We use the BCD (Bottom Cup Depth) measurement to determine your cup size.
That can be confusing if you’re used to RTW sizing. We use a different sizing system, with a specific reason. In confection, vanity sizing is a thing. But, as sewists, we know better ;).
You know you need the size that fits you best, no matter the letter or number that’s on the garment. Good fitting clothes will do so much more for you that the number in the label.
This being said, The BCD system has the same flaws as any other system: it will fit approximately 80% of population. But what if you are part of the 20%? Do you guess your size? Or give up altogether? Well, no, you don’t! There are options. You could mail Liesje (Hello[a]hariitolingerie.com) or you can try a different system.
The BCD system is based on the distance from the heaviest/widest point of your breasts, usually where your nipple is. You can measure standing or bent over. The size could be different for each breast, that’s very normal. This system works for most people but if you have difficulties measuring correctly because of loose tissue, you might want to wear a good fitting bra (this can be a catch-22, I know) or use the overbust/underbust system.
The overbust/underbust system is based on the difference between overbust measurement and the full bust measurement. This usually works for people who have an average, proportioned build. If you are more athletic, this system will not work for you and the BCD system will be more accurate.
The pattern comes with interactive PDF instructions. Most people do not print the instructions, so I added links and bookmarks for quick reference. The links are underlined and have a slightly different colour.
You can still print the instructions. Set your printer to greyscale if you like to save on ink. The links and bookmarks will not work.
***Print and read the instructions before you print the pattern***
- Open the PDF in the reader.
- On left of the screen you can see an icon presenting the bookmarks.
- Click on the icon to reveal the bookmarks.
- Click on the bookmarks to go back and forth the certain pages
When shopping for fabrics, you see different names for what sometimes is the same fabrics. A lot depends of the part of the world you are living in.
Let’s look at four similar, but not the same fabrics: mesh, bra tulle, stable lining and powernet. These fabrics have the same kind of properties: they stretch but not in the same way and they are fishnet-like but the holes do not have the same shape.
We’ll start with powernet and mesh. The same type of fabric but with different threads and qualities. Available in various strengths, stretch percentages and colours. It this fabric is lightweight and has a less loose weave, it’s called mesh. When it’s a tighter weave and thicker thread, it is referred too as powernet.
Usually made in polyamide and thus not so easily dyed as nylon (but that also depends on the dye you are using)
The fabric in this picture is a heavy powernet.
The holes are more hexagonal, like a honey rate.
Bra tulle is a light but strong fabric. Its’s not the same stuff used for tutu’s and veils. Bra tulle is softer and more drapey.
It can be stretchy, up to 20% and it usually stretches in only one direction.
It’s a much loved fabric for bra makers because it can give your bra sheerness and strength but it’s comfortable at the same time.
Usually made out of nylon, so it is excellent for dying!
You can use it to line your bra, but don’t line the bridge with this kind of tulle, unless your main fabric is rigid.
The last fabric, is stable lining. This fabric has a completely different structure in comparison to powernet/mesh and bra tulle. Stable lining has no stretch, not even on the bias because of a square-holed structure. It’s also reffered to as marquisette.
Buying a regular dress form was easy: I have 2 Stockmann dress forms that I’ve got via a friend who studied at Antwerp’s Fashion academy. That was more than 20 years ago. At that time, I had – more or less – the same size as that mannequin. Super handy for fitting my clothes and practising my skills.
We’re now 20 years later and I’ve grown a lot. Not only my experience expanded, my body grew also.
When I started making lingerie, I quickly discovered my Stockmann forms did not quite do the job. They do not have a breast shape, it’s more like a ‘bulge’. So I went on a search.
It didn’t take me a long time to discover the Alvanon dress forms. Dries Van Noten uses them, so do a lot of other companies. Must be good, I figured. So I made an inquire. I found out that the form I wanted, would cost me a whopping €2800 (2019, shipping not included). That’s a big amount for a small business. I rather invest that kind of money in fabrics and notions.
And then I met Elisa and Elona. Both ladies had roots in Chechnya. Chechnya is a part of the Russian federation and is situated in the Northern Kaukasus. I’ve never had friends who spoke Russian, how exciting!
With Elisa and Elona came a connection to that unknown federation of states and the different people living in it. And they speak Russian!
Elisa told me al lot on Russian craftsmanship an pointed me towards a Russian dress form maker, One Forms. They have anatomic correct dolls that cost 10% of an Alvanon. Of course there is a difference in quality. The Alvanon form is heavier and sturdier. But I’m not taking that dress form to a party, I want to use it to fit lingerie on it. I’m not using it as intense as a (big) lingerie company would.
I bought the Sofia in size 40. I’m very pleased with it. It more or less has my size, but I added extra padding on the breasts and in the bum area. Very easy to do, you can take the cover off, add padding where needed and slip the cover back on.
It’s a no-nonsense, easy to use dress form made out of foam and covered with a cotton fabric. The cover has guiding seams on it, making it easy to drape.
When you live outside Russia, you have to take in account that you are going to have to pay customs. In my case, that was €104. I knew this, so it was not a surprise. But I can be if you do not anticipate this cost. You can check this easily via the internet.
They have different sizes and colours. You can visit One Forms here
*I’m not affiliated with One Forms and I do not get paid to post this
The pattern comes as a layered PDF file, so you will need a PDF viewer to view and print your pattern. We recommend Adobe Reader as a reliable free program. You can print the pattern on A4 or US letter-sized paper. Make sure your printer settings are set to “100% scale” and not “Fit” (your settings may be named differently), and check that it has printed correctly using the guide on the first page.
DO NOT PRINT ALL SIZES AND PAGES! It’s not necessary! The pattern is a layered PDF and meant for you to “turn off” all layers except those you need to print. Otherwise, it will be difficult to see the pattern lines and will waste paper. Choose the Layer icon in the PDF sidebar to view all layers, then choose your size and the TEXT layer.
- Open the PDF in the reader.
- On left of the screen you can see an icon presenting the layers.
- Click on the icon to reveal all layers.
- Click the eye in front of the size you need. It should be open. All other sizes must have closed eyes.
- The eye in front of the text must be open as well.
- Now click the ‘Print’ button and only the selected layers will be printed.