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

The last post showed you what kind of basic alterations in the Merckwaerdigh master pattern you can make for the back and the top edges of the bra band.
This time it’s all about the band bottom edge. Drop it or raise it, partially or completely, endless possibilities! Some super easy to do while other alterations can be pretty challenging.

You can drop the bottom edge of the standard band (as in the Merckwaerdigh master pattern) for a bustier or long bra or instead raise the bottom edge, this will leave the cup free just under the breast. Dropping or raising the bottom edge always will affect the quality of the fit. Of course the size and weight of the breasts also play a part here.

The bottom edge of the band knows 3 major types :

standard bottom edge
The bottom edge of the standard bra band (as in the master pattern) has just enough space under the cups to handle elastic and underwire casing. It runs horizontally around the torso but it’s possible to raise the bottom edge only at midfront to avoid any irritation by curling of the elastic.
At midfront is the band bottom edge in the master pattern a simple straight line. Some ladies experience some irritation there when the elastic gets curled up while they bend or sit down. In such cases you could raise the bottom edge only at midfront. And of course you could do this as well just because you think it looks better!

There are 2 ways to do this:
A curved line which partially follows the curve of the underwire line and halfway bends toward midfront.
A straight line which runs from an additional seam under the bust straight to midfront. This is the best option for scalloped lace!

Let’s take a closer look to the straight line. It may sound easier but is in fact more complicated than the curved line.
• First of all you need to cut the band right under the cup where the band is at its smallest.
• Second you need to draw a temporary line parallel to the underwire line, same width as the elastic you will use.
• Next you draw the new bottom edge in a straight line to the midfront but : this straight line has to stay below the temporary curved line.
• Last the new bottom edge line will be at a sloped angle on the fold midfront, this must become a seam instead of a fold!

dropped bottom edge
You can also drop the entire bottom edge at the most to the waist (or higher) for a bustier or long bra. Below the waist the hip bone needs extra space so you can’t just simply drop the bottom edge further.
Elastic is always sewn on the bottom edge. When this is dropped there will be no elastic right under the cups which result in loss of support. A solution can be to add an extra layer at the inside ending just under the cups where you can sew the elastic on.
At midback the closure width needs to be the same as the lengthened midback. You can cut hook and eye tape by yardage instead of a ready-cut closure for the right width.
You can drop the bottom edge of the master pattern at most to the waist but you can also leave it higher for a long bra. For such patterns you can use the pattern with waist bottom edge as a ‘special’ master pattern.

raised bottom edge
Keep in mind the lower part of the cups will have no support. In that case the band no longer is one pattern part but will be in 3 separate parts; the left back band – the triangle between the cups (also known as the bridge) – the right back band.
The raised bottom edge can only be used for underwired bras. The underwire casing can no longer be attached to the band because there is no more bra band under the cups!

This means you will have to relocate the underwire + casing from the band to the cups.
• First remove a strip (in the width of the underwire casing) around the underwire line in the band master pattern.
• Second add a strip with the same width around the underwire line of the cup master pattern.
A bit difficult to do but with the step-by-step directions in the new e-course you could achieve this.


Since the raised band has become narrower and the underwire is relocated to the cup chances are the cups appear to be larger. This might be good news for the extra small sizes but the larger cup sizes might not be so happy.
A raised band will also no longer pull the cups at midunder tight to the body. There will be less grip to keep the cups in place and a risk the breasts will slip out from under the cups. Try to find a good balance between the desired narrower band and still sufficient support for the cups.
So think about these consequences if you consider raising the bottom edge.

A visual SUMMARY of all you could alter in the master pattern bra band

All you need to do for these kind of options will be fully described in the new Merckwaerdigh e-course I’m still working on! Next time we’ll get into alterations for the cups!

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


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