For those of us who wear smaller band sizes, we often find ourselves frustrated that the bras we want don't go up to high enough cup sizes. You need to go up a cup size to keep the same volume when you go down a band size, but most bras cut off at a certain cup size across the board. So a brand will claim "We can't make this bra above a G cup", when actually, the 38G that is produced has the same cup volume as the 30J they refuse to manufacture.
I've heard a lot of people cautioning that taking in a band can be disruptive to the fit of a bra. However, I disagree. Think about it--within most brands, the cups are usually not 'scaled' from size to size--that is, the cups will be identical across the sister sizes. All you do when you take in a band is remove the length that has been added. There are, of course, inconsistencies that will arise with home alterations; however, in a general sense, there is no reason you should not be able to alter a band--even many sizes--and still get a good fit. The only real sticking point comes if the point where the strap hit the band is significantly changed. If you find this is the case, you may actually like the results--it's nice once in awhile to have your bra straps sit somewhere slightly different--or you can take in fabric on both sides of the strap to even out the position. I did not find this to be an issue.
I'm a huge fan of Freya's padded half-cup shape, as seen in my review of the Patsy. However, I've been unimpressed with their lack of speed and enthusiasm in expanding the cup sizes for this shape, so I decided Freya's padded half-cup would be a good model to use for this post.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how I turned a 38FF Freya Daphne padded half-cup into a 32H. Since I modeled the alteration after a bra with the same shape, I was able to be quite confident that it would work for me. If you are altering a bra that you haven't tried in the correct band size, be aware that cups can seem bigger when you try on a loose-banded bra, so make sure the bra you are altering has enough room in the cups. You should also model your alteration after a bra with similar cup width and similar level of stretch in the band; otherwise the results may be different than you would like.
I did this alteration on a machine, since it's much faster. However, this alteration can also be performed by hand--you just need to use a small enough stitch to hold in the mesh.
This is an alteration that likely can be removed without damaging the bra. As always, though, alterations are performed at your own risk.
Here's the fit of the 38FF Daphne before alteration:
To begin, I compared the bands of my 38FF Daphne and 32H Patsy to mark how much material needed to be taken in.
Here's the fit of the altered Daphne: