The Sewing Place

Bra shelf versus cups

Yellowfeather

Bra shelf versus cups
« on: September 19, 2017, 05:40:51 AM »
I have just started making a tutu for a teenager.  She has a stretch velvet bodice, which is just not giving her enough support in the bust.  So I had planned on putting in a bra shelf, but I am debating whether it would give her better support sewing in bra cups, or even the whole bra, just without the shoulder straps.
Anyone done either option???

Thecostumelady

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 08:35:14 AM »
Funny you should ask this, I was just going to ask the same, well almost.  I also need to put some support in a costume and have just bought the bra cups but am still debating with myself how to do it!  I seem to remember from a discussion on TSF that if you just tack them just at the top rather than all the way round it will avoid distorting the line of the bodice.  I can't see much problem with that in your tutu YF.  As they are made of foam you can always trim them to size.  I have also just been advised to attach them together at the front with a quarter inch swing tack to help keep them in place.
I have to try to put them in a completely backless lyrical costume so I don't know what is going to happen there, I suppose it is a case of 'suck it and see'!  We need our Latin/Ballroom gurus...Carol!!...Jackie!!...where are you!!  Ann x

BrendaP

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 10:25:52 AM »
For any sort of support - cups or shelf - it needs to be held firmly against the body.  That's why a bra has a back to it.  Just tacking cups at the top won't support anything unless the underbust part of the bodice is held firmly.  Backless bras usually have back straps going down to waist level like this.

Or you could try adapting an existing bra by substituting a clear strap at the back like this.

Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

CarolC

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 16:32:33 PM »
Hi, sorry, coming late to this party!  :toast:

Bra cups. Yes, the ballroom way is to use the foam ones and attach them only at the top inside the leotard (bearing in mind that all those dresses are built over an inner leotard). The downwards and sidewards pull of the leotard holds the cups in place. If you looked inside a Strictly costume, that's what you'd see, and it works fine for small-moderate cup sizes. 

However, for more support, they sometimes attach the bottom of the cups to a band of nude elastic like a strapless bra around the back or around the waist as Brenda suggests, or sew in an actual bra, cutting away the straps as necessary where the leotard can substitute. There's a similar strand in the evening wear section here about that. The "decorative" back straps can also help to hold the whole thing in place either directly across or criss-cross the back. Another option - Jacky/MarnieSews uses a shelf bra with cups in her DGD's dresses.

I think the key either way is if you want to attach the bottom of the cups to something, attach them to the body, not to the front of the leotard so they don't ride up. 

Carol  :D

Marniesews

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 23:18:48 PM »
Not been here for several weeks (busy sewing cups in ballroom dresses!!!) but this looks like I got back at a timely moment. It's true that, up to now, I've been putting cups in a shelf bra but I had big problems with that this time when I had a small dancer with a short body and big cups (36E) and the lining kept pulling down and creating a ridge on the outside dress whenever I attached the cups despite moving them about several times!  Partly the problem was due to the shelf bra and bodice being attached along a horizontal neckline so the weight of the bust, although supported by some silicon straps and spagetti straps on the dress, still put a lot of pressure on the neckline and pulled it down and in.

I had a rethink and this time, kept the shelf bra in (powernet btw), attached the cups together with a short thread chain and sewed side bands onto the side of the cups and then sewed that into the side seam allowances - it worked rather nicely, allowing a good level of natural movement and adjustment while in hold. The cups were also attached to the silicon straps which were attached at the other end to the elastic band that went along the bottom of the shelf bra and around the dancer (the elastic has a non-slip silicon strip).

This started me thinking of doing without the shelf bra for my DGD who needs support but not to the same degree as the other dancer. I cut out a band in firm powernet this time from the  leotard pattern from underarm to lower ribs (the pattern has a higher underarm than normal dresses for extra arm movement) and then sewed the cups into that lining. I sewed that to the seam allowance and omitted the back strap entirely and she loved it. the next one will be a latin dress (not sure which dance yet) and I'll be building on this experience - perhaps with some powernet in the back of the dress if it's for Jive!


Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Yellowfeather

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 18:34:57 PM »
I eventually got around the problem of the bust support, I used the bra cups which I stitched at the top and the center, I joined the two cups together I the center with a small piece of elastic, and made the back strap with 1" elastic which i stitched in place around the top of the bodice.  It seems to work, and the girl in question is happy. 

Thecostumelady

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 07:27:44 AM »
I decided that the bra cups I had bought were far too rigid for what I required.  This was a mail order for a backless lyrical duet so I had not seen the girls and was just going off measurements.  However, after speaking to one of the mums I realised it was not really much support that was needed, more for 'modesty' reasons.  So, I made my own much softer cups.  I just cut circles of fine quilt wadding and darted and shaped them a bit to the cup sizes required, then covered them with dance mesh to match the costume. I sent them unattached and asked the mums to slip the cups inside once the costumes were on and tack them around the top to the lining, which they were happy to do. As there was pleated mesh covering the front bust area any tacking wouldn't show.  They seemed perfectly happy with the arrangement so I shall try that again!  Ann x

Yellowfeather

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2017, 08:20:07 AM »
I just cut circles of fine quilt wadding and darted and shaped them a bit to the cup sizes required, then covered them with dance mesh to match the costume.
I love that idea, my only issue with the cups I used was that they didn't match the costume!!  In the end there was no issues with them being on show, but matching would have been  better.
How did you determine the right cup size Ann??
Julie x

Marniesews

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2017, 08:58:06 AM »
That's a good question about cup size, Ann, as there's a bid difference between a 32E and a 38E and we often get both in the ballroom, if not so often in ballet.
Fortunately the Sewing Chest sells them in bra sizes but their having trouble sourcing many options these days. I've recently used the Trim-it cups which I'm glad have both push-up and ordinary ones too as bigger busted, dancers often don't want push ups. They're only graded as small, med, large,  xl & xxl. Nice soft cups though.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

BrendaP

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2017, 09:26:28 AM »
Fit2Sew stock the same bra making materials that Beverley Johnson uses in her Craftsy courses.  Previously only available from Canada or BWear in Sweden, but now in UK.

Failing that, if you can't get the required size wire you could ask the dancer to supply you with an old bra which fits her and use the wires from that.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Thecostumelady

Re: Bra shelf versus cups
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2017, 15:07:50 PM »
It was pretty much guess work really as I had a 32A and a 34D!!  Having said that, you can't go by bra sizes as a bra size 32 is around the ribcage and I always measure the full bust size.  My 34 girl wears a 32D bra.  I finished up with a pudding dish circle for one and a large tea plate circle for the other 0_0..  I suppose if you measure over the fullest part of each boob from breastbone to side seam, cut a circle that size then put small darts around the edge you will finish up with something like the right size.  As I said I have never done it before and it must have been okay as the feedback was that they looked 'amazing'!!  Perhaps if I had had the girls there to measure myself it would be easier?  Ann x