BIT OF BACKGROUND:
Have you heard that statistic about most women in the US are wearing the wrong sized bra? I know I have and systematically discarded it.
"That's them" I thought.
I had been measured by the ladies at Nordstroms and tiny lingerie boutiques - all the same size 32D. Well, that was before I had kids. After wearing comfy nursing bras for 4 years, my body has changed enough to warrant new bras. So off to Nordstroms I went - they promptly sized me at 32DD. After the initial sticker shock wore off and brought the one bra home, I went online in search of similar bras in my new size. Stumbled upon the Reddit thread A Bra That Fits.
The knowledge from that one site turned my world upside down. For starters they needed 5 measurements to calculate your size. They addressed shape, volume, how the girls point, where the girls point, which bras worked with which shapes and why. SO. MUCH. INFORMATION. Where has this been all my life? Curious, I measured and entered my stats into their calculator fully expecting it to confirm my 32DD status. Surely their calculator will be THE most accurate since it requires more data. My analytical side was kicking in. OMG. HOW WRONG I WAS. The ABTF calculator put me at 32F/FF. Wait, what? I was confident that the calculator would put in at least in the same realm (maybe 1 cup off) as my old size but this was 4 (FOUR!) sizes bigger. My mind is racing. I had gained some weight postpartum but the band size remains the same. Could it be possible I only gained weight around my hips and boobs? Hilarious. Then it dawns on me. The majority of women wear the wrong size bra! I am one of those women. I have been wearing the wrong size for over 20 years! WTF?
I dive full force into this brave new world where most major US lingerie manufacturers do NOT make bras in my size nor do they have a standard. The days of grabbing a clearance bra for ~$25 are long gone. The single bra I purchased from Nordstrom (and subsequently returned, unused) was $70!
SHOPPING FOR NEW BRAS
I turn to online retailers to 1.) actually find a selection of bras to try in my size and 2) pray for a bargain. In the course of a few months, I was able to purchase a few in my new size and was elated at the fit and comfort! Not that my old size wasn't uncomfortable back then ~ i never had the issues I hear other women complaining about. No wires poking, no spillage out the top or gapping, the center gore tacked (sat firmly against breastbone). It wasn't until I tried on a bra in my CORRECT size for a few days then went back to my old INCORRECTLY sized bra that I felt the difference. The wires were too small - they sat on my breast tissue and caused "tissue migration" under the arms.
After a few weeks of wearing the new bras, I noticed the wires felt uncomfortable around the gore at the end of the day. The wires were higher than I was accustomed to and my girls are set fairly close together so the wires were once again, sitting on breast tissue. My search now has the following (seemingly impossible) criteria: my correct size 32F, extra narrow center gore (usually indicated by OVERLAPPING wire channels) and/or low center gore, and lots of immediate projection at the wire. Oh, and under $40 would be great!
Once again, I turn to Google for help. That is when I stumble up this:
Wait, someone sewed - at home - this gorgeous bra - with overlapping underwire channels? It clicks. I can sew. I know how to read and follow patterns. Why don't I try making my own? The cost of purchasing the pattern and a bra sewing kit is STILL less than the cost of a retail priced bra.
And so it begins. After much deliberation and research, I ordered the Merckewaerdigh Mix 30 Bra and Panty pattern. From the reviews, it seems this company has really good instructions and quality patterns but also offers instructions on converting to a foam cup online. I also ordered bra making supplies from ArteCraft. Can't wait for it all to arrive and start my journey!