First, I'll share some back story about my own bra journey. I wear a weird size. I can't walk into Target, Wal-Mart, or Macy's and just buy a bra. I have a small ribcage and large... um... blessings. So, I order bras online and pay a ridiculous amount for them. They aren't made any better than what you can find at Target, etc. But, they carry more unique sizes, so I go with that route. I made my first bra last year and it was mind-blowing! It was also extremely easy, cost-efficient, and even fun (once I got the fit down).
Up-cycle Your Brand New Brassiere
So, a few weeks ago, I was walking through Dollar General and grabbed a large bra. I said to myself, I bet I could alter this band size to make it smaller. I held the foam cup up to me and it seemed to be the right cup size. I gave the cashier my $7.00 and drove home. When I got home, I tried it on and had my husband help mark where I would cut the band, to fit my back. I thought Eureka! This is the coolest bra hack ever and I need to share it!!
Side note: I don't think this will work as easily if you need to increase the bra size. This is more of a cut and slash downsizing bra project. I wear a small band, large cup. If you have a small cup, it may be more difficult to do this bra hack.
Here's What You'll Need:
Plan of Attack
Try the bra on. It should be too big in the band, but fit in the cup area. If this is not the case, you'll need a larger band size.
You'll want a friend to help you with the next part.
When you're back at home, put the bra on. Click the hook and eyes to the middle row. Have your friend pinch the band and mark with chalk where it should fit you. It should feel snug, but not uncomfortable. Take it off and get dressed. It's GO time!
Open the bra up and lay it on the table. Measure from the side seams to make sure the chalk marks (made by your friend) on both sides are even. You don't want to cut 2" off one side and 3" off the other side. Unless you're going for the lopsided look. ;) After you measure and they are even, cut the ends off. It's that easy! Set the excess bra band pieces you cut off, aside.
Now, get that handy dandy seam ripper and go to town. You'll rip the stitching out from the hook and eye pieces, set aside, you're going to reuse these. It's all zigzag stitching, so it's easy to rip out. The hook and eye have an opening at one end, that's where you'll stick the band inside to re-attach.
Now it's Sew time. Install your stretch or ball point needle into your sewing machine. Thread your machine with matching thread and set it to a ZigZag stitch. I set mine at 2.5 width and 2.0 stitch length. Practice on the band piece you cut off, to get the stitch the length and width you want.
Align your hook and eye pieces to the band. My band was a tad larger than the fasteners, but I made it work. Align the top band to the top of the hook piece, then line up the bottoms. I ended up with a small gather in the band, but it was fine. Hey, it's a $7 bra! I usually pay $100 each for my bras, so... Clip the fasteners to the band to keep them in place. I used 3 to hold the gathered band inside the hook pieces.
ZigZag over the open area where the pieces overlap. I went back and forth twice, just to be safe. Do this on both pieces. It helps to use a zipper foot for the hook portion, my regular foot is a tad wide and had a hard time getting in there. Your machine may or may not have an issue with this. The loop side was easy. Don't forget to backstitch.
Re-attach The Straps
Now that the band is done, we need to sew the straps back on.
If you're lucky enough that the bra straps didn't get cut off, Yay! You're done. You just made a bra that fits! Try it on and sing praise for making a great fitting bra for cheap! Super easy!!
If you need to attach the straps, keep following along.
Grab your ribbon piece and cut it in half. You should have 2- 2inch pieces now. These are going to be your new strap fasteners. You won't need the full length, but it helps to have more wiggle room. Fold one piece in half and pin or clip to the band spot you'd like the strap to be at. Try it on to decide where you want your strap to end up. Maybe you have a special dress or top and you don't want your straps to show, this is a perfect opportunity to make a custom bra for that garment.
You can make the loop as big or small as you want. I made my loop 1/4", I wanted it the same size as the previous loop. Thread the ribbon through your bra strap loop and pin it to the bra band. Sew over the folded loop with a zigzag stitch. I went over mine twice. Repeat with the other side. Don't forget to backstitch.
And.... you're done!! You made a bra! Bra making is really easy and fun. I know this was more of a bra hack, but it's a great starting point to dive into bra making.
Bra making is all about the fit- as all garment sewing is. Once you get your fit down, you can make tons of bras. As long as you have a machine with a zigzag stitch, you can make a bra. I hope this sparked some interest in you for bra making. If you're curious to learn more, I'll walk you through my first bra making adventure in the next post. Stay tuned!
So, what do you think? Are you going to try this bra sewing hack? Maybe your mother in law or sister has a unique bra size. You could try this out with them. Let me know in the comments below if this is something you're willing to try, or not.
Happy Seam ripping,
Hi there, I'm Annette and I love eating and sewing. I usually have a cup of coffee or tea with me, but not next to my machine because I'd probably spill it. I am the reason we can't have nice things.
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