed both sides from the small end down, so it would reduce any twisting.

I then took them over to the serger and made a better, consistent stitch along the edges of the strap.

The last step was to flip them inside out and assemble them completely. As you can see, the basting stitches are still showing. I might remove that, but its presently not bothering me. They are less than perfect, but I think they look fabulous!

To follow my video steps, I have linked the YouTube video below. Don’t forget to like my video and comment to help with the algorithms.

Playing Around With the Versatile Jackie Sports Bra

Guest Post by Ree of Fiery Darts

First things first—it’s the initial step that I sew, and the foremost thing that deserves a mention: the straps on the Jackie sports bra are amazing. These are definitely straps that I am going to hack into any other pattern that I can. They incorporate two different fabrics as well as strap elastic, so they are visually striking and give you a chance to continue design choices in an area of the make that is sometimes taken for granted. They are adjustable, and they are padded. A layer of foam padding is suggested, and if you have findings large enough to accommodate the foam, I highly recommend it! But even if your straps are thinner and only stabilized with non-stretch fabric (I used quilting cotton on one of mine), the cushion of fabric layers on the shoulders, and for me, my bony clavicle, is worth the extra effort.

Now more broadly, a sewing pattern is an investment: time, energy, materials, and purchase cost. It’s great when that investment pays off. Some patterns are quick and simple, and so a little victory makes a small investment worthwhile. The Jackie Sports Bra is a larger time investment than some other patterns, and requires a few more materials than other patterns might, but the investment pays big dividends because this sports bra has so many options and extra features. If some of the techniques involved are new to you, then your payoff is doubled: you’ve developed new skills and created a versatile, functional, and comfortable sports bra!

The options with the Jackie are many, and the fact that Porcelynne’s sports bra collection is interchangeable really expands those possibilities. I had the opportunity to test this pattern, and I made four different versions of the Jackie, and I still have more combinations that I want to try. For me, it worked well to “level up” gradually. My first make was an over-the-head version where I omitted the central zipper and treated the cut line in the middle piece as a fold line. I followed Jennifer’s blog post where she outlines this version, and I recommend doing so if you are in the mood for a pull-over Jackie, as some of the construction steps are different than in the main pattern. This is because in the main Jackie style, we use the opening between the main and lining layers at the zipper to turn the work inside out. I used a simple cotton jersey for my main fabric and my lining, and this worked well for me, since I don’t need a huge amount of support.

For my next make, I put in the zipper front, and this main feature of the Jackie will be a welcome option for many people who struggle to pull tight sports bras over their heads, or who just don’t like to do so. I used a scuba lined with stretch net, and I sewed the zipper shield option. This is the option I will return to next time I make a straight-forward Jackie. The zipper shield is an easy construction, gives a smooth inner layer of protection, and is flexible.

This was my first time shortening a zipper, and I was a bit nervous at the outset. I had watched all of Jennifer’s tutorial videos, which I highly recommend doing, so I knew what to expect. I was worried that I was going to break or ruin something, but once I dove in, the process went smoothly and snipping the zipper teeth was surprisingly therapeutic. For this step, you will need to make sure to have all the needed materials. I had some zipper stops to add to the zipper once I cut it down, some pliers and snippers, and something to carefully melt the nylon to keep it from fraying. Having the right kind of zipper is important here; the instructions call for molded plastic or resin teeth. A metal or coil zipper would have been difficult to deal with.

Once I had completed a successful zipper front, I was ready to try the hook-and-eye tape option. I also upgraded my fabric on this one, using some of the nylon spandex athletic fabric available in the Porcelynne shop (this fabric was provided for me). The hook-and-eye tape option will be really useful for many people, as it allows the bra to hold in position while the zipper is secured. It turns out for me, though, and likely for some others in my (smaller) size range, the zipper tape isn’t necessary. I barely had room for two hooks, and the construction is more difficult in my opinion than the shield. Here is another point where knowing what works best for you will guide which option you select. The Jackie sports bra is thoughtfully constructed so that there are plenty of possibilities to customize according to your needs, and for many people, the added security and stability of the hook and eye will be worth the extra effort.

I had to be meticulous working with this fabric, but I definitely felt that effort was worthwhile. It is lightweight, but strong and supportive and feels great.

After having worked through the standard construction options, and three different fabric combinations, I felt ready to play with the pattern. The Porcelynne sports bra patterns are drafted to all be compatible with each other, which means you can take one front style, another band style or strap or back style, and mix them up. There is also a tankini add-on which works with all the sports bras in place of the band. For my mash up, I used the Jackie front with the zipper, and of course the Jackie straps, but then I used the back from the Laurel pattern, and added the tankini. I used some nylon spandex (holographic silver!) and some swim fabric and lined the top with an athletic mesh (bright orange!).

I decided to hack the tankini to take my zipper all the way down, and then decided that the zipper shield going the full length of my torso was more bulky than I wanted, so I ended up taking out the shield. The zipper on it’s own is totally fine for me, but I do think that next time I will try adding a little tab and snap at the top.

There are a few reasons why there are more tankini hacks in my future: first, the style lines of the Jackie are interesting enough that I don’t necessarily want them covered up, but I’m not one for an exposed stomach. Also, this tankini add-on has pockets! They are inconspicuous, covered and deep enough that I could slide in a driver’s licence, a key, or a credit card and go for a jog or out to a waterpark. It would be easy to add an interior snap or some sort of further security if I planned to swim, since the tankini portion is a somewhat loose fit on me. Knowing that there are still more styles to try, more fabrics to use, and more details to perfect makes my time investment in the Jackie sports bra certainly worthwhile.

Fiery Darts is a special needs parent who finds respite and therapy in sewing and collecting vintage sewing machines. She has been sewing for over twenty-five years and loves that there is still so much more to learn and explore.

What is Wire Spring?

It has been a long 8 months since my last post. I can’t even begin to explain why I haven’t written more often, it has been a busy year. More on that on another day….

What is wire spring and why does the mention of it start a war between pattern makers, experts and sewers?

Wire spring refers to an underwire changing from its manufactured shape into an expanded, stretched shape. The natural wear of a bra springs a wire no matter how the bra was designed, this spring is caused by the pulling of the back band to make the bra fit snugly. The amount of pulling on the wire can vary vastly based on the bra itself.

Where opinions vary is whether wire spring should be built into bras or should bras be designed for the natural shape of the wire. To address both opinions, let’s start with wire spring being built into a bra pattern.

In ready to wear bras, spring is built in, but the entire band and frame are generally made in stretch fabrics. The stretch of the wire and the stretch of the band allow the cups to fit more people. (You may even find that the cups have stretch too, opening up the fitting to even more people.) Bra fitters are trained to fit you into a bra, not make a bra fit you.

Some pattern makers take this same philosophy in designing their own patterns. The more spring you have, the more likely you will be able to fit multiple people.

Now the case for no wire spring. If you are making a custom bra or having one made for you, the bra is being designed for you, not you and the next 20 people. Because you are having something custom, you can match the wire to the shape of your breast root, making for a perfect molded shape of your body.

The breast root is the mammary fold between breast tissue and the body. For some people this is more defined than others. Those people with younger, perkier breasts can find this definition fairly easily, but for those with more fleshy pancakes (like yours truly), it is a little harder.

For those of us who have very deflated breasts, whether its from breast feeding, age or weight, raising your arm will help you find a line for your wire on the side of your breast. The wire helps define the shape and places an edge to your breast.

The difference between underarm fat and breast tissue is not a lot different. Because of that, you will hear people argue that the fat under your arm and on your back is breast tissue. It is only tissue. The breast has a mammary gland with padding of tissue over it. Whether it all fits in the cup or into the band is really up to the end user’s definition of comfort and fit. If someone is insistant on training their back fat to fit in their bra cup, then the definition of where that wire sits will not be the same as someone who accepts that the fat should stay where it currently resides.

If someone wants to train their fat, let them, it doesn’t hurt you and the stupid arguments people have because of it is just unheathly to your own mental health. The idea of bra training is no different than waist training for a corset. They are forcing the skin, organs and fat to relocate to other desirable locations. For someone like myself, I accept where the fat lives, but I make a supportive bra band that holds it in place rather than pushing it out. Sometimes that means that the band needs to be taller and wider to achieve this.

Now back to the discussion of wire spring. There is a balancing act that happens in a bra, the breast fills the cup and where the wire sits is up to the bra, whether the placement is right next to the breast without spring, or sprung to fit on the side of the breast.

The arguments seem to touch on completely different subjects. One being custom fit and one being for the masses. There are different reasons to do different pattern drafting. An individual will determine their own comfort level in wearing bras. If wires slowly move down the body, it can poke and prod bones and nerves. This is the reason a lot of pattern makers will also include how to customize the pattern to fit the individual. This is where the concept of getting a wire to fit your root comes into play. That wire, as long as it fits your shape unsprung, is fine to use unsprung. But a wire that needs to spring to fit the root, will need that spring built into the pattern to teach the wire where to sit.

The most important thing with wire placement is that the wire does not sit on the mammary gland at all, no matter what, no exceptions! This can cause mastitis and can be very painful and dangerous expecially for pregnant women.

Ok, so you are now asking, do I add spring or not? The answer is to make a fitting band and make sure the wire is sitting where you want it to sit. Its too hard to determine that if you are also sewing the cups in on the first fitting. If the wire must spring open by a large amount, it can put strain on the wire causing the stress point to get annealed (soft) and eventually snap. If this is the case, try locating a different wire that has the end shape you need.

Here is a little tip as well, you can reshape a wire to a different shape about once in its lifetime. This means that you can make your wire wider permanently, as long as you do not spring that wire more than basic wear and tear of a bra. Changing the shape once isn’t enough to destroy the metal, but repeated stress on the wire will.

While I am covering all these controversial subjects, let’s touch on the argument that the wire is the cantilever of the bra. To be clear, the entire bra is a cantilever. The bra needs all parts to function equally to support the breast up in the air and balanced on the body. The cantilever is the full contraption. Just as a bridge can be a cantilever, it contains more than one metal post to hold it up, there are trusses and girters that all contribute to the function of a cantilever bridge.

The comparision of a well fitted bra versus a poorly fitting bra, is similar to a bridge that isn’t designed for its function. A rope bridge won’t hold a car and a giant steel struction is overkill for a footbridge. A bralette would not be considered a cantilever since the support of the bra is held between the band, cups and the straps. A well fitting bra acts as a cantilever, only needing the body to support it, meaning the straps are only there for a little reinforcement and do not function to hold the bra up.

A well built bra doesn’t even need a wire or could do without one. Just remember that underwires weren’t regularly used in daily wear bras until the 1960s and bras have been around since ancient Greek and Roman times. Mind you that bras back in ancient times were not supportive, but just because someone convinced the entire industry to use wires does not mean they are 100% necessary, nor is the concept of using sprung underwires for every occasion.

How to Make a Plaster Cast of your Breast Root

Slight nudity warning!

Guest Blog Post By: Anne Bertha

I’ve been making bras now for two years. Very soon in that process, people told me that the first thing you should do is search for a wire that fits you. Well, that proved to be very difficult. By now I have a whole range of different sizes and styles of wires, but none of them really seem to fit me. After noticing a post on Facebook of someone who made a plaster cast of her ribcage and seeing the transformation in bra fit, I decided to make my own plaster cast. This is the tutorial.

You will need:

  • Plaster gauze. For a cast of one underbust, I used 2 rolls of 3 m by 7.5 cm (3.3 yds by 3 inches).
  • Scissors, to cut the plaster gauze in pieces.
  • Latex (or other) gloves. It gets real messy.
  • Petroleum jelly or olive oil. You want the cast to come off your body easily. For my first try, I used petroleum jelly and for the second one, I used olive oil. I must say I liked the olive oil better. It’s just easier to wash off afterwards.
  • A bucket (not the best one you have).
  • Towels (not the best ones you have) or a sheet of plastic to cover your working station.
  • Preferably a person to put the cast on you. It can be done by yourself, but that makes it much harder.

When doing my cast, I stood in the bathtub. There will be splashing of plaster drops, so make sure you think about that beforehand. A day after making the cast, I still find plaster spots everywhere in my bathroom.

How to do it:

1. Gather all of your materials, and put them near you. Make a working station, preferably at a convenient height. Especially when you do your cast yourself, you don’t want to move too much or else the cast in progress will also move.

2. Cut up the plaster gauze in pieces of different lengths. When doing a cast of your whole underbust, make sure you have two piles, one for each underbust. That way the cast will more likely be evenly thick around.

3. You want to wear as little clothes as possible. I advise a bikini bottom which will wash out easily. If the side of your breast crease is hard to identify like mine, mark it with a (non-permanent) marker.

4. Fill the bucket with water of the temperature indicated on the plaster gauze packaging.

5. Find a comfortable position. This can be seated or standing, try to sit or stand as naturally as possible.

6. Put on the gloves. Time to do this!

7. Apply vaseline or olive oil (I recommend olive oil after doing this a second time) to your underbust, it’s best to cover a slightly larger area to be sure it will all come off easily. It’s best to be thorough but don’t add a layer that’s too thick because otherwise the plaster won’t stick well and slide down.

8. Pick up a piece of the plaster gauze, put it in water and take it out. Run it through two fingers so the excess water comes off, and stick it to your body.

9. Repeat to cover the whole area you want a cast of. Work sequentially from one side to another, and work as fast as possible. How quickly the plaster dries depends on a lot of factors, but mine did that quite fast.

10. You’ll notice at some point that the cast will start feeling loose, that’s a sign it’s drying. I followed the instructions on the plaster gauze so I stood for about a quarter in the bathtub waiting for the cast to be dry enough to be taken off my body.

11. If you want some additional dryness, take out the hairdryer and apply some heat to both the outside and the inside (if you can reach it) of the cast.

12. Gently put the cast somewhere it can dry completely. Depending on thickness, this might take up to 48 hours. Make sure to flip it carefully once one side is dry.

13. Take a good look at your own plaster imprint! You can’t see my smile on the picture but it was quite large.

Notes: the type of plaster gauze varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. I first tried making a cast using rolls from the hobby shop for this tutorial, for my second one I used rolls from the pharmacy. Those were substantially softer before use and harder set after use.

Anne’s Alternative Tests on Getting the Right Wire Trace

Guest Author Post By: Anne Bertha

While some people find their wire shape and size easily, it can prove to be a real challenge for others. There are some other ways you can make this process easier. All the methods have one idea in common: to make a mould of your ribcage so you can decide which wires are the best fit. There’s always a compromise to be made between ease, cost and accuracy.

I will be discussing the pros and cons of three methods: using masking tape, tin foil and making a plaster cast. Finally, I’m showing you my root trace on paper.

First up: masking tape mould.

The idea behind this one is quite simple: by sticking layers of masking tape to your body and carefully peeling it off, you’re able to replicate your wire root shape on paper in 2D.

Notes: You want to make a construction in which your breasts are encased, with kind of like anchor points. Otherwise, when you peel your tape construction off, it will lose its shape.

Pros: Easy and cheap way to get a rough idea of your root shape.

Cons: Can be painful to peel off, depending on the masking tape itself. Because you mould it to your body (3D) and try sticking it to paper (2D) afterwards, it’s not that accurate. It can be quite tricky to figure out how to stick it to paper without distorting the shape.

Second: tin foil mould.

Tin foil has an interesting property: it’s malleable and will hold its shape quite well. I made this one by moulding pieces of tin foil to my body and sticking them together as well as to my body using masking tape.

Notes: Try and keep the mould quite flat. I folded some tin foil, shaped it, but in some places I got a little overexcited and the tin foil piled up. It won’t stick to the masking tape as well then.

Pros: Easy and cheap way. A bit more expensive than the tape mould, but also much more accurate.

Cons: There is a hint of a 3D shape there, but it’s still much more of a 2D shape. You don’t get a clear idea if your ribcage is particularly cylindrical and you might need to bend your wires or not.

Third: plaster cast

For a how-to, read the separate blog post. Because this shape is very 3D, it can be tricky to translate it to paper to get an idea of your wire size and shape. I suggest taking a flexible wire, moulding it to the cast and then scanning that wire.

Pros: Very accurate method to get a 3D mould of your ribcage.

Cons: You need specific materials and, preferably, a second person to make the mould on you. It takes a while to dry so for the impatient ones amongst you, you’ll have to wait at least a day to start working with it.

The result

As you can see above, I only made a plaster cast of half of my ribcage since I didn’t have enough plaster gauze. This root trace on paper is made using the tin foil mould, which was quite easy to translate to paper. Not only does this root trace allow for an accurate way to determine wire size and shape, it also makes it possible to make a custom bridge pattern.

Which method you choose is up to you, they all have their pros and cons and will all help you towards a better wire (and thus bra) fit. If you have additional ideas, suggestions, or want to share how yours turned out, feel free to do so in the comments!