Category Archives: alterations

Why I don’t like to shop for bras locally

“Don’t like” is actually underestimation. I actually hate this. Here is my reasons:

  • when shopping for bras I always should go through “you can’t be that size”, I definitely know my size range and how bra should fit, but explaining, demonstrating fit and size tag of the bra I walk in and sometimes demonstrating tremendous fit problems with the size they think should fit me is time-consuming (I do know that I look much smaller than I really am, but hey! I’m grown up woman and if I ask for the certain size this means I know what I’m asking for). And this is unavoidable, because with bras you can’t just silently pick you size and go to the fitting room in the vast majority of stores, you need sales people cooperatively looking for sizes in all that drawers;
  • it’s usually very limited choice in my size, and having a tricky shape leaves me sometimes completely out of options;
  • mark up is insane, I wouldn’t mind paying extra 30% on top of LCL or BraStop price for being able to try bra on first, but 200%?! Are you kidding me?
  • they always try to sell sister-size, if they can’t find anything in my size. Well, it could work when we are talking about one band size, but this is it. I’ve learned it long time ago with a cheap 38C bra (you can alter the band!) It felt like it should fit in the cups when it was a 38, but when it became 32 it became obvious that cups are too small. And because it is a push up, my breasts, which don’t like to be pushed, push the cups down, so I can wear this freak of alteration only with a very tight top. And needless to say that straps are too far apart.

So of all the reasons only the second one is really something objective. Break and mortar store should optimize its inventory, so it can’t afford to carry as much sizes and styles as online retailers. But if it was only that I would be hitting the stores time to time to find what’s new. With all four and would rather buy online, despite that it’s a hit or miss.

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Review. Masquerade Rhea in black

Beautiful lace, cotton lined cups, incredible lift and shape (if you have the right size of cause), what not to love?

Masquerade Rhea. Product image from official site

Masquerade Rhea. Product image from official site

This bra is a real bestseller and was reviewed by many bloggers many times, so I think there is no point in a full review.

Here are some links:

Masquerade Rhea in Black by Sophisticated Pair (30H)

Masquerade Rhea in Champagne/Pink by Dimpsey Bra Fit (28F)

Masquerade Rhea in Ice Blue/Fawn by Windiegardie (Undiegamer) (28F)

Masquerade Rhea in Mulberry/Slate (Burgundy) by Faustine

Masquerade Rhea in Mulberry/Slate (Burgundy) by Bras I Hate & Love (30H)

Masquerade Rhea in Mulberry/Slate (Burgundy) by FullerFigureFullerBust (36H)

So my 5 cents about fit:

This bra has incredibly flexible wires. It could be a problem, actually. Rhea’s cups are way too narrow for me, but when I put it on wires are distorted by the band and I have absolutely no problems with narrowness. But the coin has another side: I can’t bend the wires, because they simply return to their previous shape. I was trying to bend the center out, because I have prominent breast bone (this means that any the center gore higher than 1.5″ pokes). Even when I placed my laptop on the wires and waited like 5 minutes it had no effect at all! Now I have two options: cushioning and clipping the wires, I’m going to try cushioning first and if it doesn’t help, then wish me luck.

I often have problem with straps due to the side-fullness and wide base. If cup edge to strap distance is rather small then straps begin practically in my armpits. And Rhea had the smallest distance from all my bras. It was so bad that it was not just uncomfortable, but fit was affected badly.

Here is an armpit area after alteration. My finger is where the strap was attached before

Here is the armpit area after alteration. My finger is where the strap was attached before

By the way, here is the detailed instruction, how to do this type of alteration (funny enough it features Rhea).

Review. Panache Porcelain Plunge in nude

I own this bra in 32E, Nude since August 2012. It’s definitely not my favourite one, but I think story of my partial success could be useful.

This bra didn’t fit me out of the box, I have it altered and now it’s wearable, but it’s the most unflattering bra I have.

Good things about this bra:

Materials are more than ok. It feels comfy next to the skin and I have very sensitive skin, so you can assume that they are really good.

It’s lightly padded, so it provides nipple cover, but doesn’t look bulky and it’s flexible enough to adjust to the breast shape to some extent. It’s great for hot summer days when you have to walk from heat of the street to air-conditioned office.

The band is true to size. I’m still on the middle hook, but I don’t wear this bra regularly (I was in the August and September, but not now). So I can say: decent lifespan.

Cups run small.

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

It has very wide wires and they come high on the sides.

Color is pretty fair, more like blush, but more yellowish. It could be showstopper if you have a darker skincolor, because nude is bore and if it’s lighter than you skin it show through factor is almost the same as for white bra. I have hard time finding foundations and powder light enough for me (I need 00 shade in most brands, which often is not available), so for me it works, but I strongly unadvise you to buy it in nude if you are two or more tones darker than me.

No so good:

The piping shows through. So I can wear the bra with woven fabric shirt, thicker jersey, but not clingy and thin jersey. This kind of ruins the point of having seamless bra.

Problems I have with this bra

It’s very shallow and it’s almost no volume near the wires. It folds there on any picture of the bra I ever saw.

Here you can clearly see how shallow cups are, especially near the wires

Here you can clearly see how shallow cups are, especially near the wires

Cup concave near the wire. Panache, why?

Cup concave near the wire. Panache, why?

But the whole shallowness is really a problem. I don’t have a lot of profile, but this is too much even for me. It slightly folds (one more reason not to wear it with something clingy) because of “orange in the glass” effect.

Under thin jersey crease is very visible

Under thin jersey crease is very visible

Here you can see the crease near the wire and other not pretty things.

Fit flaws

Fit flaws

Cups are very high, almost full cup high. So their edges cut into armpit a little. I assume that on person shorter than me or with breast positioned really high it could be a real problem.

Straps are a little bit far apart for me, combined with tall cups it’s not comfortable at all.

The main problem I had is that cups edges in front were cutting into the tissue and in the same time I have a gaping. Tightening the straps was creating bad quadroboob, but the gaping was still there. The bra seemed to fit in all other places and returning $40 bra with $30 postage fee doesn’t have much sense, so I decided to alter it: seamstress removed the piping then cut about an inch of the cup and then attached it back. I wish I told her get rid of it. I wanted to make cups 1/2″ lower, but she said that it would be too difficult. So I basically got more open cups and then I immediately found out that I should loose the straps almost all the way.

Panache Porcelain Plunge after alteration

Panache Porcelain Plunge after alteration

Even after the alteration but I’m still having a quadraboob (not a major one, but still). It doesn’t show in woven shirts, because the issue is most visible near the central gore, but it’s very visible without it and visible under clingy top.

I think that this curved inside cups aren’t right for me at all as I have pointed breasts and they are quite firm, especially on top.

This bra works as a minimizer on me.

Here is another review, much more positive.

May be 32F would be better on me, but I don’t really like the bra and cup shape isn’t right for me. Altered bra served it’s purpose as white button down bra in summer and early autumn, and was laying in the box unworn and unloved most of the time, but now spring came and I need a better nude bra.  So, stay tuned for the next review.

PS Don’t get me wrong. This bra is actually great if you need something discrete  if your breasts are compatible with its shape and construction. It just happened that mine are not.

Altering the wires how to

Bending

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.

Alterations. Flaws that can be cured by seamstress and flaws that can’t be helped

Flaws which can be cured easily:

  • absent buttons (you can do it yourself!);
  • broken zippers, snap fasteners too loose or too hard/impossible to snap (there are usually extras and you can change one or two of them, it’s quite cheap);
  • too long hem and sleeves if garment lines are simple and there is no problems with pattern, no lining, alteration isn’t big;
  • two big waist if alteration is not bigger then two inches and there is nothing to complicate things;
  • lining is too long.

Flaws which can be cured, but require a really good seamstress/tailor:

  • too long hem and sleeves if garment lines are not that simple, garment has lining, too long sleeves have cuffs etc
  • too big waist if it’s more that an two inches to be taken in (beware of pockets! and button holes! sometimes they are reason why waist can’t be taken in more then couple of inches)
  • horizontal folds under buttocks (trousers and jeans); it occurs if buttocks more flat then garment was made for;
  • too broad shoulders;
  • small horizontal folds where sleeves are attached.

Flaws that normally can’t be cured:

  • it’s too small (beware that shirt or jacket can be too small in the front and too large in the back, so when you fix the back you won’t be able to button it, or you will be getting ugly folds and flattened breasts);
  • button holes are not in a line;
  • major asymmetry of garment or lining, lining is too small for the garment;
  • it’s way too big (well, it can be cured, but it costs as much as make it from scratch or even more);
  • details have different colour (can occur on velvet because details have different direction of pile e. g.);
  • you put your hand up and garment moves up, movements are strained;
    wrong sleeve
  • small horizontal folds under the crotch.

One of the problems of busty women is that most tops from high street have such flaws as “too small (in the bust)” and “way too big everywhere except bust”. It’s not that bad if you have broad shoulders and long arms (because waist can be taken in quite easily and you can elongate back darts to make back more narrow). But if you have narrow shoulders and shorter arms, then sizing up 3-5 sizes and then taking in isn’t going to work for most of garments. Exception: garment has no seams on shoulders (kimono sleeves, bat sleeves, raglan) and there are no cuffs.

Small pleats (large pleats usually don’t look good on us and elastane/jersey are also good things because you can get away with significantly smaller alterations then.

So I think that for woven fabrics (if there are no additional factors mentioned above) it’s better to stick to speciality shops and for jersey and garments without shoulder seams and cuffs it depends on how expensive are alterations where you live. If it’s cheap or you are any good with sewing machine then you have a nice option of buying from high street and altering.