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Bramaking: The Point of Most Strain

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Along with understanding the difference between a partial band bra and a full band bra, the concept of “point of most strain” was something that took me a long time to wrap my head around, but by reading and rereading Beverly Johnson’s manual, it finally sunk in and and stuck. I spent so much time getting the cup volume and seam lines just right that I neglected the area in between my “girls.” But this area is just as important to perfect – because of the location, which is front and center, the point of most strain (POMS) is an eye sore if it’s not right, even if the cups fit perfectly.

So what is the point of most strain (POMS)? It is the area on the bridge that carries the weight of the breast. If you ever wondered how a partial band bra with a teeny tiny piece connecting the cups supports the breasts, it’s because it has been placed at just the right spot – the point of most strain (POMS). If the piece was placed above the POMS, the cups would ride up, and if the piece was place below the POMS, the cups would tip over. But, if placed in the right location, which is level with the bust point, the bridge will provide maximum support and the cups will be able to handle a very large amount of weight.

So, how do you find the point of most strain? Lay a ruler over the bust points – the line between is exactly the POMS. But the POMS also extends below it for approximately 1″ (if you click here, the area highlighted in pink is the POMS). Consider this 1″ area a “do not touch” zone – you can drop the top of the bridge or raise the bottom of the bridge to the top or the bottom of this zone, but anything more and you won’t have the right amount of support.

11 Comments

  1. Reply

    Hanne

    Very interesting! I feel like that might be something even store-bought bras might suffer from. Or at least, I think that might be the reason some bras give a more ‘unsupportive’ feel than others while having the same fit overall. (cups, band, straps…) Thanks!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case!

  2. Reply

    petal and plume

    wow, i loved this! i adore your wonderful blog!
    xx
    http://petalandplume.blogspot.ca/

  3. Reply

    VickiKate

    Maddie you blow me away with the knowledge you share! I’ve been inspired by you and am reading up on bras (but am still a looooong way from having a go at making any yet) and little tidbits like this just spark epiphanies! I knew the bridge was important and that it had to be the right width etc but I hadn’t even considered POMS.
    Keep writing about stuff like this, I know I don’t comment a huge amount but I love reading your posts.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you and thank you. I write these kinds of postsnot knowing if people are interested or care at all and I’m glad you reached out to show your appreciation. I haven’t revealed what I’ve made, bra wise, because I’m still experimenting with construction and fit, but I’ve come a long way and hope to show you something soon on the blog.

  4. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    I think the POMS being wrong is probably what causes pain when the fit of my commercial bras are wrong. They kind of collapse in and press against my sternum as opposed to away. I’ve had tight chestedness and SOB from bras before. Usually bandless underwires.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Even with my small chest, I’ve experienced the same problem b It’s not comfortable, especially when you can’t do anything about and have to wear the bra at least till the end of the work day.

  5. Reply

    Emily Bauer

    Wow, I really appreciate that tidbit too!! I have a favorite bra pattern and have done a couple experiments, now I know what to avoid! Do you have any tips on how wide the bridge should be? Mine favorite pattern feels ok, but I think it looks a little wide (I make a 32C). I’ve been considering narrowing it up a bit, but I don’t want to mess up a good thing!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Do you mean the bridge width or the bridge length? If you meant the bridge width – this varies with each person and should be tested along with the cups before making the actual bra – I wrote about it in a post a few months ago (link below). I know I’m going to sound like a mom, a sewing mom, but it’s so important to get the perfect bridge width and shape. Think of it like an armhole – the shape of the curve is crucial to get right.

      http://www.madalynne.com/how-to-fit-a-bra-two-methods

  6. Reply

    gwen gyldenege

    Fascinating and very helpful to understand. As an engineer, I find strains and forces in a bra intriguing and even with all my training, I’m still amazed to learn new things like this. It’s not where our “logical” brain would place this when we look with the naked eye. But when we start to apply the downward forces (gravity) against the bra shapes, and also the body pulling, pushing and introducing twisting motions to the fabric, that point of most strain begins to make more sense. It’s like we need to see force diagrams overlaid on the bra sketch or image. Anyway, thanks. This helps me deepen my understanding and takes me into the right direction as I begin drafting bras for myself!

  7. Reply

    redflaminghair

    Thanks for this awesome post!

    It makes me wonder about partial band bras. I sewed a partial band bra but I put the bridge much lower than the line of the PB. It still feels good, I don’t have a problem with it.

    My question is: i usually don’t see any RTW partial band bras which bridges are so high up. Is it a problem? For me, when a bridge with a partial band bra is so high, the look is not so nice. It’s quite ‘conservative’, you know, what I mean?

    And with plunge bras you can’t sew a long bridge, the wires are really low at CF. What’s the deal with plunge bras? They don’t need this area? Thanks if you explain this to me 🙂

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