Drafting the curve of a cradle pattern from your wire

When I first started out designing, I didn't understand the concept of designing a bra around a wire, most of my designing was done using pattern blocks that were already available and I just altered maybe the style line or fabrics but never the shape of the bra where the underwire sat.

It wasn't until I started my own brand that I began to understand the true importance of designing the bra around the wire, it was a concept I hadn't grasped before, yet it's the first thing I start with.

Every time.

You start with finding the balance point of the wire from there you can draft your cradle pattern.

The balance point is the deepest part of the wire. If you draw an 'x' axis and 'y' axis and put the wire on it, the deepest part is the balance point, with the CF of the wire (the shorter part) against the 'y' axis.

If you're new to finding the balance point, I'd draw a line on the wire with permanent pen so you can locate it easily throughout your design. If you are designing a bra with a cradle, where the centre front piece joins the wing, the join of those pieces should be where the balance point of the wire is.

 Drafting out a cradle pattern from an underwire

Drafting out a cradle pattern from an underwire

Draw around the wire (pictured is a balconette wire), then draw in a new line 15mm away from the original wire. 

WHY 15mm?

At the underarm the cradle should sit anywhere from 15mm away from the wire to approx 25mm though I have known some people's patterns to sit further out if they are designing for plus sizes. Having a wire to splay out is so when the bra is worn the wire is sitting at the root of the breast not on it. I usually start my patterns at 15mm and alter it after fit. If there was no splay in the wire then the support wouldn't be there, the wire would be just sitting there and not have any tension on it.

Some pattern makers splay the wire at the centre front (usually by 5mm) and the wing by 15mm, by personal choice when I'm designing for my brand Vanjo, I tend to only splay at the side, as my core customer are women with big cup sizes and small backs, so I use quite firm wires and find working with a smaller backs this worked best for me. 

Another thing to take into consideration, is wire play, this is the amount left at the end of the wires. This is not seam allowance, this is the finished amount left. Wires need some room to move, with no wire play (room at the end of the wire) what is likely to occur is that the wire will come through the wire casing after repeated wear, as it's pushed up against the fabric with no wear (pun intended)  to go.

On average leave 5mm at each end of the wire and approx 3mm where the bar tacking will go. So all in all draw in approx 8mm at the end of each wire. 

Depending what type of centre front you are looking to have, to draft the pattern I would draw the centre front piece at a 90 degree angle coming off the wire. All these are suggestions are starting points, and can be altered after fits.


Tips on pattern grading bra points

I'm writing the book 'How to grade a bra and brief' and one of popular questions I receive about grading is:  how to apply the grade to the pattern, and which point to alter if you need to increase or decrease the final measurements to get the grade measurements.

In an ideal world if you needed to grade the bra size by the width 1.2cm you would add 6mm to one side and 6mm to the other side of the cup to achieve the increase in bra size by 1.2cm.

However because you on some points  increasing the points upwards as well, your increase of the pattern (or the increase going up a bra size) may not reach 1.2cm. 

So which point of the pattern should you increase more to get your desired measurement you want?

As the breast and bra size gets bigger, then the design of the bra needs to do it's job and support the heavier part of the breast which is the outer part (near underarm) and project them forward. 

Therefore if your measurements are falling short I always increase the outer points on the bra (see picture) this then prevents the flattening of the breast and so you don't end up wearing your boobs under your arms. 

 Points to increase on a darted bra to increase a bra size

Points to increase on a darted bra to increase a bra size


If you are coming up measuring over (your 1.2cm increase is more than 1.2cm) your grading measurements, then I would go in reverse, and decrease the CF part of the bra.

Designing the correct bra size for your lingerie brand

I got asked a few weeks ago, whether there are any standard measurements that you can use as a starting point when starting to design, so you achieve the correct bra size.

Unfortunately there are no standard bra size charts, each company does their own bra fitting and designs patterns for their own customer.

However I can give you some insight on measurements from different companies I've worked with and where some companies start.

I have worked with a company (2014) that had their own bra size chart where they begin each bra sample with the underband of a 34B measuring at 64cm andeach wing measuring 16cm and the bra cups with cradle measuring 32cm. 

When I design a pattern for my brand (aimed at women with smaller backs and a bigger bust size, so my measurements may be different from high street brands). I start with a pattern/bra that I'm happy with the fit then I use that as pattern block and with every design I use that pattern and alter that, to fit the new style.  Usually then, only a few bra measurements alter, depending on the fabrics or how much the design has altered.


Lingerie Specification sheets

Below are actually specification sheets from when I designed for UK high street stores, The first one is from Topshop (2001) and the second is from River Island (2003), originally they were presented with designs that were from the same pattern (different design), and due to how they do their bra fitting on their fitting models, they altered the fit therefore altered the measurements such as on the wing, the underband and also the centre front.

 Bra specification sheet for a Top Shop bra (2001)

Bra specification sheet for a Top Shop bra (2001)

 Bra specification sheet for a River Island bra

Bra specification sheet for a River Island bra


There are no correct or standard measurements for lingerie, and even different companies have different size charts and grade differently (the UK brands grade underbands on 5cm and the French brands grade underbands on 4cm); so even if you start at the same measurements by the time you reach 4 sizes bigger or smaller then each brand measurement will be different. The best thing you can do is stay consistent to your own brand, each bra fits each woman differently so what is favourable by one person may not to be so in another, so build your brand with your core customer in mind.

*For those who need advice on How to fill in a Specification sheet then the book "how to spec a bra and brief" is available to download or buy as a book. Also there are downloadable spec sheet that you can use as a template.

Helping you design lingerie with Technical design packs

Are you stuck with needing help and support with your lingerie designs?

Launching seven packs to propel your lingerie designing and label forward. Complied together from the most requests received in how I can help designers with their lingerie, that can be printed out and use as templates to transform your lingerie business

The following design packs are designed to save you time and giving  you the confidence and the freedom to set and achieve your goals within the lingerie industry.

The design sheets are self-explanatory, and quick and easy to use.

Design pack one: Fabric & Trim Design Packs

"Keep a track of all fabrics and trims in one place for future use"

This Fabric and trims sheet is a place to note down the cost and fabric supplier of everything you order, keeping it in one place. When you buy a fabric a fabric or trim, noting down where you received it from, what the fabric is made from and how much it cost will save you time in the future.  No more trawling through receipts to find the cost or supplier. It's no rocket science this form, but how many of us has stashed fabrics or trims to use later, and then not been able to find any information about it?

Once all the information is filled in, just file the sheet away to locate later.

Design Pack two: Style progress Pack

"Design and map out your lingerie ideas the technical way"

Note down lingerie designs on a style sheet

The Style progress sheet is designed so you can record your design idea progress, in one handy sheet. Noting down what fabrics are being used, any key construction or special measurements.This sheet is useful if you are an independent designer hand making your entire collection and don’t need the full Technical pack but all the information on one page.

The sheet is also important if you do decide to take your collection to the next stage and wish to get it manufactured by a factory. 

Design Pack Three: Cutting sheet Pack

"Plan, cut and sew you lingerie in order for each season"

cutting out lingerie

The cutting sheet has been created if you are an independent designer sewing your lingerie that you are producing. This is extremely helpful if you have orders coming through, working on orders ahead, or are planning to launch your own label. Work out how long it will take you to make the order, then you can plan for future orders.

Design Pack Four: Time Line Pack

"Track your lingerie progress from design to production"

This time line design pack, is invaluable for when, you want to track your design styles from start to finish. Sometimes when you're starting out it can be hard to know all the steps you may need to take to produce your lingerie so these information on the sheets are what I previously used in the industry. There are two types, one if you're an independent designer, designing and sewing up your own lingerie, and a sheet if you are going down the manufacturing route and outsourcing to a factory.

Design Pack Five: Specification Sheet Pack

"Map out your lingerie sizes the industry way"

These spec sheets are designed so you can write your key measurements from your sample, then work out and record the sizes for the full-size range. Included is an example of the "point of measurement", used in the industry, with an example of a bra, a soft bra and a brief with references to a picture with the corresponding measurements.

For those wanting an in-depth insight into how you spec a bra or brief, then the book "How to spec a bra and brief" is available to buy and will take you through step-by-step on how to complete this.

Design Pack Six: Tech Pack Sheets

"Get you lingerie manufactured the professional way"

The tech pack provides you with separate technical sheets for you to use, depending how detailed you need your tech pack to be. This tech pack provides sheets for either design labels who are outsourcing just the manufacturing, or those who are outsourcing everything including the make-up of the labels and packaging. Each sheet has a prompt for what you should write, and there are over 20+ blank sheets (all different degrees of blankness).

For those wanting an in-depth guide of writing a tech pack, there is the book "How to write a tech pack for a bra and brief" which is available to buy and will take you through step-by-step on how to complete this.

Design Pack Seven: Costing sheet Pack

"Calculate the cost price point for each piece of lingerie designed"

The cost sheet is designed so you can work out how much each piece of lingerie designed costs to make.  It requires you to work out and measure how much elastic is on each piece, and how much fabric is used. Including adding VAT if you're VAT registered.

Then importantly is the percentage that gets added when you want to sell to either wholesale or direct.

*For those wanting more advice on how to cost your lingerie, there is a section in the "How to to become a Lingerie Designer" book




Designing and grading a bra - lingerie courses

The latest Lingerie courses from iatechnical for September 2017 are the following:

September 11/12th - Core Fit Bra Pattern Cutting and Grading

This course starts with developing key pattern blocks then restyling, This session will cover wired and non wired bras with an emphasis on core grading.

September 13/14th - Plus Fit Bra Pattern Cutting and Grading

This focuses on patterns, fit and grading with three current popular styles examined. In this course wire technology is a key feature.

September 15th - Technical Bra Fitting

This fit day includes defining you models correct commercial size and understanding what creates a good or bad fit. It also covers communicating fit corrections to your factories, getting good outcomes from fitting sessions and solving material, sizing pattern and grading issues.

September 18/19th - Swimwear & Activewear Pattern Cutting and Grading

The swimwear course covers core and plus fit styles from basics through to complex bikinis, suits and tankinis and their grading.

September 20/21st - Bodies & Briefs Pattern Cutting & Grading

This course starts with basic stretch and rigid blocks. It looks at the European pantie fit as the favoured choice of retailers and the demand for fashion bodies.

September 22nd A Technical Introduction to setting up a new Lingerie Brand


 please note this bra is an image designed previously from the Vanjo brand 

please note this bra is an image designed previously from the Vanjo brand 



Please note the courses are now held at the IA Studios at 91 Warwick Street Leicester.

All courses include full digital notes and lunch

2 day courses are GB£250.00 and 1 day courses are GB£125.00

Course bookings are limited to 6 delegates on each.

Please go to the website for more information :  iatechnical.com to book or contact David on dmorris@iatechnical.com for more information.

For those wishing to learn more via books please head to the lingerie shop page.

Want to be a "Successful fashion Designer" ?

I talk to 'Sew Heidi' the woman behind the brand "Successful Fashion Designer" about how she started and the pitfalls and advice she can give to new designers.

I first got to know Sew Heidi on Instagram, and loved, that we both shared an obscene amount of appreciation for excel formulas for writing up Tech sheets.  And whilst  I usually interview the people behind their lingerie brands, Sew Heidi has wise words for anyone in the fashion industry; whether you're just starting out or are already involved within the fashion trade; her knowledge, tips and advice on Illustrator and the industry is invaluable.

1. Firstly can you give a brief description of 'Sew Heidi'? 

SH: In 2004, I felt “all grown up” with a very expensive degree in my hands. I was over the moon to graduate. And then I found myself stuck in a boring administrative gig that I was totally overqualified for. **(To be totally inspired on why you should follow your dreams and the hardship it sometimes takes, please take the time to read the link).**

sew heidi interview on vanjonsson design

With no fashion experience and “receptionist” on my resume, I didn’t feel qualified to work in fashion, so I DIY’d it and launched my own label. It took 3 years but I finally landed my dream job as a designer because of my Illustrator skills and the work I’d done with my brand.

Once in that job, I realized students coming out of fashion school didn’t have Illustrator experience - which was crazy to me away since that was a huge reason I got the job. So, I started making Illustrator for fashion videos on YouTube. That turned into real life workshops. And that turned into online courses, a podcast, and a lot more I never would have imagined. 

The name Sew Heidi originated back when I had time to sew. While I’ll still always go by that name, I just rebranded to Successful Fashion Designer. My number one goal is to help people find success in this crazy industry, so the switch was a no brainer.


2. Who inspires you?

SH: Passionate people who put themselves out there. The older I get, the more I've realized there are too many people who go through life numb. The fashion industry is not where you find these people. If you're driven and determined, you are an inspiration to us all to get out there and do something.


3. What makes something worth designing?

SH: I appreciate fashion for fashion’s sake, but I lean towards designing practical, functional pieces that have fashion added to them. Great trims, subtle details, style lines, and prints can add style to every day items. But first and foremost it has to be practical and comfortable for its purpose - because if it’s not, it’ll never make it into my closet…and I think most people feel the same about what they wear. 


4. What three things would you say is hard about designing on Illustrator?

SH: 1. The initial learning curve and understanding why things work they way the do can be tough. 15 years later, I still remember the “aha!” moment I had in Illustrator when the light bulb went off and I finally “got it”! It’s a hard place to get to, but once you get over that hump, things become much easier to learn and understand. Finding the right teacher with the right teaching style for you is key to getting there, otherwise you’ll get frustrated and give up. 

There are a lot of tutorials that tell you step by step how to do something, and you’ll get a result. You may even be able to replicate that a few times on your own. But as soon as something goes wrong - which it always will, you can’t troubleshoot and your frustration peaks. Understanding why the software (and tools) work is critical to gaining confidence and success. Once you understand, you can figure anything out. 

2. Doing things the long way, because that’s the only way you know. There are a lot of ways to do the same thing in Illustrator, and I often see designers doing things a roundabout way because that’s what they know. As a result, most designers are frustrated that “things take FOREVER!”. The challenge is that “you don’t know what you don’t know”, but with some effort spent learning faster ways and better shortcuts, designers can cut their Illustrator time in half.

3. Transitioning from hand sketching gets people every time. The drawing tools in AI work differently, and it can be hard switch to make from paper to screen. I remind people that they didn’t learn to hand sketch overnight, and they won’t learn Illustrator overnight. It takes time and you’ll get better, but just like hand sketching, you have to practice. 


5. What is the most common question people ask you?

SH: People ask me all the time, how do I break into the fashion industry? Many of them are especially curious if they don’t have a background or are transitioning from another career. There’s no magic answer and the industry is tough. But I tell them to start doing something.

Put together mood boards and design mini collections.

Learn how to sketch in Illustrator.

Create some designs, sell them at local markets and do fashion shows.

Whatever it is, do something. I see too many people in the same spot they were a year ago - stuck in a job or industry they hate, but they’ve not done anything to pursue their fashion dreams. 

It’s hard. And you’re not going to just apply for a job and get it without any experience or work of your own to show. But if you start doing something, start meeting people, do that scary “networking” thing, opportunities will arise and you’ll get noticed…as long as you do exceptional work. (See question 7 for more about exceptional work.)

 Example of "Successful Fashion Designer" by Sew Heidi

Example of "Successful Fashion Designer" by Sew Heidi

6. What is your workspace like?

SH: I work from a home office and not gonna lie, it’s a hot mess. I’m a cluttered desk kind of gal and I work better in chaos. My Pantone books are usually spread out, microphones, webcams and wires are strewn about ready for podcast interviews and video tutorials, and my cat’s bed sits on the corner of my giant wooden desk so Puma can get comfy and watch birds in the yard (the dog bed is of course at my feet). If you ever jump on a Skype call with me though, it’s all smoke and mirrors. I have the layout staged so what you see on video always looks good :)


7. What words of advice would you give aspiring designers?

SH: Do an exceptional job. It sounds obvious, but many people don’t do it. Whether it’s for a client, employer or your own business, the majority of people do an average job. Instead, focus on doing an exceptional job - even if you have to decrease your output. Hold yourself to this standard and you'll sky rocket ahead of the competition...because exceptional gets noticed. 

Do things before you feel ready. Get in over your head and challenge yourself. Stop worrying that you're not ready, that you don't know how or that you're scared. You will figure out a way to get it done. I'll quote Amy Poehler who says it best in her book Yes Please: “You do it, because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing…Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone?” Thank you, Amy, for your wise words.

One other thing I'd like to share :)

SH: I just started a podcast called The Successful Fashion Designer that I'm super excited about and proud of. I've interviewed some amazing designers, heard some crazy stories and discovered their creative and strategic ways of how they got where they are. The episodes are full of actionable advice to help fashionistas get ahead, and anyone working in or pursuing work in the fashion industry should give it a listen :)

If you want to follow Sew Heidi on social media, please click on the links below.

Instagram: sewheidi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sewheidi/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sewheidi

Snapchat: Lol - not a snap chatter....am I dating myself? 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SuccessfulFashionDesigner/


What to write onto Lingerie Patterns

I think we've all done it, drafted out a pattern, only to return back to it and not quite understand which one it was. Or perhaps your more meticulous and want to write all your information onto your pattern but don't know where to start or exactly what to put on it.

There are usually six basic things you should write:

 Full image of information that needs to be written on a lingerie pattern.

Full image of information that needs to be written on a lingerie pattern.

1. The company name: This is not always necessary if it's just you seeing your patterns, however it may be worth getting into the habit for the future, for when you're sending patterns out, this will save you time rather than going through them all again.

2. Name and/or style number: So, so important, you want to be able to know instantly what pattern you have in your hand.

3. What part is the pattern: What looks recognisable when you're drafting a pattern, may not be so when you get the pattern out again, or when you've cut it out of fabric.

4. How many to cut: Pretty much self explanatory. For bras it's usually 'cut one pair' rather than cut two.

5. The size: Again pretty much self explanatory, if your pattern is dual sizing just write all the sizes on e.g. 32C/34B/36A

6. Direction of Stretch: Usually this will be indicted by 'Grain line'; on the 'Vanjonsson Design' patterns it's stated by 'Direction of stretch' as the lingerie can be made in a number of stretch fabrics, and as I have no idea on the exact fabric you will be using, the 'direction of stretch' ensures that the main stretch of your fabric is going around your body.

(7.) Any extra information like if you need to put the pattern down the fold of the fabric, and seam allowances if you need them written down to remind you. I also when I first started out, would number the patterns, for example if there was four pattern pieces I would write 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4. Just so I knew I had every pattern piece before I started cutting the fabric, which when it comes to bras you may find yourself with a pile of patterns which may have a tendency to somehow float and fall off the table!  

A look into "how to become a lingerie designer" book



CHAPTER ONE: Lingerie - A brief History

This chapter takes a look at the lingerie through out history, including Warners buying 'Mary P Jacob' bra design patent, facts about that women were asked to stop wearing corsets and this freed up enough metal to apparently  build two battleships (for WW1).

lingerie a brief history from how to become a lingerie designer

It also looks at the change in shape through out the years that the bra took, with the advanced technology of fabrics and elastics. This chapter takes you through each decade with facts and how the changing shape of the bra and changed the attitude towards lingerie.

It also questions the bras place and function and how women are fitted still using the 4/5+ system. With the garter belt and stocking dying out will the bra follow place? Or do you think it's here to stay?

For those who are obsessed with Vintage lingerie - check out Under Pinnings online lingerie museum, which documents vintage lingerie.


This chapter takes a look at where to look for gaining for inspiration for your designs. Inspiration comes to us in many forms for designing, it could be images, photos from magazines, or fabrics. I recommend starting a private Pinterest board and over a course of a couple of weeks pin images that inspire you every day, and then take a look at the end and you should see a style emerging.

Within this chapter is also the low down on copyright laws for your lingerie designs and a list of Lingerie Magazines and Fashion magazines which I've found helpful in the past for inspiration.

inspiration and designing from how to become a lingerie designer


This chapter looks at analysing the market you're aiming for. It talks about Identifying your target market for your lingerie designs and who you are going to be making and designing for. Covering if you have trouble deciding who is your target market, because at some point I'm sure we've all been in the situation where we have 101 ideas going around in our head.

Three main points that are covered that I think important about the direction of your brand are:

1. Passion: Being passionate will carry you through when you are spending every working minute on your brand.

2. Niche: Designing for your target market means you cut out some of your competitors  

3. Style: A strong style brings recognition and trust from your customers.

Also this chapter covers how to keep on track season after season.

target market for my designs from how to become a lingerie designer



This chapter leads you through the importance of keeping a sketchbook. It also covers designing mood boards for lingerie and a list of internet sites to help you create your mood-board if you don't have access to Photoshop or Illustrator.

sketchbooks and moodboards (chapter four) in How to become a lingerie designer


The blog covered how to draw a fashion model, and it covers it in the book as well. This chapter covers the importance of fashion drawings and how they are relevant to the fashion industry today. 


fashions drawings from how to become a lingerie designer

And all the information that you need to write on a pattern.

For those who need a place to start on pattern making then lingerie patterns can be bought from this website.


Unlike fashion drawings, working drawings are also known as 'technical drawings', always drawn flat and never from an angle. This chapter looks at basic working drawings, and ones with stitch lines and fabric representation. 

working drawings for lingerie


This chapter covers where patterns began, and the joy of using the same pattern to create different looks.

It also looks at  the three methods usually used to create a lingerie pattern:

1. Flat-pattern Method

2. Drafting Method

3. Draping Method 

How to become a lingerie designer - a look at patterns


This chapter  covers starting out with soft bras then looking at underwire bras, and explains the two type of bras, cradle or non cradle. It will also show you, how you can create different looks by just using one pattern. (When running Vanjo I only had one style bra for four years) .

Designing around the bras is the most important aspect of designing, and this chapter will show you the starting point of using your wire to start your pattern.

A look into making a bra pattern in how to become a lingerie designer



This chapter covers 'what is a spec sheet' why to use them and what goes on them. It also shows you the industry measurements in which the sizes increase or decrease. A lot of people in the industry still manually enter the sizes, which if you then have to change the sample measurement, it takes an age to change the other sizes. This book shows you the formulas you can use on Excel to automatically fill in the sizes. This chapter covers measuring both briefs and bras.

how to write a specification sheet


This chapter covers what grading is, and using the information we gained from chapter nine (specification sheets) and shows you the basic way to grade on a brief pattern. It also covers cross grading - how a bra cup volume 32C can be the same cup volume as a 36A, and when to not use the standard grade.

how to become a lingerie designer - grading


This chapter covers what a sample spec sheet, and why it's important to use them for you, it also includes what to put on them. (the book image is from How to write a tech pack for a bra and brief).

how to become a lingerie designer sample sheets


This chapter covers the basic way to make a costing, it guides you through measuring elastics and fabrics to working out how much 1 meter of fabric will make. It also gives you an example of a broken-down cost sheet to look at. *Remember the bigger companies will always be able to compete on the costings - look for something else for you company to offer*

working out costings for lingerie


This chapter covers the decline of manufacturing, and the pros and cons of hand-making your lingerie or getting it manufactured, it also gives you a couple of lingerie manufacturers in the UK.

 Image inside Stitching Academy in North London

Image inside Stitching Academy in North London


This chapter looks at doing your photography in the studio or location, whether to video it, and what you might need.

chapter 14 of how to become a lingerie designer - photoshoots
shooting a lingerie photoshoot  outside



This chapter covers all the extras you may need to consider,  such as your website and business stationary.


This chapter covers showing at shows, contacting buyers, the pros and cons of sale or return and gives you a list of lingerie trade shows. 


This chapter covers the formatting of press releases and working with your journalist.


This chapter gives you a brief overview of UK and online Lingerie courses.


This chapter covers interviews with independent lingerie designers, who at the end get asked "What words of advice would you give to aspiring designers?"

Specification sheets and tech sheets digital downloads

One of the common questions I get asked is how to set out a specification sheet, or a technical pack, and although some of you know what information to put in them, it's sometimes the lay out that seems to eat up your time. 

With that in mind you can now finally download a template for both sheets. 

The specification sheet pack consists of three sheets which includes a bra and briefs specification sheet. On one sheet is the 'Point of measurement' references which will guide you where you need to measure (ie centre front/waist relaxed etc) then the other sheets are blank for your own measurements if they differ from the ones given. 

lingerie specification and tech sheets

The technical pack sheets comprises of eight sheets and contains detailed bra and brief industry standard pages for you to use, and record your designs. As well as the construction page there is also a fabric page and packaging page for factory references. This pack is suitable if you are wanting to record and log your designs so you can come back for future reference. It's also laid out so it suitable for hand over to a manufacturer to get your garments made.

* Please note that both packs only contain the layouts of the specification sheet and technical pack, they do not contain how to write them or detailed information of what exactly to put on them. This information can be found in the following books:

How to Spec a bra and brief and How to write a Bra and Brief tech pack. which can be bought as a hard copy or as a digital down load.



Lingerie Pattern Information

For an over view of seeing all the lingerie patterns available in one place, they are as follows:

digital lingerie patterns

The Betsy - is perfect for beginners, and for those who are skilled sewers then this brief is superb for playing around using stretch fabrics and trims. Comprising of just a front, back and gusset pattern the 'Betsy' lingerie pattern will be a treasured staple for you to design and make and sew a treasured lingerie staple, again and again.

The Harriet - This retro high waisted brief is inspired by the 1950s and offers a full coverage smoothing and accentuates curves. The Harriet lingerie pattern is a flattering panelled brief, which allows you to mix bolder and bigger prints of fabric to really make a statement in what lingerie you wear.

The Tippi - This is a classic 'Vanjo' lingerie pattern, for those who bought Vanjo lingerie in the past. This brief sits low and has all the detail in the back. The back lingerie pattern panel is split in two, with a centre bottom panel of the brief, so if you choose to use a contrasting mesh for this panel it creates a 'cheeky' window at the back of the brief. There are unlimited number of fabric options that can be used with this lingerie pattern, whether you are wanting a clean dynamic look, or a pretty delicate feel this brief can incorporate either look.

Patterns being launched in November

It has been super busy at 'van Jonsson Design' head quarters, for those who don't know How to become a lingerie designer is being updated, and in November the website will contain lingerie patterns which you will be able to buy, and in good measure the website will be having an overhaul as well. So apologies on the sporadic blogs that have been sent out, will hopefully be back on track come December.

Until then here's a peek at one of the patterns: The Betsy.



Difference between bra straps

There are two main methods to attach the bra strap at the back to the wing 'the camisole' and 'the leotard'.

The camisole strap is so called because it has the same attachment used for a camisole. This style of strap has been around and used the longest for lingerie. The straps are sewn at a right angle to the wing at a set point from the hook and eye (usually around 5cm). This style produces a square back shape and can work on all sizes of bras. However when reaching the bigger cup it put a lot stress on the point where it meets the wing, and may cause the wing to pull up especially if the right isn't being worn.

The leotard strap is also know as the 'U' back, unlike the camisole the leotard strap has a round look and lo and behold gains it name from looking similar to a leotard. It's mainly used for the larger cup as the wings need to be wider to support the larger cups. The leotard strap is sewn along the back curve of the wing which means that the weight of the breast is distributed evenly throughout the underband, and takes the weight out of the straps. One of the main problems when designing a bra with the leotard style strap is making the curve shape too wide. If it is too wide then it will cause the straps to fall off the wearer's shoulders. 

For those wishing to know more about the components of lingerie. the book "The Anatomy of a Bra" covers each component of the bra in detail.


What patterns do you want to see?

Well although it's been quiet on the blog front, the "How to become a Lingerie Designer" office has been a hive of activity. Moving office, taking on new projects, finalising the book "how to tech a bra and brief" (currently being laid out) which is a follow on book to "How to spec a bra and brief" and goes through all the information you need when wanting to send your designs to a factory.

Also I have been working on patterns to put on the website. Which then leads to the question - are there any patterns you would like like to see on the website? I've started with the basic brief, but can produce any style of bra or brief, I've even been looking back at my sketch book for inspiration.

The correct way to alter a pattern after fits

This image features in the new book (that will be out shortly) "How to spec and grade lingerie". It shows you the importance of after a fit, knowing and understanding your fabrics and patterns.

The briefs were made after an actual fit session with a client who wanted to increase the depth and widen the gusset at the front mid leg. 

correct way to alter a lingerie pattern

The brief on the left was altered by a pattern maker, one look though, you will see it doesn't look right. The one on the right is the pattern altered by myself after stopping the alterations going further, where I would have increase it.

Both briefs technically do the same job, they got increased by the amount the buyer wanted.

However by understanding that the satin on the front didn't stretch horizontally I was able to make the call of adding in the front and the back to allow a nice curve of the front leg.

If after your fits your lingerie is still looking wrong, start again, and add the measurements in differently to create the look and fit you wanted. With time you will be able to do this quickly.

"Anatomy of the Bra" book is now published

The book went live yesterday to buy as an ebook from Amazon. It'll be a couple of weeks yet before it's out of hardback. 


So if you want an insight to how a bra works technically, or simply want to know your demi cup from a full cup?  Then this book is perfect for you

Aimed at helping understand the technicalities of a bra, the book is written from the perspective within the industry, to help people understand the difference between different shape cups and how your bra size is determined. It also goes into a detailed breakdown of the bra and includes a list of international websites where you can buy lingerie materials and components. 

Having designed for over thirteen years I know how daunting and confusing it can be to understand the technicalities of how a bra works, so I asked established Lingerie Designers the following question.

“What aspect of designing a bra do you find most technically challenging?”

You may just be surprised by their answers.

The 21st century bra fastener

Although materials and manufacturing have changed dramatically in the last 100 years, the actual construction of the bra hasn’t changed much at all. That’s why I began to research and look at where the future of the bra was heading.

The most basic bra has over 26 components and requires more than 30 stitching operations. Currently in the lingerie industry, consumers accept how bras are constructed, we accept the way we get measured, and we accept the components used in bras.

But maybe we should start to ask if there is another way.

One man to question the conventions of bra design is Nigel Coole, inventor of Slip-It, a new alternative to hook-and-eye closures. Although it’s been used for ages, the hook-and-eye snags on clothes in the washer, can become bent and come undone at inappropriate moments. Coole wants to bring the hook-and-eye into the 21st Century. 

It’s exciting to see how the Slip-It works, like two hands linking together. One simple motion is all that’s required to do and undo; yet it locks in place when worn due the tension placed upon it. It’s fully adjustable, moves with your body and can be used on lingerie or swimwear.

I asked Coole to modify one of my bras with his innovation so I could try it first-hand. Indeed, it is easier to do up and take off — no more doing the bra up in front and swiveling it around (a convenience that would be very helpful for elderly women).

What struck me about the Slip-It was that instantly you know whether you are wearing the right bra size. It has been widely reported that 85% of women wear the wrong size bra, which is usually too big in the back.

With the Slip-It fastener is used, when a bra is worn too tight won’t lie flat; and if it’s too loose, the tension won’t be there to hold the bra in place. Could this be a way for women to master a correctly fitted band?

t’ll be interesting to see which designers, high streets or manufactures embrace and lead the way with the changes going on the industry. Coole has been trying to interest manufacturers in Slip-It for a couple of years now, and when I spoke to him he seemed to be in a Catch-22: one company said they’d take if the other one did too; but so far no-one has made the jump.

For me, I simply couldn’t wait to try this innovative concept. I wait in hope that the industry is prepared to continually update the bra to protect our natural assets.

For further information about the Slip-It please visit www.coolesolutions.co.uk.

Article written for Lingerie Talk

Brights lights from down under -Interview with Hopeless Lingerie and Light Years

As Melbourne Fashion week makes an appearance this week (Sept. 3-9), I’m excited to head down to see what new lingerie brands stand out. (Dita von Teese showcased her range ‘Von Follies’ last March at Melbourne Fashion Week.)
A walk down Brunswick Street is littered with so many independent designers it seems near impossible to pick out my favourite. But two stand out: Hopeless Lingerie by Gabrielle Adamidis and newcomer Light Years by Annika Seidel.

Having owned an independent label myself, I’m always fascinated about the person behind the label. So today I catch up with these two Melbourne designers to learn more about their designs and a little more about themselves, and what it takes to become a lingerie designer in Melbourne.


Hopeless Lingerie (www.hopelesslingerie.com.au)  debuted in 2008 and was featured in Marie Claire earlier this year. It launched with a very soft and romantic collection, however Adamidis is not afraid, much to my delight, to let her label evolve, and her designs have been much harder and tougher as of late. Each season, Hopeless Lingerie keeps reinventing itself and gets stronger and stronger. I look forward to where it will head next.
LvJ: Did you have any formal lingerie design before launching Hopeless Lingerie?
Gabrielle Adamidis: No. In terms of lingerie I am completely self-taught. I studied art history and then fashion after high school. We learned how to sew and make patterns, but there was no lingerie component whatsoever. I have had to figure that all out for myself using the skills they gave me. It has been a lot of trial, error and frustration!
LvJ: What the hardest part about being a designer in Australia?

GA: I feel very isolated in terms of the lingerie world. I would love to be in New York, or London, where the industry is much bigger. I am very grateful for the internet — where I can interact with people — but it’s not the same as being in the same city. It is also very hard to find supplies here; the market is so small so it is understandable, I suppose. 
LvJ: What three things have inspired you lately?
GA: The Beach, German Expressionist cinema, the work of Frank Stella. 
LvJ: What do you love about your studio?
GA: It’s at home and it looks out onto the beautiful green backyard.
LvJ: What is your favourite part of the day?
GA: The morning, when I make my coffee and settle in to sew for the day
LvJ: What 3 things define beauty to you in a woman?
GA: Uniqueness, intelligence, confidence.



Light Years (www.lightyears.com.au) launched earlier this year with such a breathtaking collection that you would think Annika Seidel had been doing this for years.

As with all new labels, those that have been there will appreciate the time and dedication that goes into a launch of a brand and Seidel’s story is no different. With no contacts in manufacturing or retail, she worked on her brand for two years before launching Light Years earlier this year.

Designed to fill the gap between boring basics and ultra feminine styles, her designs use angular seaming, colour blocking and subtle stud details to keep the garments interesting without being girly.
LvJ: Did you have any formal lingerie design before launching Light Years?
Annika Seidel: No, I have no formal lingerie design training. In previous jobs I’d designed textiles, menswear and sleepwear, so I had an idea of the design and production process, but had never designed lingerie prior to this project. Nobody was making the kind of lingerie I wanted to wear so I thought I should do something about it.
LvJ: What is your dream?
AS: To go to Iceland! Maybe next year… 
LvJ: Do you listen to music while you work? If so, who?
AS: I alternate between listening to music and watching documentaries online. Lately I’ve been listening to Frank Ocean, Gnarls Barkley and Paul Simon and watching the Sunday Best series on ABC.
LvJ: What three things have inspired you lately?
AS: My first visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Tassie a couple of weeks ago, classic movies from the 60s, and The Apiary’s amazing ideas for the next Light Years film.
LvJ: What is your favourite part of the day?
AS: Getting a hug from my boyfriend as I wake up in the morning.
LvJ: What are your top goals in your brand?
AS: To create cool, fun lingerie for girls who fall between the cracks of mainstream fashion.  And to have a good time doing it! 
LvJ: What three things define beauty in a woman?
AS: Confidence, a sense of fun and a great sense of style.

Article written for Lingerie Talk