6 March 2015

Lingerie: Partial Band Bra

This is my first attempt at a partial band bra, and it wasn't without it's challenges. Before starting, I did a bit of research, and read up on how to turn a full band pattern into a partial band pattern. If you'd like to know how to do it yourself (or convert a partial band pattern to a full band pattern), you can read a tutorial here. I also read up on the pattern making and method of construction in my Beverly Johnson book.

I had previously avoided doing a partial band bra, as the ones that I already have are far from comfortable, and constantly need adjusting. All day. After reading up on them however, I know exactly why my existing bras were so uncomfortable. Have a look at this.

See how small the bridge is at the centre? Not only is it too small, but to give adequate support it needs to be in line with the bust points,and this one is a good 2cm too low.

Before I tackled the requisite band adjustments to turn my pattern into a partial band bra, I did a few other alterations to the cups pattern (I haven't re-used the same pattern for my bra cups yet!) I also decided to try an integrated strap for this bra, instead of the T-intersecting straps that I have been making to date.

After reading the instructions on how to sew in the integrated strap, I discovered that my machine has something called a lightning stitch. It's just a straight stitch with a small horizontal stitch between each sitch, but I'd never noticed that I had it before, and have been using a three step straight stitch for all my stretch stitching. Getting back to the point though, I used this lightning stitch to sew the strap to the bra band.

The main fabric is a satin that I bought in the Blue Mountains in January. I only bought 20cm, and this used just over one third of it. It's so pretty, I'm a little sad that I didn't buy more, although I think more than one bra in this print is a bit of overkill. The straps and sliders I just got the week before I made this, from a new supplier that a friend told me about. Everything was in bulk, so I had to buy 100m of strapping, but I'm sure I'll get through it all somehow!

Remember how in my last bra I ended up having to trim the end of my underwires? Well, I had the opposite problem with this bra. Without a full band to line up the edges of the cups with, I somehow managed to stretch out the bra cups, and ended up with a space about 2cm long in the underwire casing.


Interfacing - stash
$0.75    White Printed Satin
$0.99    Bra Wadding
$0.03    Tricot
$0.27    Powernet
$0.66    Underwires
$0.93    Underwire casing
$0.61    Elastic
$0.65    Strap elastic
$0.32    Rings and sliders
$1.54    Back closure
$0.54    Thread (rough estimate)

Grand Total  $7.30

Most importantly though, does it fit better than previous partial band bras that I have owned? Well yes, but, much to my dismay, it doesn't sit right. The better fitting of the bras that I have made all sit flat against the chest wall, usually with the wires sitting where they are supposed to be, and not moving. Unfortunately, this one tends to gape at the base of the bust, under the bridge of the bra. I'm not quite sure what is causing this, but the most obvious culprit would be the stretched base of the bra cups. I am biding my time before taking off the underwire casing and fixing this. In the past I probably would have just made another bra, but I'm getting to the point that I don't want an ill fitting bra in the drawer that I'll ultimately not wear, so I'd like to try and fix this. It's my most favourite bra yet!

What's your experience with partial band bras? Do they sit flat for you?


  1. This is lovely, Andrea. Do you follow Measure Twice, Cut Once? Susan does bra making and has bra supplies for sale, I think. She also works at Pitt Trading in Sydney, so you could make her acquaintance. She's really lovely and very knowledgeable.

    1. I think I've stumbled across her things before. There are so many bloggers getting into bra making now! I'll have to have another look, before I manage a trip to Pitt Trading!