Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Convert a Regular Bra to a Nursing Bra

I've been nursing for pretty much the last 5 years and I've yet to find a nursing bra that I
A. Love
B. Can afford
C. Doesn't look like it should be strapped to the front of a car circa the mid to late 90's.
But I have a lot of old, non-nursing bras that are pretty useless to me at this point. So, totally brilliant idea! I can turn those bras into nursing bras. I know, genius right? Too bad it only took me 5 years to get to this point. I thought I could help some of you nursing and crafty mamas out and post a tutorial about how you, too, can accomplish this magnificent feet. You need only minimal sewing skills and can even complete this project sewing by hand if you don't have a sewing machine available.

Here we go. Lots of pictures people.
Supplies: Bras that fit, scissors, straight pins, piece of paper and marking device, hook and eye closures**, some stretchy fabric*
Sewing machine or sewing needle, optional: fray check
*Stretchy fabric can be a nylon/spandex combo or a piece of an old t-shirt. Whatevs.
**I used hook and eyes meant for a coat. You could substitute one or two smaller hook and eyes
or a swimsuit closure. It depends on your bra size and preference.

Lay your bra out on a piece of paper and trace around the top two sides, stretching the bra flat as you trace

Extend your lines down two inches from the top lines. These should follow the curve of your underwire.
Lay your piece on your nylon/spandex fabric and cut two "A" ish shaped figures.

Pin the stretchy fabric "A"s into place. You want to place the fabric so that a small seam allowance is overhanging into the cup of the bra.

Repeat with the remaining three sides of the "A"s.
Flip the "A"s up.
Can you see the yellow of my pins?

Switch to your zipper foot and sew on the seam allowance.
Be careful not to sew any other pieces of your bra in.
I'm sewing with white thread here so you can see what is going on,
but you'd want to use a thread that matched your bra.

This is what the inside of the bra looks like.
And my thighs.

Front of the bra and more thigh action.
At this point, pause to discuss nature with your boys.
Wrap tiny tree in wet paper towel and put in ziploc bag to take to school tomorrow.

You'd better be really comitted to this project.
Cut the strap away from the cup really close to the seam.

That opening will need to be closed. You can hit it with fray check,
sew it closed by hand, zig zag it, serge it, whatever floats your boat.
Then pin your stretchy fabric to the back of the strap. The curves might not line up perfectly,
but we can take care of that later.

Put your regular foot back on and sew the stretchy fabric on.
You should do that in two spots for added stability and strength.

See, my curves don't line up.

Cut the excess off.

At this point, you should try your bra on. Which is why
Big Baby is giving me this look. Them's mine.

Mark where your hook should go.
Make it about 1/2 inch higher than you think to allow for the overlap of the hook and eye and the weight of your boob.
Sew it on.

Sew this portion right on the end of the place where you cut the strap off.

Repeat with the other side and ta da!

That's it. I hope you got it.

Note:  For my stretchy fabric, I used a nylon/spandex blend that I had left from another project. You could use swimwear, or knit, or just cut up an old T-shirt. A contrasting color might be an unexpected bit of cuteness.

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