Developing E & F cup bras at Playful Promises

Brigitte fan lace push up braEarly last year, British independent lingerie brand Playful Promises announced that they were venturing into new territory: larger cup sizes. The black satin Lily range had bras available in sizes 32A-32F, 34A-34F and 36B-36DD, which was four new sizes on top of their usual range. Fans of the brand had been asking for larger cup sizes for a while but, as they require different patterns and construction (plus more expensive fabric and components in order to provide extra support), Playful Promises had to plan carefully and start slowly. Founder and designer, Emma Parker, hoped that the new size range would prove popular enough include more F cups in future collections, and it looks like she got her wish! All of the E and F cups have sold so well that the original Lily designs were restocked and have now been extended up to a 36 back. Since then, they’ve also brought in even more styles in the larger cup sizes.

When I first tried Lily, I found that the balconette bra wasn’t really cut for my shape and there was a bit of overspill at the top of the cups, so I decided to review the open cup bra instead. As every woman has a slightly different breast shape as well as size, I knew it wasn’t necessarily a problem with the bra, just that it wasn’t right for me, but I sent my feedback to Emma and Anna at Playful Promises as I thought it might be useful when extending the range and tweaking the fit. What I didn’t realise until recently was just how seriously Emma had taken the tasteful quad-boob photos I sent her!

Playful Promises "Mia" and "Lily" 32F fittingWhen they first developed Lily, Playful Promises used a pattern that had been through a three month fitting process so they were fairly confident of the sizing and were very surprised when it didn’t fit that well on me. Upon seeing my photos Emma booked a fit model, who fits with ASOS and Figleaves (see below for an explanation of what this job is), to take a closer look at Lily and see if she could work out what the problem was. Fit Model 1 fitted fine, but Emma was concerned that the fullness of her breast was quite low rather than all over, so a second fit model was booked. On Fit Model 2 Lily fit OK, but the result wasn’t as good as on Fit Model 1 (see image above – click for a larger version). However, Playful Promises decided to go with Fit Model 2 for further development as they felt her fullness was more typical of the market. Emma explained what changes they have since made to improve the fit:

We have increased the neck edge 0.5cm down to 0cm at base across the cup seam to open up the cup a bit on the Matilda, which is the same pattern as the Lily but with this amendment.

I knew that a lot went into developing the larger cup sizes, but I wasn’t aware just how much! Emma has very kindly agreed to send me a 32F and 34F (which is a sister size to a 32G) to try in their more recent Mia and Brigitte styles to see if the changes have made a difference for me. I shall be posting my reviews of these bras over the next week. It’s great to hear when bra manufacturers listen to their customers so I wanted to share some of the hard work that’s going on behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to trying these gorgeous styles and reporting back.

NOTE: A production fit model (also called “fitting model”) is a model who works with fashion designers and/or clothing manufacturers usually at their offices or factories to check the fit, drape and visual appearance of clothing that will be sold to consumers. Fit models are required to have and maintain specific body measurements and stand for long periods of time in one position. Although they are sometimes considered “live mannequins,” a fit model must professionally and effectively provide objective feedback on the “fit” to confirm that the feel, sizing, design and shape of garments meet the designers’ standards. [Taken from a Fashion Times interview with Dale Noelle of TRUE Model Management]