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bras without underwires
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patmiller3
Posted 2013-03-12 9:06 AM (#84881)
Subject: bras without underwires


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My sister's doctor told her that women shouldn't wear bras with underwires. He talked to her about problems they could cause. She looked on the internet and found information that supported what the doctor said. So now she's after me to quit wearing them.

However, I'm 70 years old; I do not look good without underwires. Can anyone tell me how to construct a bra with support without underwires? I know the bra won't be AS supportive, but can there be SOME support built in? I tried internet searches and haven't found any good information.

Pat
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Maida
Posted 2013-03-12 9:51 AM (#84882 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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Location: metro area of Kansas City, MO, but on the KS side

Pat,

Google Pennyrich or Jeunique bras Missouri. Both were made by the same company.  I've worn them for years.  I'm not sure Pennyrich is available because the owner died and someone else bought the company.  The biggest problem is finding a dealer.  They aren't available in department stores.  If you do can find the bras you'll find them the most comfortable of any bra you've ever worn.  They give good support. 

Maida

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julie w
Posted 2013-03-12 9:57 AM (#84883 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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I'm not sure if this would help but I recently read details of this sew along. http://clothhabit.com/bramaking-sew-along/ there are useful links and comments along the way including this one http://foundationsrevealed.com/articles/bra-making

It was mentioned, from memory, that using the wire casing without the wire does give some support.

Edited by julie w 2013-03-12 9:59 AM
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Karen - Tech Support
Posted 2013-03-12 10:24 AM (#84884 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Why is it we should not wear a bra with an underwire?
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barbara
Posted 2013-03-12 11:12 AM (#84885 - in reply to #84883)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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there is a lady that does classes on bra making. anne St Clair is her name or the Bra lady. She has all kinds of reasons for support and does claim the store bought bras are not designed right. I do think she uses underwires for some people. My friend took the class and made a bra, she said it fit great. I have not made a bra and I wasn't really planning on it any time soon, but it is a really great thing for people who have had surgeries and such that have caused fit issues.
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-12 12:12 PM (#84886 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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As a professional bra maker I can answer these questions. Underwires when they are not correctly fitted to your body and end up sitting on breast tissue can lead to painful inflammation. This can in some cases result in blocked glands, another painful issue which in my case required a surgery, long before I learned to sew my own bras.

Now, having said that, I do wear bras with wires because my bras and the wire in them FIT! For some women this is possible to find with a commercial bra with a good sales assistant who really understands fit. Some of the girls at Victoria's Secret might know how BUT not the ones I met. You really need to go to a specialty store where they are real pros at fitting! Pat, if at the age of 70 you have never had issues with wires bothering you, you are probably finding the correct size.

As for making your own....the first step for me after I did all the measuring was to take the correct size wire ( based on those measurements, there is a special chart available. I think you can get it at Bramakers.com) and place it on the bare chest. It should comfortably curve under and around the breast tissue. At the side towards the back, it needs to rest on the boney rib cage NOT the soft breast tissue. This can be a hard place to find. At the centre front, it should lie flat on the sternum. Often I would have to try two or three different sized wires to find the right one. This did not substantially change the pattern.

It makes a world of difference if the wire fits your body! Comfort, support, the illusion of weight loss<LOL> make it worth the effort. Of course the cups and the band also have to fit properly!

I really miss this part of my work world, making bras that fit. Sadly, I no longer can do this work due to an injury 6 1/2 years ago. And even making my own bras has been a challenge. I've had to design them in a rather unique way but I haven't given up the underwires<smile>. Commercially, the Jeunique do come without wires and are a true engineering feat. I have tried them on but prefer my own, obviously<smile, wink>.

It really amounts to choice IF you can make them yourself or find them whether or not to use the wire.

Good luck!
HUgs
Brenda
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Karen - Tech Support
Posted 2013-03-12 12:24 PM (#84887 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
My store bought bra's fit well and are comfortable - except for the one that seems to have a piece of nylon thread in the piece under the hooks. Actually I just cut off the corner the other day.

I taught a bra making class at G Street. I also measured the class for bra size. I found the a large number had the wrong band size. I remember one lady that said she wore a 32D. I measured her at a 36 band Then she told me she wanted to copy the bra she was wearing - the 32D - then she said it was more than 15 years old! Poor bra.

Last time I found one that was perfect - they only had one. Well, the style was discontinued before I could get home and on the Internet to look for more.

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patmiller3
Posted 2013-03-12 12:48 PM (#84888 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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Karen,
The reasons are the ones that Brenda mentioned. When I looked on the internet, some of the articles also said the wires could cause mastitis (which may be the condition that Brenda talked about).

Brenda, Anne taught a bra making class in Atlanta in 2008 and I went. The bra I made fit so well, it was so comfortable. Except - because the cups were made from tricot, they weren't supportive enough. I think I'll make another one in a more supportive fabric. And what you said about underwires not being harmful IF they fit correctly makes so much sense. Thank you for your input.

As far as commercial bras, every time I find one that's really comfortable, by the time I need to replace it, that particular style has been discontinued. And it takes trying on so many to find just the right one.

Pat
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-12 1:55 PM (#84890 - in reply to #84888)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires



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Your welcome Pat. And I very well understand finding the perfect bra and then discovering that it's discontinued when you want to buy another...very aggravating but that's the nature of our shopping world. That's when you might attempt to clone your bra, although if it's 15 years old as Karen described with one of her students, that's not going to give the best results.

Tricot really doesn't work for bras as you discovered. Always start with the correct materials for good results, kind of like baking (at which I'm a real failure by the way, grin).

There are lots of really good resources online as mentionned earlier. Because I'm in Canada I use Bramakers but they deliver worldwide. I love visiting Beverly's store when I'm in Hamilton, ON where my son lives.

HUgs
Brenda
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patmiller3
Posted 2013-03-12 2:25 PM (#84892 - in reply to #84890)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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Brenda,
What do you typically use for bra cups?

Pat
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Susan Palmer
Posted 2013-03-12 3:54 PM (#84894 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Canyon Lake, Texas
Has anyone been using the bra patterns in PMV or the past versions of Curves lately? If so, please discuss.
Susan
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patmiller3
Posted 2013-03-12 4:35 PM (#84895 - in reply to #84894)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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I tried with Curves 4, but could never get the pattern quite right. I haven't tried with Curves 5.
I'd love to be able to use the program to make bra patterns, though.

Pat
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Karen Maslowski
Posted 2013-03-12 4:56 PM (#84896 - in reply to #84888)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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I took the Ann St. Clair class, too, and have all the stuff, just haven't had the time or inclination to fiddle with them. Plus, I found some Wacoal bras on sale that fit me very well, and more importantly, have a sewn cup. That's getting harder and harder to find these days, even in very expensive bras.

One tip: if you find a bra that fits you well, and it wears out, save the underwire, if you can before you pitch the bra. They don't wear out, and they're the most difficult component of the bra to find.

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julie w
Posted 2013-03-12 7:50 PM (#84898 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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I have yet to draft my bra pattern either paper or software,however I think the problems with making bras to fit is they need lots of fine little tweaks perhaps software is harder to make these adjustments and knowing which measurement affects another so perhaps easier to do it manually.
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barbara
Posted 2013-03-12 10:35 PM (#84901 - in reply to #84896)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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Karen, after learning about bra and how they are supposed to fit and give support, I went to a store and could not find a bra with the sewn cup, not one.
Granted we don't have the stores that are more likely to have them. Since DH retired we never go to Chicago anymore. i used to go with him sometimes and shop or mostly just look at all the fancy stores.
warcoal on Sale! Now that is hard to find. I wear the warcoal, and they do carry them locally, but I first found them in Chicago, when I needed something that would fit and be comfortable after shoulder surgery. I was on a mission to find a bra that was comfortable, so I hit Michigan Ave. i figured they had to have something with all those stores. they did and nobody could believe what I spent on the bras, but the bras fit and are comfortable and I figure some people spend money on much more foolish things.

my friend took the all day class with Anne St claire and she worked all day from 8am to 6pm on her bra. she is very experienced and an excellent seamstress, it would probably take me months to get one done.
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-13 9:09 AM (#84902 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Morning everyone. I love this thread!
I use and LOVE Curves V5 for my bras. My cups are sewn with a heavyweight spandex stretch satin fabric. There are newer fabrics available but I'm still using up my inventory (when does stash become inventory, wink?).

If you want a good supportive fitting bra I personally believe you need the sewn cups. However, a quick tour through the department stores locally proved the point that the foam cups reign supreme. I have no idea why they've become so popular...well, maybe all the Victoria Secret advertizing is a good clue. They do not provide the kind of fit I prefer but I'm sure they are much cheaper to produce. Also, it's what the young market demands. They don't want any visible seam lines. In my case, that would mean have extra "breast" lines popping out at inconvenient moments<lol> instead!

Once again, I strongly recommend finding a specialty bra store. They will have the sewn cups as well as the foam AND the larger cups with smaller bands that are often needed. Cost of course will be higher than the department stores but you will get better fit and quality and they will last longer, in my experience.

Making your own bras, whether you use a commercial pattern in a class or Curves requires patience to get the fit you want. Perhaps 3 or 4 attempts at getting the fitting exact. It's actually easier to fit a pair of pants than a bra so be prepared for the work. BUT it's worth it in the end! Once your cup is perfected, make a cardboard copy of your pattern and use it forever (well, barring weight gain and loss)!

HUgs
Brenda

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Susan Palmer
Posted 2013-03-13 12:23 PM (#84903 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Brenda, thank you for your good advice. In the past you may have mentioned where you get your materials, but I could not find any posts. Would you share, please? I did look at Spandex House from the Wikiwiki link, but other than swimsuit or dance costumes, I couldn't tell what would be appropriate for bras. I need good side support as well as D cup support. Any further advice you wish to share would be so helpful.
Thanks,
Susan
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sewsally
Posted 2013-03-13 12:33 PM (#84904 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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If you have a chance to take a hands on class with Ann St Claire such as at anASG national conference...highly recommended.
She even gave me some tips on how to use the settings in Curves to do it.

I just find that sewing bras is just too tedious for me and I was still working on the fit.
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-13 4:49 PM (#84907 - in reply to #84903)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
You can go to http://www.bramakerssupply.com/ They have everything needed to make bras plus lots of explanations and good advice and lists of trained teachers. Beside each fabric description, Bev explains what it is most suitable for...costume, small cups vs large, camisoles and panties, swimwear and so on. It makes it easier to choose which to pick.

For good side support when you need a D or greater cup (I'm an E or F), I use extra interfacing in that area.

HUgs
Brenda
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-13 5:00 PM (#84909 - in reply to #84904)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
Hi All,

As Sally has said, I too strongly recommend taking a course on bras at the ASG or equivalent here in Canada or at a local sewing store. It will be immensely helpful.

And yes, getting the fit can be a tedious and very time consuming project. Only you can decide if the work is worth it! If you can find a commercial bra that gives you great fit, then don't bother, unless you want the challenge because believe me it is. And I say that from experience of working with Curves and having many of my pro bramaker friends complaining even more about the inaccuracies of the paper patterns they used.

If you accept the maxim that EACH breast is like a snowflake totally unique,as a friend of mine said, you can see why fit is such a challenge. I was once told that students of fashion who want to work in bra designs have to intern almost 7 more years after graduating before they are allowed. Again, maybe that's why foam cups are so popular. Who has the patience in this day and age to go to all that effort?

You can definitely do it with Curves. I even had a business doing so. But it does require patience and persistence and it has to be worth it to you. Definitely not for everyone and there is no need for it to be so.

HUgs
Brenda
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Susan Palmer
Posted 2013-03-13 5:48 PM (#84910 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Posts: 163
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Location: Canyon Lake, Texas
Once again, thank you for your excellent advice and where to shop for materials.

I can well imagine the challanges of bra design particularly when one's breast are probably not equal in size and shape. The biggest problem I have is that a commerical bra can feel fine when trying on, but after wearing it for awhile, it usually becomes uncomfortable. I'am very short waisted and have found so many commerical bras in my size (?whatever that is!), have high sides/backs with 4-5 hooks. All that extra support just ends up curling up and squeezing my sides. So, going to experiment and see what I come up with. If nothing else, maybe I can design light support with soft knits to wear around the house and relieve the squeezed marks!

Just a side note regarding your business, I think it's safe to say as a previous small business owner, one spends most days trying for patience and persistence just to stay alive, no matter what business you are in!

Thanks again!
Susan
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Karen Maslowski
Posted 2013-03-13 8:59 PM (#84912 - in reply to #84901)
Subject: RE: bras without underwires


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Barbara, if you can find a Stein Mart, they often have Wacoal bras, and at a nice discount from department stores.
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Karen Maslowski
Posted 2013-03-13 9:03 PM (#84913 - in reply to #84902)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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Manufacturers make the formed cups on machines. Bras are fiddly to sew, as you know so well, Brenda, and using those heat-formed cups reduces a lotta labor.

I am not a fan. Can you tell?
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Brenda
Posted 2013-03-14 8:08 AM (#84917 - in reply to #84913)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires



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Location: Waterloo, ON, Canada
You're right Karen. Those cups are made on a machine. Here's my question ladies...ever see a machine made breast? Only on mannequins and they don't move, bounce, jiggle or squish. But even on them the foam cups just , well, sit.

HUgs
Brenda
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julie w
Posted 2013-03-14 8:53 AM (#84918 - in reply to #84881)
Subject: Re: bras without underwires


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Thye foam cups were originally sold as "T shirt Bras" and now are just everywhere, I think it is now what lots of people are now used to, together with thiner fabrics being used in RTW makes them very popular if not the best fitting. My daughter has just bought a Memory Foam Bra, it will be interesting to see how this performs. I have just received some bra supplies and am waiting for some more to arrive so I can begin a bra fitting journey. I have chickened out of using Curves, for the time being due to not knowing how to tweak the settings, and have bought a pattern so I can have instructions for my first attempts.
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