If you’re like me, and you read a lot of sewing blogs, you might have noticed that it seemed like everyone and her sister has been sewing bras in the past year or so. We’ve seen a number of popular new bra patterns released by various indie designers during this time, and it also feels like my Instagram feed has been flooded with pretty bra and panty sets. Like me, you may have been tempted by these pretty underthings, clicked a link in someone’s blog post to find out more about the pattern…and been sorely disappointed that the sizing for the pattern only goes up to a DD cup.
So, for those of us whose cup sizes run closer to the middle of the alphabet, what options are out there if we want to jump on the bra-making bandwagon? In the rest of this post, we’ll take a near-comprehensive view of the sewing patterns available in large-ish band and large cup sizes. I arbitrarily chose to list patterns that are available in at least a size 40G (US sizing), since around that size, bra pattern sizing pretty much falls off a cliff (similar to how few sewing patterns were available above a 43″ (109cm) bust a few years ago).
Underwire bra patterns
The most common type of bra pattern (and also most common type of RTW bra) is where underwires help provide some of the support for your bust. An underwire bra may have a “full band”, where you’ll have a thin strip of fabric and elastic that runs under the cups, or a “partial band”, where the cups rest directly against your ribcage. Some “full band” patterns claim that the underwires themselves are optional for those who want more support, but in most bra pattern reviews that I’ve read, most women do choose to include the underwires. Because the underwires themselves are more vital to support in partial band bras, most partial band bras require underwires. Interestingly, most of my RTW bras (all purchased from a specialty lingerie store where I was professionally fitted) are partial band bras; however, most bra sewing patterns available for larger cup sizes tend to be full band bras.
The Pin-up Girls Classic Full Band Bra pattern is the pattern demo’ed in Beverly Johnson’s bra-making class on Craftsy. It’s a fairly basic bra pattern and features seamed cups and plush elastic straps and sliders for strap adjustment. I have seem some complaints online that the cup shape can make some large breasts more pointy than the wearer would prefer. One of the nice things about this pattern (beyond being able to follow along via the Craftsy class, which nearly always seems to be on sale) is that you can also purchase kits specifically for this bra–a nice option for newbie bra makers. The classic full band bra is available in sizes up to 48H.
You can order Beverly’s bra patterns either through her own website in Canada (http://www.bramakerssupply.com/), her US distributor (http://sweetcupsbrasupply.com/) or her Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/shop/BraMakingSupplies).
Pin-up Girls Classic Full Band Bra
The Shelley bra is also from Beverly’s Pin-up Girls line. This is the bra pattern that I’ve seen consistently garner the most positive reviews from large-busted women. The cups have additional seaming and design options above the “classic bra”, and based on wearer comments, they seem to shape full breasts a little more nicely than the classic. The Shelley bra is available in sizes up to 48H.
The Pin-up Girls Linda bra was the only partial band bra that I was able to find that’s available in large sizes. I have not seen many reviews of this pattern online; however, the cup shape and seaming appear to be similar to the Pin-up Girls “classic” full-band bra. The Linda bra is available in sizes up to 48H.
Pin-up Girls Linda Partial Band Bra
Anne St. Clair, owner of Needle Nook Fabrics in Kansas, has been traveling the US for years offering bra-fitting and bra construction workshops. I took one of Anne’s workshops years ago and came away with a very well-fit bra. The pattern that she uses for these workshops is her Queen Bra Elite pattern, which is also available for purchase from her and her daughter’s (Monica Bravo) online shops.
I found that the pattern gave me fairly perky (for their size), slightly pointy breasts. The final bra was definitely supportive. I know that Anne will also support via email if you purchase/use her patterns.
One thing that I didn’t care for is that Anne has you construct your own straps with interfaced fabric. While I know that most of your support is supposed to come from your bra band, the reality is that you might not get your strap length perfect on the first pass, so it’s nice to at least have the option of having adjustable strap sliders. With some bra-making experience, I suspect that it would be easy to switch the strap type.
The Queen Bra Elite is available in sizes up to 48H.
Needle Nook Fabrics: Queen Bra Elite
When I took Anne’s workshop, her daughter Monica helped out with fitting and pattern adjustments. Monica herself has a small band/large cup size and definitely understood the issues that us large-busted women face. She has since struck out on her own with her own lingerie pattern line, Bravo Bella, which includes a multi-seamed bra pattern. I haven’t tried her pattern yet, but I do like the looks of it quite a bit (more seams are usually a good thing). I do believe that this pattern also includes instructions for interfaced straps rather than adjustable straps. The Bravo Bra #2 is available in sizes up to 48I.
Bravo Bella Bra #2
The Maya bra is a free(!) bra pattern available from a Romanian designer. You can download the pattern from her site and can choose from English or Romanian instructions. The reviews I’ve read on this one seem to be fairly mixed–it works better for some women than others. The great/unique thing about the Maya is that it’s the only bra pattern available in large sizes that I’m aware of that has an option for cut-and-sew foam, which is a nice option for those of us who work in overly air conditioned office buildings. The Maya bra is available in sizes up to 44J.
AFI Maya Bra
Soft bra/”bralette” patterns
One of the most popular bra patterns of the past year has been the Cloth Habit Watson bra, which is a soft bra with no underwires. Not designed to provide a significant amount of bust support, the Watson is available only in sizes up to 40D, although the smaller band sizes do have some larger cup size options. Granted, most of us with larger cup sizes prefer more support than the Watson provides, but I know that there are definitely times when wearing a light support bra around the house would be nice. I did manage to find two soft bra patterns that are available in large size ranges.
Well-regarded indie patternmaker Jalie has a soft bra pattern available in sizes up to a 50″ (127cm) bust. Their pattern even has a nursing option. I know that when I was nursing, a bra like this would have been a great option for bedtime. If I were going to try a soft bra, I’d probably choose the Jalie for testing the waters.
Jalie 3131 Bra and Camisole
Another soft bra option available in larger sizes is the Florence bra, released as part of one of Colette’s Seamwork magazine issues last year. With no closures, the Florence hasn’t been getting great reviews from larger busted women who have made it, but perhaps you could make some modifications to make it work?, if you really wanted to try it? The Florence is available in sizes up to a 54″ (137cm) bust.
Colette/Seamwork Florence Bra
Specialty bra patterns
Not surprisingly, there aren’t a ton of options out there if you’re looking to make a specialty bra for a large bust, but I did find a few.
Now, I would never attempt to make a nursing bra, given that my breast size was like a moving target back in my nursing days. However, if your breast volume isn’t fluctuating wildly while nursing, perhaps you’d like to attempt to sew your own nursing bras? Pin-Up Girls Nursing bra goes up to a size 40I or 48F.
Pin-up Girls Nursing Bra Pattern
Speaking from personal experience, finding large-sized sports bras that are even reasonably supportive is a difficult and expensive task. Even with the wave of activewear patterns released in the past year, I could only find two sports bra patterns that go up to reasonably large sizes. Both are from Pin-up Girls, and neither had any reviews that I could find online. The first option is the “Kerri” bra, which has a view option of being a workout top and promises “no bounce”. The Kerri is available up to a 50″ (127cm) bust.
Pin-up Girls Kerri Sports bra
The other bra is the Alison, which looks similar to my enell compression sports bras, with the exception being that the Alison closes with a zipper and not a set of hook-and-eye clasps. The Alison is available up to a 48″ (122cm) bust.
Pin-up Girls Alison Sports Bra
Have you tried any of these patterns? Which one(s) are your favorites? Are there any bra patterns for large busts that I missed in my roundup? If so, please share them in the comments.
- Minimiser Bra:
- No-Sag Bra:
- Super Support Bra:
- Sports Bra:
- Strapless Bra:
- T-Shirt Bra:
- Lace Bra:
⓶ To measure your chest circumference, place your tape measure around your chest, going under the armpits and the tips of your breasts without tightening too much. Accompany your tape measure by coming back to the skin in the curve between your two breasts to “close” the measurement on your rib cage.Is it hard to sew bras? ›
Bras are not difficult to make, but they can seem a bit fiddly the first time you make one. Making a bra is no different to making any other garment: you need to look at the measurements, make your first bra, assess the fit and then tweak the pattern – just as you would on a pair of trousers or a shirt.Can you sew a bra? ›
Making a bra requires some basic sewing experience, because you will be working with a lot of elastic and tiny, very curved seams. The great thing about making a bra is that it helps with your sewing accuracy and creativity in so many other areas!Is a DDD the same as an F? ›
DDD is most commonly used in the US, and converts to an E or F cup in UK sizes – one size up from DD. Many larger cup bra brands use UK sizing, so it's worth being familiar with how sizes convert.What breast size is bigger than DD? ›
|Difference||US (United States)||EU (European)|
That number represents your cup size. For less than one inch you are a AA cup, for one inch you are an A cup, for two inches you are a B cup, for three inches you are C cup, for four inches you are a D cup and for five inches you are a DD cup.How do you measure your cup size for saggy breasts? ›
When buying a new bra for sagging breasts, figure out the cup size. To do this, wrap the tape measure around your body below the armpits and across your bust line, noting the measurement in inches. Next, measure just under the bust line and round to the nearest number to get your band size.How do you copy a bra pattern? ›
- Take the wires out of your bra. ...
- Lay your paper over top of your cardboard and make sure you have a piece big enough for your pattern.
- Start pinning. ...
- Connect the dots. ...
- Add in seam allowances. ...
- Repeat for all your pattern pieces.
1. It is actually cheaper than buying a bra. Surprise! Once you have the pattern, all the materials – fabric, findings and trims – can cost as little as $15.
As a grown-ass woman, your breast-enhancing goal is likely no longer “the bigger the better,” but something garment- or event-specific. Generally the most effective method is to fold the sock in half, then place it on the bottom of the bra cup, the same place where a padded bra has padding. You're adding more padding.Can a seamstress sew a bra into a dress? ›
Bras make a difference, too. Although it is the most supportive, most women prefer not to wear a bra. Bra cups can be sewn into a dress, but the purpose is mostly to add padding and is generally not much support.What fabric is needed to make a bra? ›
Typical bra cup fabric fibers are nylon, polyester, cotton, Spandex and silk. Bra fabrics are usually a tricot, raschel or even jersey knit. Woven fabrics like stretch silk charmeuse (silk with Spandex) are used for luxury lingerie, as is 100% silk.Do you measure bust with bra on for sewing? ›
Before you measure anything
Your bust level and circumference measurement will change with and without a bra on, so if you plan on wearing a bra with your finished garment, make sure you wear one during the measuring process.
- Make sure you're wearing the right size. First things first, let's talk about your bra size. ...
- Choose a smooth, seamless fabric. When you're shopping for a padded bra, you should pay close attention to the style of the fabric. ...
- Adjust those bra straps. ...
- Always invest in quality.
|A cup||73 - 78 cm65A|
|C cup||82 - 84 cm65C||102 - 104 cm85C|
|D cup||85 - 87 cm65D||105 - 107 cm85D|
|E cup||88 - 90 cm65E||108 - 110 cm85E|
|F cup||91 - 93 cm65F||111 - 113 cm85F|
Bra overflow happens when the top of the breast tissue doesn't fit into the cup of the bra. This can happen for a variety of reasons or a combination of them: Cup size. If you're wearing a cup that's too small the cups won't properly cover the correct amount of breast tissue.What is the world's largest breast cup size? ›
They Break Records - The world's largest natural breasts belong to Annie Hawkins-Turner. She wears a 52I bra and they weigh 56 pounds each.How much does a double D breast weigh? ›
A pair of D-cup breasts can weigh between 15 and 23 pounds, "the equivalent of carrying around a six-month old baby boy." This source also states that a pair of D-cup breasts weighs between 15 and 23 pounds.Is 36DD bigger than 38DD? ›
The volume of the letter is entirely dependent on the band size it is paired with. A 38DD will be one cup size larger than a 36DD, which is in turn one cup size larger than a 34DD, for example.
These cup sizes may sound big if you've always thought that the biggest size you could get was a DDD cup, but they really aren't – they are totally normal. Sometimes our US customers are surprised at the bra size we recommend. But it makes a huge difference to how their bra fits and how they feel!What is the average size breast for a woman? ›
While it's really difficult to precisely determine the standard breast size in the U.S. (or anywhere in the world, for that matter), we do know that the average breast size in America is a 34DD.What is DDD bra size equivalent to? ›
It might seem confusing, but yes a DDD is the same as an F— sometimes they are labeled differently based on the brand. After size D you can either go up to size DD which is the bra size equivalent to size E, size DDD which is equivalent to size F, and size DDDD which is equivalent to size G.What do large breasts indicate? ›
It has been previously suggested that female breast morphology arose as a result of sexual selection. This is supported by evidence showing that women with larger breasts tend to have higher estrogen levels; breast size may therefore serve as an indicator of potential fertility.Does not wearing a bra cause sagging? ›
"If you don't wear a bra, your breasts will sag," says Dr. Ross. "If there's a lack of proper, long-term support, breast tissue will stretch and become saggy, regardless of breast size." Still, both experts agree that multiple factors play into if and when sagging (technical term: "ptosis") occurs, bra-wearing aside.How do you know when to go up a cup size? ›
If there are gaps between the cup and your breast, you're wearing a cup size too big. If you find your breast spilling over the top, side, or bottom of the cup, you most likely need to go up in size. You also need to consider a larger cup size if the underwire or bottom of the bra is resting on your breasts.How do I know my cup size without measuring? ›
Here's a quick guide on how to measure your bra size without a measuring tape: To start, you'll need to know your cup size. Cup size is determined by the amount of breast tissue you have. To find your cup size, you can use a string to gently wrap around the circumference of your breast.How do I copy a pattern without cutting it? ›
An alternative to the pencil and paper method is to use carbon paper and a tracing wheel. Place the carbon paper between the pattern piece and your blank paper; once you have the hang of it then this can be a lot faster than tracing with a pencil. Some people even transfer the pattern directly onto their fabric!Can you make a custom bra? ›
You can fit and sew your own bra to get just the style, size, fabric, and features you want. For some women, it's easy to find bras that fit in styles they like. But many others aren't so lucky, spending endless time and money in search of that elusive perfect style and fit.How many bras should the average woman own? ›
As a general rule of thumb, it's important to have a healthy rotation of bras at the ready so that you're never left blindsided — and bare chested. All things considered, we'd suggest owning 11 bras in total in a couple of distinctive styles that range from everyday to on-occasion.
Most people have between one and four special occasion bras, though some may have more depending on their style and what type of clothes they like to wear. You might own anywhere between five and 15 (or even more) bras. It all depends on your lifestyle and your preferences.How many bras does the average woman own? ›
'Studies over the last few years have concluded that the average number of bras women own is as low as five, while some conclude that the average number is as high as 16. 'What bra pushes cleavage together? ›
This bra style has a lower neckline and angled cups, which help to pull the breasts closer together and enhance your cleavage. By bringing the breasts closer together and minimising the gap between them, a plunge bra helps create the look of rounder, fuller breasts.
Wear V-necks, button-up blouses with the top button undone, or tops with eye-catching designs to draw attention to your cleavage. Wear well-fitting or push-up bras to make your cleavage more pronounced, or consider silicone inserts for an extra boost.How not to look at cleavage? ›
Focus on making eye contact.
To keep your eyes focused on hers, try noticing the color of her eyes or what shape they are. If you're having trouble maintaining eye contact, try looking at the space in between her eyes instead. Remember to look away every so often and don't stare at them in a creepy way.
Make form-fitted clothes your go-to style.
Trying to compress, diminish or flatten big or saggy breasts by hiding them in oversized tops will just make them look bigger and saggier. You may want to go up a size in very fitted sweaters, though, simply because it looks more polished.
Start with a strip of boob tape that's slightly longer than the width of your chest. Attach the tape onto the side of one breast, carefully pressing as you wrap it in front of you before securing the other end to the side of your other breast. Continue pushing and lifting your breasts together the entire time.What do you call a dress with a seam under the bust? ›
Empire silhouette, Empire line, Empire waist or just Empire is a style in clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats.What is the most comfortable fabric for bras? ›
Both cotton and microfiber bras are impeccable for everyday wear, and while cotton offers more softness, microfiber bras provide a lighter feeling. Then again, choosing amidst them as per the season is a matter of choice.What are the most comfortable bra materials? ›
Materials to Look for When Shopping for a Comfortable Bra
“Some of the coziest materials are a brushed knit band or sleek and silky nylon,” she says. “These feel really soft and smooth against the skin.” Microfiber is a really comfortable choice for most women as it's soft and smooth and typically doesn't have seams.
One of the simplest forms of a built-in bra is called a shelf bra. Typically just an added layer of fabric over the breast area (with an elastic band at the bottom), a shelf bra doesn't provide much support but is seamless and comfortable for many women.What are the three basic measurements to help you choose the size to sew? ›
Bust, waist, and hip measurements are the most commonly used in sewing patterns, but it can be helpful to take a few other measurements, too. This will allow you to know if the finished garment has enough ease for you in other parts of your body.Do you breathe in or out when measuring bust? ›
Step 1: Take Your Bust Measurement
Wrap a measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust (at nipple level). Take a deep breath in and out to ensure the tape isn't too tight. Round to the nearest whole number. Pro Tip: If the measurement falls on the half inch, round it up.
Wrap the measuring tape loosely around the fullest part of your chest, at nipple level. Round to the nearest whole number. This will become your bust measurement.Should heavy breasts wear padded bra? ›
You need a bra if you want to use it to increase your breasts. Padded bras are highly recommended for women with small bust sizes. They can put it on every day to boost their self-esteem, and it provides full coverage. Women with large bust sizes can also benefit from minimizer bras and padded bras.Who should wear heavily padded bra? ›
Padded bras are highly recommended for women with small busts. They can wear it every day to boost their confidence and for ultimate coverage. Heavy-breasted women can also enjoy the benefits of padded bras and minimizer bras.How do I stop my nipples from showing through my padded bra? ›
“My best hack is if you don't have nipple covers just laying around you can use regular, medical, or silicone tape and criss-cross it over your nipples,” says Brooklyn-based stylist Joiee Thorpe. “Lay the two pieces very flat so they don't show — smoother tape will work better.What is the difference between DD and DDD? ›
A breast measurement 5 inches larger than the band size is a DD and a breast measurement 6 inches larger than the band size is a DDD.What kind of bra should I wear to make my breasts look smaller? ›
A minimiser bra is best to reduce breast size. Minimizer bras are specially made to help give the appearance of a smaller bust.Which bra is best for heavy breast padded or non padded? ›
For heavier busts, Padded bras may add a size up and are good for occasional wear whereas Non-padded bras are good for Daily wear and everyday use. Still there is no compulsion on what type of bra you want to wear but make sure to wear your right size and which makes you feel comfortable all day long!
This source also states that a pair of D-cup breasts weighs between 15 and 23 pounds.What is a 38DDD equivalent to? ›
|38 BAND SIZE|
|Current Bra Size||Sister Size DOWN||Sister Size UP|
34DDD=34F. 34DDDD=34G. 34DDDDD=34H. So I would recommend that you try a 34G.How do you shape saggy breasts? ›
- Cobra pose.
- Traveling plank.
- Plank reach-under.
- Dumbbell chest press.
- Stability ball dumbbell fly.
- Medicine ball superman.
- Dumbbell pullover.
Those who feel that their breast shape is not okay, wearing non-padded bra instead of a padded one will help to achieve a more natural look. This is because non-padded bras give room to breasts to be able to enjoy the natural curves.