I just received this book today, Making Beautiful Bras by Lee-Ann Burgess, and after reading the first half of it, it's no wonder women have such a difficult time finding bras that fit well. I bought the book because it tells how to take a bra that fits you well and draft a pattern from it. Not only that, it tells you the best way to put on your bra so that your breasts sit in the cups properly for the right amount of support, how to find the right cup size when searching for a bra, how to find the right band size, and more.
Unfortunately, as all too many of us have found, bra manufacturers don't compare notes on sizing, so the size that fits you in one style of bra may not fit in another style of bra even if it's the same brand/manufacturer. The fitting problem is increased when you add in different brands/manufacturers, none of whom rely on a sizing standard (which is definitely not news to those of us who have shopped unsuccessfully for years, looking for a bra that lifts, separates, and supports without cutting us in half or giving us the deep indentations on our shoulders). And since breast sizes/shapes can vary so much from woman to woman, I don't know if it's even possible to have standardized sizing charts for bras.
Since Goddess has quit carrying/making the only style of bra that I've found that even comes close to fitting my rack of doom, I'm going to take a shot at making my own bras. I have one that the cups are fine (they fit the way they're supposed to, according to what I've read in this book), the straps are fine, but the sides/back are totally stretched out of shape. That bra is going to be taken apart, and using the guidelines in this wonderful book, I'm going to attempt drafting a pattern and making a bra that finally does what it's supposed to do.
I don't have a clue what the book is going to end up costing me, as I ordered it from Australia with my debit card and that charge hasn't hit the bank yet (cost of the book and air mail came to $71.45 in Australian currency, don't know what that comes out to in American dollars, probably somewhere around $45 - $50). To tell you the truth, I don't care if it costs the same in American currency as it does in Australian currency. If it gives me the ability to make a bra that really fits, is comfortable, and supports the rack of doom, it's well-worth every damned penny and will definitely pay for itself just in the money I save by making my bras myself instead of having to travel to some big city in search of someone who can custom-fit bras and have them made for me (I can't afford $150 for a bra, and I know the custom-made bras can be much more expensive than that).
I will also have all kinds of options for colors/fabrics/prints/decorations/laces that I don't have now (my Goddess bras came in basic black, white, and nude, the leopard print was discontinued a couple of years ago in the style I really like).
I'll be able to make camisole bras with fancy lace inserts for those tops I'd like to buy but show too much cleavage. My options are only limited by my imagination. I'm excited, and can hardly wait until my check gets here and I can go looking for fabrics and notions and laces and more.
And on another sewing note, Butterick is carrying a line of patterns by Coni Crawford that go up to a 68" bust/72" hip. When I do my shopping for the bra-making supplies, I'll be looking for those patterns, as I've found several that I like. My biggest problem will be finding the fabrics I like in the colors/prints I like at a price I can afford. I'm looking forward to making slacks that actually fit the way they're supposed to (instead of having the waist in front hit me just under my bra band) and that I can add pockets to (have to have pockets for cell phone and car keys, I don't carry a purse very often).
Here are the pics of the patterns by Coni that I'm looking at purchasing (if there was a picture of the pattern made up and on a live model, I included it after the pattern picture):
My favorite thing about these patterns? The artist's conception drawing on the pattern may not be a fat woman, but the pictures on the website where I found the patterns are definitely fat women and that gives me a really good idea if these clothing items will look the way I want them to when I'm finished making them. Granted, not all of the patterns have fat models showing the finished item, but enough of them do, for now.
If you want to see more of Coni's patterns, they can be found here.