Monthly Archives: January 2013

Altering the wires how to


You can bend them in, out and make them more anatomically correct (in larger cup sizes, when wires are really wide you may want not only make them more narrow or wide, but also more 3D, to reflect the fact that your ribcage not rectangular with breasts in front of it).

Bend wires gently, slowly increasing pressure and when you feel that they are bending then make pressure even.

Make small steps (like 1/8″ at a time) for each cup in turns, try the bra after each step.

Beware of how straps and band position change. When angle of the ends of the wires changes band, which attached to them, changes its position too. Bending out can make bend slightly angled down and it always makes straps more far apart. But if you are making wires more narrow you should be really careful not to make band riding up, straps position rarely a problem in this case.

This is how bending affects straps and band

This is how bending affects straps and band

If your hands not particularly strong then it could be a good idea to use stronger pair of hands. Just make sure those hands attached to the body with brain and attached in right places (bending too much or with too much strength could ruin the bra). You can’t really control what you do with maximum effort you capable of, and wires usually aren’t very easy to bend.

Here is a good post about bending with photos before and after. But actually it’s pretty much basic alteration. The only problem: some brands have wires extremely hard to bend (Masquerade Rhea wires were just returning to their previous shape, e. g.).

Making wires shorter

Sometimes wires are poking either underarm or at the center, With me it’s usually the later, but it basically the same in any case.

Steps by step instruction

Remove stitching near the end of wire channel from the inside or make a hole in wire channel. Try to be not as sloppy as I was.

Underwire channel opened

Underwire channel opened

Nip the extra causing the problem. This could be hard part, you may need to use small hack-saw.

Here you can see clipped wires’ tips of my Masquerade Rhea: pretty tough stuff: stainless steel and quite thick (ruler is in cm and mm). Wire is about 3 mm x 1 mm or 0.12″x 0.04″.

Clipped wire, tip is covered by something like silicone

Clipped wire, tip is covered by something like silicone

Apply some silicon on the tip (it can be easily bought in plumbing supplies departments). Wait for it to set. This operation prevents tips from pinching.

Wires with silicone applied + tube of silicon (small pic - with applicator attached)

Wires with silicone applied + tube of silicon (small pic – with applicator attached)

Place the wire back and restore channels. Don’t forget to make sure that wires can’t move up in the channels.

Finished work close up

Finished work close up

As you can see, it’s not perfect, but hey… it’s way better than stabbing! And it’s inside of the bra.

X, what not to wear

I have a couple of posts in drafts waiting for me to take photos illustrating posts’ ideas. And I have an unwritten lament about one of online shops which took my money then forgot about my order and haven’t answered to my enquiry about order status. I’m going to give them one more day, because I still have some hope that my wonderful Panache Loretta Plunge will find its way to my lingerie drawer big clear plastic box I use for my bras. But if there are no answer by Monday evening I’ll publish the name of the shop and I will open PayPal dispute.

Meanwhile I’m going to add one more post to theory category.

There are a lot of lists about what to wear and what not to wear if you have the hourglass (X) body type.Most of them has one main common no-no-never-ever: clothes that hide your waist. And this is for a good reason: without waist definition quite broad shoulders and a chest that is one the larger side plus curvy hips could easily create an illusion of a wide rectangle. You can get away with a top without waist definition only if it’s made from some very lightweight fabric, so it shows of your waist when you move or has some transparency. This is a very convenient option for summer clothes, but not always work appropriate.

Boat necks. They could make you really boxy. But there is that graceful combination of boat neck and small whole-cut sleeve typical for New Look which is a happy exception.

New look dresses.

As you can see, shoulders don’t look boxy as it would be if there were set-in sleeves. It’s also important that shoulder lines are gently sloped. If you feel that it’s to much chest then add a long necklace or scarf (vertical lines help the eye to move from neck to waist instead of from one breast to another). Print also helps.

Crew neck. Just don’t!

Turtle neck made from plain jersey worn without a jacket, scarf or long necklace always looks boxy. Some prints can save the look, but it’s tricky.

Puff sleeves, This is a real no-no. I see them a lot at speciality shops which cater a big bust and while it could be very flattering for pear with a big bust (yeah, not all pears are small busted! see explanation here), but it’s a sartorial disaster on hourglass.

No-no lists often contain skinny jeans, but I think it depends. If you have a healthy BMI and legs long enough dark skinnies could be a great solution for casual. On most X they look the best paired with mid-thigh length top or cardigan. Just don’t forget that socks on display can completely ruin the look.

Embellishments on the bust and shoulders. Bigger than average breasts are already something that catches attention (it’s not always sexual, but it’s always attention), there is no need to cry out for it with all that sequins and stuff (Pepperberry I’m looking at you!). Well, I’m ready to make an exception for formal gowns, but not in the day light, please! Shoulders of a true hourglass aren’t the most delicate feature, so most of the time it’s better to play them down.

Waist line which is moved from your natural waist. Every inch will make you look 5 pounds heavier, do you really want this?

Jeans distressed or washed on hips. This makes hips wider and not in a flattering way.

Pants, bulky on hips (e. g. having patched pockets, jodhpurs). Very wide pants with folds going from the waist. Reasoning is the same.They can make your hips enormous.

Stiff fabrics. They tend not to work with curves.

Am I forgetting anything?

Are you an hourglass?

There are three very common myths about the hourglass body type.

Hourglass (X) means big breasts. False. Actually you can be average and be hourglass.

Any woman with more than 10″(12″) difference between bust and waist and almost equal bust and hip measurement is hourglass. False. You can be pear or rectangle with such measurements. Or you can be hourglass despite the fact that your have less than 10″ difference (petite frame with broad shoulders and hips).

Any garment looks good on X because X is the ideal body type. That’s not true. Actually there are a ton of limitations if you want to look your best.
X tends to look bulky and frumpy in wrong clothes.

What is important is not inches or centimetres, it’s silhouette (profile should be considered, too, but it’s completely different story). The most accurate method of identifying body shape I know described in this post (BTW, if you happened to be pear shaped, I highly recommend the blog). I want to accentuate that breast size isn’t very important for silhouette. It definitely affects fit and it should be considered, but shoulders are more important for styling.
So slim torso, narrow shoulders, waist ~ underbust and curvy hips = pear.
Note that 26J girl most likely is pear or very slim rectangle.
More massive torso with quite broad shoulders, nipped in the waist and curvy hips = hourglass. True hourglasses tend to need larger bands even if they are slim.
Large bum doesn’t count for curvy hips, it’s completely different story.
Shoulders almost equal hips and underbust ~ waist and streamlined silhouette is rectangle. Slim rectangles usually do have a waist. And it could be 12″ difference between bust and waist for larger busts, and nice bum could be responsible for even bigger difference between waist and hips. But it’s still rectangle. Outfit accents should be in totally different places than for hourglass shape. E. g. imperial waist tend to look gorgeous on rectangles with average to large breasts and it’s total disaster on hourglass.
If shoulders are broad and hips are not curvy it’s V shape or inverted triangle. And again, slim triangles have a waist, but there are no curvy hips. Band size tend to be bigger for the same BMI.
As you can see, band size identified correctly could give some hints about body shape, because bigger band size correlates with broader shoulders for low BMIs. For higher BMIs it’s less reliable: it’s not only about skeleton structure as for low BMIs, it’s also about hormones etc. It’s possible to have different body types in different BMIs, but usually we stay the same body type in any weight.

I want to accentuate that there is no ideal body shape actually. Women of any shape can be beautiful, it’s more about how to create outfits which are in harmony with a body. I strongly believe that clothes shouldn’t work against body. I don’t think that we should try to pretend to be another body shape. When pear shaped girl hides her beautiful delicate arms and collar bones under something bulky trying to pretend hourglass and calls it balancing it makes me sad.

I’m more experienced in dealing with hourglass body type, so I concentrate on it, but please don’t take this as discrimination.

Review. Masquerade Tiffany Plunge

I’ve bought this bra in 32E from e-bay on fairly low price (it cost me £19.16 including shipping, retail starts at £30 without shipping). And I was really impressed with delivery (less then a week to Ukraine! wow!), so I think I should mention the seller: isabella3298.

The most awesome thing about this bra for me is that it fits ). And it’s very hard to find for me. As I mentioned before I have pointy breasts with very wide base, so I need very wide wires. I also have such a curse as a prominent breast bone and this eliminates vast majority of balconettes and half-cups for me, as they poke in the center like hell.

Good things about this bra:

First of all materials are absolutely gorgeous. It’s very soft. When I first put it on it felt like the bra hugged me tenderly. Satin feels soft and smooth and cups are lined with even softer cottony fabric.

Padding is quite lightweight, it’s just right for no showing through. For me it’s excellent: I don’t feel wearing armour and it’s completely work appropriate. I expect that it would be better option for summer than Deco based Ashlee (it’s no perfect options for our summer, when we have 100F and higher, but mesh for the band lining and light padding is as good as you can get, without risking nipple misbehave under air conditioner, I believe)

I love the design. Tiffany is a very good everyday bra (at least for me), but its retro vibe makes her eye candy. Sorry for the quality of the photos, I’ve made them with old phone camera.



Seams show a little under thin clinging jersey, but not under woven fabrics or thicker or draped jersey.

Things about this bra, that definitely good for me, but can be showstopper if you have different breast shape:

Tiffany has lower cups then most plunges. It can be not that good for some girls, but for me it’s fabulous – it doesn’t cut in my armpits.

Very wide wires. Again, I know that it could be bad for some of us, but I always struggle for wires that don’t cut on the sides. They also shorter and curve is more gentle, more flat. Deco and Porcelain were sitting half an inch under the root of my breasts in the center and very near the root on the sides, I think that it has something to do not only with volume on the bottom, but also with wires shape.

Kind of shallow cups, but they are not very shallow on bottom, like, say, Porcelain Plunge cups. But still shallow I believe.

Tiffany cup bottom

Crease at the bottom of the cup in Tiffany

There is a small crease on the bottom of the cups, but the problem is much-much smaller than with my other bras. So hooray for wide wires with flatter curve!

Straps are pretty. They are thin and not fully adjustable, too. Not a problem for me, though.

Tiffany strap

Tiffany strap

Not so good:

The band is stretchy and quite loose out of the box, in fact when I opened it, my first thought was: “Band looks too big!”. For me it isn’t a big problem, I can always have it altered for $3, so tight band isn’t a priority for me. But if you really need it tight or you are between sizes, I think that size down in the band and size up in the cup is a good idea. If I buy this bra again, I’m going for 30F (I’m 30.5 underbust, kind of between sizes, so I’m going to take my own advise). I should also mention that I moved on the tightest hook almost immediately.

For whom I wouldn’t recommend this bra.

I don’t know for sure whether Tiffany provides much uplift for heavy breasts because my breasts are pretty much self-supportive, but I think that thin straps and stretchy band are no good for the girls who need a lot of support. And if you need deep and/or narrow cups – skip this bra! I also think that if you have soft breast tissue this bra could be tricky for you, because of spillage to the center.

Fit on me.

Tiffany on me

Tiffany on me, I look pretty flat chested

Tiffany centers my breasts a bit, but I have pretty severe East-West syndrome plus wide base, so don’t rely on that if you are different. It also flattens me, not very much, but still, as a compensation it gives me some a hint to cleavage (on other breast shape it should be a lot of it I assume).

I’m pretty ok with the shape. It’s very much my natural shape, but more rounded (and flattened). I think that thinner padding and more natural shape is among the reasons why this bra is so ridiculously comfortable on me), and it doesn’t give me a lot of forward projection, but it’s still better than no bra.

UPD. I had to alter the band of 32E because it begin shifting like crazy and I hate this, but otherwise it was almost perfect for me, so I followed my own advise and got this bra in 30F. Fits like a glove.

Your button down kind of fits, but not quite

Recently I read this brilliant post from XL Hourglass about bras and posture and it made me think. Bras are very important for your posture, but clothes are also important.

What I’m going to describe is applicable for other clothes like jackets, coats and almost any woven fabric top, but the effect is the most obvious in button downs, so I’m going to concentrate on them.

There is a really big catch there for a busty girl. Until you are adding professional alterations or a shirt made for a large bust to the equation you often tend to get the first size that you are able to button, because if you get bigger shirt it means that sleeves are longer and it’s bulkier in the waist and so on. Lets say your bust circumference is 38″, so you are grabbing shirt that has 39″ (US size 10, note that it’s actually one size smaller than size chart suggests) in the bust and with a sigh (not the best look, too tight in the bust, too big in the waist, but I really need something for work) you are going home. Standard shirt from high street usually has back width roughly equal to the buttoned front width and something like 2-3″ allowance to let you move in it, lets assume it’s 3″ . So your new shirt back is 19.5″. Lets say shirt which was ok everywhere except the bust when you are stand strait was size 6. This gives us that you really need 18″ back. Well inch and a half is not a bug deal, right? But problem is that with such measurements to feel comfortable in the shirt you need something like 22″ in the front, but you have only 19.5. And to be actually able to button the damn thing you do the only thing you can do: you slouch.

You can blame your weak will, your heavy breasts, bad habits… but the reality is simple: if you stand strait an essential part of your wardrobe is useless and you can’t find replacement on high street.

Ok, button downs could be avoided, busty girl can opt for jersey tops after all ) But what about coats? What about having strict dress code at work?

That’s why I think that alterations, custom tailoring and speciality brands like Pepperberry, BiuBiu, Urkye and DD Atelier are very important for us. Bad posture doesn’t only makes you look ten times worse then you really are, it can cause medical problems in the long run.

The good thing is that wearing a right bra and woven fabric clothes made for a big bust it’s comfortable to keep a good posture and it’s actually a bit uncomfortable to slouch. They help us to come to the point when we can stand and sit and walk beautifully and be more healthy. And we really deserve this!

Why New Look dresses tend to fit so much better on full bust?

I got the answer from Russian sewing forum. The reason is that authentic New Look patterns were totally different from what we have nowadays. Fit was much tighter and allowance distribution was different.
By modern standard of pattern-making 4.5cm (1.8″) allowance in the bust should be distributed like 1-2,5-1 (front-armhole-back), by New Look standard it’s more like 3-1-0,5. But in most cases it’s more than 4.5cm in modern garments. But due to different allowance distribution with New Look we still have more room in the bust for the same size!
And there is one more drastic difference: New Look dresses have no allowance in the waist. They also have higher armholes and totally different construction of sleeves to allow hand movements. Modern designers usually solve hand movements task by adding large waist allowance (up to 7cm or ~2.8″ for basic pattern, real garment can have much looser fit), so when you put hands up all garment moves up, that would be impossible with tighter fit. So in addition to more room in the bust in New Look dresses we have much smaller waist!
So measurements of typical New Look dress more close to Pepperberry Really Curvy or BiuBiu BB than to modern high street, despite the fact that it was designed for an average bust and bust-waist ratio.