Monday, August 31, 2009

From Unwearable to Wearable In One Easy Snip

This is an excerpt from The Bra Makers Manual by Beverly Johnson, which I bought on CD about 10 days ago. This little gem alone may be worth the cost of the book to me.

(Hopefully you can click this and make it larger to read more easily, but Blogger has been cranky with photos for a while now so who knows!)

Especially note: "the bridge may sit in at the chest wall, but it may tip away from the body at the top."

This is one of the RTW bras I bought in desperation. It fit pretty much everywhere except that the wires at the top center front "tipped away from the body" and poked outward, making an annoying and unattractive lump in the valley. I ordered 3 of these bras and as you can see on this one, the tags are still attached because I was going to return them. Zillie isn't quite filling out this one the way the real girls do.

I read that blurb in The Bra Makers Manual and immediately decided to sacrifice one of the three that I bought, since I had been wearing it and wouldn't be returning it anyway. So, I sliced the bridge upward from the bottom, to apex level. With the slice, the bridge relaxed and spread, making the top of the wires lay flat against my chest wall as they should. Hallelujah!

I only trimmed a little out of the slice to make a more pleasing vee shape. The rest of the spread is happening naturally.

I made a tube from some organza I had on hand and from the right side zigzagged this to the backside of the slit to finish the edges and provide stability. Looking at the photo below, you can also see where I sewed across the channeling at the top to keep the wires from riding up to the top. This bra is a "minimizer" and the style used to spread and flatten the tissue is way too high cut and the wires were riding too high on me without that stitching. It's still too high cut, of course, but at least now across the top it's only stretchy fabric that gives and not wires that don't.

With these small changes, the bra went from pretty much unwearable and uncomfortable to very acceptable. I'm probably going to keep the other bras now too and make these same changes. Until I have time to crank out some more bras from the sewing room, these will fill in nicely. I can also see this easy modification happening on some other RTW bras in the drawer, especially since I've got nothing to lose.


  1. Wow,Debbie!
    As I was reading your description of what was happening to the CF, I could see my own bras doing *exactly* that!! Thanks so much.(BTW-I was able to click and enlarge,no probs.)

  2. Wow! Who knew? That's a great tip. I'm going to keep it in mind when I finally screw up the courage to attempt bra making. Thanks for explaining it so clearly.

  3. Wow, Debbie, you need a new title. How 'bout "Fit Detective"? You're the Holmes of the sewing world.

  4. YAY! Thank you so much! I *hate* when my bras do that, and they almost all do that.
    Off to get the scissors!

  5. I've had similar fit issues. I ordered a bunch from Fred's, and in desperation cut one. When you have nothing to lose, scissors are your friend. I have cut the top and released across the top of the cup, but I haven't tried cutting between the wires. I'll have to try this!

  6. Wow! You did such a great job on those bras.. You have inspired me to give bra making a try...

  7. I am so glad to see that alteration in real life! And it worked! That is just too awesome.

  8. I should print this out and take it to the so called bra fitter I went to recently. I complained that all my bras were pulling away at that same area and she told me it was because my band size was too big. Some pro she was, NOT.

    I'll have to remember this when I finally decide to tackle bra making.

  9. Great tips that you shared! I am looking down at my bra as I type and can see the top wires pushing away from me and the bottom is super tight digging into me....hmmm. I am not sure I am brave enough to attempt the fix on this one though!

  10. Amazing! I'm gonna try this. As you said so wisely, I have nothing to lose.

  11. Debbie
    Have you ever tried to flatlock seams on undies?

  12. I did all my bra's...OMG YOU ARE MY HERO!!!my bra's fit correctly now...!!! and I just did it to all of my bras Unbelievable.....THANKS,Lisa

  13. But doesn't this allow your breasts to just spread out too widely under your arms? I want my bras to pull them more together - they are too wide as it is, even with a "good" bra! I can certainly see it being more comfortable but not sure I would like the look. Maybe I'll try it on my oldest ready-to-be-tossed bra and see what happens...

  14. I read this and took the scissors to all but one of my bras. I took that bra and compared it to the others, this time looking at the bridge rather than the cup, and lo and behold, the bridge was wider. I have snipped all of the other bras and am a happy camper! I now have several bras that fit, and dh never complains that it looks like I have three bewbs!

    That is the last time I listen to the bra fitters...they always told me that the wires pull away like that if the cup is too small. hmmph.

  15. Debi-thank you so much for taking the time to blog about your sewing adventures & post photos when you have. I confess, I have your blog in my "Favorites" so I can find your tips again when I need them! It dawned on me that doing the cut where you are, adds to the bra band size, as well as changing the bra styling. It is wonderful that you have found a "fix" that works for so many people! Bra fitting is so important to those of us who are "blessed" (or cursed!) in that department! Yes, if your bra cups are too small, it will cause the center of the bra at the top to pull out away from you, even more so if you have the wrong size of band. I used to buy 42 DD bras, after many exhausting hours of trying on different sizes & styles of bras. Finally, my then teenaged daughter (44 DD) & I went to Dillard's and were properly fitted. Turned out I am a 38DDDD, and my daughter is a 34DDDD! Your bra band size is literally the inches around of your rib cage. The cup size depends on how many inches larger than your rib cage measurement that your breast measurement is. OH! I almost forgot to tell you, Don McCunn shared his bra "parts supplier" web site, & underwires are WAY cheaper there than ANYWHERE I have found, and they have all sizes! Usually the parts cost as much or more as buying the bras. That's why I was so excited for Don to share his supplier with those of us who are members of his free Yahoo How-to-make-Sewing-Patterns group. Here is the address-


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