In my bra-making classes, I always have women who do not want to use wires in their bras. Yet they want to wear wires because they believe that only a wired bra can give support to their breasts. Can a wire-free bra be as supportive as a wired bra? Can a wire-free bra be uplifting?
Women cite a number of reasons for not wanting to wear underwires:
- they are allergic to the metal of the wires
- they have a sensitivity to the pressure of wires against their rib cage
- the wires dig in against breast tissue on the side
- the wires press against a protruding rib at the base of the breast
- the wires rub on a surgical scar
- they’ve been told not to wear wires as “they cause cancer”
- they take too much time to sew in
- they always pop out of the casing, so why bother?
While I can give some healthy debate on all of the above reasons, wearing wires is always a personal choice. It is not for me, or anyone to tell you to wear, or not wear, wires. Thankfully, there is not wire police!
But can you make a wire-free bra uplifting? In other words, can you make a wire-free bra with the support that traditionally has been reserved exclusively for wired bras? The truth may shock you. YES, it is possible. As sewists, we CAN make a wire-free bra with support. Let me show you some examples.
Here is a model wearing her favourite bra, a red Shelley. She feels good in this bra and uplifted.
I have marked lines at the arm crease so we have a reference for all the photos that follow. The lower line is the height of the apex.
Then she made a Ruby, and true to her nature, she used wires in it. You can see that the Ruby has a different shape (lower in the front, too) but still uplifted.
Then she tried a bralette – by definition, a bralette has no wires. Without wires, the look is not exactly the same as you get with a wired bra. The wires actually hold the breast tissue into a circular shape, and that containment has the appearance of supporting the breast and lifting it up. You can see that the breast has not as much projection as in the wired bra and the breast is pushed out more to the sides. This is quite common with a bralette. there is not as much uplift in the bralette, even though it is lined with sheer cup lining.
I have been working on the Sweet Sixteen bralette to improve its look and lift. Here is version 2 of the bralette. This one is sheer cup lining with stretch lace over top. definitely uplift and more projection!
Finally, we tried the Ingrid, a non-wired bra. The Ingrid provided the containment of the wires (thanks to the power bar built-in on the sides, and the front panel). With the support panels on the sides and front and the duoplex and wide elastic on the bottom, the breast is surrounded by supportive fabrics.
Can a wire-free bra be uplifting? Yes, it certainly can! But there are secrets to making it work. Supportive fabrics are one of the secrets to a supportive bra (no kidding!) The other really important elements to a supportive non-wired bra, I’ll save for my post next week, when I show you how to convert a wired bra to a non-wired one *HINT – it’s not just removing the wire!