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20 February 2008 @ 09:13 am
A quick post on bra alteration  
This post is gonna be a quickie in response to a comment on the last entry. At the end of the entry, I'll also be asking readers to submit their favorite bra stores and websites for review in future posts, so skip to the end to read about that even if you're not interested in the content of this post ;)


A commenter on the last entry related a common problem-- that bras usually don't fit her right because the cups are much farther apart than her boobs are, so she always ends up with gaps or slippage even in her correct size. This is a *very* common problem. Unfortunately, the center gore on many bras, especially in larger cup sizes is much wider than it should be.

Fortunately, however, this is an easy problem to fix. In fact, I perform this alteration on nearly all of my bras right after I buy them.

The center gore is often made of a non-stretch material, though sometimes it's stretchy. Either way, you can do this alteration. Basically, making the center gore narrower is a very simple operation.

Here's a picture of a new Panache Tropical Superbra:



To alter it, we'll just pinch the center gore:



Then sew it up and down along the "pinch" line, so it stays "pinched." I use anywhere from 20-40 stitches (just a tight basting stitch, also known as a straight stitch), depending on whether I sew the line only once, or reinforce it with a second line of stitching (usually I do).

The pictures probably do a better job of describing it; here's a different bra (a Panache Harmony Superbra) that's had the alteration done already:



Here's the inside view:



As you can see, it doesn't make the bra itself look much different, but the look through your clothes, and the fit, is light-years better. An added bonus is that by drawing the boobs closer together, it gives a slimmer, less matronly look from the front. And you never have to worry about the sides of your boobs getting in the way of your arms again. Depending on how much you take the gore in, it can also give killer cleavage! You might even find that with this alteration your cup size changes from what you used to wear, because of how it changes the bra's fit.

You can pinch it in as much or as little as you need, based on your body shape-- you needn't take the center gore in completely like I've done here. Try your bra on and pinch the gore in with your fingers, experimenting with how much you want to take it in before you start sewing.

Astute readers may also realize that this is the reason that I buy a size 34G (rather than rounding down to a 32) even though, as I mentioned in the last post, my band size measures 33 inches. The alteration narrowing the center gore takes out about an inch from the band. This is something to consider if you're between sizes, but if you're not, it won't make much of a difference, and you can continue buying the same band size generally.

If you know you are wearing the right size, and you still find your bra gaping, or you have to re-adjust your boobs in the cups throughout the day because they are sliding around, or your boobs tend to "jump" out of the front/top of the cups too easily when you're just walking around, then you should try this.

So, hopefully that will help a few folks out there. It's a very simple alteration, but it's not really the sort of thing you'd think to do unless someone pointed it out. This is also a great technique to tighten up those older bras you have that are stretched out and losing their ability to support you because they've gotten looser. This can save those oldies but goodies from the scrap heap for a few months more, and it's the easiest part of the bra (aside from the straps) to alter.

Ever done this to your bras? Think you'll try it? Let me know.

Also, let me know where you currently get your bras. Places you'd recommend or like to see reviewed, either brick and mortar stores or webstores. Please give the size range available at any store you suggest (this can be approximate if you don't know for sure). I'll take all your suggestions into account in the following posts, as we finally get into the business of actually BUYING bras, and I might even ask some folks to guest-post after a while...
 
 
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Exceedingly Diverted: dragonpixidance on February 20th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Recently I've been buying my bras at Lane Bryant. I believe their sizes are 36C- 44H. Their bras support me better than any I've tried and they're comfortable and their padded ones don't add bulk.
Sarah Ovenallsarah_ovenall on February 23rd, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Great website! I like the Freya brand from England. I don't know their entire size range but they have a good selection my size range: 32DD to 32DDD depending on weight and "periodic" fluctuations. I've seen them on various web stores though I get them from Ebay -- new of course! I always get the same basic shape, style 2 in your first post.

When I first realized that I needed to try an "unusual" size, I was told that Wacoal was the best bet. I found them incredibly unflattering, at least the ones available at the department store. They fit, and they made me look like my grandmother.
boobiusmaximusboobiusmaximus on February 28th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, Freya is a great brand. Did you get fitted in Freya initially somewhere in the US? Or did you just buy online and figure out your size that way? I know Nordstrom's carrie some Freya, but unfortunately they don't go up to my size.

I, too, hate it when you find a bra in your size but it makes you look horrible even though it technically fits. It's so demoralizing, and if there's a high-pressure saleswoman in the fitting room helping fit you, it's such a pain to explain, nicely, that you're not going to pay money for an ugly-as-sin bra.
Sarah Ovenallsarah_ovenall on February 28th, 2008 12:34 pm (UTC)
I took a chance & bought one Freya bra in the size I thought I was. It fit, so as long as I buy that same basic style, I'm good. If I ever get to the UK I will definitely do some major bra shopping.

The sad thing is, I let myself be pressured into buying the grandma Wacoal bra. That was when I had first realized that a 34C wasn't working for me, and I was used to my bras looking awful on me. I wore it a couple of times and then realized that I just could not stand to look like that. Never again!
Sue: gosh!gorillapotter on March 14th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
I've done this on bras that I got at Goodwill that had bands that were way too big (I'm roughly a 32F), along with drastically takings in the "wings" on the sides, and now they fit pretty good.

Thanks for making this journal--I saw it posted in thirty_twod and it looks like it's going to be very helpful!
boobiusmaximusboobiusmaximus on March 14th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
Cool! If you have any advice or might be interested in writing a tutorial on how to alter wings, let me know! Personally I've never done it (yet) because it seemed a lot more difficult. It would certainly help a lot of folks get the fit they need though!
aquaflame: meaquaflame16 on August 14th, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
I just wanted to come back to this old post and thank you for suggesting this, because I don't know that this ever would have occurred to me on my own (despite having tried various other alterations on my bras, with varying levels of success).

I actually just did this to my Panache Harmony, and the difference is incredible. I hadn't been wearing it much, because despite technically fitting, it came so wide that the straps (at the seam with the cup) were jabbing the front of my arms/shoulders and the underwire totally poking my armpits. This alteration pulled the bra out of my armpits and made it so much more comfortable. Pretty much rescued it from being a once in a while bra to being part of my regular rotation. (and with how hard a time I have finding bras, this is a majorly big deal!) So, thank you!!!!!
boobiusmaximusboobiusmaximus on August 14th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Very glad to hear it! You're quite welcome :)
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