Einstein and Bra Fitting

Einstein and Bra Fitting

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."  -Albert Einstein

And so it is in the world of bra making.  Fitting is by far the most difficult aspect of the bra making journey.  This is partly because in our effort to make it simple, we have made it a bit too simple.  We expect to be able to take 2 or 3 measurements, plug them into a formula, and come up with a size.  However, most of the time we are disappointed when we make or purchase a bra in the calculated size and it doesn't work.

The Myth of Measurements

*warning, this section involves math!

I'm a total, self-confessed nerd.  I love math.  So let's look at this measurement thing through the geek lens.  

To calculate a bra size there are a few different formulas, but they basically all do the same thing.  You take 2 or 3 circumference measurements of your cylinder-ish shape, otherwise known as your torso and boobs.  These are linear, one-dimensional measurements.  From these, you calculate a band size, either with the actual measurement or by adding some inches.  This makes sense, because a band length is also a linear, one-dimensional amount.  

But then there is the cup size.  This is a volume, a three-dimensional measurement.  Somehow, you take the difference between two linear measurements (the circumferences at fullest bust and either above or below the bust) and "calculate" a "volume" that is labeled with a letter - cup size is not even numerical!!!  Mathematically, it is impossible to calculate a volume using the difference between two linear measurements.  Impossible.

Additionally, those circumference measurements don't tell you anything about distribution.  You can't tell by looking at the number 39 if those 39" are mostly from a broad back or huge boobs or not even accurate because you measured wearing a sports bra!

Don't Make It Simpler

Take your measurements.  Calculate your size.  But please don't stop there.  That is just too simple in the world of fitting a bra.  Look at your body.  Really look at it.  Where did those inches come from? (and no, last night's lasagna is not the answer we are looking for!)

The video below gives you a bit of guidance of what to look for as you gaze at your bosom in the mirror.  The four areas of fit are what I analyze every time I make a bra for someone.  Now, take a deep breathe and trust me that a great fitting bra is totally worth the effort!  I'm sure Einstein would agree!

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  • Nova says...

    Love your products. Have made some bras that you convinced me at sew expo the underwrites would be comfortable. On my second bra a made next size larger cup thinking this might eliminate the right side cup under wire digs into my underarm Do you have any ideas how to remedy this problem . Thanks for your great website and sharing of information.

    On Apr 19, 2017

  • Fern Wilcox says...

    Hello Monica,
    I am making one of your swim suits #2. There are very clear instructions for making adjustments to the front of the suit, but no mention of the alterations for the bandeau with cups or without cups. Is there a need to do adjustments if you are a d cup or better?

    On Mar 26, 2017

  • Ann Florie says...

    Thank you so much Monica, all the info I have found both on your site and in your dvd has been a great help to me, There is much to learn,and you have been a Great source for me ,Thanks Again Ann

    On Nov 15, 2016

  • Tracy Revalee says...

    Thanks for sharing your self-described nerdy skills to this field. I’m looking forward to a nice bra wardrobe 13 years after a bilateral mastectomy for cancer! I wish I’d found Brava Bella earlier because it looks like my sewing skills could have made the transition from the Rockies to the Appalachians much easier. I got the same breast volume from the implant but the shape is completely different

    Just watched all your Youtube vids…very enlightening. I had made one lounge-type bra from the Collette pattern “Florence” and then invested in the Beverly Johnson Craftsy class and her bra-making supplies along with “Shelley” bra pattern. Until I finish those projects I won’t be able to afford your products :( but I’ll be back.

    I think your teaching will help ensure a better outcome on my next Florence I’ll pay attention to using a smaller frame and cup size within the diameter of the pattern.

    Thanks again.

    On Nov 09, 2016

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