Bra Manufacturing Process: An Overview
Yash Ajit Patil
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail ltd. Bangalore.
What is a Bra?
A bra or brassiere is a form-fitting undergarment designed to support and cover a person’s breasts. Generally bra is worn by individuals, primarily women, to provide additional support, shape, and comfort to the chest area. There are wide range of sizes to accommodate different body shapes and breast sizes.
What is the Need of Bra?
When the girls reach to the age of 10 or 11 automatically many of the girls starts developing their chest. Some may start developing at the age of 8, in some girls it may start developing when they become 15 years old. So, age doesn’t define at what time they should wear the bra, it is holistically dependent on developing of the chest. There are bras manufactured by designers for girls who are as young as 4 years. But the question is really that age of girls requires a bra?
Following are the reasons that indicate you really need a bra:
- Your chest started developing
- Skeleton of the bust starts appearing in your tops
- You feel frustrated when others observe your chest
- You may feel bouncing of bust while walking
For all this reasons bra is needed. It cannot be stitched by single person, like other garment manufacturing process there is separate bra manufacturing process is available that we will see in this article.
What is the Purpose of Supporting Breasts?
Breast contains glands, fats, connective tissues and fluids. These all things are bound by the skin. Whenever you are sitting / standing / walking / running / doing exercise there is more stress on this portion. If you are doing all above activities then there may be a chance of damage or injury to the tissues, it may cause pain or uncomfortableness. So, to avoid all these dangerous things it need bra to support the breasts. So only by bra manufacturing process we can able to produce bulk production of bras.
So, in this article we will see how the bra manufacturing process is.
Bra Manufacturing Process:
A bra manufacturing process is considered as a critical sewing product. It is not like other garments like shirt, trouser and all. Bra is specially engineered and manufactured to support the breasts of ladies to avoid some consequent health issues. For getting the perfect fit there is a sewing precision critical. Any wrong design may cause wearer to suffer from breast cancer and other diseases. So carefully bra manufacturing process has to be followed.
There is broad classification of bra based on type of its construction and what function you want, fabric used, with or without foam, padded, moulded, wired, non-wired, strapless, building blocks, bra cups, likewise there are so many factors are there that we should be taken into the consideration during bra manufacturing process.
1. Fabric selection:
The very first step of bra manufacturing process is fabric selection. Selectively the fabric having un-stretchability like polyester warp knitted fabric is used in a very small amount as a joint between both cups, to give breasts still shape. For ease of fitting and wearing material having good stretch is used at centre back panels. As the fabric directly comes in contact with breasts, to provide the good comfort and great breathability mostly cotton or blends fabrics are used.
2. Moulding of bra cup:
Accurate shape of breast is made of polyurethane that is basically foam which will be moulded to give bra cup. The foam first laminated with fabric either at one side or both side and then shape will be give to the foam. The foam will be laminated on both the sides, inner side is laminated with cotton blends and outer side is laminated with polyester with 13 to 17 % of spandex for comfort purpose. So, it is quite difficult process to mould all three fabrics together in same pressure and temperature as all three will be having different melting points. As the laminations done with cotton fabric followed by cutting into rectangular blocks and moulded according to required shape.
There are dye-cast moulding machines available by help of which foams are moulded. As per as the size of cup is required mould can be changed and are also responsible for changing the density of the cups. The entire operation is indigent on the temperature, pressure, and timing. Amongst all of these parameter’s temperature is most critical because it varies based on the fabric used. There are readymade cups/foams are available in market.
The main bra manufacturing process starts from here,
3. Marker making & cutting:
Usually dye cutter or band knife is being used to cut the bra fabric and for very large quantity reciprocating knife cutter may be used. All this cutting procedure will be carried out after allowing required relaxation of the fabric (Also shrinkage control method is included). Shrinkage method is must because it contains spandex content. The patterns of bra are very small in size so in this case the straight knife and round knife is not used. One bra contains different fabrics / accessories / laces so directly isolated markers are preferred. As this product has tiny patterns and components, we can add many sizes and styles in single marker so that good marker efficiency can be achieved. The foams used for cups is totally dependent upon breathability. Optimum density of cup/foam should be 35 kg per cc.
4. Bundling & separation:
As the product bra is tiny product, the marker and bundling management becomes quite difficult task. As all the parts of the bra looks same even though it is of different size, all looks similar. It is very much important to make sure that any of the parts from it her size set has not mixed with other size set, because there are high chances that different size parts may get stitched with each other. To overcome this issue, people come out with different solutions like special storing system same as ‘pigeon holes.’ It’s a big table that is having big holes on its surface with bag inside each. To store different patterns of the same bra 3-4 pigeon holes could be used. Then all bags are separated and all parts of same size from all the markers of various sizes are collected for bundling purpose. If 4 different types of fabrics are being used in single bra then this system is helpful.
As cutting done the next and importance of bra manufacturing process is sewing. In other products/apparels the bundles are different and for bras it is different like bundles for bra cup, cradle, wings and centre front panel. Here the system is tailor has to take whole bundle he/she has to open the bundle; he should take the bundle that he is allocated to stitch and rest of the bundles let remain untouched, this reduces the material handling.
For sewing the bras there is no need of hanger system, as we can use progressive bundle system, minimum 12 to 20 pieces will be there in single bundle.
6. Quality inspection:
After all completion of sewing process checking, fitting and quality inspection will be done.
7. Finishing and packaging:
As per the brand requirement finishing will be done. And as per the brand requirement/packaging instructions final product will be packed in polybags and finally into the box. As per packing instructions grouping of products, size wise and colour wise will be done.
Operation Breakdown of Bra:
|1||Joining of Cups/Foams||SNLS|
|2||Tape Attach to Cups/Foams||DNLS|
|3||Elastic Attach to Side Cup||3 S Zig-Zag|
|4||Set Support Panel||SNLS|
|5||Overlock Support Panel||3T O/L|
|6||Support Panel, Cup, Front Joining||SNSL|
|7||Coverstitch Attach to Front||DNLS|
|8||Backs Join to Cup||SNLS|
|9||Coverstitch Attach to Side||DNLS|
|10||Lace & Tape Attach to Cups||DNLS|
|11||Elastic Attach to Band||Zig-Zag|
|12||Upper Elastic and Strap Attach||3 S Zig-Zag|
|13||Support Panel Edges Cover||3T O/L|
|14||Hooks & Eyes Attach to Strap||SNSL|
|15||Eye Set to Back||Zig-Zag|
|16||Hook Set to Back||SNLS|
|17||Trimming Attach to Front||SNLS|
|18||Thread Trim & Inspection||Table, Trimmer, Man|
Above table shows the basic guideline for the operation breakdown of basic style bra manufacturing process. If any style changes or any fashion attachment required for any new style bra the operation sequence or machines may change as per requirement.
The SAM ranges from 12 to 30, based on style and different construction. (It may increase or decrease based on style change)
In this article we saw about, need of bras, purpose of supporting breasts and finally the bra manufacturing process along with its OB. There are so many things involved before bra manufacturing process i.e., fabric selection and testing of the selected fabric that process differs from brand to brand and customer to customer. The girl/lady whose chest starts developing, from that age onwards each and every lady/girl needs a bra to support the breasts and there are so many things that is discussed herewith in this article. Coming to the fabric selection process, it is one of the crucial/important tasks, because it is very much important that what type of fabric you are using as it is coming directly contact with breasts. If any wrong fabric chosen means there might be chance of cancer or any other injuries to breasts. So carefully fabric should be selected and testing has to be carried out, lastly it has to be cross verified with some standards. There are total 18-20 operations in bra manufacturing process. Based upon style it will change.
- What Is the Purpose of a Bra? Is It Necessary to Wear?, By Maina Ndungu, Jul 8, 2023 http://bellatory.com/clothing/is-it-necessary-to-wear-a-bra
- Manufacturing a Bra In Lean Setup, By Apparel Resources, 01 June, 2012 http://apparelresources.com/business-news/maufacturing/manufactring-bra-lean-setup/
- Operation Breakdown and Machine Layout for Bra Manufacturing, By Prasanta Sarkar, September 02, 2012 http://www.onlineclothingstudy.com/2012/09/operation-breakdown-and-machine-layout.html
Q1: What class of bra should I start with?
Ans: Starting bra 101 is better place to start! You will be in a position to see may of bras once you get first one fitted and sewn.
Q2: How much sewing skill do I need to manufacture a bra?
Ans: It requires a certain level of skill set for sewing, as it is not difficult. If you could be able to set in a sleeve you can make a bra!
Q3: What types of machine do I need to make a bra?
Ans: There is no any need of fancy and expensive machine for bra manufacturing. Only a good quality machine with straight stitch, variable width zig-zag and three step zig-zag stitch. If 3 step zig-zag is not available then also it is ok.
Q4: What is the best pattern for a small chest?
Ans: The Marlborough bra would be my best pattern for a small chest. To test fit of the bra first of all test on a muslin. Start from making the correct size A cup and if you need to modify from there!
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.