Is it Possible to Change a Bra? (Altering a Bra Cup, Band, and Straps) Update 05/2022

In an ideal world, we’d all know our exact bra size, and lingerie would be designed to fit real women’s bodies in styles, shapes, and sizes. However, we do not live in an ideal world.

Finding a bra in the exact same size as our bust measurements can be a challenge few ladies have the time, patience, or money for.

Some of us require a tiny cup with a wide band. Others have small ribcages but large breasts. You’d think that by now, bra manufacturers would have realized that not everyone is a 36C. But no.

Can You Alter a Bra?

So, what should a female do? For starters, don’t be depressed. Few bras are completely hopeless, especially when you have a few tricks in your sleeve. Contrary to popular belief, altering a bra does not necessitate the skills of a professional seamstress.

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Most changes may be completed quickly and easily at home, with some requiring no stitching at all.

Even if the adjustments take a little more time and effort, the ultimate result of having a bra that is both comfortable and supportive is well worth the effort.

How to Alter a Bra That is Too Big

When it comes to adjusting a too-big bra, we have several possibilities.

Some women prefer not to make any significant changes to their bras, in which case push-up pads are, if not a lifesaver, then a bra-saver. Simply place a pad in each cup, and any wrinkles caused by excess fabric are mysteriously straightened out (and you get an uplifting little boost to boot).

If you’re willing to make more substantial changes, there are many of options for getting a better-fitting bra… But be cautious….

Some changes are more noticeable than others; while they will result in a more comfortable and supportive bra, it will appear significantly different from the one you started with.

If your bra contains an underwire, you’ll also need to consider how well the wire fits before determining which alteration approach to take: if the underwire is too large, no amount of sewing will help you acquire a better-fitting bra.

Try it on before you get too excited about making any alterations to the bra. Not all problems with fittings are the same. Some bras have a perfect fit around the cup but a slack band. Others may be experiencing the opposite issue.

The straps are sometimes the only thing letting the bra down. Work out exactly what the problem is before tackling it with a sewing needle. The easiest part is finding a solution that matches.

How to Alter a Bra Cup Size

Sometimes the only way to fix a bad-fitting cup is to replace it entirely. Sometimes all that’s required is a little strategic surgery. Removing or adding a segment from the top of the cup can lower or raise a cup size by up to two sizes, and is a useful solution for bras with adequate underwire but poor cups.

With this simple lesson, you can do it yourself.

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The Method for Reducing a Bra Cup

  • Step 1: Draw a line from the nipple area of the cup to the top edge of the cup with tailor’s chalk or a fabric pen. The lines should be at a right angle to the cup’s edge. Remove any decorations or beading that fall within one inch of each side of the line if the bra has them.
  • Cut all the way along the lines in Step 2. From both sides of the line, cut identically sized pie-like slices.
  • Step 3: Sew each cut cup’s edge back together.

The Method for Increasing a Bra Cup

  • Step 1: Draw a line from the nipple area of the cup to the top edge of the cup with tailor’s chalk or a fabric pen. The lines should be at a right angle to the cup’s edge. Remove any decorations or beading that fall within one inch of each side of the line if the bra has them.
  • Cut all the way along the lines in Step 2.
  • Step 3: Put on the bra. Under the sliced line, place a piece of interfacing. On the interface, trace the shape generated by the open slits.
  • Remove the bra and cut out the pie-shaped sections you marked on the interfacing. You don’t need to add a seam allowance.
  • Step 5 – Pin the interfacing in place, then use a spiral stitch to connect it to the bra.
  • Step 6: Cut out two ornamental fabric pieces. The components should be somewhat larger than the size of the interfacing. Fold the edges under, pin over the interfacing, and fasten with a spiral stitch.

How to Alter a Bra Cup That’s Too Small

If the diameter of the bra cup is causing you problems, the procedure described in the preceding part is a fantastic option. What if the diameter is perfect, but the coverage is inadequate? If your bra cup is too small to allow for modesty, a little more fabric above the cup can provide the support and security you need – and it’s not difficult to accomplish.

Simply cut a piece of fabric to fit (the length must be the same as the cup). Sew to the interior of the cup (width will depend on how much coverage you want to add).

Keep in mind that this is a highly apparent change. If the final product is too stark, add some beading or decorations to make it fit in (or, conversely, stand out in a nice manner) with the rest of the bra.

How to Alter a Bra to Make the Band Smaller

A properly fitting band is essential for a bra’s fit and support. If yours is a touch too loose (like the rest of us), you may have fallen into the trap of hoisting your bust by tightening the bra straps. But don’t go any further.

The band, not the straps, should provide breast support. Continuing to tighten the straps will only result in painful shoulders and a strap that is 3 inches above where it should be. If you’ve tried tightening your bra band and are still having problems, consider this simple modification… but be advised, you’ll need help.

The Approach

Step 1: Unfasten the bra and try it on. Request that your assistant pinch the two ends of the band together until you achieve a secure, comfortable fit. Request that they mark one inch along both sides of the pinch point with a fabric marker.

If you can’t find somebody to assist you, you can do this step on your own by wearing the bra backwards and drawing the lines from the front. Just keep in mind that the ultimate product won’t be as exact this manner, and it won’t work for larger busted ladies.

Step 2: Take off your bra. Remove the stitching that connects the bra clasps to the band and lay them aside.
Step 3 – Cut cleanly along the lines you made in step 1 using a pair of sharp fabric scissors. Throw away the extra fabric.
Step 4: Reattach the trimmed band edges to the removed claps. Using a zigzag stitch, sew in place. You should be left with a bra that fits flawlessly.

How to Alter bra Traps

Altering bra straps is simple, but before making any permanent modifications, see how much of a difference simply working the strap securers (assuming your bra has them) can make.

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Many women will require one strap to be somewhat longer or shorter than the other; therefore, don’t feel obligated to maintain both straps equal if this does not provide you with a supportive fit. If you’re still unsatisfied with your straps after adjusting the strap securer, consider one of these quick fixes.

Method 1

This procedure is a long-term solution to the problem of excessively lengthy bra straps.

Step 1: Put on the bra. Pinch the straps together until they’re a snug fit. Before removing the bra, use safety pins to keep the straps in place.
Step 2 – Sew the strap in its new, permanent location with a thread that matches the bra’s thread color.

Method 2

If your straps are too tight, try this simple method to relieve the pressure. Under each strap, place a padded shoulder pad. The shoulder pad should be thin enough to not distort the line of your clothes while yet being padded enough to provide comfort.

You should be able to go about your business without worrying about sore shoulders or ugly strap marks once you’ve adjusted the pads into the proper place.

Can You Alter a Sports Bra?

It’s simple enough to alter a fashion bra, but what about other types of bras? Is it possible to adjust a sports bra using the same techniques as a conventional bra? The answer is that it is debatable.

Sports bras are composed of elastic materials and are meant to provide the most amount of support possible. While making changes to the cup size, band length, and straps can be done in similar ways to what we’ve already seen, the end result may vary.

In certain situations, you may end up with a sports bra that, while a little tighter or looser than it was before, doesn’t necessarily give the same even distribution of support that it did before.

How to Alter a Bra Pattern

Making a few minor tweaks to the template is simple enough if you’re making a bra from start.

How to fix a cup that is too tiny

A too-small cup will most certainly fail in the support department, as well as add a few bumps and lumps under your garments that no one wants to see. With a quick pattern change, you can completely avoid the problem.

The B-Cup is available in most bra patterns, however not all women wear it. Simply mark out three lines on the design to customize it to your exact measurements. The lines should run parallel to the center front grainline from the bust point to the hem, vertically to the center front grainline from the bust point to the side seam, and from the bust point to the middle of the armhole curve.

Beginning at the bottom of the hem and working your way up, cut along the length of each line. Make a hinge by leaving enough fabric at the armhole and bust point.

After the lines have been cut, space them out as much as possible. How many sizes you want to raise the cup size by will determine how much you open up the components. As a starting point, consider the following.

  • Allow 12 minutes for a C cup “distinction
  • Allow 34 minutes for a D cup “distinction
  • Allow 1 cup for a DD cup “distinction
  • Allow 14 minutes for an E cup “distinction

Tape a sheet of paper under the new side and armhole openings to keep them in place.

Draw a new side bust dart to finish.

How to fix a cup that is too big

If your bra gets a little ‘bunchy’ in the front, you’re dealing with an excess fabric issue. Simply straighten out the curved seams that give the cup its shape to reduce the cup size of a pattern. Allow for less depth and ugly bunching.

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