The first part of this is actually called To Design a Bedlah. As usual, click the photos to see a bigger version.
There are many wonderful books and instructions for building a bedlah out there. At the end of these posts I’ll link to some of them. Most of them, however assume you are a C cup or smaller. I’m not, which means that some of the things they recommend simply do not work for me. This is NOT a detailed explanation, I’ll detail some of the specific things I do to make my bigger bras work, but I highly recommend some of the other resources out there for the details. This is actually the second bra I’ve made. I’m refining my techniques as I go. I’m a LOT better with the actual embellishment than the prep work, but that’s the case for me with any of my needlework!
This is the bra I’m using as a base. It’s molded foam, which isn’t remotely optimal, especially at my cup size, but it’s the best I could do. Because there are no support seams, and it’s stretchy, step one is to make a buckram insert to give it some stability. Because of this, I think the next step after this bedlah is actually to buy a copy of the $90 book on building bras from scratch and start there. I really really would like a sturdier bra for my bedlahs, and if I can start from scratch I’ll know it’s going to hold up to what I put it through.
Step one is actually to wrap the thing in paper to create a pattern.
So. How to do what I did:
Take a lightweight paper, in my case, tissue paper, because I always have a stash of it for transferring embroidery patterns lying around.
Draw in the lines, including both sides of the darts. On a large cup size like this one (I’m a 40 DD or a 42D. This one is a 40DD), sometimes it’s more effective to cut the pattern in two curved pieces rather than use darts. This is what I’ve done with the short line in the middle. (The darts almost meet in any case. Not quite, because then I’d have a “bullet bra” and I’m not quite THAT traditional!)
Basically, what that achieves is one long dart to curve over the bust point. (It also provides a nice marker for bust fringe, if you’re going that way, which I, being a traditionalist, am.)
When you unpin it and open it up, you get a paper pattern. Mark the top and the bottom pieces, and note which corner should meet which corner, because if you flip one of the pattern pieces like I did, you end up with all sorts of mismatching problems in step 2! Lesson learned. Since I had a full inch connecting the two parts, maybe I should have used two darts instead.
If you want to try this at home, buy this book:
I’ve managed to lose mine in two moves since I bought it, and I’m finding I really miss having it around as I’m trying to do this bra. Waaaaa! I may have to buy a new copy myself. If I do buy a new copy I’m sure I’ll find the old one. Every page is full of detailed photos and explanations of how to cover a bra. It’s a godsend.