Measuring up to bras

Kellie Riccardo is running a bra making course at Trent Valley Academy G130117-2

Kellie Riccardo is running a bra making course at Trent Valley Academy G130117-2

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IF your cups are always flowing over, or if you’re a cup half full sort of woman, help could be at hand.

It’s been estimated that four out of five British women wear the wrong size bra.

So what’s the solution? Well you could try making your own.

Kellie Riccardo is running a bra-making course at Trent Valley Academy, which should help solve the constant strap fiddling that many women endure.

She said: “The size is the most important thing. Once you’ve been measured properly and got your pattern right you can start making as many bras as you want.”

“A made to measure bra will fit much better than one bought off the peg and with the bits of material you have left over you can make a matching pair of knickers so it works out cheaper too.”

Bras have been likened to a major feat of engineering, but Kellie, 43, of East Stockwith, says that shouldn’t put sewers off having a go.

She said: “I can make a bra in an hour because I’ve got the right pattern and I know it will fit.”

“What I tend to do is cut out five or six bras and make them in one go. It’s been said that bras can be made up in 12 minutes on a production line for high street stores.”

Women on the five-week TVA course won’t have to work so quickly, although they are expected to know how to sew.

Kellie said the seams are so small that it’s akin to making dolls’ clothes. Working with stretch fabric and lace also requires some skill.

She said: “It has to be stretch fabric for the back so that you can move, otherwise it would be agony getting something off the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard.”

“You don’t need adjustable straps though because it’s been made to fit your measurements.”

“It’s the same construction for an underwired bra but you need to make a tubular casing to put the wire in.”

Since learning to make her own bras, Kellie has developed a keen eye for women’s bust measurements.

“I can normally guess someone’s bra size and I can tell if they are wearing the wrong size bra,” she said.

“It’s a problem, particularly if you’re not the industry standard size, which is a 34B.”

“Anybody who is big in the cup but has a small back, or vice versa, can struggle to find a bra that fits properly.”

Kellie runs her own online sewing business from home called Sewing Chest and sells bra kits for £10, which include everything you need to make your own.

They are proving so popular that she can hardly keep up with demand.

The bra-making courses are being run through Lincolnshire Active Community Network.

They cost £50 plus £10 for a basic bra kit. Extra kits are available to buy.

Kellie said everyone would go home with a bra at the end of the five weeks.

She also teaches basic dress making for people who want to learn to sew, a useful skill in these tough economic times.

“As well as learning how to make clothes, I also teach skills like putting a zip in, so you can do your own repairs to clothes,” she said.

For more information contact Kellie on 01427 616555.

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