Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Alter a Bra

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Sometimes it's tough to find a bra that fits.


So I'm going to show you something that may fix that.


Who might want to use this technique:
  • Ladies who need a bra with a small band size and a large cup size but don't want to have to shop at a specialty store.
  • Ladies who have a great bra, but the band has stretched out over time and has gotten too loose
  • Ladies who find an awesome bra, but not in their size. (Buy a band size bigger, and a cup size smaller and use this technique to make it fit.)
  • Ladies who find themselves between band sizes. 
  • Ladies who have lost some weight and want to make their bras work a bit longer (as long as the cup still fits)



Who has the skills to do this:
Anyone who is brave enough to cut up something from the store. You don't even have to use a sewing machine. I have done this whole process without use of one a time or two.  







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Backstory:
I ended up in desperate need to figure this out. You see, when I got married I was a 34D. By week 7 of my pregnancy I was a 34DD. And by the end of my second trimester I was a 34 G! (Yeah I didn't know that was possible either, until it happened!) When I started nursing I was a 34 H!!!

During my shopping adventures, I learned that you actually want your band to be as tight as possible, without being uncomfortable. The weight of your breasts should be supported by the band, not the straps!
Its important to be measured by someone who knows how to measure! If you are large breasted and go to a "regular store" they are likely to put you in a wrong size, one -- because that's all they have, and two -- because they don't really know how to measure past a certain size. (Recently I let a JCPenny worker measure me for kicks, and they would have put my 34 band sized ribs into a 38 band-ed-bra! It never would have worked! She did the thing where you measure band size by measuring above your breasts --- doesn't work! So if you are letting someone help size you, it really is best to go to a specialty store, they know what they are doing.)

Anyway, at this point in my life, not being able to shop at a normal store was a huge blow to my ego as well as to our budget. Since the specialty stores bras were running somewhere around $60 - $80 for the bras that fit me. And when you consider the fact that I went through so many sizes, you will see that I could have drained our bank account just to keep me clothed.
SO,
It was time for a solution.

I know that for some of you this might not be a "perfect" perfect-fit solution. But for me it was an extraordinary sigh of relief to have figured out something. It even helped me get back into cute bras, instead of the grandmotherly ones I had to try on with the huge price tag.

And so, without further ado, here it is.

How to Alter a Bra Band.

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What Bra To Start With:

*This type of alteration is really is only possible on a bra that has a band that goes straight across the back --- some bras have a "U" shape to the band where the straps connect -- that type isn't going to work for this method. (Or any other variation that has a band that gets bigger further away from the clasps.) You might be able to take a bra like that one it down a single band size but no more than that -- the fabric just won't allow it.

If you aren't starting with a bra that you already own, then obviously you need to buy a bra. You can measure yourself and do the math to find your size.

To do this, measure right underneath your breasts where a bra band would normally sit, with all the air out of your lungs. Make sure that you keep the tape level all the way around and pull the two sided together until they meet and lie flat against your body. Do not pull too tightly but it does need to be somewhat snug. Whatever number you get here, in almost all cases just needs to be rounded up to the nearest even number. So if the measurement is 33 than you would just round up to 34. Very easy. But there is one exception to this rule. If you measure 34 1/4 or een 34 1/2, you should round down to 34 instead. The reason for this is simple. Bras lose elasticity every time you wear them so the fit will only get less and less supportive the longer you wear the bra. So when you first purchase a bra it needs to feel snug but not too tight on the LOOSEST hook. Then as the bra stretches from wear, you can move the hooks in tighter to maintain a higher level of support longer. If you buy a bra, and need to wear it on the tightest hook from the start, you have nowhere to go but to buy a new one when it starts getting stretched out. For a bra to be supportive, you must wear the correct band size.

Now, measure the largest part of your bust, for every inch bigger that measurement is than your band size, add a cup size starting with A for 1 inch. (If you measurement lands at a half inch, round up to the next inch.)

Now if you are over a DD, making you a hard to find size, you need to do some more thinking: For every cup size you are over a DD, go up one band size larger than your size and get that in a DD, or go two band sizes larger than your size in a D.
So that will give you a starting point.

Example: If your band is a 34 and your bust measure 6 inches larger you would be one size lager than a DD. (Making you a DDD, E or F depending on brand --- how crazy is it that no one has a set method?!) So if you go to the "regular" store you can get a bra that equals one size larger than a 34DD which would be a 36 DD, or if you can't find that get a 38D.
Or for another example, when I was first nursing, to get a 34H I bought a 44DD. Which is 5 sizes bigger than a 34D (my original size) -- 4 band sizes and one cup size.

But this can get to be a lot of thinking. So sometimes it's just easier to grab a bunch of D or DD bras in a bunch of bigger band sizes and try them on to see which cup fits. Or honestly, sometimes I just hold the cup up over my shirt, and that can give you a pretty good idea before you spend all that time in a fitting room.

Do your best to get the closest to your own band size, but believe me, I know that can sometimes be impossible. So just fly by the seat of your pants.
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Taking in the center.
This is optional. There are two reasons you might want to do this.

Reason 1) When going up in band size sometimes the spacing between the cups gets larger, so you may want to bring the cups closer together to compensate for that.  This approach helps somewhat to alleviate looking wider than you are, which can happen if you have a large bust.
Reason 2)You just plain ol' want more cleavage.


To do this, simply pinch the center fabric together and hand stitch along the edge as near to the cups as possible. Make sure to give it decent amount of reinforcement.
center

Now the fabric will pucker up a bit so to make sure that doesn't show underneath your clothing hold it down flat as you stitch it in place.
center 2
If you want to do this center-adjustment step, you will need to do it first because it will affect the band's circumference a pinch.


Taking in the band.
Step 1: Get out the seam ripper and take off the bra's fasteners.
To do this just rip out the seam on the outermost part of that fabric (the solid pink pictured here), you will also need to rip along the top and bottom edge to get it completely off. (You will see as you are doing it.)
seam rip
(Side Note: It may seem like a great idea to discard the size tag since you know thats not your size, but you might just want to keep it attached for future shopping purposes. For instance, I continue to change sizes as I lose more weight and continue to breastfeed; I can't keep up any more, so oftentimes I forget what size I bought last.  Knowing this would help me estimate which size I need now so I've started leaving the tags on.)


Anyway...
Now to get the fit.
There are a couple things you can do.

If you have a bra whose band fits great on you, you can line up the edge of the cups (underwires aligned) to see where the band fabric stops before the fastener fabric and use that as your guide.

Or you can just try on the bra to be altered and pull the band until it feels right and mark it with a pin or a pen.  Even though this is tricker, I think its the better way because each bra has its own stretchiness and the one you might be comparing it to might stretch more or less, throwing you off a bit.  Here I did both. I tried it on, marked it with a pin and then compared it to a previous bra.

If you are nervous, err on the side of removing less.  That way you can always go back and take more off.  (But you know you can't add more back if you go too far.)

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If you are only taking the band down by one size, say from a 36 to a 34, you might be surprised how little you need to cut off.  Don't underestimate that small change, it makes a big difference.


cut band
You can compare your 1st cut off piece to the other side for simplicity.
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If you bought more than one bra, you might as well make an assembly line.


Next step: sew the fasteners back on.
If you have the bra on, the hooks are sewn on your right side, hooks facing in.
The eyes are on the left side, facing out.
(It always helps me to have another bra on hand to make sure I attach the correct side to the correct fastener.)
You can use the zigzag stitch on your machine. I always go back and forth a few times; you can also hand stitch, which I have done in a pinch. It takes longer but when you need a bra, you need a bra.

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You can see that the fabric bunches up a bit now that the fasteners have been moved in on the band, but it's hardly noticeable. And I don't know about you, but I can't think of many instances when the back of the bra is given much visual attention.

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And there you have it, a taken-in bra!

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You will notice that the straps are quite close to the middle now. This doesn't bother me at all because I like that it helps them not pop out of tank tops and things. But if that bothers you, or if you had to take in the band so much that they can't stay attached (been there) just cut them off (or seam rip if you prefer) and then zigzag stitch them where you like them. (Try it on and mark the spot.)


So that's the story.
Once you do it a single time it becomes a piece of cake.
I can't even fathom how much money it has saved me over the past year.  Over time, this method will literally save me thousands of dollars.  It has been a lifesaver. And it's been a fashion saver as well.
So it would be my delight if this tutorial helps you as much as its helped me.


An aside: You might have noticed this is not a nursing bra.  This is just as easy to do to a nursing bra, and for goodness sake, some of us need large-cup nursing bras.  So you might be wondering what's up with that since I am still nursing.  Well, after nine months of breast feeding I ended up not even using the clasps 80% of the time I was nursing as I ended up being able to just lift my breast out faster than I could unhook, and Miss J is in a hurry to eat!  So this time I just went for a regular bra knowing that I'll just lift out. I don't know if this method works for you. And I don't know how well it would work when your milk first is in, but it's working well for me right now.  
But at some point I plan to do a tutorial on how to turn a regular bra into a nursing bra.
* The one type of nursing bra I don't personally think can really be altered is the cozy type bra -- the lounging, sleeping type. My explanation and recommendation can be found here.


One more thought on this subject: Between my large breasts and the way my baby nursed, I had a much easier time nursing with the help of a nursing pillow. That being the case, traveling out of the house was a little tricky. So I came up with a travel pillow. If you are in the same boat, here is an idea that might help ya out!


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80 comments:

  1. I have a question. It's not so much about the alteration as I luckily haven't needed that (but now I know how to do it if I ever should). But are the bras pictured in the larger (G or H) cup sizes? And if so, where oh where did you get them? When Ayden was an infant I was in H for awhile and couldn't find anything affordable that wasn't black, white, or nude. Booooring!

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  2. When I was pregnant I tried on a pretty cute flowered nursing bra that went up to an H cup at Bedtime Boutique in Bloomington -- that store has the most selection that I've come across. But yeah H cups are hard to come by. Thats why I now use this technique. When I was an H cup I bought some bras at Target that were a 44DD and altered them so that they fit me as a 34H.
    The ones pictured are smaller now that I have been nursing as long as I have, but they are also bras that have been altered. I haven't bought a bra that fits initially for a while now, just am always altering them -- so I can save money and get some cuteness back.

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  3. Hmm. Good to know. I'll have to remember to try this should I need it this time around. Thanks!

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  4. Lydia this is awesome!! congrats on your creativity and your ability to work around a budget! Victoria showed me this article because we were talking ab how hard it is to find a cute bra bigger than a C haha! your blog is great! favorite phrase: "i have to decorate under any circumstances" love it!! hope you & blake are well. love heidi v

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  5. THANK YOU! As a mom with 32 J breastfeeding breasts, you have just saved me my sanity. Tomorrow I'll be off to the store to find something I can love to wear!

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  6. Thank you so much for this! I have an unusually small ribcage (24 inches around) and B cup breasts, so bras don't really exist in my size. But after reading this, I was more comfortable shopping for bras knowing that I could alter them as needed!

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  7. Hi I find that bras 'gape' at the top of the cup, so you think altering the middle as shown above will help this? or do you have any suggestions? I had a baby four months ago now and have always been small chested but since I stopped breatfeeding my breasts have shrunk!!! now I cant seem to find a bra that fits correctly. please help if you have any suggestions :) x

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    1. To me it sounds like you need a different size bra all together. (Probably the same band size and a smaller cup size.) Or if not a different size,perhaps a different style cup than you previously would have worn. Breast feeding can change the shape, even if the size is the same, and different cups styles can help out conter that effect. (Perhaps try a demi cup?) I wouldn't bother trying to alter a bra in which the cups do not fit. You will not get the smooth fit under clothes that you would like.
      If I were you I would start by measuring for a fit.
      Also having a professional fitting at a good store can be very helpful. They are also great at giving you all their different cup styles to see what works best for you. (I've had them fit me for size, even if I don't plan on buying anything from them at the time {so I can shop later, or elsewhere to save some money}, just because it can be so helpful having their expertise.)

      Once you figure out your size, you can go from there. If you are a hard to find size (which can happen even with small cup sizes) you can do like I did and try on bras just finding cups that fit and then alter the bands to fit you. If you were in the position to need the cups very small and the band larger you can buy a bra band extender and simply hook it in. (Something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Extender-Style-White-Black-Beige/dp/B002KABQR4)An example of this would be if you were found to be a 36AA, you could buy a 34A and use a band extender to create 36AA.
      But it may not be that much work at all -- it may be as simple getting fitting and buying the right size.
      Hope that helps! Good Luck, I know how frustrating it can feel, but once you figure it out its so relieving!

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  8. Thank you for this tutorial! I recently went to a specialty bra shop and found out I am a 28E!! Well, geesh! No wonder I've never found a good supportive bra in the regular stores!! And I can't afford to buy the ones from the specialty shop. So, Thank you, Thank you!!
    Erica

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  9. Thank you for posting this. I know how to sew, but for some reason have just not attempted to do this. To think that I can actually walk into any departments store and buy a bra? I can't believe it. I have to drive an hour out of town just to find a bra that fits right! I can't wait to try it.

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  10. Just did this to 2 bras today. I'm 32 weeks pregnant and don't want to spend lots of money on a 36F bra that will only fit a couple weeks. So I did this to a $5 clearance bra from target as well as a Bravado bra that really needs to come in a "Medium+ size"...ahh, feels so good! Thank you!

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  11. omg you're such a genius. I did this to 5 bras I couldn't use anymore....and now I have the best fitting bras I've ever had! I think I'm gonna do this to all the bras I'll buy. thank you so much for sharing!

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  12. Hey there! This is SOOOOOO great! Thanks so much for this. I live in rural Canada so buying a good bra comes with a double price tag; one for a trip into the city 2 hours away, and two for the cost of the bra itself. I've tried buying online but it's always a risk. I went to the city try on bras the other day at a specialty store and simply could not get over the $130 price tag...Seriously for underwear? Who does that???? I came back empty handed and thought there has to be a better way. My "Bit of this, bit of that hardware/grocery/clothing" store is always loaded with size 40DD bras, so now after reading this I feel like maybe there is hope for me getting a bra at a decent price! I snagged my grandmothers old dress form too and although it was a bit of work getting it to my size I will totally be able to put it to good use now! Thanks so much!
    Loraleigh from Canada

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  13. I found a product called Rixie Clip bra band tightener and it works AWESOME!!! No permanent alterations to my bras, it's easy to use, and I can easily transfer it from one garment to another. I LOVE IT!! I found it on facebook and they have a link to ebay to purchase them, that's how I got mine. This is such a great product!! <3

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  14. Just found this through pinterest. Love it! I have sewn a quick seam in a strapless band as a quick fix since I can't find them in my size. At 6 weeks pregnant, I am spilling out of my normal 34G so this is going to be very helpful.

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  15. Thank you sou much for teaching these steps! I have some large size bras that needs to be altered. This is a great help.

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  16. Thank you for this! As a heavy chested woman, I used to go to the specialty shop to buy my NN bras & they were $150. Then I had to take them to a seamstress who charged $40 to cut the band own & move the straps. Recently the shop closed & I can't find a bra to save my life! This info is exactly what I needed, thank you soooo much!

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  17. I stumbled upon this post completely by accident, but THANK YOU! I am a band size 34 and one breast is a D and the other is a DD...so there is always one spilling over. You have given me the idea to buy a D and a DD and make a "Frankenbra"!

    Also, I'm wondering about your thoughts on underwires. I'm short-waisted (shorter torso than usual, which makes my boobs look even bigger), so when I try to wear a DD cup (which fits better), the underwires are WAY too big and poke into my underarms. Have you ever tried cutting down underwires?

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    1. You'll have to let me know how your "Frankenbra" (that's cute) turns out!

      I've never tried to cut an underwire. I'd imagine if you do, you'd need to somehow sew it in place, so it doesn't slide around and out of the right spot. It might be worth a shot trying it on on an old bra. (I know I have a few where the underwire broke through the fabric on its own...if you have any of those I'd give it a whirl on that one and see what happens!)

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    2. Hi ,

      I am in the exact same situation as you are. But I'm not sure what you mean by buying a D and a DD. Do you put them together somehow? I find that the underwire bras work for me in 36C size. somethimes 36D. depends on the bra, the make, etc. Let me know please if you've made your bra fit you. Thanks!!!

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  18. This is going to be so helpful! Thank you for posting it!

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  20. Thank you so much for posting this, such a clear and helpful tutorial! I bought an amazing bra which fitted me perfectly, so naturally bought two more online in the same style and size but different colours... which obviously didn't fit at all! The backs were enormous! But I've now amended them as shown here and they fit perfectly and I'm back in love with them! Thanks again :-)

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  21. Do you have a tutorial on how to alter a bathing suit top or maybe it is a good suggestion to make it a tutorial?

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    1. I've never altered a bathing suit top. They are each so different it would be hard to do a general tutorial. I just ended up shopping around until I could find something that fit off the rack. It was hard because I wanted something to cover my belly (wanted to hide my stretch marks) all while fitting my new-momma-chest. I ended up finding a tankini from Kohls that worked for me. (Same as to this in a different print: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1203971/croft-barrow-fit-for-you-tummy-tamer-tankini-top.jsp) And I actually ended up getting the same top in a bigger size to use when pregnant. Worked great for me!

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  22. I have this problem I lose weight and i was cup C and now I'm B ... Can I fix the bra somehow?.. Sory for my english

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    1. If you are a new cup size, there really isn't a way to alter the cups, only the band (if the cups still were to have fit). I think you will get to shop for something new! Happy Shopping!

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    2. Lol!! Thank you!!

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  23. Lol!! Thank you!!

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  24. Hey this post is very much appreciated, but I have a question I was wearing a 34 B but my boobs always fell out. And the band dose rise a little but when I go up to C the boob fits weird when I bend over they stay in, but when I lay down they have a small gap. I think its the band because I pulled it back and when I layed down there was no gap. But I can't find a 32 C that isn't 50 dollars, and I don't have that kind of money just to see if that is the perfect size. So do you think if I buy a 34 C then if I altered the band it would fit correctly.

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    1. Ok, so this might get confusing. (I'm confusing myself thinking about it! :) )
      Surprisingly, if you alter down the band on a 34 B by an inch it creates a 32 C.
      Perhaps just doing that could fix your issues.
      Also, taking in the center can sometimes be enough to hold you in.
      But not always.
      Sometimes certain bras' cups are just not cut to suit our shape well enough to keep us in place all day. (I have some that fit perfect in the fitting room, but then give me an hour doing house work and I'm about to throw it in the garbage because I can't stay in it.) You may need to pick a new brand that works with you better.
      OR... maybe you are a whole different size than you realize.
      If you buy a 34C and alter it down to a 32 band it is now equal to a 32D.
      So if that's what fits you, then go for it. You might just be a 32D.
      Even if you don't want to spend $50 on bra (and believe me I don't like doing it either) its worth it to go to a really good bra store -- a specialty one, not just Victoria Secret because they don't measure well at all. And get an expert to tell you what size you are. Once you have that figured out you can use those fit-skills to buy cheaper ones and alter them.
      Good Luck!

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    2. I find that a lot of the cute cheaper bras at Wally world are all sorts of funky shapes in the cups. Most notably are the ones that create "torpedo tits" where there is a too tight seal around the edge of the cup, and a giant air pocket inside. So cup size isn't always the problem, sometimes the shape is the culprit!

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  25. Seriously... you'd think big brands would realize that just because my boobs are not an A cup doesn't mean that my band size is huge too. I suppose the ladies who get implants can afford the specialty store prices as well, but mine are natural (swelling a bit with pregnancy) and I'm not even wanting to pay $30 right now (temporary size with pregnancy). The "Genie Bra" or other stretchy ones might be great later, but I want a normal bra with normal-sized straps right now! Gotta try this as a temporary fix!

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    1. I hear ya!! I used to think this was a problem only I had, but since writing this post I've found I am VERY MUCH not alone in this! I'm not sure why they don't market towards us?
      I wish I could find something like the genie bra to fit me, but since having babies I just can't fit into pretty much anything off the rack. I have to alter it all. The stretch bras are too loose in the band for me, or I can't even begin to stay in the cups.
      Sport bras are my toughest find right now -- I don't feel can really alter them and keep the comfort -- haven't figured that out. :/

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    2. I got the genie bra, and I was not impressed. And now that I'm breastfeeding I never wear it...

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  26. Thank you so so much I'm a 32 ddd my size is so hard to find but when I do find a bra that kind of fits it costs more than I can usually afford. You are a godsend

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  27. I can relate. I only know of two companies that bras in my size. Decent Exposures makes comfortable wireless bras in the original un-bra, a front closure un-bra, a strapless un-bra, and a nursing un-bra. She covers from a 0 and up to 17 inch difference between ribcage measurement and fullest bust measurement. They come in 7 fabric choices. Can customize them to be latex-free (upon request), Lycra ribbing, pockets for a prosthesis or extra coverage across the bust, straps can be made longer or shorter, and armholes can be cut higher or lower. I had to downsize a bit to get the right fit as the size that should have worked from me was too large which is usually the case with slip on styles. Ones with a closure I have to upsize. The other company would be Ewa-Michalak but Paypal won't process my order as I no longer have a bank account linked to it and I have no idea how to get the other type of payment they would accept from me.Guess I'll see if I can find a 48DD or 50D I like to alter into 34KK or 32LL.I'm not good at sewing though so I'll see if someone can help me with that part.

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  28. For those who have a bra that gapes slightly at the top of the cup(s), try this first instead of buying a different size straight away. (I have one breast slightly smaller than the other, so this is how I fixed the problem.)
    On the cup that gapes a bit, stitch a small section of clear swimsuit elastic along the top edge (just below the lacey edge if that's the style) in the area where the gaping happens. Don't expect to stretch the elastic too much- you're only taking in a tiny bit of looseness (otherwise you should buy a new bra!). If you can't find the clear elastic, use another very soft, thin elastic- you don't want it to be bulky.

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  29. Do you think that the straps being closer to the middle gives you more or less support than how they were before? I can imagine they might give you more support, almost like a racerback. But, they also seem like they might pull on your shoulder muscles.

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    1. I don’t notice a diference on shoulder either way. It probably does give a little bit more lift and cleavage. The should straps are not actually what should be receiving the burden of the weight, the weight should be held up most by the fact that your band is fitted correctly now, which is why having a correctly fitting band is so important. (It’s overall better for your body.)

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  30. This is great and easy. I just altered a bra using your instructions. The cups were the right size but the band was a size bigger. It matched a dress so I didn't want to pass it up. It was a set with panties. Have you ever altered panties. I teach a sewing class and can't wait to share this with them.
    Thank you

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    1. Oh, I’ve never even thought to alter panties. It might not be too hard? Probably just taking it in on the sides and/or crotch. But it might be hard to get the seams to be smooth enough to feel good.
      So glad the bra worked out. And how fun to teach it to a class!

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  31. Love the turorial! Pre-pregnancy I was a 34 dd, but every time they measured me (Victorias secret AND aerie) they tried telling me I was a 36 b. Then, to humor them, I put on a 36 b and show them the muffin top, lol. Any idea what that's all about? Why do I measure wrong every time?

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    1. Anna, Victoria Secret is terrible for measuring size correctly. The way they measure isn’t the right way at all, they measure your band size and don’t pull the tape tightly enough, then to get the cup size they kind of just go up from your band in the back, up and over the top of your boobs. That is not the right way to do it. So that’s why they are giving you terrible measurements. Actually most big name/mall stores measure like that. If you go to a real bra store -- one that’s usually independently owned and off on it’s own and carries sizes the mall has never heard of, then they know how to measure and size. (Which is what I tried to explain in the post as best as I could.) Your size is never going to come up right if they measure up over your chest like that. If the store is doing it that way, I’d just completely ignore their advice.

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  32. All I can say is, you are a GENIUS and I feel like one right now just for finding this tutorial. Nothing to say that others haven't said....Thanks so much for posting your ideas- can't wait to try it.

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  33. oh my, so I tried this method on an old bra I was going to throw out and it happened that merely taking in the centee was all I needed to do for the bra to fit perfectly again (on the last hook from left). It feels like a brand new bra again...thanks alot

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  34. I need to reduce the cup size of a 2 piece bathing suit. Do you think I could just take in the cup both across and vertically?

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  35. It is a nice tip. I'll work my nice lace bra that has a good cup size but the band is too long. Thanks !

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  36. Wow! It is very informative to me that a well-shaped bra can be easily molded as per the comfort. Thank you for telling the steps as well tips for using bra brands here in this blog so simply. I really like your ways.

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  37. This is a God-send post! I am a 34DD and believe me, it is near nigh impossible to get a bra without spending a FORTUNE and even then, I am probably a 33. I just lost 9 pounds and hope to lose 7 or 8 more to reach my goal, but I have lost NOTHING in the bust like most people. I can hardly wait to try it! And I have stretched out ones that still were good, so thank you! I do have one BIG one that is expensive and warrants a make over! I like to go up to the outlet mall and get bras and this is perfect to get them big, cheap, and alter. And ones that look cute instead of like tanks or grandmas. Also, being short, they are too high in front so I can now find a better one and fix. Thanks!

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  38. I also re-sized the bras I had that were 1 band size too big. Like the fit, very comfortable.
    I had mastocemy in 2013 and the fitting for the mastecomy bras went well, except the bras I got were a band size bigger than the fitter measured. I resized those. I got 2 back fastening and 1 with front fastening. I found that authritus in my shoulder makes it impossible for me to reach back to fasten the back fastening bras.
    I cut the front of those bras and put 5 hooks and eyes in to convert them to the front opening style. I sewed the hooks under the right side opening so they didn't show, for a fit almost like before I cut the front. The eyes should only barely stick out on the left side with about 1/2 inch of flannel behind to cover the opening. Check the style of the front, those with a seam or enough fabric for cutting and seaming work the best. Look at how the front openings are made and copy that the best you can. That is what I did. Do an old bra first, for practice, so you will know how to do the good one.
    Since the specialty store has few or no front opening in the price range my insurance will completely cover, I plan to alter more now that I have figured out how. You can get hook & eye tape or 4 inch separating zippers from the "Home Sew" catalog or web site. That will make the alteration easier.

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    1. Front-fastening bras! I haven't had one of those since I was in trainers! And, gosh, do I remember how easy those were to put on now. By comparison my morning routine is wrestling myself.

      Lydia

      Thank you also for reminding me not only do I still want pastels, ribbons, lace, and unlining- I've never been heavy-chested, in fact I'm starting to think only the left is even a C and I might as well donate my in-case Ds to one of my buxom friends, I'm here because I recently lost some weight and nothing I own fits quite right, probably the bands, but every bra was a battle to find- that it is possible and I deserve to feel pretty and comfortable. Like I did when I was thirteen. And I don't know why ut there's something about sewing that just makes you feel useful and content. I don't know you but I can tell you're a wonderful person. You're giving me a gift to give myself (yes, I am being dramatic). Where is my pin cushion?!

      Delete
  39. Hi! I can't seem to pin this one to pinterest. It keeps telling me I need a "valid image". Has anyone else had this problem? I'm currently just starting my 7th month in preg. and need this badly :)...Thanks! this is sooo helpful as I got implants 2 yrs. ago and now my breasts are getting huge Quickly! ha

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    1. Sorry Jessica, I’m not sure why it’s giving you a hard time pinning it. When I tried it worked for me, so I’m not sure what the problem would be.
      Another thing you could try would be searching for this post inside Pinterest’s search bar to find it already pinned by someone else, and then re-pin it.
      Hope that helps.
      Good luck on the sewing projects and congratulations on your pregnancy!

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  40. Thank you so much! I've put on a little weight and am now a 34DDD. Impossible to find without shelling out $$$. I bought a 36DD but it feels loose. I'm going to try this on it later today!

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  41. This is cool. I am a 30J/32HH (UK sizing) so US its more like 30M/32L? Anyway, I can pretty easily find my size on eBay or Amazon or Bratabase for ~$25. I usually wear Curvy Kate, sometimes Panache. But they always make the straps too far apart for even my broad shoulders! So this makes me feel braver about altering my favorite Curvy Kate Ritzy. Thanks! Glad to know there are others here in the US that know how to measure correctly! :)

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  42. I lost 20 pounds to have a knee replacement. I was determined to keep that 20 pounds off, but I gained back 10. I altered my bras differently than you do it. To make them smaller (the cups still fit), I cut the side panels of each bra (I don't wear under wires - doctor's orders) equally on each side, overlapped them and sewed them back up. They served me well for a year, then the weight crept up 10 pounds and my bras were too tight. All I had to do was use the good ole' seam ripper to take out the stitching, remark the band, and re-stitch. Saved myself a ton of money. When you buy a good bra, it's worth altering.

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  43. Thank you. I have a 25 inch rib cage, small breasts, and small shoulders. I bought a bra in the childrens section with a 30 band. The shoulders straps are narrow enough (hard to find), the cups fit. But, the band is huge on me and the cups need to be closer together. The bra was only $7. I'm a mother also.

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  44. Maybe because it is 3:30 in the morning when I'm reading this but I just can't seem to wrap my head around how to figure out what size to buy. Right now I wear a 42 H cup and it would be nice to get something new that isn't in the $80-$150 price range. Any idea what size I should start looking at?

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, for this technique to really save you any money, I think about the biggest band size that would work for an H cup would be a 38. This is because if you wore a 38H you could by a 48D or a 46DD and alter it down. Those might still be harder sizes to come by though. So unfortunately, this whole concept really only works to save on small band sizes. (Because with a small band size you can buy standard off the rack sizes, which are cheaper, still and alter them down. Once you get past a certain point you have ventured out of the cheap bra range.) For your size, if you happened to come across a 48DDD for really cheap somewhere, that should be able to be altered down to a 42H. But generally, I think you’d be paying about the same price for the 48DDD as the 42H (unless you found a clearanced out random one.) Of course you can still use this technique to really nail the fit for you, or fix a bra that’s band has stretched out a bit. I’m not sure where you live, but Lane Bryant sells bras in these sizes for around $40 on average. That would save you some money if you end up liking their bras.

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  45. I have small shoulders and my bra straps are always slipping down. They are as tight as they will go. I sometimes use oval shaped silicone (rubbery) pads that hold the strap on top of my shoulder. But if they fall out it can be embarrassing. Can I just move the back of the straps in toward the center?

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    Replies
    1. You sure can! That would be an easy fix.
      Or if you don’t feel like sewing you can clip your straps back (in the back near your shoulder blades) with a simple barrette like this http://www.amazon.com/Goody-Barrette-Metal-Domed-Count/dp/B004EFECYC
      Or they make special bra clips that do the same thing: http://www.amazon.com/8-Pack-Bra-Back-Clips-Conceal/dp/B007JKW5L6

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  46. Hi Lydia,
    I think your way of altering bras is the most elegant. I didn't have enough time so I was considering this quick fix: http://gadgetsgo.com/Rixie-Clip-womens-underwear-accessories.html
    Do you think it would work?

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Lydia...please delete my last comment as it didn't have the right link.

    I think your way of altering bras is the most elegant. I didn't have enough time so I was considering this quick fix.
    Do you think it would work?

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  48. This is a great guide. I'm a 34 K, and there is no 34 K to be found in this country, so I had to get 36 K. I also have another bra that could do with longer shoulder straps. Do you have any ideas on how to do that?

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    1. Oops, forgot to check the Notify me

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    2. hmmm. Making the straps shorter is very simple, you’d just take them off in the back, cut them down to size, and sew them back on. But making them longer not as easy. You’d need to buy more straps material. I think you can find it at fabric stores or online. And then I guess you could try either sewing an extra bit onto the end in the back. (But I’m guessing that bit isn’t going to match super great. And I wonder if the seam would be itchy.) Or you could try and remove the whole strap and start fresh making it as long as you like. Being careful to copy the way it was sewn on and the way the loops and little parts were used originally.

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    3. Thanks :) Removing the whole strap is probably easiest. I could use one from an old bra where another part is broken

      Delete
  49. You are a life saver!!!! I'm 65 and spent a lifetime of discomfort as I'm heavy busted. ...no more. Fixed one a d so comfortable. My table is covered in Cut up bras, straps and lace!! Who knew we could do this. I am also swopping whole sides a d straps to cups that fit. Whoo Hoo Thank you so much.

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  50. Alter cup shape Edit. Make a "pointy" cup round. [10] Make a high-cut bra low-cut. [11] Take in the top of a baggy cup. Take in the upper-lace section. [14] Remove padding from the cup. [15] Make a shallow bra projected.
    http://www.apparelshopusa.com/6_duofold

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  51. Such a great tutorial! Thank you! Curious if you have a trick to a problem I have often. Keeping the underwire in place where it belongs. It seems to always happen to the wire on the left side. I think it's heavier, Lol. The wire slides down from the center part and up towards my armpit, leaving a small gap in the center left. Does that make sense? I'm constantly having to push the wire back in place. I've sewn a little spot just above the wire at my armpit to prevent the wire from sliding up further, but that trick doesn't last long & ends up tearing a hole through. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, Katt, I don’t have any tricks for that. :( I often have the problem of my underwire popping through the fabric, and I’ve tried to hand sew over the ripped spot to keep it in….all that does for me is cause skin irritation form the thread-lump that forms in that spot. So it doesn’t work for me at all. But that’s sounds basically like what you’re solution has been as well. Hopefully bra makers will start doing a better job with their underwires -- like having them the full size of the space they go in so they don’t move around. And making the fabric that holds them in higher quality so they don’t rip out!

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  52. Thank you so much for this tutorial!! It's like VS and La Senza just opened their doors for me again! As a 30H (not even nursing...), it's almost impossible to find a affordable bra my size. I am so excited right now and can't wait to find CUTE bras :)

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  53. Oh lord you don't even know how much this article means to me. I'm 15 and wear a 32E and i honeslty cant afford a $20 let alone a $50 one! My closest friend is very handy with a needle and thread and actually has a sewing machine so i will be asking her to give me a hand with this! once again thankyou so much :)

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  54. How do I make the band a little larger than it is. I have sensitive skin and if it is to tight make me itching, especially if there is a bit of lace on it.

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    Replies
    1. Look into bra extenders, they are like a second set of hooks to hook on and add more room. Just google “bra extender” you’ll see lots.

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  55. my problem is, i am short from my shoulders down to my breasts. Does that make sense? I have ti hike up the straps all the way to get the lift I need. would you have any suggestions? I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. You can shorten the straps as well. Cut some of the length off and re-stitch into place.

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