After finishing the mini-course Design your own Panty I’ve started working on a simular idea for a mini-course about the BRA. Which as expected is quite a bit more complicated to set up, and that’s an understatement … So I’m struggling with it for a few months now (having health problems didn’t really help) wondering what to include and what would just complicate understanding and working with this mini-course. But step-by-step we’re getting there! One of the things that I thought to be a must to include is the Bra Fitting Checklist.
This checklist is usefull for every bra so I thought it to be a great idea to make this into a FREE printable for you all. The last page is the checklist itself which you can print out over and over again for every single bra fitting. The other 3 pages explane why and how to use the checklist.
Such a checklist is a very handy tool I’ve learned to appreciate during the many years (long long time ago) I designed, sew and sold custom bras for clients. Using a fitting checklist certainly helped me develop my skills to what they are now! Even to this day I still use the checklist when creating a completely new design. And I know, like myself many professional designers and custom bra seamstresses use similar checklists as well. Want to know why we all love to use this tool?
By checking and writing down all your discoveries during a fitting session you will get a reliable overwiew concerning shape and fit. And what’s more; through the years working on all those checklists you will gain a lot more insight what bras are all about. A real life learning curve you will develop all by yourself! So one good solid advice:
Keep all your checklists, even the ones of the bras that went completely wrong!
As you might know, one learns more from mistakes than from a lucky coincidence. It will be a safe feeling to have all that documentation when you run into a bra problem and to find the solution by your own hand, written in words from your own mind. It will be a bit more work than just put on the bra, fiddle around with your pins and get that one job done. But you won’t remember later HOW on earth did you do that? Using a checklist every time for every bra you will get from all adjustments
the when – the where – the why – the how
Let’s get a closer look what should be in a proper bra fitting checklist. For starters there should be some identifications :
The name of the person wearing the bra.
The size of the bra. When the pattern was in standard size you can write that down but when it’s a custon made pattern write down all measurements you used.
The date when the fitting took place.
The test number because sometimes it will take more than just one attempt to get it right.
The pattern code. Personally I always include one. You can use any code that will work for you to identify the bra, for example the name + date + number of attempt. The main thing is to note it on every pattern part. I can’t begin to think of all the loose parts I found under a table, behind a cupboard or even in the staircase of my flat without having a clue what pattern they belong to. It’s like socks; they somehow vanish into thin air and pop up years later at the most unexpected places … A pattern code will save hours of searching for the right pattern because who can just leave it alone, that single losse part keeps buzzing around in your head untill it can be reunited with the original pattern. Peace of mind, that’s what a pattern code is all about!
A visual always clearifies more than words, this will be provided by a sketch.
My background is in artschool so I have no problems drawing a quick sketch. But even I rather use a template because the sketch in a fitting checklist should be more about the right proportions and not about a lovely drawing. Just a simple ‘covering all’ design serves best for a template, it will show all the proportions without causing confusion to the design you use. All you will need to do is fill in the design of your bra before you start the fitting. Every adjustment you might need can be precisely pinpointed in the sketch, use arrows if you need to.
To help you checking the bra properly during the fitting there is a list of 7 areas you always must check. Even when the bra looks fine at first. Once you know where to look you start to see even minor flaws. Start by checking these 7 areas and adjust if possible using pins, scissors and whatever seems needed. Only then you might look again for other flaws because once the major areas are fixed the other flaws might all have disappeared. On the checklist you will find these areas twice.
First the checked areas just to note any flaws, this will remind you why you thought it was necessary to make an adjustment there.
Second the corrections where you can describe what changes you’ve made in the pattern (or in the sewing technique!) for a better fit.
Keep the pattern from the first fitting as it is and store it together with the checklist. It’s always best to keep the checking and the correcting process separate in case the correction solution didn’t have the expected result. For the second (or more) fitting session use a new checklist. If corrections are still needed start your new corrections on the pattern of the first fitting and NOT new corrections on top of the latest one!! You would completely get lost in the end!
With exception of course when the size was wrong, in that case you make a first fitting in another size. The 7 major areas are :
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog you can download the Bra Fitting Checklist for FREE and print it out every time you have a bra fitting session.
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