Step 1: Breast basics
+each breast is 90% water, can weigh 200/800 gms, sits on the chest wall between the 2nd and 6th rib,
+statistically, left breasts are often slightly larger than right ones, (up to 2 cup sizes!) though i encourage anyone to challenge this by submitting your own research on the topic.
+breasts have no internal support structure and rely almost totally on skin tension for their shape. this is where the bra comes in.
Step 2: Making your pattern
as with many things, the best way to learn is by taking a good bra apart. (its also possible just to reproduce the measurements of your current favorite bra . be exact; its deceptively easy shave off a few millimeters here and there and come out with a very odd looking bosom.)
Step 3: The underband
the underband of your bra is critical for fit, support and comfort; it cantilevers the weight of the breast into the lower back, making a secure platform for the weight of the breast.
(keep in mind the length of the bra underband is smaller than the natural rib cage measurement of the wearer-- a common underband length for a 34 band bra is 24.5". The formula fit for a 34 band size has a 29/30 rib cage measurement-- therefore the underband has to stretch from 24.5"-29" when worn.
Step 4: Underwire
Step 5: Center front tape
Step 6: Fabric & other components
it can be tricky to find lycra lace in the color you like. dying fabric is, in my opinion, super fun. use hot water dye for anything with synthetics in it. i am particularly fond of dying lace in shades of cherry.
(i recommend the marche st pierre in the 18th arrondissement for the best european fabrics. its conveniently close to the moulin rouge, too, if you want additional inspiration. living next to that revered establishment resulted in a number of feathered bras and thongs.
or if you're in london, broadwick silks has a really spectacular taste and selection, and its just down the street from agent provocateur!)
in any case, you'll need your fabric, straps, clasp, additional elastic, and anything else you choose to add.
Step 7: Cutting & Sewing
if using rare or expensive fabric, it is worth your time to make a toile (using a cheap but similar material) to work with the fit, before cutting and sewing the final.
once you're done, you can wear your new bra in a whole panoply of contexts. my favorite is lounging on a lazy and hot summer afternoon with a close friend, sharing secrets, sipping tea or a vodka tonic, and trying on underwear!