Friday, May 12, 2017

Also interesting - bra geometry

I sewed up quick and dirty muslins of both the Maya (L) and the Harriet (R). I am happy to have used up this horrid pink duoplex!

Ignore the obvious fitting problems on this plastic torso...

Things I learned from trying these on:

  • The cups on both are OK. Volume is more or less right, although I have provisionally pinned out a bit of volume in the cups of the Harriet so that it will fit me even better. 
  • The Maya cups focus volume inward, whereas the Harriet is engineered for a more natural shape for me (YMMV) with more volume at the sides. The Sewing Lawyer, like the plastic torso, has zero cleavage.
  • Both bras are the right size. However, the fit is slightly off for me on both of them. I think this is because of the bridge orientation (very upright).
  • Maya has less height (in both cups and band) and doesn't feel as secure. The wire line is shorter, especially at the sides. I really like the feel of how the side of the cup on the Harriet is pulled up near the wire line by the cup extension that will attach to the strap. 
  • Obviously, the band on the Harriet is wider, but the actual difference on the finished bra would only be about 2mm. They look different here because the Harriet has much wider seam allowances at the bottom band. However, the wide band of fabric on the Harriet sits well on the rib cage and feels pretty darned good. 
Harriet and Maya - direct comparison
(click to enlarge for better detail)

Taking to comparing the pattern for the band, I taped them up on my window (ignore the background scenery). More things I learned:
  • Maya is slightly higher at CF but much lower at the side of the cup. The Harriet feels much more secure.
  • The bridge as designed on the Maya is almost 2x as wide as that of the Harriet sample I sewed. I narrowed the bridge on the Maya muslin by about 1cm to compensate. If I had sewn the bridge as designed, the cups would have been very far apart - much further apart than the cups on my partial band bra, which fits really well. 
  • The orientation of the bridge to the cups is almost identical in both patterns. 
  • The cup seamlines are almost exactly the same too.
  • So is the orientation of the band - the CB lines on the patterns are parallel to each other when the CF lines are parallel. The CB and CF are not parallel to each other, however. The back of the band points at a downward angle when compared with the front. (A downward pointing back band supposedly provides more support; maybe I don't need much of that.)
So then I compared the Maya to my self-drafted pattern, which I had modified for a full band using the instructions in the Bra Makers' Manual. (Disclaimer - I have never actually made my self-drafted full band pattern.) 

Maya and self-drafted pattern - direct comparison
 (click to enlarge for better detail)
  • The most obvious point of difference is that when the CFs are matched, along with the outline of the cup, the orientation of the back band on the two patterns is very different. While the Maya points downward, my self-drafted pattern is pretty flat. 
  • But the most important point of difference is the bridge. My self-drafted bridge is less upright and more triangular. The cup is as a result pushed slightly away from CF. 
  • If I was truly being scientific I would adjust both the Maya and the Harriet to accommodate my different bridge. 
  • However I am more interested in getting quickly to a good result, and the Maya cups felt skimpy whereas the Harriet was immediately far more comfortable. 
  • Therefore I will adjust the Harriet and make a real bra. 


  1. This is so interesting. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your finished bra.
    Vancouver Barbara

  2. It looks like all those patterns were drafted from the same method. Probably the same book you used. Where the straps are placed can also influence where the breast falls because even though it's not lifting the breast it creates a subtle tension on the fabric.

  3. Very interesting, I too look forward to your thoughts on the adjusted Harriet. One question though, in the second picture isn't it the Harriet in comparison to the self drafted and not the Maya? Today, I'm off to compare both purchased patterns as well as the PUG Classic. Thank you for getting me off to a good start!