Sister sizing is a really useful tool in bra-making. It’s the principle that some bra sizes share cup sizes, but have different band sizes, which basically means that you can create a new bra size, just by changing the length of your band. It’s a bit complicated to explain all in words so here is a bra chart:
This is the underwire sizing guide for full size range of the Black Beauty Bra. You can see that size 40B, 38C, 36D, 34DD, 32E, 30F & 28FF all use a size 40 underwire. They are all sister sizes- sizes that have the same cup, but different band lengths. That means that you can take any one of these sizes, and create one of its sister sizes by modifying the band length of the pattern.
I find that it’s easiest to think of sister sizes as sizes that all share an underwire size. So you can see from this chart that a size 34B, and a size 30 D are sister sizes, and a size 38DD and a 34F are sister sizes… etc
This also means that you can make sizes that are completely outside the range of the pattern, like shown in this chart:
You can see from this that if you had a size 40D pattern, you could make it into a size 42C pattern. Or if you had a 30G, you could modify it to be a 28GG. It really expands your size range.
It’s also really great if you fall between the two size ranges of my pattern. Say you measure to a 34DD, make up the pattern and realize that you want one cup size bigger – 34E, but that’s not available in your pattern! No worries, you can take the size 36DD, decrease the band size by one size and voila – 34E!
Then comes the question of how to make this alteration- how much do you remove or add from the back band for each bra size difference? Well I wanted to make that very simple for you, so I made a print out!
This print out is designed to work with my Black Beauty Bra pattern, and may not work for all bra patterns.
If you are decreasing your band size, you will take your back band piece, cut it in half (mark half by fold in your pattern piece in two) and mark a horizontal line to ensure your pattern pieces stay aligned. I call the two half ‘Center Back Band’ and ‘Outer Back Band’
Using the print-out, place your center back and along the indicated line, making sure that you line up your horizontal line too.
Then place your Outer Back band along one of the Band Size lines, overlapping your center back band, and keeping your pattern pieces aligned with the horizontal line. In this diagram I show decreasing by 2 band sizes (for example a 32 to a 28), but you should use whichever line works for your modification. Then you re-draw the top and bottom lines, keeping the side seam and hook and eye edge unchanged. Voila! Your new piece, and your new sister size!
To Increase Your Band Size
This alteration is very similar to the previous. You start by cutting your back band into two pieces and marking a horizontal line.
Then, using the print-out for increasing back band size, place your Center Back Band piece on the indicated line (aligning the horizontal lines) and place your Outer Back Band piece on the Band Line that suits the number of band size you wish to increase. In this example I show 2 sizes. Then you re-draw the top and bottom line of the pieces, keeping the side seam and hook and eye edge in-tact.
It’s really as simple as that!
I know that sister sizes really blew my mind when I first learned out them, and really opened up the possibilities of pattern sizing!
I’d love to know if you use my print-outs and if you find this tutorial helpful : )
Yes! It’s finally here- the Black Beauty Bra pattern. Some of you might remember from way back in the day (the 2015 kinda ‘back in the day’) my Bra-A-Week challenge and all the bras I used to design. Well there was one in particular that I knew had to be my first underwired bra pattern, from week 44, and I called it the Black Beauty Bra. And I’m so happy to say that that idea has finally come to reality!
The final version of this bra pattern is very similar to the original. It’s a horizontal seam cup, with an external powerbar and a double front strap detail with fold over elastic finishing.
Because this style is so versatile, I wanted to include a second view option, (and I love to have options!). Also the second view option is for lace, and who doesn’t love some lace.
View B has the same seaming and external powerbar, but different finishes with the lace neckline edge, picot plush elastics and strap elastic front strap.
The instructions are completely illustrated and 38 pages long, which covers start-to-finish instructions for both pattern views, plus the bonus instructions to include a foam lining to your cup!
The other important thing to note about this pattern is that it’s split into two size ranges: 28-40 B-DD and 28-40 E-G. The B-DD range is designed with 1/2″ band and strap elastics and a 2X3 hook and eye, and the E-G range is designed with 3/4″ band and strap elastics, and a 3X3 hook and eye.
I went with UK sizing for this pattern because it’s my favourite system, and I find it to be more accurate and much easier to measure for 🙂 If you want to find your size you can read my sizing guide here.
After so long in the works, it’s hard to believe that this pattern is finally out! I think every pattern takes huge amounts of work, but this pattern has really pushed me to take my skills to the next level.
It’s been amazing working with all my fantastic testers, hearing the feedback, editing and improving. From first draft to final version, this pattern has had 6 versions, each change tweaking the fit, or the proportions to be exactly what I hoped : ) And as challenging as the whole process has been, it’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’ve put my all of my energy and creativity into a project that I am so passionate about, and that I can share with you! Releasing this pattern feels a bit like climbing to the top of a mountain and stopping to finally see the breathtaking view. It’s humbling, exciting, vulnerable – and probably a bit addictive since I’m already mentally planning out the next steps for a million future pattern ideas.
It wouldn’t really be an Emerald Erin blog post if I didn’t have a picture with Gibby, would it?
Well, I hope you like the Black Beauty Bra, and if you’re wondering why I named it that- I just really like a good alliteration if you couldn’t tell ; )
I would love to know what you think about the pattern, if you’re planning to make it, and if you’ve recently worked on a huge project that you’re really proud of!
It’s been quite a while since I blogged, and quite a while since I made a bra just for myself- not for a pattern sample or to test a pattern. Just for me 🙂
As you can see from the title of this post, I want to tell you all about my new set, but I also wanted to talk about a subject that I’m really passionate about – body image & body positivity.
So first, let’s launch into the details of this set!
I used the same self-drafted pattern as I did for the Latte at Midnight set. It’s a 5 piece cup: powerbar, upper cup and lower cup split into 3.
The very special thing about this set is that I made it using a small piece of embroidered tulle lace that I bought on my trip to Barcelona last year in a little shop that my friend Sofia Luzon brought me to called L’Arca. I’ve been holding on to it to make something special, and this was the perfect project!
For the other materials in this set, I used my bra tulle in warm white, which was a perfect match to the lace, and then I took my all my elastics, findings and powernet and dyed them to match with tea. Yes, you can dye your findings with tea (as long as they’re all nylon based). I just soaked everything in a little bit of Twinnings Early Grey, my morning staple, and then hung them to dry overnight. The secret to getting an even dye is to soak everything in water before you add the dye or tea, so that it absorbs evenly everywhere. I was so happy that it all turned out such a perfect colour match!
The day that I was taking these photos in this bra set, I was listening to the Love to Sew Podcast, their recent episode with Allie Olson and near the end they started talking about body image and body confidence, specifically in the sewing world where people are making their own clothes and taking pictures of themselves and posting them online for the community.
It got me thinking about my journey with body confidence and sewing. It’s not something I’ve talked about online before, but it’s something that has been a big part of my life. I’ve struggled a lot with self esteem, body confidence, dieting and disordered eating. It was something that dominated my teen years and early twenties, and something that took a sharp turn for the better when I got into the sewing world.
When I got into sewing, and involved in the sewing community, my view of myself and my relationship to clothing and size started to change. I learned quickly that every body is different. Everyone was making modifications to their patterns, grading between sizes for top and bottom. Alterations were the rule, not the exception, which immediately made it feel so normal to have a body that wasn’t ‘industry standard’.
Getting into bra making and swimwear was another leap. I learned a lot more about my body and fit, but the bigger leap was sharing the things I made and sharing them on my body to the online sewing community. I think it was my passion for bra & swim sewing that really pushed me at the beginning. I remember thinking ‘ugh, I hate this picture of me, but I REALLY want to share this bathing suit that I made… and everyone in the sewing community is always really nice, and my blog is so small, hardly anyone is going to see it anyways… so I’ll just do it” – then the moment of mini panic after you hit the publish button- eeeeekkk!
Over time it got easier and easier to take pictures, and share pictures. And, don’t get me wrong, I still have bad body days – where I really wrestle to like myself or to post any pictures of myself, or not be super critical and over-analyze every aspect of my body in a photo. But now, I’m a lot better at taking a step back and reminding myself that I’m in an unhealthy mindset and need to get a better perspective.
It’s also helped going into my mid/late 20’s and learning so much more about myself and what makes me happy and comfortable, so I don’t put myself in a place where I’m going to be in a negative mindset. One of those things for me, was learning that I feel best about my photos when I look happy, and my poses are about comfort, joy, or being a girl boss! (like posing with sunflowers, my puppy or power-poses in my studio) – not when I look ‘dramatic’ or ‘sexy’ – or really anything where I feel objectified. [not that there is anything wrong with taking pictures like that if you love it! I just learned that it’s not for me!]
But, coming back full circle, taking these photos of my new set, with a big bunch of sunflowers – listening to the podcast – I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve come, and how much happier I am in my journey now. And that I should share that more 🙂
I would LOVE to hear any of your experiences with body image and if sewing has helped you, if you understand or can relate.
I feel like I could talk about this endlessly, and especially in relation to how women feel about their bodies in bras and underwear! That is a whole other area of this topic that I’m massively passionate about.
It’s been a while since I did a bra news post, and I really miss them. I feel like it’s a great way to connect with everyone in this space, and to keep up with what everyone’s doing, and let you in on what’s happening in my life too!
So – I’m bring back the bra news, but with a twist this time- I’m going to be putting it in my newsletter instead, so that it can be sent right into your inbox 🙂 So if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on future bra news :
In the spirit of sharing again, I feel like I haven’t given anyone an update in a while, and the truth is that it’s been a really difficult few months for me. In the time since Christmas, I helped move my grandparents out of their house to a retirement home, then my grandma got sick quickly after in January and passed away, and a month ago my grandpa followed.
It’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a video to my channel- and it was definitely because of this video. As someone who is still pretty new to the planning, filming and editing that goes into making videos- this one was a bit of a beast for me, and there are definitely ways that I will improve them in the future! But I would love any suggestions you have about what you would like to see on that channel going forward!
As you can probably tell from the title, it’s a full tutorial on sewing my Jordy Bralette pattern, all the versions! It might help some of you that are better video learners than illustrated instruction learners 🙂