Altering bras?

netlaApril 27, 2005

I have a problem with bras: I need large size bras, but can't wear underwires, and it's nearly impossible to get the right size without underwired cups. So I use an extension, but that puts the straps so far out on my shoulders that they keep slipping off.

I was wondering if anyone here has tried moving the fastenings for the straps in the back of a bra to prevent slippage, and if it worked (i.e. was the bra comfortable after the alterations)? How did/would you reattach the straps?

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why not just remove the underwire from the correct size bra?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 1:53PM
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I tried making one once. Biggest mess I ever got into. Whom ever it was in the fabric stash chat about "not going to the beauty salon, getting nails done, smoking or drinking", so buying cloth was a vice she was going with . Well I will buy cloth & I will splurge on bras. I don't care what they cost. I just want to be comfortable. Saying that, I see where you are coming from. I don't want to be aware of my bra or my shoes.

If altering is your only option, I would go with splitting in the underarm area & inserting something there. Do one & try it before you do any others. I can remember bras when the only stretch was in the fastner area. I would think an insert out of sturdy satin would fit the bill. It will be under stress so the seams need to be strong enough to hold up. Rather than trying to finish off the top & bottom edges with elastic, I would double the inset to conceal the seams on the inside as well. That would keep everything nice & flat with no raveling.

On the one that suggested removing wires, I wouldn't do that. I broke a wire in the washer once & took it & the other one out. Wireless bras are constructed different with sewn in support that is not in underwires because they serve that purpose. I was never able to wear that bra.

I get a catalog from Hanes/Leggs that has a nice assortment of underwires & wireless in seconds. They have Bali, Playtex, Wonder bra, & others & in large sizes. Check them out for your correct size.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 1:06AM
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Bali has a style #3821, that should be in that Hanes/Leggs catalog. (I think.) You can see it online. It has soft cups with no underwiring, has wide elastic, padded straps, 4 hooks in the back, and it's all stretchy. And if I'm not mistaken comes in white, nude and black. This one never falls off my shoulders & I wear a large cup as well. It is no longer sold at major department stores but I did find an outlet for them at a Hanes Bra Shop in the town where I live. Your profile says you live in Iceland, perhaps you could try ordering just one and trying it out. Such a problem altering bras!!

All the best,

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 1:38PM
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This is a huge problem. I have purchased books and patterns to make my own bras. Don't try it. I also tried to move the straps on the back of a bra. Didn't make it more comfortable but the straps didn't fall. Just because you have a bigger cup size does not mean you are bigger around.Most companies make what they think will fit most people. As my waist enlarged, all the pants that fit get longer. I didn't get taller, just wider. The bra straps are in the wrong place with the bigger sizes. I can not get a cup size that fits me for under $50.00 each. I did find some on ebay that fit well and got 4 for less than $50.00 total including postage. They are a Sears brand and hope to find more when I wear these out. Good luck to ya. Best to keep trying to find a brand that works for you.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 4:52PM
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I like bras with what's called racing backs. The straps stay put and are very comfy.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 5:28PM
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How do you guys fit bras for yourself?

I measure the rib cage just under the breasts. I add 4", that give me the BAND size. From the band size I move up in cup size until I find the one that accomodates my breast size. I ALWAYS make sure the bra is on the LOOSEST hole, the eye furthest out on the female end of the strap. I remind myself that I want the bra to be tightest when it's new, because as the elastic ages the tensity will decrease.

What are YOUR guidelines/ideas? (Depending on maker, I vary from a 32DD to a 34D, sometimes a DD). And I LOVE underwires! I think people who hate them or find them uncomfortable are afraid to venture into the DD, E, EE range... but if your band size isn't available in greater cup sizes you have to WRITE THE MANUFACTURERS... I've been a wear tester and was brutal in my criticisms!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 5:31PM
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Nope Chelone,

I'm not afraid to get a larger bra, just can't stand those wires in my armpits or sticking out on my chest wall. Feel a bit like Attila the Hun in her breastplate. Seems as if many bra manufacturers today are just so chintzy, ie. are using less hooks in the back, and material for straps that doesn't stretch and have stopped using padding on the shoulders. If the prices stayed the same that would help but I get so angry when they try to tell me mine have been discontinued and this is the "new design" and of course it's always more expensive than the one it superceded.

AND another thing the fitters say is "no you don't wear that large a bra". Well guess what, I'm right, and won't wear one that is gouging into the flesh of my back. I would rather go without a bra, heaven forbid, than get one that is uncomfortable and makes me look worse.

While we are waiting for the manufacturers to get with it and make it right we still need bras. Don't get me wrong I'm all for telling manufacturers and buyers how I feel about the choice of things for larger women. We still want to look nice and wear nice things.

LOL, now I feel better!!!

All the best,

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 6:11PM
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i found a site called ive seen these before never tried them but would be easy to make.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 2:06PM
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Sorry, I did not find that website but did find AND I agree, one of those would be extrememly easy to make and would probably be the easiest way to keep bra straps in place.

All the best,

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 2:32PM
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GingerBlue has a great selection. Hanes doesn't carry above a DDD. If your underwires are poking out under the arm or sticking out in front it's because the cups are too small and/or the wires are too WIDE for your body. Manufacturers have this stupid idea that large cups need to be larger around. So a 38DDD cup is like 7" across...times two...and that's wider than my ribcage! I need a larger CUP letter, not a larger number. Larger numbers make the darned thing wider not bigger.

I've made bras, and YES, it can be done. If you're really into it, there is a book called "Making Beautiful Bras" by Lee-Ann Burgess. She's in Australia and I ordered directly from her. Excellent info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Making Beautiful Bras website

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:44AM
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I'm sitting at the keyboard right now. The underwire on my 34DD meets at the center of my sternum. The outer part of the underwire is in line with the beginning of my underarm. The under wire is very comfortably AROUND my breast. MY "issue" with bras is that they don't allow enough fabric to accomodate the actual roundness of my breasts... often, I have the dreaded "bulge" when I put my arms back... the underwire is fine but the amount of coverage in the front is too skimpy. My favorite bras are by Bali, they're all lace with an underwire. I'm a fit, toned 46 yr. old. And I HATE having to buy something designed for a fat, out of shape matron simply because my "size" dicatates that's the market segment most likely to buy the product. My reports as a wear tester have been directed to these points: NO ELASTIC STRAPS (I need support)! black, navy blue, colors other than WHITE, hooks on the band must reflect the burden of supporting the weight of the breasts... if it takes 3, OK, but don't put on 2 "for looks", thinking they'll be sufficient.

Were you successful in your bra making? how did you address the very personal issues of fit and function? where did you find your supplies or did you work for a manufacturer?

The bra is the equivilent of a jockstrap. Breasts should be considered "chesticles". And we need to tell manufacturers they aren't getting the job done! (sisterhood arise!)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:30PM
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I can removed the wire, I have done it before, it was bent, any way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it ruins the bra. Test on old bars. Make a small opening near the base of the wire, and pull it out. That is all you need to do.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 3:04PM
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In this same line of questioning, I am a 34DD, and have a difficult time finding bras that fit correctly. When I do find one, I buy several! But I have a problem where I can't find a padded bra (not that I want to appear larger) and I have a problem wearing fitted tops because of the nipple thing. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 5:26PM
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Lots of good suggestions here. I stupidly posted this question just before going away on holiday, so apologies for not participating in the discussion or answering questions.

I could never order a bra I had not tried on - I don't know about returns policies in other countries, but over here you can not return underwear once you've bought it. I have a broad back and deep chest, but average breasts - definitely not the type regular bras are designed for. It's part of the problem - because I have a broad back, the straps will ride out on my shoulders and slip down my arms.

My mother suggested I put an elastic between the straps in the back, sewing it to one strap and securing with hooks on the other for ease of putting on. It will be a less drastic alteration than enlargement or moving the straps, so I'm trying that first. If that doesn't work, I'm going to try the inserts.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 10:42AM
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