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Need assistance....

jjdance01's picture

Need assistance.... (post #29085)


I am almost at my wits' end.  I am a 5'3", extremely and naturally busty young woman who can not find any proper foundation garments (or their patterns) in my size.  I decided to venture out and make my own since the mass market will only make bras for the surgically enhanced woman matching my size. Which by the way is a 41" rib cage and a 53" bust line (and I am squished in here!!!). I am getting a book called the Bramaker's Manual from a wonderful company in Canada.  But the problem is that I need something now.  Any suggestions?

P.S. thank you to those who have responded.  but i should have mentioned that the bra band that fits is a 38 and the CUP SIZE i need should be in the M-N-O-P range. i am already wearing a 38L in the Elila collection by Goddess. I have tried the Jeninque and Nova and the other torpedo looking "custom" bras. Does anyone know of any others?

P.S.S. I have been to basically all of the speciality shoppes in MD and they do not carry my size.

Edited 6/10/2008 7:42 pm ET by jjdance01

Edited 6/10/2008 7:44 pm ET by jjdance01

Teaf5's picture

(post #29085, reply #1 of 54)

I'm not affiliated in any way, but Victorias Secret shops are phenomenal in fitting and options.  They usher you to a lovely, private fitting room and hand you a dozen different styles over the door, then come back to check frequently on your progress and offer new options, depending on your responses.

Once you find the style, size, and fit that you like, you can easily order multiples online, so it's definitely worth a special trip to a city or mall for the fitting.  As a full-busted, mature mom, I was reluctant to face the possibility of mirrors and perfect-bodied saleswomen, but discovered real women serving me with kindness and privacy--a real treat and perfect solution!

JunkQueen's picture

(post #29085, reply #3 of 54)

Having been a small-town-girl for most of her life, my then-18-year-old granddaughter moved with the family to a cosmopolitan city and got a job at a Victoria's Secret shop. She was surprised, to say the least, when she waited on her first male customer to come in and try on lingerie, including bras. She later said the men were the funniest and nicest of all her customers.

GailAnn's picture

(post #29085, reply #4 of 54)

Sadly, I find Victoria's Secret will try to fir busty women into whatever the largest size they carry.  Even when the breat tissue is obviously falling out the cups.

A true blessing is an actual lingerie store which will determine the size YOU need and then FIND the bra to fit you.  I have had to pay in the neighborhood of $60. for a bra that fits.  But the bra fitter should also be willing to teach you to properly wash it, so that it will last a year or more.

Usually the bra fitter will try to encourage you to buy 3 bras, to keep in a rotation, plus a soft one to sleep in.  I agree with the goal.  First, however, I would urge you to buy only one new bra, and take it for a test drive.  

Most reputable bra fitters will make some slight alterations at no additional charge, but you won't know what you need until you've worn it for a day or so.  Gail

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #29085, reply #5 of 54)

I also had a great experience with Victoria's Secret bra fitting.  The Body By Victoria Full Coverage Ipex Bra is my favorite "everyday bra".  It is the first time I am completely comfortable in a bra and am not tugging on the straps all day.  Online sales and occassional free shipping help too. 

Sorry I can't help with bramaking, but hope you will let us know what you discover.  I would like to be able to make them for inside swimsuits. 

jjgg's picture

(post #29085, reply #6 of 54)

There is a similar discussion about bras for large women going on on another discussion list I'm on.

look at the butterfly bra

sewfar's picture

(post #29085, reply #9 of 54)

I have been to Victoria's Secret stores in two states and was very upset to see that neither store carried above size 38 in the store . They told me that what they considered large sizes would have to be ordered. I felt that it was the managements way of saying that the larger sizes would not look good on their racks but that they since really wanted my money they would help me order. I would not buy from them without trying several styles, but I must say my slimmer friend did find exactly what she wanted from very patient salesgirls and spent a ton of money there.

Ceeayche's picture

(post #29085, reply #17 of 54)

Maybe, I'm missing something.  The Victoria's Secret stores and catalogues are always so enticing.  However, I'm always so disappointed that nothing fits.  I am also naturally well-endowed and have lived in LA, TN, VA and DC.  NONE of the Victoria's Secret stores have carried anything over a double D.  Even the website is limited to double D.  In fact my girlfriend (also well-endowed) and I joke that Vicky's "secret" is that her stores are for girls who don't really need bras!

Greet each day with Joy.  Embrace your blessings.

Teaf5's picture

(post #29085, reply #18 of 54)

In the major malls in California, VS has a whole separate alcove of styles for larger sizes in addition to a lot of sizes much larger than my D in nearly every style I've looked at.  But I've never had a reason to look at their maximum, so perhaps it is more limited than I realized.

KathleenFasanella's picture

(post #29085, reply #19 of 54)

If you're large busted, VS is not an option. I'm a 32DD and without fail, they'll try to stick me in a 34D and try to convince me it's the same. As if.

There's other problems with VS...being a powerhouse (market leader) and doing everything off shore, their patterns are in the toilet (imo). Their focus is style not function. Their designers are stylists, not engineers. They pretty everything up with fabric and lace leaving the engineering roughly prioritized to the dusty corner.

Still worse, because VS is a leader and competitors copy them (including their patterns), this has the effect of degrading fit quality for every bra wearer. This explains why you can't find that bra you liked so much anymore. It doesn't exist. If you're interested in this topic, read this:

~~~~Nurture people, not products~~~~


(gatherings doesn't let you change your location)

~~~~Nurture people, not products~~~~

sewelegant's picture

(post #29085, reply #20 of 54)

I read your suggested site on bra fitting, etc. and found it quite interesting.  I think I was 50 years old before I found a bra I could put on and it fit next to my chest wall.  The other nasty fact was falling straps! ugh!  I wore underwires with better fitting results but found them uncomfortable.  I bless the lady who introduced me to the glamorize line.  Maybe they weren't ever around earlier, I don't know!  They are not the end all answer to my problems but are really close and I have faith that the bra industry is trying to fulfill our needs.  Maybe not Victoria's secret, but a few other brands.  When I was young the only thing a well endowed woman could purchase was a stiff heavy cotton thing a ma jig from Sears or maybe Penny's or Montgomery Wards and now at least there are some choices.  I know Playtex has some good bras, but I find all the straps too wide for me.  There was one style I liked then they discontinued it.  I see others mention sewing your own, but I found the only plus size bra patten was from Elan and it looked like those early Sears designs.

Ceeayche's picture

(post #29085, reply #22 of 54)

Thank you for the link to that article.  It was very informative.  The postings were also informative.

Greet each day with Joy.  Embrace your blessings.

GailAnn's picture

(post #29085, reply #33 of 54)

Here is the deal.................A bra frame should sit up against the chest wall between the breasts.  The band should sit low enough, in the back, to bear the strain from the shoulders.  The straps SHOULD NOT drive grooves into the shoulders.........AND.........The cup should be large enough to hold the breast tissue.

Clearly Victoria's Secret doesn't have a clue and doesn't care.  Ladies who have no NEED for a bra, are happy to patronize VS for the fashion and the sweet feminine joy of it all!  Who can blame them?  I'd do that myself, if their merchandise fit me.

As previously mentioned, I have found a fine bra fitter.   She carries bras in my size, and will alter them as necessary.  The bras do an adequate job as foundation garments.  They are not ALL ugly.  So O.K., I guess I should rejoice!

Still, I do so crave just a few lady-like, elegant, even luxurous bra and panti sets, to slip on under a pretty dress for a Christening service or a dinner in a nice restaurant.

What would I be willing to pay for such a set?  Well, I'm not sure, but I have resigned myself to paying upwards of $60.00 for a bra suitable to wear to the grocer's.

You would think some enterprizing manufacturer would notice the void and fill it.  Gail

Edited 6/25/2008 10:45 am ET by GailAnn

ThreadKoe's picture

(post #29085, reply #34 of 54)

Boy, you got away cheap!  I paid 100$CDN for a half decent bra.  At the time, I had just finished nursing my 3rd, and wanted something nice.  I looked everywhere, and we even had a Warner's factory in town that I went to.  I even went into the office and wrote out a complaint to the head office!  I ended up purchasing a french bra from Chandelle, the head office there sent me a letter, sending me to one of their retailers in the area, who they had sent a selection of bras to.  If you don't take action, by sending letters to the head offices of these companies, stating clearly what you want, you won't get what you need.  At that time, I needed a 40DDD.  All I wanted was a good fitting bra in that size with a bit of lace on it.  That is what I got.  And one of the bra's fit perfectly.  Mind you I wore that thing to death, so I got my money's worth!  These babys are worth it!  Cathy

jjgg's picture

(post #29085, reply #2 of 54)

You need to go to a proper lingerie store where they have certified bra fitters

sewelegant's picture

(post #29085, reply #7 of 54)

Try this site.  It is Just My Size and they give you an excellent guide to find your proper bra size.  Finding the bra that suits you is a challenge... and just when you find something it is discontinued!  But back to the issue at hand.... I was having a very hard time finding a comfortable effective bra and this catalog helped me tremendously in seeing what is out there and finding something suitable for me.  I have been buying one of the glamorize bras for several years and am so happy I found that brand.  You can find all the brands they carry in regular stores, but I find they do not always carry the larger sizes so you have to find mail order stores.  AND once you start ordering the fun begins!  You get all kinds of other related catalogs to boot.  My only complaint is the fact that, almost to a one, these catalogs deal in low cost merchandise and are not the best quality.  However, the bras are the same as you would buy in a lingerie section of the dept. store if they would carry your size.

I just checked out the Victoria's Secret bra sizing instructions and would like to point something out.  They tell you to measure around your ribcage, add 5" and that is your band size.  OK.  Then they tell you to measure around your full bust.  OK.  Now subract the difference and that is your cup size.  WRONG  You do not subtract your altered band size to find the cup size.  You subtract the original measurement before adding the 5" to find your cup size.  I do not think they make that clear enough.

If your full bust measurement is 53" and your rib cage is 41" that is a difference of 7" so you should buy a 46G.  Some will tell you to measure your upper bust to get the band size, but in my case that is the same or nearly the same as measuring the rib cage.

Edited 6/9/2008 12:44 pm by sewelegant

Edited 6/9/2008 1:01 pm by sewelegant

AAC's picture

(post #29085, reply #23 of 54)

Just read your message with some good advice on measuring does subtracting 41 from 53 become 7?  I arrived at 12.  Now I'm really confused or maybe just plain stupid.  :)

sewelegant's picture

(post #29085, reply #24 of 54)

NO, of course your'e not stupid, I am terrible with numbers... have a mental block or something and couldn't even see that error before pushing the send button!  I think, sometimes, I have a bit of dyslexia thrown in!  Forget about those numbers and just take your measurement around your rib cage and then take the full bust measurement.  Subract the rib cage measurement from the full bust measurement and you have your cup size by following the formula of 1" difference = A, 2" = B, 3" = C, etc.  (this is according to almost all the bra measuring experts I have encountered)  The band size is a little more complicated.  I had found that just buying a bra by the ribcage measurement was too uncomfortable so when I saw the "Just My Size" method of adding 5 inches to that measurement, a light bulb went off and I tried it with a much more comfortable fit.  It's true you have to experiment with the different makes of bras because they all seem to differ in fit, but adding those inches applied to all the brands I tried.  I have consistently been a D cup, but my band size has changed several times.

artfulenterprises's picture

(post #29085, reply #8 of 54)

Just My Size is a great site for plus size bras. I highly recommend trying out the new Playtex styles with padded straps. It's not my Mama's Playtex anymore! They are wonderfully comfortable, beautifully shaped and seem to have wider side sections so you don't get "rollover". My personal fave is Playtex Style #4421. Last time I ordered though I had to google the brand and style to find a shop that had it in stock. Here:

This online store has sizes up to DDD. If, as someone else says, you are a G cup, there are only a couple of brands that make that correct size for you. (Use to wear that one myself!)

This store has those sizes: but there were others when I googled plus size bras.

(The best bras for petite full figures have straps that are set closer together than most of the companies styles. That's why Playtex was my choice. Hate bras that fall off narrower shoulders. Part of that problem has to do with the correct band size as well,)

Good luck....a girl has to have a great bra!

Edited 6/10/2008 3:37 pm ET by artfulenterprises

artfulenterprises's picture

(post #29085, reply #10 of 54)

In rereading your first query, I just thought perhaps I might offer this alternative. As a sewing instructor, I see lots of full figures. One lovely woman I was measuring was wearing a back brace because her breasts were so large they caused her pain. It sounds as though you could definitely fall into this category.

I asked her why in the world she didn't just have a breast reduction surgery??? She said it had never occurred to her, but subsequently she made inquiries with her health provider, had the surgery, and has been thrilled with the results.

I have to say, I too made that choice and have never regretted the decision.

In the meantime, another catalog that carries large cup sizes is

They have sizes up to 58J

I also know that there is a bra shop in Oakland, CA that carries the largest bras I've ever seen! Their window is filled with only one bra...the WHOLE window! Surely they could find a solution for you. Perhaps you could locate them through the online Yellow Pages.

Andysmom's picture

(post #29085, reply #11 of 54)

I recently had a fitter help me with getting a bra. She first measured my rib cage, then the fullest part of the bust. She took 2" off the rib cage and started there. If your full bust measurement is one inch bigger than your rib cage you are an A cup, 2" B cup and so on. She then brought me several bra's to try on. The one that fit me the best was one I would never have looked at, because of the molded cups. Now I know why people buy them. When fitted, my back no longer hurt, no drooping and my clothes fit so much better. I wanted a bra that didn't have seams as they always seem to show through t-shirts. What I ended up with was Playtex 4434. I ordered two more from Just My Size for buy one get 50% off the second. I also love the Glamorise 1801 (now discontinued but still available..a replacement is out but don't know the model number) has to be one of the most comfortable bras. The cup size is stretchy so it fits us with one side bigger great. It is not good for running or anything like that. Glamorise almost always has seams which is why I started looking for another bra, plus I wanted to find out how to be professionally fit. I admit I must have tried on 12-14 bras before one was a perfect fit. So please be patient.

Most people, according to the fitter I seen, buy too big a band and too small a cup, hence the 2" smaller band.

GailAnn's picture

(post #29085, reply #12 of 54)

I would agree with the "too small in the cup", but there have been times that I have just bought the biggest cup available, knowing full well that it was too small.

   Recently, I have found a lingerie shop that not only does carry the size I need, but doesn't try to sell me a poorly fitting bra, just because it is in stock!  Hurray!!!!  Gail

Andysmom's picture

(post #29085, reply #13 of 54)

I am happy for you. Finding something that fits correctly is such a joy.

sewelegant's picture

(post #29085, reply #15 of 54)

You might find this site interesting.  It was in one of my old files I was looking through the other day.  It is from England so is geared to their sizing, but I found it interestig that they recommend a smaller band size.  It must all depend on the bra maker in the end!  But the sad part is the well endowed cannot go to a regular store to try them on.  I am looking for a stronger back support now that everything is sagging so much!  Have you tried the ones advertised as sport bras?  I am thinking I may have to go this route next.


Andysmom's picture

(post #29085, reply #16 of 54)

If I take my band size and 5 inches, the bra falls all the way to the floor. The fitter took my band size and subtracted 2 inches and then measured the fullest part of my breast and followed the 1" equals A, 2" equals B. Just my size follows what the site you recommended says. However for all the females in my family, following that add 5" doesn't work. Interesting how everyone measures different. Best thing is find a shop that fits and if need be, order from a less expensive place one you find your correct size.

Ahhh the joys of being a woman!

rekha's picture

(post #29085, reply #14 of 54)

Blessed are those who are puppy-sized as they never have to wear one

Ralphetta's picture

(post #29085, reply #21 of 54)

Since this is a discussion about bras, maybe someone can help me. I wear a lot of dark colored silk tank tops under jackets and shirts. The dye rubs off on my bras. I usually buy nude colored bras. I've tried several products, soft-bristled brushes,etc., but can't find anything to keep them looking good. My latest expensive bra had dark areas after a couple of wearings and looks bad already. Does anyone else have this problem?

Gloriasews's picture

(post #29085, reply #25 of 54)

Some black dyes are awful!  To 'set' the colour, you should soak them in water with either vinegar or salt for 1/2 hr. or add that when you wash them for the first time.  That usually helps immensely.  Keep rinsing until the dye stops running.  I don't know what you'd do if you dry clean them, but those tanks should be at least hand washable, eh?  I'd do the soak & wash especially  before you wear them the first time to rid them of the excess dye & to set the colour.  As for the bras, you're probably not able to get the dark dye out of them, but you could get a couple of black bras to wear with these tops - at least that would eliminate the frustration of looking at the dark 'rubbings' :).


Ralphetta's picture

(post #29085, reply #26 of 54)

I'll trying setting them in the future. I was always hesitant to let them soak very long because I didn't want them to fade. How much salt or vinegar should i use? The color rubs off wherever there are seams protruding from the bra, the sides, the back, where the straps attach, etc. It seems like whenever I buy a color other than nude, I end up having the wrong color in the wrong style to go with whatever I want to wear. Tooooo many decisions.

Teaf5's picture

(post #29085, reply #27 of 54)

Rit Dye sells a product that supposedly removes overdyes from fabric; perhaps that will help?

Otherwise, you might want to designate one of the "ruined" bras as the darker one and either dye it completely or mark it so that it's the only one you wear under the dark tops.

When you buy new bras, consider what percentage of your tops are dark and make sure to get enough dark ones to wear with them.  I wear mostly light tops and have one brown bra that works for all the dark ones; it's not hard to circulate bras just as I do shoes.

Ralphetta's picture

(post #29085, reply #28 of 54)

I'd forgotten about that Rit product, thanks for reminding me. I might try it on one of my older bras and see what happens