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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Sew-Enchanting
Date: 08-14-2006, 11:01 PM (1 of 9)
All right, a question for all of you. Really, more of a poll.

I have a woman that I'm making a bridesmaid's dress for. I finally have the bodice fitted nicely...she is a bra size 46I (yep, an I, with a J on a bad day, she says), and I am trying to make this as comfortable as possible without making her look like a Barbie doll.

The bra she is wearing does not fit great, but okay. It's the only one she's been able to find that will work. I told her I can see the folds in the bra where it could be taken in, but I'm not entirely comfortable altering a bra (what do I know about how to make a bra?). The dress is simple enough, princess lines, kind of like this (Butterick 3843, style A):'3843'&page=1

But without the stand up collar, and not two pieces (fuller skirt, shorter length on skirt). The front will go close to the neck without being a collar. She originally really wanted a halter style, but with her proportions, realized that she really couldn't have a backless style. So it's a halter-look with a back (rides close to the neck, more shoulders open, etc). The bra she has is not a racer back, but will fit under the shoulder seams.

Because of her size, I'm really tempted to put some boning in there, just to help keep the shape and take a little of the stress of the dress off of her bra straps. I've already told her that I wasn't going to go from 55" bust measurement to 40" under bust/chest right away - that there would be a more gentle slope there, and she really liked that idea. She's not flashy, and really not into the Barbie look. you have the background. Would you put boning in the bodice, given all the info + measurements? Or would you keep it the way it is?

User: Sew-Enchanting
Member since: 12-28-2005
Total posts: 53
From: Magot
Date: 08-15-2006, 04:14 AM (2 of 9)
It is a really pretty pattern, it should turn out well. Bearing in mind that the bra doesn't fit well I might be tempted to bone along the seam lines to help it to flow. I however, have only made 3 brides dresses for size 12's (UK) so do not have a lot of experience with a fuller figure. Hang in there for some more expert advice.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: AndreaSews
Date: 08-15-2006, 09:21 AM (3 of 9)
My gut would be to take her to one of the custom shops and get a bra that _does_ fit well. Every woman deserves that on any regular day. Once she has a proper undergarment, you'll be able to do the job right for her. And you may very well be able to do this without boning. A specialized bra shop will either get you one that fits or else make it fit properly. Places that advertise "mastectomy fittings" are going to offer this service as well (not victorias secret!!). It just doesn't give a professional feel to post a sign that says "we'll make your bra fit right if it kills us!"
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: Chrysantha
Date: 08-16-2006, 09:27 PM (4 of 9)
I'd get her to get a new bra too. Actually Penneys, and any of the BIG dept stores will help with that. I'm big on top. (38 DD) and my sister is bigger (42 DD and she's only 4'9") we both know about the top heavy look.
They have 'minimizer' bras that fit great and will , de-bulk some of her top half. That MIGHT help and you won't need the boning.

Make a party out of going to the store. If you go with her, take some girlfriends...that way she won't feel strange and if you all do it, it takes away the fear....

Kath (the once fearful...) :nervous:
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: paroper
Date: 08-17-2006, 08:35 AM (5 of 9)
Margot, good advice to "hang in there!" That ranks with Dorothy's satan.

I've never had quite as endowed a customer as this but I have OFTEN told my clients that we need to get a new bra before I'll finish the fitting. I also tell the customer to come to the fitting with the bra they plan to wear on evening or one time event clothing, I often even tell them to come for the first measurment with that bra...and I've told people then that they will need a new bra. It really effects everything from where the darts go to the look and fit of the finished product. I understand that a bra for this lady could easily run a couple hundred dollars BUT bras also last a while and the advantages of a good supportive bra are innumerable. There are shops online that do offer bras that large that are not as expensive as custom bras, however there is much to be said for a bra that is made for you, supports properly and feels good. I know that she is sensitive about this subject (most would be) but this is very good advice.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: AndreaSews
Date: 08-18-2006, 03:24 PM (6 of 9)
just my size ( provides in depth bra fitting and troubleshooting tips. I think that, with what you've said about her bra, she's really not going to need an I-cup. See if she'll let you neasure her and help her find the proper size. and others have bras in this size range for $30-40.
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: JennyAlice
Date: 08-19-2006, 08:58 AM (7 of 9)

My older sister got married in May of this year and i made the outfits for the wedding. Myself and my younger sister were her bridesmaids.

My younger sister has a 36HH bust, she's a size 16 (uk size). The bra she wore had detachable straps so that she could wear it in a halter style under the halter band of the dress.
i made a foundation for the dress using heavy satin and bonig and she said it really helped the fit and she said it was very comfortable on the day.
So i would suggest you use boning and get a bra with detachable straps, she can put them in a racer style or halter style, depending on which looks better.

Hope that helps a bit.
There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." -Charles Dickens
User: JennyAlice
Member since: 08-12-2006
Total posts: 29
From: Sew-Enchanting
Date: 08-19-2006, 09:48 PM (8 of 9)
Thanks for the responses...

I had a fitting with her today and she had a "better" bra. We did talk earlier about bra fitting, etc - and the 46I is what I measured her at - 40" underbust with 55" bust. Good lord!

She said that Penney's measured her as a 50 I, which is why I think there were so many wrinkles. This bra she wore today was a 46I and fit much better. Kept the girls upright much better.

I did tell her at our consultation that she'd need the bra, undergarments, shoes, etc during measurements & fittings - that's why she was kinda freaked out about the whole bra thing. It's much better now, though.

She was very understanding about the bra fitting, but was (understandably) very frustrated with the whole thing. She was happy with the current bra, though - she said it was much more comfortable, and it looked much better under the muslin.

Since this bra fits better and she's comfortable with it (no drooping, more support, not killing her shoulders...), she plans to stick with this, but I think I'll put some boning in the bodice to help her out - that makes for a long night.

I'm going to pass on the Just my Size site, though - what a great site!

Thanks for your ideas! :)
User: Sew-Enchanting
Member since: 12-28-2005
Total posts: 53
From: VenusElaine
Date: 08-22-2006, 12:16 AM (9 of 9)
I am so glad your client found a better fitting bra! This is crucial to the fit of any gown, be it custom made or altered.
I wear only Fantasie of England brand bras. They are available from the company website, and in the US from Lady Grace. I am currently a 38-G (European) which translates to a 38I American. The reason I began sewing, other than to dress my dolls, was to make age-appropriate clothing for myself before there were any "plus" size clothing. My problem is that only my bust is "plus". Everything else is (what is normal :re: , anyway). I wear a RTW 20-24 on top and a 14 below the belt. Suits are totally impossible.
Please let us know how everything turns out. :smile:

"Always put as much effort into your marriage as you do into your wedding."
User: VenusElaine
Member since: 10-22-2005
Total posts: 126
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