Posts

Are Racerback sports bras better? Understanding strap configurations

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There are so many different strap configurations in sports bras that it's almost impossible to categorise them all. From standard T and U backs to racerbacks, J hooks, cutout racerbacks, decorative multi straps, what should you choose? Is there a physical reason why these strap styles are so popular, or is it just fashion? In this post, I will be referring to all styles that connect or cross in the back as racerbacks, and standard U or T backed straps as standard straps.  This post was released early to my  lovely supporters on Ko-fi. To get early access to posts, or access to extended editions of posts, you can support me for just £2/$3 a month!   What the studies say Yes, there's research into sports bras! in fact, multiple research teams have pitted sports bras against each other to test which features are most effective, and unfortunately the results vary quite a bit. While some (Zhou et al., 2013) have found that bras with a "cross back panel" (like st

What is the effect of changing the dart width in a bra cup pattern?

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This question caused a lot of intrigue on Instagram when I asked it, and it's a question that has confused me as well for a long time. Analysing this alteration and its effects has really improved my overall understanding of bra cup geometry, so even if you don't intend to wear darted cup bras, I would still recommend reading through this post to help understand other alterations. An extended version of this post can be found on my Ko-fi , where you can get instant access to this and previous extended blog posts for just £2. If you want, you can become a member for £2 a month to continue supporting my blog. I drew up a Foundations Revealed draft of a darted cup bra. It's possible to maintain all the internal cup radiuses and wireline lengths while altering the dart angle, shown below to make it both narrower and wider. When we widen the dart, the whole bra seems to shift upwards. What happens to the fit, though? Same pattern, changed dart width There were all manner of d

Are You Overfitting Your Wires? A look at breast root anatomy

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Bra making has taken a very modular turn in the past few years: to make a well fitting bra, you must: Take a root trace (while leaning forwards) Match this to a wire chart and order some similar wires Make a fitting band to fit your wire and band Add the cups and fit those This system works well for some, but there are some pitfalls that are very easy to get muddled in when approaching bra making like this. Beginners especially can sometimes be lost in endless alterations, a lack of lift, and perpetually uncomfortable bras. These issues stem largely from the ideas that: The best fitting wire is one that matches your root width perfectly The wire must fit close to perfectly for the bra to fit well A perfectly taken root trace (again, taken leaning forwards) will show your breast root perfectly The fit of the wire can - and should - be determined without adding the cups, to avoid tissue being pushed out by too small cups  The cups can then be easily altered to fit with this new frame

Should you worry about bending your wires? (A response to Bare Essentials)

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For those who are unfamiliar," Bare Essentials: Bras " is a book by Jennifer Lynne Fairbanks, which is most known for its unique bra drafting techniques which allow you to make a custom bra draft based on your measurements. I won't be talking about those in this post - the book is expansive and also covers bra construction, pattern alterations, and information for developing your custom pattern into a few different styles.  When I was writing Part 3 of the Bra Physics series (which is primarily about the physics of underwires), I recalled a passage from the Bare Essentials book which discussed underwires, stress and strain and fatigue, and upon rereading I found it draws some conclusions that I don't agree with from a materials/engineering point of view. I think these issues stem from a minor (but common) misunderstanding of stress and strain, so I hope this post helps clear up these issues for some of you as well, as well as to potentially allay any fears you may

Bra Physics 4 - What can we learn about the cups and straps?

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In this part, I talk about the physics involved in the cups and the straps. The cups are by far the most complex part of the bra, and their geometry befuddles millions of people worldwide. I won't be talking about geometry here - cup shape, strap positioning, and necklines (well, I do a tiny bit in the extended version), but instead your material choice and how it impacts a bra.  You can check out part 1 where I go over the main function of a bra and the forces it needs to provide. part 2 discusses the design of the band, part 3 the wires and cradle. As before, an extended version of this post can be found on my Ko-fi , where you can get instant access to this and previous extended blog posts for just £2/$3. If you want, you can then continue subscribing on a monthly basis to support my blog.   Stress and Strain - A Recap The strain of an item is essentially how much its length has increased, as a proportion of its original length. If your bra band measures 30" on the t