How to draft new bra band designs with the Merckwaerdigh e-course

In the last post I described how to sew and fit the test bra for the master pattern.
Part 1 : the master pattern of the new e-course for bra pattern drafting I’m working on at the moment is now finished and it’s time for the exciting stuff : drafting new designs!

Part 2 : designing will teach you how to work with the master pattern to develop other bra designs. It covers the basic alterations you need to master for any bra design. These will also serve as first step for more intricate designs for which separate modules will be developed later on since these will require quite some experience in the more basic alterations before you can think of getting into the difficult designs. Just like any new skill; learn and grow step by step.

So, what are considered to be basic alterations?
These are the first essential steps to take when you want to change the contours of certain parts in the master pattern; meaning the outer edges of the band or the front cup and side cup.

For the band you could :
• add extra seams for boning or combining fabrics.
• reshape the top edge of the back.
• drop or raise the midfront top edge.
• raise the bottom edge midfront.
• raise the whole bottom edge.

For the cup you could :
• drop or raise the cup midfront.
• relocate the straps connection, this will also affect the armhole and the top edge.
• shift the vertical coupe line into a horizontal or diagonal coupe line.

Though these are considered basic alterations it unfortunately doesn’t mean this will be easy tasks! Just as drafting the master pattern every step in this process is a laborious and meticulous job which takes considerable time and effort.
In bra drafting every mm counts!

To alter the master pattern you always start by tracing it very accurately. To do so you need very transparant tracing paper. Do NOT use a common pattern paper with printed squares, it’s not sheer enough for drafting purposes. Better use chalk paper (also known as architect or artist tracing paper) as in the picture. It’s available in sheets or rolls.

Let’s start with the BAND : the super supporter
For extra support to the bust you can add some short boning to the band. The beste spot for boning is right beside the cup to keep it in place. Boning is best placed not straight down but slightly tilted towards the front. Because boning is very stiff it doesn’t bend along with the body. Boning which is placed slightly tilted can slide a bit towards the front while you are bending down.

Then there is the top edge of the back from the armpit to the closure at midback. In the band master pattern this is a straight line down to the closure.
• But you could also let it run the same height as the armpit and use a wider closure. This is a perfect solution for a strapless design to get the most support as possible for the cups.
• option is to draw the top edge in a point to the straps as on the left in the picture. You could draw the points as low or high up as you see fit.
• Or you could make a cut-out at the back from the straps to the closure as on the right in the picture. This is done frequently for larger sizes because it make the band look less massive.
All you need to do for these kind of options will be described in the new Merckwaerdigh e-course!

Midfront the band has a tiny top edge in between the cups, mainly there for the underwire casing. This can be raised or dropped along with the cups midfront. Raise the band midfront means also raise the cup midfront. And dropping the band midfront means drop the cup midfront as well.
Well, that’s the general rule because there are exceptions when using underwires (only for the more adventurous among us). It would implicate relocating the underwire from the band to the cup. A bit difficult to do but with the step-by-step directions in the new e-course you could achieve this.

Next time we’ll get into alterations for the band bottom edge!

In the meantime ; since 8th of June 2020 the e-course is READY and available in the Merckwaerdigh shop on the Etsy platform!

For an overview of all the Merckwaerdigh internet activities and the button to subcribe to the Merckwaerdigh Newsletter take a look at


3 thoughts on “How to draft new bra band designs with the Merckwaerdigh e-course

  1. Pingback: How to draft more bra band designs with the Merckwaerdigh e-course | Merckwaerdigh Blog

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