Alterations: how to deal with awkwardly wide gores

So I managed to find time to fiddle with the gore on my Chantelle Icone. I removed the awkward strip of fabric that was holding the cups together, and sewed the underwires directly to each other. To deal with the awkwardness of the resulting band line (or lack thereof), I reattached the strip of fabric lower down.

It’s a quick post, and the photos aren’t great, but they do show the alteration. The results (before/padding removed/gore altered):

Before:

iconebefore4

Padding removed:

iconeafter

Gore altered:IconeGore

Before:

iconebefore3

Padding removed:

iconeafter4

Gore altered:

IconeFront2

Before:

iconebefore1

Padding removed:

iconeafter2

Gore altered:

Iconeside

Now if only I can find some navy or purple mesh… I might even make an inner sling! But even without that addition, this bra feels stable enough to wear out, and it no longer looks dumpy from the front. Success!

Project: removing the padding from a bra

Remember this bra? I mentioned it a while back. It’s the Chantelle Icone push-up bra in Iris- one of the most beautiful pieces of lingerie I’ve ever seen.

chantelle-icone-push-up-bh-violett-2-800x1157-4

I worked hard to find this bra. I hunted it down, had a retailer from France order it direct from Chantelle for me, and payed way more than I should have for it. It was a 36DD (back when I was wearing 32Fs) and I thought I could make it work. Of course, as luck would have it, it never really fit me. I took the cookies out, but it was still too small for me to actually wear.

And so it languished in my drawer for a while… I took the band in (sloppily) and made it into a 28G(ish). Still too small for my breasts (which were still growing), I stubbornly kept it around.

I was a little sad to find it when I was unpacking a few weeks ago. It hadn’t been worn in ages, and it was miles too small… it was 4-5 cups too small and the band felt tight (partially due to the cups being too small). Since I was going to have to throw it away, I decided to experiment a bit. I wasn’t sure whether it was possible (or worthwhile) to remove the padding from the bra, but I figured that I had nothing to lose, and quite a bit to gain.

Here are some before photos:

iconebefore4

iconebefore5

The horrific overspill:iconebefore1

And the total lack of support (my breasts are barely even in the cups):iconebefore2iconebefore3

And it was fairly successful! I don’t get much support, and it looks odd from the front… but it’s no longer cutting in, and it’s definitely wearable as boudoir lingerie. Here are some after photos:

iconeafter

No more overspill!

iconeafter3

iconeafter1 

Still not great from the front, though…

iconeafter4

How did I do it? I didn’t manage to get any photographs of the process, so I’ll try to describe it clearly. 

Step 1: Pick out stitching that holds the lace overlay to the foam along the top and sides of the cup. The elastic bits on the sides will have to come apart in order to separate the lace from the foam. You can resew this later.

Step 2: Cut (very, very carefully) the foam as close to the underwires as possible, being sure to avoid cutting the lace.

Step 3: Fold the lace back into the elastic part at the sides of the cup and, using a loose zig-zag stitch, sew the lace back to the elastic.

Step 4: Feel brilliant. And thrifty!

Anyway, I’m happy I didn’t have to part with it, but it’s still not great on me. If I get around to it, I’m considering taking out the bit of fabric between the cups and sewing the underwires together, which will make the cups a bit more stable. I am also considering finding a fabric to create an inner “sling” with, which would help give the bra a bit more structural support.

A fitted slip: my first major sewing project

I don’t like following patterns.

I’m a bit proud of my spatial reasoning skills and, anyway, there’s no way I’d be able to make a conventional pattern work for my boobs. Also, I wanted to make a 1930s-ish gown/slip-thing out of a stretch satin fabric… to fit over a(n admittedly too-small) 30G Parfait Jeanie bra. So, yeah, there was no way in hell that a pattern was going to work anyway.

But rather than looking at similar patterns and then drafting my own, I kind of just decided to wing it. I drew a quick sketch of my planned dress and then started sewing. My though process was thus: “Okay, so I need to sew a tube (ribcage-floor) and then take it in at the waist, sew cups and attach them, sew straps and attach them, and then add godets to the skirt. Simple.”

It didn’t end up being so simple. The godets were a pain in the arse and the cups… well, I ended up just cutting random shapes that somehow made a 3-part seamed cup (I had some luck). But I got through it!

Looking at it now, I wish the seams were neater, I wish I’d put the cups in straighter, I wish I’d made the cups a bit more covering, etc. But I’ve worn it… multiple times. I’ve received a lot of compliments on it, too!

I was too caught up in the “joys” of sewing to take progress pics…  and I don’t have any good full-length shots that really show the skirt, but here are a few pictures of the finished product:

slip full 1 slip side 3

slip front 1

slip side 2slip side 1

Bra alterations: sleep bra from a Parfait Casey

When my old (very, very used) 30G Casey first popped an underwire, I tried to fix it. It held up for a few more wears, but the wire popped out again. While the Casey is one of my favourite bras, the 30G had always been a bit too small in the cup and, after a few sad attempts to fix it, I figured I’d just give up on it and maybe use it for parts (I do occasionally sew). As I was cutting out the underwires to use in another project, though, I was inspired to try the bra on sans-wires.

wireless front 2

wireless front 1

wireless side 1

wireless side 2

While it didn’t give much lift without the wires, it was incredibly comfortable and the moulded cups left it with enough support to be useful. Excited by the idea of a 30G wireless bra, I sewed the underwire channels closed and took it for a “test-drive” the next day. While I did manage to wear it for the entire day, I think it’s much better suited as a sleep/lounge bra.

The cups were too small to begin with, and, without the wires, the gore sits even farther away from my sternum…

wireless gore

…but, for a sleep bra, it’s not a huge issue.

I’ve been wearing the bra to bed and while hunching over my computer to write papers, and I’m quite amazed by how comfortable it is. Going braless has always taken a toll on my back, but wearing underwires all the time is really uncomfortable. This seems to solve the problem quite well. So while I’d probably  never buy a wire-less bra (money is tight), this is a great way to get some extra mileage out of old bras after the underwires break/pop out/etc!