Monday, May 11, 2009

Bra (Band) Alteration - Tutorial

#3 on my "Top 5 LEAST Favorite Things to Do list" is bra shopping. Why do I hate it so? Because my boobs are big for my frame. Last time I checked (which was ages ago), Victoria's Secret, Target, Jc Penney, and Sears do not carry sizes 32F/FF. I have to drive an hour away to visit the nearest bra boutique that caters to my size. AND, I have to pay anywhere between $35 and $50 to purchase a basic, everyday wear bra. PLUS, the lady at the boutique has to alter the bras for me since my ribcage actually measures 30", and they just don't make my cup size in such a small rib band. So, I have decided to take matters into my own hands.

Disclaimer: This is my first tutorial, so it is remedial at best. As usual, I'm certain there is an easier/better way to do this, but this is the way I chose.

Step#1 - Find a cheap bra that has cups that fit your breasts. Band size doesn't really matter that much, but the closer you get to your actual band size, the better. The best I could do was a 38:
Step #2 (not pictured)- Measuring. There are a few ways to do this, but what I did was try on the bra, pinch the band to fit, and have my husband mark the band for me. You could also use an old bra as a guide, or (for the smaller boobed) try it on, twist the band around so the clasps are in front, pinch and mark. Keep in mind that the clasps add an inch or two, so factor that in to your marks.

Step #3 - Use a seam ripper to remove the zigzag stitches that connect the clasps to the band fabric:

Step #4 - Separate the clasps from the bra and set aside. Cut off the raw ends of the bra at the marks you made. I had to cut off appx. 1.5" on each end.
Step #5 - Re-insert band fabric into clasps, pin if you want to, and set your sewing machine to a short zigzag stitch. Be sure the stitches catch the clasp on the underside as well. Follow the original seam-ripped line, and do the side edges also.

(I know it isn't pretty, but my boobs are HEAVY, so I stitch and backstitch the life out of my clasps.)

Now, you may notice the wrinkle I got in my band fabric after cutting and replacing the clasps. This is because I was sizing down from a 38 to a 32ish, and the band width is more substantial the closer you get to the straps. Once the band stretches around my ribs, the wrinkle is less noticeable, but I don't care about it anyway. If you care about wrinkles, choose an original band as close to your size as you can get.

I hope this is helpful to anyone searching for band alterations. The only reason I posted this as a tutorial was because I couldn't find good instructions anywhere else.

28 comments:

sewmarm said...

This is a really good tutorial.
I hate bra-shopping, too!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this with photo's too!! I know how you feel, i can't find well fitting bra's and half the 32's are too big in some makes so I think i'll give it a go and go buy a cheap bra to try it out on :-)

ReneVague3 said...

Your post has given me the courage to fix some of my too-big bras. I've just fixed one and what a difference! Thank you very much for taking the time to post the directions and photos.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I have the exact same problem you do and I'm so tired of bands that are so loose they don't support at all, or cups that squeeze the bejeezus out of me. You're my hero!

Louisa said...

Seriously, there are like no tutorials on how to do this. Thanks for yours! I'm not sure I'll be able to do a good job but maybe I'll practice on an old one first.

ML said...

Thank you, thank you!! I have looked everywhere for a simple way to alter my bras. I've lost about 60 lbs. and have alot of bras. I've carried the extra weight for a decade. I can't afford to buy new bras or new clothing so I have to make my own alterations.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is really helpful thanks! I have a question - because you've moved the clasps closer to the straps without altering anything else, do you find that the straps get moved to an uncomfortable position? Have you experimented with altering either side of the band, and not just the clasp end?

The Wife said...

THANK YOU! I hate spending money on new bras when I can alter the ones I have. =)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about altering bra bands for a living? My daughter has a very small rib cage and has large breasts and has an extremely difficult time finding a bra to fit. Only Dillard's sells a 32DD and then they usually only get 1 in a shipment and there are very few styles to chose from. She has not be able to find a sports bra that fits her. Thanks for the instructions. I'm going to give it a try.

Tania said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I cannot afford the outrageous prices for bras in 30 F. You have made my life so much easier and put money back in my pocketbook for more important things like my 4 kids.

michele said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I'm in the same boat, and while I don't mind paying for the architecture of a great bra, I'm working hard to lose weight and don't want to invest in new ones until I'm done. You've given me the courage to take in the bands a little to get me through until I reach my goal.

Robin said...

This is a great tutorial and I'll probably be using it in the future! I wear a 30G and regularly get them on ebay for less than $20 (including shipping!) in pretty styles! My favorite brand is Freya, I got a bra that usually costs ~$60 unused on ebay for $18 by typing in my bra size and the name of the brand I want!

Anonymous said...

You are a genius. I am eternally grateful.

Anonymous said...

I was too chicken to cut the band on mine, so I just folded the band and put a line of stitching. Works well and is easy! =)

duchessmouse said...

Thank you for this helpful post!! I just went to a boutique and found out I should be wearing a 26FF (which basically doesn't exist) compared to the 32DD I'd been wearing (one can only guess what damage that has done to the girls). I just dropped about $150 on two bras that had to be altered by the boutique. But I would like to try altering the ones I already own. Plus if I can do it well I won't be so limited in the bras I can shop for, and may even get to save some money. Thanks again!

Vicky said...

It doesn't seem to be your first tutorial, you are a good sewer and helpful tutor. I have also been wondering how the heck to resize my bras, you are right about how unfair is the price just because we have big girls and small ribcages. Everything you did was precisely what I was going to do, now I'm certain that my logic (AND YOURS) WORK! Also note that even if it is more complicated you have to remove and resewn BOTH claps and hooks, otherwise the straps will be twisted one side or another.

Holly Anske said...

I am so glad I found your blog! I just bought a bra with the intention of doing something similar to this, and now I'm confident that I can do it!

Shirley Ann said...

I'm a 32F/G and buy my bras thru Brastop.com. However, even with the same brand, sometimes the bands are stretchier than others. That is why I found your site! I just bought a bra that is great in the cup, but the band is too big. Thank you so much for showing how to make this adjustment.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat. My bra size is a 34HH - I have to drive 3 hours (to the nearest Nordstrom) to find decent bras. I am going to give this a try!

alex tuter said...

thank you so much for sharing the information about alteration cloths and much more about clothing alterations brisbane. i wait for new post in this topic

astrid said...

Great tutorial! For cheap bras in your size, ebay is your friend. Lots of shops have brand new bras from previous seasons at a fraction of the price. Just search "32F bra" or "30FF bra" or whatever your size is. Of course, it works better if you already know the model and the sizing, but once you do, the savings are worth it!

Lovely Trinkets said...

Thank you for posting this! Since it's the holidays, Victoria Secret has suer sparkly pretty bras that I'm planning on changing the band size for. I'm a 30FF/G.

Here are some websites that hold your bra size:

www.bravissimo.com
http://www.figleaves.com/us/ranges/dd/
http://www.bratabase.com/

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing this! I have a lot of plus size lingeries to alter and this tutorial is really helpful.

Sekhat said...

Thank you for this tutorial. I too have this problem but also have the added problem of a small area between my underarm and the bra band my underwire cuts into my underarm too. JOY!! I have tried altering a bra like this but it didn't end up working mostly because I took out the underwire because of the aforementioned issue. But thank you again as now I know that some else has done what I've tried and had a win.

Anonymous said...

I own 34HH tailored an inch. It still doesn't fit right because you said the brand mint not be for me. So I've bought a 44D bra and it should come in about 4 days. I'm gonna tailor it myself, since I ordered a wired, padded (so my things won't show when I'm cold) nude full cup from eBay for $10. I'm gonna lose weight with Medifast. So I figured why buy a $55 bra that I tailor when I can get an unused one for less?? I'll wear it for maybe 3 months. Not sure since I've never lost 55 lbs before. I was a 34DD when I was 100, age 13-15, 5"2. Now I'm 165, my size is actually 32K, and 5"3, practically 20. So I don't know what my boobs are gonna do. Might as well pay cheap because of it. And thank you for telling us about the wrinkle that will appear, now I know not to be all "hey! She didn't say anything about this!"

Anonymous said...

Honey I am the same size as you. Please to to nordstroms or nordstroms rack, or figleaves or bare necesseties. There are bras for us!

Rosalinda said...

That's a great idea! I never thought about it before! something I will definitely try

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I wear the same size that you do and am frustrated with paying for the proper size. Here in Canada I have to pay $125 for the cheapest at the boutique. Cannot wait to try this. I am a 32FF wearing right now a 40DD. Obviously no support there.