Thursday 8 December 2011

Saving The Princess

About a month ago I wrote a review of the Curvy Kate Princess bra, and how even though I loved the way it looked, I couldn’t get the right fit. Since then, I decided to commit to owning the red Princess I got from Brastop and try a few alterations that would make it wearable for me.

Altering a bra can always feel a bit risky because once you’ve done it, you can no longer return the bra if it still doesn’t work. For instance, I wish I would have returned my Panache Melody instead of altering it, as it still doesn’t fit right and it doesn’t look good on me. But there are other bras that I’ve managed to truly transform through alterations, taking them from ill-fitting to perfect, so I’m still willing to take the risk sometimes.

The first thing I did to the Princess was cut the tiny ribbon that goes across the top of the cups. I had found that no matter what I did, this ribbon cut into my boobs, but I also noticed that the rest of the embroidery and detailing in that area was actually slightly stretchy, so cutting the ribbon fixed the problem entirely. I cut it in the upper corner next to the strap, and since it looked a little odd with it taken out entirely, I just left the ribbons threaded through but unattached at the top. With the bra on, it lays where it should and isn’t very noticeable.

The bra technically fit me after cutting the ribbon, but I still wasn’t a huge fan of the shape, so I altered the center gore, as I do on almost all of my bras to make them fit better to my shape. 

I’ve found that this alteration looks much neater in Panache and Cleo bras because the center gore is wider to begin with. In Freya and Curvy Kate bras, the cups are already placed so close that putting them closer together makes the underwires overlap each other and get a bit warped:

This wasn’t the end of the world for me, though, as the center gore did still lie on my breastbone, and the alteration made the shape from the side look AWESOME:

For comparison, here's a photo of an unaltered Curvy Kate Princess in the same size (28J) but in black. Notice how much less lift the bra gave. 

My final problem was that the band was now too tight. I find the Princess has a fairly tight band anyway (a good thing!) but the alteration on the center gore took off almost two inches of that length—so it was technically now a 26 band! Since I do measure about 28” around, the tightness was painful, so I decided to investigate the world of bra extenders. I was able to find some very cheap ones on eBay that came in lots of colors and options of 2 hooks or 3 hooks. I ordered a red one and I’ve been using it with my Princess. 

This final step made my Princess truly flattering and wearable and I’ve been wearing it more than any of my other bras. I don't know if I would buy the Princess again, as I had to do so much work just to make it fit me, but I'm really glad I committed to altering this one. I just love the look of red lingerie--I think it can be much sexier than black, as black is so often used as a basic or continuity color. I’m really glad I was able to make this bra work for me, and I hope this can be encouraging for anyone with stubborn boobs and the desire to have fun with scissors and thread. 


  1. Awesome! I first read about this alteration here (with a link to Boobius Maximus) and I've tried it recently on an old Panache bra. It made a world of difference!

  2. I'm so glad the alteration was useful to you! It's been a lifesaver for lots of my bras, especially Panache. I added a link in this post to the Boobius Maximus article about alteration, in case anyone else is curious!

    1. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who can't see the pictures on the Boobius Maximus article, but do you think maybe you could post some step by step pictures of it? I'm relatively certain I have the general idea of it, since I've seen so many of the finished products, but it drives me crazy to look at that page when every other line is "here look at this one" and I can't see :[

      I'd suggest it to her if I could figure out how to contact her via her LJ, but it looks like she hasn't posted anything in a little over 3 years, so I thought perhaps you could create a new and updated tutorial post to go along with the rest of yours :]

  3. I tried this alteration with the Curvy Kate Ella bra, and it looks amazing now! Thank you for writing a great blog. :)

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad I was able to help :D

  4. When you alter the centre gore and fold it in, do you find it uncomfortable? I've altered a bra by folding it out and it fits much better but looks terrible. I'm nervous about folding a bra in as I'm wondering if the fold will push against the breastbone?

    1. The only time I've had issues was once, when instead of lying to one side, the fold bunched up and stayed in the middle. If that happens you can put in a stitch to keep it lying flat to one side, and then there shouldn't be too much issue. However, if you tend to have sensitivity in that area, you could try cutting through the middle of the fold and sewing the fabric down to each side so it spreads evenly--however in that case it will become a permanent alteration, plus if the stitches were to come out in the original seam you might find yourself busting out--however I've never had the stitches come undone so it shouldn't be different even if you do cut it.

  5. Thanks. This is very helpful. I have cut the ribbons on my Princess because it was to small on top of the cup in 30HH and now its fits me! The only bra that really fits me so far. Although I will try a 30j and see if its is better because the 30hh is on the smaller side for me. It would be great if you could do a post on how to take in the band / make it smaller. (Unfortuneately I have bought some bras with 32 band after my first fitting and now I found out I should really wear a smaller band. I hope I can alter some of them to make them wearable.)

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  19. I find having to alter bras quite depressing. The little girl in me has a tantrum every time "why can't we buy one that just FITS?!" I'm perfectly capable of doing it, I just don't see why I should be lumbered with the task when the bra manufacturers have everything they need to get it right in the first place. Buying a bra should be a rewarding experience, one that reinforces the idea that you cherish your body. I guess that's why I find bra shopping such a chore. Ironically, after buying a barely-used second-hand CK Princess to try from Ebay, I found that it's the best fitting bra I've ever owned!