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We are changing how we determine the bra size

And we also have something cool – a bra size calculator!

Here is the new sizing page: Bra Sizing.

Well, this is the important summary you need to know. But wait, of course, you want to know more: what exactly is changing, the “why“s, if the bra sizing is changing, about our calculator. Right? And we are going to write a few lines about each one. If you’re even more curious and we did not cover that curiosity, hit the comment form!

What exactly is changing

  • First – We are changing what measurements we are taking. The underbust girth remains the same. But we are no longer using the wire size to determine your bra size. Instead we measure the Bottom Cup Depth, called BCD in short. We are not the first to use this measuring system. Some of you are familiar with it. Basically you measure the vertical distance from the nipple down to where the breast tissue meets the chest. Confused? No need, the new Bra Sizing page shows and explains it. No more printing wire charts, getting confused which wire etc. You take plain measurements from YOUR body and that’s it.
  • Second – The new size is calculated using the new measurements: underbust girth, BCD from your left breast, and BCD from your right breast. Yes, the BCDs can differ! This is perfectly normal. And we know to use both values.
  • Third – We threw away the sizing charts. We implemented a bra size calculator. You input those 3 measurement values, and the calculator outputs your size.

The above three dots are the things we changed. Apart from those three, nothing else has changed. The Maya Bra has the same sizes, the download page is the same, the new system tells you the size for Maya.

Why we are changing how we determine the bra size

The short answer. I lost count of emails we got about what size to choose, and every single time the wire size was measured incorrectly. I guess, the old system was confusing.

The long answer. In truth, over the years I learned some subtle things. And one of them is bra sizing. We all know a bra size is: the band and the cup. Two measurements. When in fact there are three measurements to account for: the band, the cup, AND the wire. Huh? How come? Well, the band, is as we all know, the underbust girth, because that’s where the bra band sits. But the cup, the cup means the volume. And the underwire means the breast root – a circumference with vertical and horizontal radius. Three very distinctive measurements. The same volume of one’s cup requires a wire size, while the same volume on another person requires a different wire size. Because their root traces differ! And this is how we now start to think about shapes: omega-shaped breasts or reduced projection? But let’s talk about shapes some other time.
But how is that patterns and bra sizing use only the band and the cup? That’s because most of the patterns are designed with the cup and wire being always the same. Or said a bit different: the pattern drafter designs the bra by the rule “to this wire I put this volume and call the volume size as the wire size”. Omg, but why? Because there are already many bra sizes to design a bra for. It’s very costly to produce variations that may never turn into profit.
What matters, is that you as a sewer know this distinction. Because this is what you tweak and make the bra fit YOU, YOUR body. You measure the girth, you somehow measure the breast volume (through trial and error made bras, or BCD or horizontal diameter), and … you measure the wire against your body! Three things to measure. Each one measures differently.

And this is where things get confusing. How do you measure the wire? Is this shape good for me? The bra sizing is already overwhelming. Throw in the “measure your wire“, and the poor beginner is lost.
This is why we made the decision to drop out the wire measuring (which in itself has a cannonade of rules) and work with simple measurements. Have the soft tape in hand and … go!

Is Maya Bra sizing changing?

No. The sizes are the same.

About our bra size calculator

In the modern era, where technology evolves rapidly, I think we need to simplify as many tasks as we can. Determining your bra size should not bury your head and eyes with charts, it should not clutter your brain with numbers, math, and logic.
Many stumble at the step where they need to determine their bra size. Terrified, they give up. Let us worry about math, charts, and logic while you measure, input the values, click and get the size! What can be simpler than this?

To help you even more, besides the bra size, the calculator tells you the wire size that works for that bra size. If you’ve never made a bra or were confused about what wire size to start with, this will help you. But remember, you need to measure the wire to your body. Later you adjust the pattern to YOUR wire like increasing the length underarm or lowering the bridge. The wire charts we work with can still be downloaded. On the Bra Sizing page, there’s a button to get you to the charts in case you want to compare your wire.

Very important things you need to know

  • The size determined with our calculator is for our bra pattern only. Do NOT use the calculator for patterns from other designers because their patterns were drafted with other sizing system.
  • The calculator is our best effort to simplify things. Behind it is a human who programmed it. If you experience a problem, please forgive the human. Contact and let us know. We will look into it and make the calculator even better with your help. Thank you!
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12 Comments

  1. Having had only partial reconstruction after a double mastectomy I don’t have nipples. I have a large root circumference and little projection. What do I do?

    • Hi, Megan! Thank you for this question.
      You can also try the traditional measuring and sizing. Subtract the underbust girth from the bust. Based on the difference amount you choose your starting cup: for instance, if the difference is 14-16 cm it’s the B cup, if it’s 16-18 cm it’s the C cup and so on.
      For the band, you can use the calculator, and simply insert some valid values for BCD. Ignore the cup result and only use the band label.

  2. Having flat nipples I’m struggling to know where the measurement starts, top of the nipple bottom or dead center everytime I measure myself using this system I get different measurements so I’m probably not doing it right are we meant to measure with or without a bra on what if its wired will that not add more to the depth. Trying to work out my size I’m so confused. Help 🙂

    • Marta, I have answered you by email. Check your spam folder if you can’t see my email. See the Patterns page and click Download

  3. Hola Annemarie! Fue fabuloso conseguir este blog, en mi casa somo de busto grande y casi no conseguimos diseños para elaborar nuestros propios patrones, para mi fue muy sorprendente conseguir el patrón gratis y toda la explicación para la confección en tu blog; actualmente me encuentro sacando los patrones de acuerdo a las medidas. De verdad que super agradecida con tu página. Desde Táchira-Venezuela Muchísimas gracias. Que sigan los éxitos y mucha suerte.

  4. Ok, I’ve heard this fitting system mentioned but have never read in detail. It sounds confusing. And, I don’t have a bra that fits well enough for my nipples to sit properly. They sag at/below the bottom band no matter what. How can I get my measurement? (For this system; I have done the BoB method and think I know my size!)

    • Annemarie, this was once my dream. With my day-job I don’t have time to plan elaborate articles. I guess this means, not right now 🙁

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