Learn more about organic cotton, natural and sustainably produced bras. In this 10-part video series, we discuss bra fit, seaming, styles and features.
Episode 7 takes a quick look at Underwire Bras without padding. Underwire bras overall tend to give you more support than no wire bras, and the underwire gives a distinct shaping. The shape of an underwire bra without padding can be quite different than a similar style with padding. The padding tends to mask your own natural breast shape, while the underwire without the padding will highlight your personal shape. The seam design, whether vertical, horizontal or seamless, has a much bigger impact on your overall look when wearing an underwire bra without padding. So seam style is definitely something you’ll want to test to see what works best for your particular body and shape.
If you’re concerned about any connections between underwires and breast cancer, please check out last weeks post on Padded Underwire Bras. We address that issue both in the description and in more detail in the video.
Want to know more about organic cotton and natural fiber bras? In this video series, we discuss bra sizing and fit, different bra styles and what features to look for in a natural fiber or fully organic cotton bra.
Some of things to consider when picking up a Padded Underwire Bra is the bra shape – demi versus full coverage; the bra seaming – vertical, horizontal or seamless; and padding material – polyester foam versus cotton foam. Many non-organic bras also come with varying padding thickness. However, we have not found that to be the case in organic padded bras. All of the padded bras we carry have light, i.e. fairly thin padding designed for modesty rather than volume enhancement.
Want to know more about organic cotton and natural fiber bras and which styles might work best for you? Join us for our 10-week long organic bra video series.
Today’s episode focuses on Cami Bras. Cami Bras are a subset of the “Bralette” family. They are always sized as S, M, L instead of 34B, 36B, etc. and they pull-on over the head as opposed to having back closures. It’s a very simple style that tends to be flattering for A-D cups. Because they are easy to make, a lot of clothing companies that don’t specialize in bras make them. So you need to watch out for sizing! Cami Bra Tops, also sometimes referred to as Yoga Bras, tend to come in a wide variety of colors and prints, which definitely adds to the fun of this particular style.
Bras highlighted in this video:
• Soy Lace Cami Bra (XS – 2XL) This one runs small, Kayla is wearing an L.
• Grace Bra Top (S – L) This one runs large, Kayla is wearing a S.
• Cami Bra Top (S-L) This one runs true-to-size, Kayla is wearing a M.
• Eve Panty – the panties that match the Grace Bra Top.
• Sri Yantra Yoga Bra (only L left), orange bra shown on hanger.
Want to know more about organic cotton and natural fiber bras and which styles might work best for you? This second episode of our bra video series, discusses easy-wear, natural fiber “bralettes.” I forgot to mention in the video, but bralettes are generally sized S, M, L instead of 34B, 36C, etc. We do our best to convert the sizes so you have the numbered size equivalent in the product description. We measured Kayla last time as a 34B, which in most bralettes will be a medium.
Organic Cotton bras are the most popular selling item on FaeriesDance.com, and for good reason. We carry the largest selection of organic cotton, natural fiber and eco-friendly bras in the USA! We do it by sourcing most of our bras from Europe. Amazing companies like Swegmark of Sweden, Peau-Ethique and Do You Green from France and our newest addition Comazo|Earth (maker of the Yvonne Bra shown left) in Germany are making natural, organic, fair trade bras far superior to anything we can get in the USA. And even our best-selling USA-made brand, Blue Canoe, gets their GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric from overseas. Like our in-house brand, Green Tree Organic, Blue Canoe designs, patterns, cuts and sews in the USA from imported fabric.
What that means, is that your modest organic cotton bra price is affected by global economics. Unfortunately, while the stock market may be skyrocketing, the dollar is not. The dollar just reached a 3-year low against the Euro.
As a rule, we try to price European goods at a 2-year running average so the price of the bras don’t change for our customers every single time we restock. But the cost has just kept going up and up. Since customs fees are paid on the converted price of goods, higher Euro prices also mean higher customs fees.
The bottom line is that many of our bra prices will be going up soon. As a courtesy, we’re going to keep prices steady until Valentine’s Day since most styles and sizes will be restocked before then. That means right now, you can get Blue Canoe bras at 15-20% off their website prices! For example, the Blue Canoe Cami Bra (shown right) currently retails for $47. It will be available for the bargain price of just $40 on FaeriesDance.com until February 14, 2018. Come February 15th, the Cami Bra will be $42 and most other bras will be going up $1-4 per bra. So definitely stock up now if you can.
Thank you for your continued support. Wishing you a Safe, Health and very Happy New Year!
Why don’t USA manufacturers make organic cotton bras? We get this question a lot. There are actually a number of great companies, like Blue Canoe, that make soft bras, bralettes, and yoga bras in the USA. However, you won’t find padded, molded cup or underwire bras made in the USA. When we started making our own line of organic panties in Oregon, we thought we might try our hand at making some bras as well. What we found is that bra making takes expensive specialty equipment. Most sewing manufacturers can’t afford to buy this equipment unless they are using it regularly. It’s certainly possible that somewhere in the USA there is a small manufacturing company that can make these types of “constructed” bras, but if there is, we weren’t able to find them. So let’s break down types of bras and how they are sewn.
“Soft Bras” or Bralettes
This is the category of bras made without molding, internal padding or underwire. The bralette is very popular these days, and it’s the easiest bra to sew. There are bralettes that pull-on over the head, those that have the addition of a hook-and-eye back closure, and even a few that are sewn with internal pockets for use with removable padded cups. The removable cups offer the option of a padded bralette such as the Adjustable Soft Bra, shown left, without the expensive equipment needed for internal padding. The hook-and-eye back closure takes more sewing than a pull-on style and tends to make the bras a little more expensive, but they don’t require any specialty equipment. The entire hook-and-eye piece is often manufactured separately and bra companies just need to buy the pieces and sew them in using a standard sewing machine. The Avignon Triangle Bra shown below is an example of the hook-and-eye closure bralette.
Bralettes can be sewn in almost any sewing shop or factory and can even be made at home. A standard sewing machine pulls most of the weight for these bras, though a cover-stitch machine can also be beneficial.
Molded Cup Bras
All of the bralettes described above will have some sort of seaming, pleating or ruching in the cups to provide shape. Molded cup bras provide shaping without any seams. Since this type of bra looks particularly good under t-shirts or tight knit tops, they are often referred to as t-shirt bras. The molded cups require an intricate piece of equipment that stretches the fabric to the exact shape of the cup. Since you need a separate “mold” for each cup size, the equipment cost can get expensive. I had the opportunity to snap a few photos of a molding machine at Swegmark’s offices in Sweden along with the resulting molds. As you can see in the image right, this machine creates only two sizes, so additional machines or larger machines are required based on how many bra sizes you want to create. Swegmark has been making molded bras out of polyester fabric for years, but when I visited this summer they were working on their first fair trade, organic cotton molded bra. We look forward to having those available for sale in early 2018.
A molding machine can also be used to create molded padding for bras that have internal padding rather than removable padded cups.
The Alba No Wire Bra (shown left) from Love Nature is an example of a no-wire bra with molded, seamless cups. This one has molded cups without padding. We had sent a number of request to Love Nature to add an a A-cup bra to their size range before they went out of business. At the time they told us they didn’t have any molds for an A-cup and this is what they meant. It wasn’t just re-working the sizing to fit an A-cup, they would have had to buy more physical equipment. In their case, they didn’t think the sales would make up for the large upfront investment.
The addition of underwires to bras allows them to shape and support the breasts much better than a no wire bra. Additionally, it is possible to use the wire to support cotton internal padding rather than the more common polyester/nylon padding. There were rumors stared by a book in the 90s that led some people to believe that underwire bras caused breast cancer. However, that myth has been well debunked. You can read about it here or here or here.
We still sell a lot of underwire bras, particularly padded, underwire bras and it turns out that adding in the wire requires yet another piece of expensive machinery. While I’ve never seen one in person, I have been able to find them online. An underwire bra machine such as the one shown below runs about $8,000-$10,000.
Finding the perfect bra for you always takes a little effort. While we would ideally love to offer a wider variety of bras that are made in the USA, the downturn in American textile manufacturing has left us with few, if in fact any, companies that can make seamless cup or underwire bras. In fact, the equipment is so costly that many of the manufacturers we work with are actually bra designers and still outsource most of the construction and sewing to larger facilities that have all of the needed equipment. Despite that, we are still thrilled with the variety and quality of organic and natural fabric bras that we are able offer, and hope you can appreciate all of the work that goes into making them. For our little company, though, we will not likely get into bra manufacturing any time soon.