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Patternmaking & Sewing Notes
by Don McCunn

Nursing Bras
A Bust Sling Bra Variation

The basic concept of the Bust Sling Bra is to support the breast from above instead of from the side (which is the cantilever structure of a conventional bra). For more on the comparison of these two structures see, The Concept web page. It was my hope in developing this design that it would provide a more natural and comfortable support for the breast.

From my research I learned that one of the most sensitive times for a woman's breasts is when she becomes pregnant and then starts nursing. It was my hope that the Bust Sling could be used as a nursing bra such as the one you can see in the photo below.

Nursing Bra

While the example above supports the bust sling with a strap around the neck, other variations are possible.

Among the first women to create and use a Bust Sling Nursing Bra was Kenna who wears a "DDD" cup in a conventional bra, was new to sewing, and yet found this an easy garment to make. With her permission, I have included her comments below. She is not the model you see in the photo above.

Bust Sling vs. Conventional Bra

"As for nursing, the bra works very well. I have quite a bit of experience with conventional nursing bras. Usually the part of the bra that falls away for nursing is the part of the bra that supports the breast. Therefore, when you nurse, the bra drops the breast. I love the fact that the bust sling does not do that. The breast is supported through the nursing, and that feels better to me. I do have to hold my baby a little further out from my body due to the projection, but that has not been a problem."

Fungal Growth

" It's not unusual for women with ample busts to struggle with fungal growth on the skin underneath the breast. This is a real problem. Your design prevents skin-on-skin contact, which prevents sweating, which prevents that fungal growth. A+ for the help in that department."


"The other day I started experiencing pain from a clogged milk duct. Guess what! The fact that the Bust Sling Bra has no underwire and is very gentle on the breast tissue made it the perfect bra to wear while trying to prevent the pain from turning into full-blown mastitis. Another A+."

Cost and Durability

Kenna is new to sewing. She found this an easy bra to create.

"It's nice to know that even a beginner's experiences can be useful. I plan to recommend this bra design, and your class, to anyone who asks me about nursing bras. I find your design very refreshing. Bras have been a constant source of angst for me for many many years.

"Another little tidbit about your approach that I love is the cost factor. When I buy conventional bras, they easily cost me $60.00 per bra, if not more. Then they last for no more than a year, and often times less than that. If I launder them adequately to prevent fungal growth, they will last no more than 3 months. With your approach, I can make a bra out of material that can be laundered, and I can do it very economically.

"All these things have me very excited! I get good fit, adequate support, ease of care, better skin health, and a great nursing bra for a very reasonable price. "


Copyright © 2014 by Donald H. McCunn