How to relocate the bra cup STRAPS with the Merckwaerdigh e-course

In the last posts I described how you can alter the bra band and the midfront of the cups in the master pattern of the Merckwaerdigh e-course I’m working on. And this time we’ll get into relocating the straps for a more interesting cleavage.
The straps usually are located at the top of the ‘invisible diamond’ in the cup and help to keep the bust up as well. In the master pattern the straps run in line with the vertical coupe line straight towards the shoulder centre (the hollow just beside the shoulder joint). Here is the fit and support for the bust at its best.

It is possible though to relocate the straps. Modern bras often like to show a bit more cleavage and usually then the straps are located slightly more towards the arm.
But do NOT relocate the straps towards the midfront! Straps will always slide towards the shoulder hollow and will then pull the cup out of shape.

There are 2 different approaches to relocate the straps :
the official method : you will have to estimate the desired spot upfront and mark it directly on the pattern by heart.
the practical solution : use the master pattern test bra for a practical en easy way to determine ‘on the body’ where the new straps location should be.

The official method requires quite some previous experience and will be described in the new Merckwaerdigh e-course I’m working on. But I won’t bother you with that in this preveuw blog and take you straight to the practical solution :  you can simply use a piece of interfacing (or Swedish Tracing Paper) while wearing the master test bra to determine where the straps for your new design should be. That’s truly customising!

The practical solution is way easier; you just cut a rectangular piece of firm interfacing the same width as the side cup and longer than the upper part. Mark a line at 1cm from the length and baste the interfacing under the test bra coupe seam (along the line you had drawn) and the armhole, just as in the next picture.
Mark with a clear dot on the interfacing where the straps are now located. Put the testbeha on and mark where you want to relocate the straps to. Make sure you will still be able to effortless move your arm forward without interferring the new straps and keep in mind the straps will always slide to the hollow on your shoulder!
Remove the interfacing and place it under your paper pattern. The marked stripe should be exactly under the coupe line in your pattern with the straps connections on each other and the armholes on each other. Trace the new location for the straps on your pattern and ou are done!

Once you have relocated the straps you also have to draw a new top edge and armhole.
The top edge can you best draw first in a straight line. When using the scalloped selvedge of lace you leave the line completely straight. For fabrics without a selvedge you can choose between a straight line or a slightly hollow line.
The armhole always is slightly hollow because you need enough space to move your arm. Most of the curve is just above the armpit and flattens again upwards to avoid any rolls of flesh spilling over. Always make sure there is a clear angle to the underwire line, you need to know exatly where the underwire ends while sewing the bra!

Follow these steps for the best result:
• First trace the master pattern side cup very accurately.
• Add the new point for the straps.
• Slide the front cup against the coupe line of the side cup from nipple to straps.
• You can now draw the whole top edge for both cup parts in one go.
• Draw a new armhole from the armpit to the new straps.
• Make sure the curve keeps a clear angle to the underwire line.
• Don’t draw a too scharp angle at the straps, this could make stitching a nightmare.

Use the same steps when you want to drop the straps.

In these examples the master pattern is not altered in STEP 1 : the midfront. The principle is still the same though; relocate the straps and draw a new top edge from the (new) midfront to the new straps.

Instead of relocating the straps you could also leave them out all together. This is called called a strapless bra. The cup top edge runs in that case from midfront straight to the armpit where the underwire always ends and an armhole is no longer present. Without straps there is less support and more chance the cups (and breasts) drop down.
To compensate this a strapless bra always has :
• an extra wide bra band around the torso
• raised cups at midfront; between 3cm up to at most 4,5cm
• a matching raised band

• Repeat STEP 1 and draw a raised cup midfront between 3cm up to 4,5cm.
• Trace the side cup master pattern very accurately.
• Slide the front cup against the coupe line of the side cup from nipple point to the straps.
• Draw the whole top edge for both cup parts in a straight line from midfront to the armpit.
That’s all to create a strapless cup!

Don’t forget to adjust THE BAND too! The band is very important in a strapless bra because it is the only support for the cups. The band has to have enough width all around the torso to keep the cups in place at the armpit as well.
The midback line needs to be raised to the same height as the armpit to ensure the band is equally wide at the whole back. Often is some boning added just beside the cup for extra support. The strapless band is a combination of :
• raised midfront
• raised midback
• cut line for boning beside the cup

All details for STEP 2 : altering the straps are explaned even more in the new Merckwaerdigh e-course for bra pattern drafting I’m working on right now!
Next time we’ll get into alterations for STEP 3 : the coupe line of the cup master pattern!

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s