Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alter Your Own Bra

This is a little unconventional of me, and I wasn't sure I'd put it on the blog but, well, I was really excited about this and if you deal with the trouble of not being able to buy a properly fitting nursing bra (or any bra for that matter!) maybe this post can inspire and help you out!
Now that I've lost all my baby weight it has gotten even harder, my band size is a 30-32 and cup size D or E. it's virtually impossible to find so I settle with whatever reasonably fitting and reasonably priced options I can find. Recently I've taken to picking up nursing bras at goodwill for a dollar or two and hoping I'll find a good one. However, last week I spent $6 on a 36E at a consignment sale and when it didn't fit well enough to wear I decided that was too much to spend and broke out my sewing machine to see what I could do. 
Because I wasn't planning on blogging this I didn't take step by step pictures, but, I'll do my best to walk you through the process. 

First I used pins and adjusted where it needed, trying on as I went. When I had it all pinned I cut the front "spacing" piece of material out as closely as I could to the seam. I then sewed it back in by stitching right along the bottom, between the cup and the underwire. 
(This is the part I am least proud of. In my case I had to bring the cups closer together but depending on what size/style you're working with you may not. I couldn't find a way to keep from exposing raw edges.)

Secondly I unpinned the band and cut the seam out (not all bra styles have this seam but both the ones I worked with did). I was careful to leave enough material in order to conceal my own seam.
Sewing it back together make sure the raw edges are on the outside. It could be said to sew the wrong sides together. I used different seam allowances on each side of the seam though, on the side still attached to the clasps I left double the seam allowance as the side attached to the . Next, working on the outside of the bra, you fold the long raw edge over the short one in order to conceal then fold both over and zig zag stitch it in place.
I feel like these instructions are hard to follow but hopefully the picture of my finished seam will help.

 Thirdly I cut the strap off the clasp and shortened it. I chose to shorten the part that was not the adjustable section because I wanted to have full range of adjusting in case I needed it.
(not pictured)

My sewing machine is on the blink so I apologize for my embarrassingly sloppy stitch work. It is honestly a miracle that my machine is still in one piece instead of out a broken window and in pieces on the neighbors lawn. I have lost all patience with the inconsistent hunk of metal. The strap adjustment is not pictured because my machine made a huge mess of knotted thread and it was just too confusing for a picture to be helpful.

My biggest tip is to try  and avoid having any raw edges exposed to the inside, it will rub against your skin and undoubtedly be an annoyance. If you don't have as much room to work with as I did and won't be able to cover your own raw edges, at the very least sew them to the outside and zigszag into place. If you have a bra that fits you well and you already love the feel of, use it as a model for your alterations.
the finished product of the two I did

I was super duper happy with the result; I've heard it said (read it, actually) that a well fitting bra can be life changing so I heartily recommend giving this a try. And if you don't want to ruin one that is working well enough, do what I did; grab one at Goodwill and give it a go.
Also note: I did not change the cup size. I prefer the firm cup styles and it is easy enough for me to find ones that fit they just have the wrong band size, so, I don't think I'll have a tutorial for that at any point.
Has anyone else attempted altering your own bras? Comment and let me know how it went for you, or leave a link to your own tutorials!


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