Friday, 27 July 2012

How To Make A High-Cut Bra Lower-Cut

Have you ever put on a bra and thought that it would be so much cuter if it didn’t cover your whole chest up to your collarbone? I think we’ve all felt that way at some point. You might never have considered it, but it’s possible to change this. This alteration isn’t as simple as some of the ones I’ve posted about in the past, and it’s also not one that you can undo. So I’d recommend saving this alteration for bras that you can’t return, wouldn’t make money selling, and won’t wear unless they change.

This alteration is shown on the Freya Pippa, an older style. Here’s what it looked like to start with.

As you can see, that is just a lot of bra. There is no reason for it to come up so high on my chest, as I don’t even have any breast tissue there.

To start the alteration, position one cup of the bra in your lap. I find my knee is about the size of one boob (did I really just say that?) so it makes a good “dress form” for more advanced bra alterations.

Cut down and around the lace at a right angle, starting at the shoulder strap.

Can you see how the seam on the bra is right at the bottom of the lace, close to where you are cutting? If the bra you are altering doesn’t have lace at the top, you would want to cut right under the seam. The alteration would be trickier in that case, though, and harder to make it look nice. The lace on the Pippa and on many Freya bras helps conceal the alteration when it’s finished.

Now slowly and carefully cut down along the seam that goes diagonally down the cups. DON’T CUT ALL THE WAY.

You want to be able to position the lace so that the TOP of the lace is where the BOTTOM of the lace originally was, like this:

By doing this, you’ll lose about an inch of the excess height you don’t want. This will generally be enough to significantly change the look of the bra, but you can also go further, if you want. But cut ONLY until you can position it the way you want it without any wrinkling. Don’t cut any further. It will probably be about this far:

Now, hold the lace strip in position (this is where your knee comes in handy!) and TAPE it in place. Yes, tape it. 

It’s a good deal faster and easier than using pins to hold it in place while you sew. It will hold a lot better, even if you need to get up and pee or something and have to take the bra off your knee. Yes, you probably will need a thimble to get the needle through the tape and fabric. But this is an alteration best done by hand because of the curve of the bra, and this is the easiest way to make sure that it is perfect.

Now sew along the seam, starting in the middle of the cup where you stopped cutting, and moving towards the shoulder strap. Make sure you are sewing the seam you cut away from the bra TO the fabric still attached to the bra. Don’t just sew the lace and don’t just sew the fabric still attached to the bra, as that will of course accomplish nothing. The easiest way to do it is to literally sew along the stitches that formed the original seam.

When you get to the corner, take a ninety degree angle and sew up towards the strap.

Once you’ve tied off your thread, you can cut off the extra fabric, making sure not to puncture the lace.

Here’s one side done and the other side still undone.

What a difference!

The bra looks MUCH better from the front now. But for some bras (like the Pippa) it won’t change the shape from the side, which I found was still quite pointy. 

But don’t worry—this isn’t the end of the road for the Pippa! There is still hope.

Stay tuned for Monday's post—How to make a pointy-shaped bra give a round shape!


  1. Conversion of the turtle neck bra... ;-)

    Amazing trick, thanks for sharing!

    What size is this by the way? It looks much too big for you. o_0 (I found with Freya the one size is always too small and the next to big for me. Don't know why. It's just strange...)

    1. I have found that too. One size will give me slight quad-boob, while the next cup up is huge and it looks like I am swimming in it. weird.

    2. It's the exact same for me with them. I quadraboob at the upper sides though.

  2. I just did this to a Freya Pollyanna. Recommendations: be very careful if the bra has a larger lace section than the one in the post, and pins work perfectly fine (I tried the tape and it didn't work at all for me).

    Thank you!

    1. Interesting, I was about to say I wouldn't have risked doing this alteration with a bra that has such a big lace section, but then I remembered that I actually did this a few years ago on my own Freya Pollyanna and that was where I got the idea to alter this Pippa. When I did it with the Pollyanna, I actually didn't cut the material off at all. I sort of folded it under and stitched it in place. I didn't cut all the way down to the seam and move it, although I suspect that might work better. Is that what you did? How did you secure the lace back to the cup on the side (where there is no seam)?

    2. I cut down the lace seam until it met the vertical seam that goes up the cup. I more or less made my own seam to reattach the lace. I pinned the lace where I wanted with the bra on me, being super careful and precise with the angles to get the lace to lie flat while fitting my shape. The way I positioned the lace only works because I've tailored it exactly to my projection. It looks like there should be a weird wrinkle, because the lace lies differently towards the centre gore, where I didn't adjust it, and after the vertical seam, where I did adjust it, but my projection smooths it out.

      Sorry this isn't clearer, I'm not much of a sewer.

    3. Also, I totally see how folding the lace down into place without cutting it would work. I actually tried something similar when I was pinning, but the lace wouldn't lie flat without wrinkling for me that way. My breast shape is more suited to Freyas than yours, I think, because I'm not as full on top as you are and I prefer the "green shape" over the pink one. So that could account for differences.

  3. Awesome idea! Freya's unpadded plunge styles go up so high on me that they make anything other than a crewneck impossible, which is a shame because they have so many styles.

    Very interested to see how to make a pointy bra go round...

  4. Your alteration looks great, but the bra looks way too big on you to begin with...would you not be better off with a different size or style or something from a different company? It looks big in the armhole area, and you don't have any "flubber" to hide!

    1. You're the second commenter to suggest that! I don't think it is too big, because I didn't have any wrinkling in the cup, other than what you can see right at the apex of the seam. If I sized down I would have had the bra cutting in at the top. The alteration I'm going to post about tomorrow will explain how to deal with that extra fabric at the apex. It's a problem I have a lot (and not just me--I've heard it described as "the Freya wrinkle") because I can't fill out bras with a lot of projection, but then I have a lot of volume on the top and I have to accomodate for both.

      It's sort of a balance that one must try to strike. I think most of us prefer a bra that doesn't take up so much area on the body, but in a certain sense this actually is how a lot of well-fitted bras will look, depending on style. Freya bras almost always look like this on me. The best proof of this is the side-by-side comparison of a 28J Freya bra and a 28J Panache bra that I posted in my long run-down of Freya as a brand ("What Does Freya Have to Offer?")

  5. Oh my goodness, I am loving your alteration tips! I've often felt there must be a way to improve the shape of my bras, and you've given me a goldmine of ideas!

    If my boyfriend wasn't coming over later to review the Curvy Kate Emily I've just bought I'd be straight on the sewing machine. Thank you!

  6. Wonderful post and desperately needed. Thank you.