Bra alterations- taking in the center gore & lowering stabbing wires

I’ve taken a stab at bra alterations a few times, but I think I was a little ambitious with the alterations I was trying. So I’ve finally taken a step back to something more along my skill level (a sewing beginner with some basic knowledge) and I’ve finally been able to alter a bra successfully!

The bra I altered was the Cleo Lucy. The bra is not a perfect fit for me, like everything else I have tried the wires become enormously wide in order for me to get the cup depth that I need. The gore was also incredibly wide, too wide for my close set breasts. I bought this as part of my Break Out Bras grab bag. I purchased a grab bag in 28J, and requested to try a Cleo and a Freya in that size. As I have not tried Cleo recently, this was the perfect chance to try the brand.

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As you can see the center gore is not overly wide, but it is too wide for me. Even the narrow gore of the Panache Andorra or the Masquerade Rhea will sit on my breast tissue a little bit. The gore is also very high, something that is not friendly on close set breasts.

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When trying on the bra (please excuse the funky lighting, I have no idea why there appears to be wrinkles in the cups) you can see a small line in the gore from the wires pushing together. *Note- I had removed the center bow to make this more visible, something that would need to be done for the alteration anyway. I also put the bra on inside out to try and visualize to myself how exactly I wanted to alter the gore.* The fabric between the wires is puckered out and the wires are attempting to sit on top of each other.

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To start I wanted to get some room to overlap the top of the gore where the wire casing is. The best way to do this is also the way to prevent the top of the wires from stabbing in the sternum. There is usually some space in the fabric casing of the underwire for the wire to move around a bit. I slid the wire to the farthest back under the arm it would go, then I took a needle and thread and hand stitched the casing to keep the wire from sliding back up in that little pocket. The re are several layers of fabric to stitch through so watch your fingers as you push the needle through. The photo above is the outside of the bra, which I did my best to make look neat. The inside of the bra did not fair as well. I did not have any pink thread so I used a beige color. It is pretty invisible while wearing the bra.

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After doing both sides I pulled the underwire casing together and made sure all the extra fabric was on the outside. I did not want that digging into my sternum, plus you can’t see it while wearing. The underwire casing is much thicker then the mesh fabric between the cups so I decided I would place my stitches through the casing, I was worried about pressure and tearing through the thinner fabric. I stitched from the horizontal stitching up to the top of the gore.

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The not so pretty inside view. At the very top of the gore the underwire casing does overlap a bit. By bringing the gore together more it does open up the cups a little as well. This is great for me because it will give me some more space for pregnancy changes.

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The gore while wearing the bra, put on properly this time not inside out. You can see a tiny bit of overlap on the gore if you look closely.

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The full bra after the alteration. Please excuse my baby bump and the maternity pants. :) As you can see the cups have opened up a touch and there is a tiny bit of wrinkling in the cups now. It’s still wearable because the cup depth is perfect. I wore this today for a few hours to break the bra in. After just that little time of wear I had enough breast changes (dang hormones!) to need that excess space in the cups. Unfortunately this bra isn’t the best for me right now because the wires dig into the top of my bump while sitting. Hopefully once the little one drops a bit I’ll be more comfortable in this bra.

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5 Comments

  1. Fascinating! I have close-set breasts, so I’m very glad to know about this option. Also, if you wanted to hide the overlap a little more, you could put the bow back on!

    • You could definitely sew the bow back on. But if you do I would recommend a thimble or taping your fingers. I poked myself a few times while pushing the needle hard to get it trough the layers of fabric.
      I also used the smallest needle I had, bad idea. I thought it would keep any visible holes to a minimum. I bent the needle pushing it through too. I’m not going to lie, there were a few times that I couldn’t pull it through and I used my teeth. Not a good idea either. Some newbie lessons learned.

  2. taz

    but if you do this does the extra wire you are pushing away from the gore just simply move and dig in under the arms?

    • I haven’t had a problem with digging in the armpit, but it will depend on the bra. I have some that would definitely dig more under the arm with this alteration. It’s one of those things that will depend on your body shape, your individual breast shape, and the bra design. I have found that the pulling of the gore in opens the cups a bit (larger) and tightens the band a touch. The tightening in the band can pull the wires a bit further back. It will depend in how much tighter the band pulls.

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