This article is one of my research conclusion. But I want to share the information with you since bra size is a very vivid subject nowadays.
This article came to my mind while I was investigating different methods for drafting an under-wire bra pattern. What first struck me right between the eyes was, which measuring method is the right one? They all take different measurements. However, in this post, I will only speak about choosing the bra size, not choosing the bra drafting method. But it is a good start for those who plan to draft a bra pattern themselves. I for one would have been very lucky to have found an article like this.
Every woman has struggled at some point to find her bra size. Some shops say to measure this and that, extract and based on that result determine the bra size. Yeah! Some shops say to measure there and there and match the results in some tables. But what measuring method is the right one? Let me tell you: there is none! Why: because bra manufacturers do not all sew bras using a unique standard. And if they did, every woman’s shape is different. So how can one woman find and buy a bra (pattern) that’s gonna fit?
Before we begin to look at methods, let me state that a bra size consists of two measurements: the band size and the cup size. BOTH these are the bra size. Band size is a number, the cup size is a letter (A, B, C… etc). Sizing methods in every country are different. And in one country, every manufacturer can or cannot obey the country’s sizing system. This is also a problem when shopping for a bra.
A bra size accounts for band and cup variables. But a body accounts for at least four: band size, cup volume, breast root, and breast shape. We want the bra to hug us nicely – this is the band size, we want our cups to encapsulate our breast tissue perfectly – this is the cup volume, we need our wires to touch the sternum comfortable – this is the breast root, and we want the bra to model, lift and support our breasts – this is the shape. You can spot that 4 variables are a lot if you start combining various sizes and shapes. But how is a bra only two variables then? Actually, a bra is also all 4 variables. But the shape is a constant. And the wire in regards to the cup volume is also a constant. What this means, is that bras are designed for a specific shape. Meaning they fit a closed range of bodies. This is why people consider that this brand is better for them, and the other is rather inappropriate. Because bras from one vendor match their shape, volume, and size, while the other does not. (Note: fabrics and quality of craftsmanship are not considered here, we only inspect sizing)
It’s the most popular method today. Measure the bust size. Measure the ribcage just under the breasts. Extract the ribcage from the bust. Depending on the size method approved by the manufacturer, you get into one category.
I have heard some manufacturers use the bust measurement and the above bust. Then extract from the bust girth, the chest (above bust), and based on the difference include you in one bra size.
And the last point: this method is to determine the cup size when drawing the basic bodice. The difference between those 2 measurements, gives you how big the bust dart is. But, I would very much like to write a separate article about this.
There is no measuring tape involved. Despite that, I included it here, since we are searching for a method to determine the bra size. What we measure in this method is different bras of various sizes. Yes, some shops today, offer you the possibility to try on the bras before buying. So, you try on different bras till you find one that fits.
This one takes very specific measurements from the bare body! Some drafting methods and designers use this. Let’s look at the measurements first. The band size is the underbust girth just like in method 1. The cup size is more complicated.
When you get to take measurements from a body with saggy breasts, all the numbers turn your world upside down. The measurements show the actual shape. But we want a bra that lifts breasts naturally and gives a natural look and shape. How do we get that bra size?
Initially, this was the method I used for the Maya bra. For beginners, this method is a challenge. In this method, you take two measurements.
The wire must encircle the breast tissue. The wire must not lay on the breast or be larger than the breast circumference. Just at the root of your boob. Where to get the wire? Old bras. When you find the best wire, keep it! When shopping, take the wire with you. Look for bras with your band size only. Now, apply the wire to the bra channel. When you found one with matching band and wire – that’s the one!