I was to write a post about bra-fitting but it seemed like little bored to me, and since I’ve done bra band alteration recently, which turned out to be easier than I’d thought, I decided to share the experience first.
Well, if you google about bra band alteration, most of them can be categorized by two methods.
- Fold the side of the band and stitch them
- Cut out the band on the hook area and re-attach the hook
I prefer my bras to be neat like it was made like this from the beginning, so I opted the second method. The problem was that the bra I was to shorten has U shape on the back side (which is called as a leotard back).
When I’ve made my search on how to shorten a band of the leotard back bra by the second method, it usually involved ripping out the seam of the elastic band and sewing back with a sewing machine or just saying it’s impossible with hand. However, I’ve managed to find a way after reading these two posts and I gave a try.
Posts that inspired me:
Then let’s get started.
- A leotard back bra to shorten,
(I don’t recommend shortening 2 or more band sizes.)
- A bra extender with proper size and hooks
- A seam ripper (I’ve bought it on Daiso, which is a dollar store in S. Korea)
- A needle, scissors, pins, some thread, measuring tape..like you know, things needed for hand sewing
- A plenty of time, peace of a mind.
1. Examine your bra
First, you have to determine how long you’re going to cut out. You have to cut it on both sides of the band to get the symmetric shape. I recommend doing it by comparing with another bra which has a proper band length. The reason why I don’t recommend shortening two or more band sizes is that if you do that, you might cut the band beyond the area where the straps are attached – which can be really tough to repair with hand sewing.
If you decided the length you want, place a pin to mark the place. Place another pin about a half inch closer to the hook from the first pin. The first pin is where you want to attach the hook, and the second is where to cut.
2. Measure the band height and determine the bra extender to put on.
If the marking is done, then measure the height of the band from where you’ve placed the first pin. We’ll cut off the previous hook with the band, and will put a bra extender whose height correlates with that of the cut band.
When choosing a bra extender, buy a classic one – a hook part and an eye part sewn together – without any elastic band detail or something like that.
There’s another thing to consider – the width between the hooks and eyes. It’s usually either a half inch (1.3cm) or three-quarter inch (1.9cm). If you are considering shortening a band size, you might want to get an extender with same hook width with one more hook. What I’m talking about here is that not all extenders with the same number of hooks are created equal. As you can see in the picture below, a 3 hook extender with 3/4 inch hook width has longer width overall compared to a 3 hook extender with 1/2 inch hook width. So take caution when buying an extender and choose the right one for you.
In my case, the bra had 2 hooks with 1/2 hook width so I bought a 3 hook bra extender with 1/2 inch hook width. If you are living in S.Korea, Vivien sells 3/4 inch hook width extenders while Venus sells 1/2 inch width of them. Internet markets in S.Korea usually sell 1/2 inch width ones on 2 hook extenders while 3/4inch width on 3 hook extenders.
3. Take apart the bra extender
Remeber what I’ve said to get a classic bra extender with a hook part and an eye part sewn together? I recommend doing so because it’s more convenient. Now, get a seam ripper and rip all the seams on the extender and it will yield two pieces – a hook part and an eye part.
4. Cut the band
An irreversible procedure! Cut the band along the second pin.
5. Sew the bra extender pieces
Sandwich the band in the bra hook extender pieces and pin them to hold still. After the pinning process, you may want to try the bra on to see if it fits before the actual sewing.
Now it’s sewing time. I’ve placed my pins horizontally along the band shape. Sew the top and the bottom of the hook, and the vertical line where the band is sandwiched. Where to start is completely up to you. I’ve started from the top and the bottom. When I sew the top & bottom, I sewed as compact as possible, as if I were doing a buttonhole stitch. When sewing the top & bottom, don’t forget to penetrate the elastic band inside the hook with the needle. I’ve done a lockstitch for the verticle seam.
If you’ve done the one side, do the same on the other side and Ta-da! It is finished.
How was it? Wasn’t that hard, was it?
The band of the bra I’ve shortened was somewhat like 32 bands, although its size was 30DD. So I’ve done the alteration and it fitted me like “29” bands. which was really nice. The back of the straps wasn’t that close either. Of course, buying a bra with a proper band length is the best. But this can be an option for a bra which can be a perfect one just except for a band length, even if the bra has a leotard back and you don’t have a sewing machine. I hope this could be a help for you too.