I just picked up the third edition of Bare Essentials Bras by Jennifer Lynne Mathews-Fairbanks and decided to give self drafting a bra pattern another go. I have the second edition but never finished the test bra I started so I can’t compare the fit accuracy between the two editions.
One of the biggest difference between the two editions, is that the third edition takes on more of a mathematical approach. You only have to take four body measurements: chest measurement, under bust measurement, chest height measurement (should be taken without a bra), and full bust measurement (should be taken wearing a bra). All measurement are easy to take accurately by yourself.
There are a few items you will need to have on hand prior to drafting your bra pattern.
One item you will need is your underwire. There is a chart in the book that you can use to help determine your underwire size.
The best method to determine both the best underwire style and size is to take a flexible ruler or some wire and mold it around your breast.
Print out the wire sizing charts from your chosen supplier and compare the flexible ruler or wire to the chart to find the best wire style and size that fits your breast shape. If you are drafting your pattern using Adobe Illustrator, the author also has a downloadable chart template you can use when drafting your band pattern.
Once you have your underwire, you will need to determine the wire’s diameter and length. If you purchase your wire from the author, she includes charts in the book which lists the diameter and length of all the underwires she carries in her store.
The other item you will need is your back band fabric. The most common fabric used is powernet. You will need to determine your fabric’s percentage of stretch. If your supplier does not provide this information, the author shows you how to measure this. The book includes a stretch reduction chart. This chart will be used to determined the reduced back chest and reduced back under bust for your draft. Because we are drafting a custom fit bra, most likely you will not adding any wire splay to your draft. So you will need to reduce your percentage of stretch. I use a heavy weight powernet that has 40% stretch. Using the multiplier for 40% stretch, the band is too tight around my body so I had to reduce it to 35%.
Hook and Eye
The last item you will need is your hook and eye. The hook and eye will effect your reduced back chest and reduced back under bust measurement. It will also determine your back band height so you will need this item on hand to measure the length and width before drafting.
There are several calculation that you have to complete prior to drafting your pattern but if you are not a math person, the author includes a link in the book to a calculator that will do all the calculations for you.
I chose to do the calculation myself and created a spreadsheet in Numbers. I created function for all the calculations and saved the spreadsheet as a template so I only have to set it up once. Now when I need to draft a different size pattern, all I have to do is fill in the measurements and the calculations are done for me. The only time I need to go in and edit the functions is when I change underwire style; for example, if I go from a regular underwire to a vertical underwire because the percentage for the cup curve calculations are different.
There is one error in the book that effects the calculation for the strap position, but the author posted the correction on her facebook page.
The book shows you how to draft a pattern by hand, using Adobe Illustrator, or using a pattern drafting software. I have draft my pattern using Adobe Illustrator.
There is not much different in the method of drafting the pattern in the third edition. The only difference is instead of drafting a one piece bottom cup, we are now drafting a two-piece bottom cup.
If you are interested in the Porcelynne Method of bra drafting, I have the spiral bound version available in my shop. You can go here to purchase it.
If you are interested in purchasing the paperback or pdf version, you can purchase it here.
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