In my last post, I showed that a wire-free bra could indeed be as supportive as a wired bra. In today’s post, I’ll show you how to convert a wired bra to be wire-free. That’s great news for those who for a number of reasons do not wish to wear wires. And just to be clear, that’s your choice as a bra-maker. Also to be clear, making a wire-free bra does NOT mean simply removing the wires! Not if you expect it to be supportive.
In the present line of line of Pin-up Girls patterns, there are 13 bras; some are wired, and some are not. The wired ones are the Classic, Linda, Sharon, Shelley, Sharon, Ruby, Sapphire and Amethyst. There are also two wired bras that use pre-formed foam cups; the Amanda and the Anita.
The non-wired ones are the Ingrid, the Sweet Sixteen Bralette and the two sports bras; the Alison and the Kerri. So these ones are already wire-free.
As you can see, there are a lot more wired bras in the Pin-up Girls line than non-wired ones! But that’s ok – with a little modification we can convert a wired bra to be wire-free. But only some…there are some bras, the partial band bras, that cannot exist without wires. That’s because when you remove the band under the cup, all that holds the breast inside the cup is…you guessed it – the underwire. The partial band bras include the Linda, Sharon and the Sapphire. So let’s eliminate them. We’ll also eliminate the two foam cup patterns because the foam is a pre-determined shape so you cannot modify it by much. We are left with 4 bras we can convert to a wire-free version.
So what’s the difference between a typical wired bra (the Classic) and a non-wired one like the Ingrid. By superimposing one over the other, you can quickly see that the non-wired one is much higher on the neckline than the wired one. That’s because the neckline area of the bra must sit on solid ground so to speak in order to do the job of supporting the weight below. Generally speaking, a low-cut, non-wired bra is not a very supportive bra. The Ingrid is also higher under the arms to help tuck all the breast tissue inside.
Notice the strap on the Classic is out further to the shoulders than the Ingrid. Having the strap support the heaviest part of the breast makes sense but we don’t always think of something as simple as moving the strap toward the centre front.
One important thing is the neckline really, really needs to be stabilized. Using stay tape, or some kind of tape to keep the neckline from stretching will keep the bra where it belongs. Think of the stabilizer tape as being one part of a complete circle of support that surrounds the breast to keep it up and in. On a wired bra, we stabilize the neckline and underarm and let the wire complete the rest of the circle. However, on a wire-free bra, we have to create that circle by other means. On the Ingrid, we circled the breast with a power bar, and a front panel, both of which connected to a stable underbust piece. This underbust piece holds the breast from spreading to the side.
So here’s the original Classic and one that has been modified to be wire-free. You can see the difference these small changes can make.
If you think that raising the upper cup level makes for “too much bra”, may I suggested several design treatments that will visually cut the upper cup to a more manageable height. All of these treatments can easily be done by adding fabric or lace to the upper cup only. The added lace or colour visually breaks the upper cup in half.
As you can see, it didn’t need much work to convert your wired bra to be wire-free. The other bras in our Pin-up Girls line can be treated the same way, so you can have Wireless freedom!
How to Convert your wired bra to be wire-free (the short list)
- Use supportive fabric, not stretchy spandex for the cups. Yes, I know they are comfortable, but this post is about wire-free support!
- Raise the neckline on the pattern so the top of the bra clears the cleavage and sits on upper chest wall
- Stabilize the neckline and underarm, which helps to keep those edges from stretching wider than they should.
- Move the strap inward to be more centered over the breast. This helps keep the breast lifted too.
- Use channeling around the cup to keep the wireline contained, or create a circle of stable fabric to keep the breast from spreading