Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tutorial: tightening a bra band without distorting the fit of the underwires

Simply shortening the band completely changes the fit of the bra because then the band is always very stretched. Try stretching a bra band: the underwires get bent apart, and this flattens the cup. The underwire doesn´t lie flat on the chest anymore, often the ends dig in and the middle stays away from the ribcage. (like this).

    Here is a tutorial with an easy and much better way. By sewing over the elastic on the band, you prevent it from stretching. The band stays practically at rest, and the underwires are not pulled.

Why tighten a bra band ?

* To rescue a not-so new bra
* A way to deal with stretchy but pretty Freya bras
* If you need a band less that UK/US 28 (EUR60)
* Please note that this will not turn your 75B bra into a 65D. These two sizes have different size and spacing of the underwires, cup width and shape.
    Here is the basic method, after that are some better variations:

The quick and dirty 5-minute method:


* This is really easy, even a total sewing newbie can do it.
* If you´re using a sewing machine, remember to do a non--elastic stitch ! No "vvvv" or "xxxxx", just simple ------ !
* I left a part unsewn, because you do need a bit of stretch when you are putting the bra on / breathing. Sewing along the entire length will not allow the band to stretch at all. I started sewing where the band is attached to the cups, because I figured that way the underwires wouldn´t be pulled.
* I overdid it a little with the tightness, and had to undo a few cm after I took the photos. That´s why: sew a few cm, then try on !

Band sew 1
Band sew 2 
Band sew 3

Advanced, and more durable versions:

* Backing with a cloth tape or ribbon.
Put the bra on, and measure how much ribbon you´re gonna need. I recommend not going all the way to the hooks, but leaving a few cm, so that the band does stretch a little. Take off the bra. Attach both ends of the ribbon to the band, like this. Keeping the band stretched, sew the ribbon to the band. (If you don´t have anyone to hold it for you, try pinning it to a sofa). Finished result: stretchedunstretched

* Backing with a silicon band
Glue a silicon band to the elastic. The silicone band will stretch, but not much. Also, the whole thing is invisible.

Need even more tightness ?
   The above methods will tighten the band maximally till it´s unstretched length. The bra above is 53cm when unstretched, theoretically I could sew it up till it stays that way (practically you need a few cm unsewn to allow for a bit of stretch when putting the bra on). If you need to tighten the band even more, try the elastic method !

Photos by Eternal*Voyageur    

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  1. I'm bookmarking this! Thank you so much, it'll give me more pretty bras to wear :D

  2. Wow! Thanks so much for this! So for the quick and dirty method, you just sew a string to the band, right?

  3. Yes, that´s pretty much it ! Just remember to sew tight little stitches, don´t let the thread be loose, or it will end up stretchy. Here is a little tutorial of the running stitch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6657ZhHWgI

  4. did you made the post on the elastic method? i'm curious about it but can't find it.

  5. Ana, here it is: http://venusianglow.blogspot.com/2011/11/bra-band-tightening-tutorial-using.html

  6. I know this is an old post but I am hoping that you will still see this comment! I just tried this on several bras I own whose bands are too long - attempting to shorten them from a 36 to a 34. It seems to have worked great, except the threads in my sewn stitches have popped a couple of times after I've worn them for a few hours. Have you had this happen on yours? And do you have any suggestions? My next step is to try the elastic tutorial but I'm trying to make do until I have access to a sewing machine!

  7. Hi Leslie, maybe use a double thread (tie two ends of the thread together, then loop through the needle), and make sure it is a strong one (I'm not expert but I have heard that the glossy silk ones are very weak). And of course a sewing machine would probably solve the problem.

  8. Beeswax can be used to strengthen your thread too. You can get beeswax in block form that is used to run your thread through/across it and it gives strength to the thread and helps stop tangles too.

  9. Hi! I'd love to try this, but I honestly can't tell where/what you're sewing, in the pictures. Any chance you can highlight the stitches somehow?