My weight fluctuates, a lot. Depending on my mood or the season, it can be easy for me to put on a few pounds or lose a few pounds in a matter of weeks – at times, changing my bra size. I find it’s usually around the 15 pound (about 1 stone) mark that I have to buy new bras, or do some sewing alterations if I’ve lost weight.
Since I moved to the UK in September – I’m guessing that I’ve lost about 20 pounds, so 1.5 stone. My bras are roomy in the band and the cup, but I’m really not in a position to purchase a whole new lingerie wardrobe. Yes, I’m a contour fashion student, I could just ‘sew one up’ in no time (if I had a decent 34H pattern for myself), or I could possibly justify purchasing a new one as ‘research’. Well, unfortunately one is never enough. I try to have 6 to 8 that fit reasonably well at any given time as I like to wear my bras 1 to 2 times between washings.
I’m at the point where it’s now time to attack an older 36H and get it firmed up again for daily wear.
Here are some pointers if you want to do a simple alteration to tighten up the band.
1. Gather your supplies. You’ll need:
a. Seam ripper
b. Thread to match your bra
c. Sharp scissors
d. Sewing machine that can do a zig zag stitch
e. Machine needle (stretch needles are best for bras, I use size 75/11)
g. Chalk or pencil to mark your cutting line
2. Try on your bra – determine how much tighter you would like it to be. Are you on the tightest hook, and want to restart again on the loosest, or do you need to adjust more, and approximately how much?
3. Grab your seam ripper and unpick the stitches holding on the hook and eye pieces.
4. Measure an equal amount on both sides to remove and mark the cutting line. To tighten up a bra that’s comfortable on the tightest hook, measure the distance between one of the columns of hooks and remove that much off each side.
5. Cut the band on the line, being careful to cut straight
6. Get your machine ready and attach the piece with the eyes to the left, with the outside of the bra face up using a zig zag stitch. It’s important you get the eyes on the left and hooks on the right otherwise you’ll struggle to get your bra hooked up.
7. Once I’ve sewn one line of zig zag to attach the piece, I do another zig zag at the top and bottom of the piece (90 degree angle to what you’ve just sewn) to further secure the piece.
8. The hooks will go on the right side. In order to get the piece in the machine, you’ll have the inside of the bra facing up, as well as the hooks. If you can move the needle position towards the hooks a bit more, this is ideal.
9. Again, zig zag this piece on, trying to keep the line of stitching completely on the piece with the eyes. Keep the foot as close to the hooks as possible.
10. Zig zag at the top and bottom of the piece to secure the piece and first row of stitching.
Just trim off the ends of the threads, and voila, you’ve finished your alteration!
Special notes: This alteration will not work on all bras. Keep in mind how much you wish to cut out of the back. If you take out too much, the fabric might be too wide to fit back into the hook and eye pieces. This may require you to pinch/gather or dart the fabric to fit. If that will not work, you may have to unstitch part of the top elastic and reshape before cutting. Also note, this may result in the straps being too close in the back, and the adjustment might be better off made along the side seam.
Watch for the next post where I’ll show you a quick and easy way to take a bit of room out of the cup.