Altering A Bra

Everyone, thank you for the support, prayers and congratulations. My heart is full. I haven’t been sewing (except for my veil). In fact, I’ve loaned my Babylock serger to Trena while hers is being serviced. I currently have no place to sew as my sewing room is in the process of relocating from the basement to the former guest bedroom. And, this new husband is still moving in. My kingdom for a clear space in my house!!

I don’t want to bore your pants off with wedding stuff.  I realize  wedding planning is  kind of only interesting to the person who got married and their mother. So, here’s a sort of sewing related but wedding related post 🙂  I thought I’d show a quick post on the alterations I needed for my corset

My dress had a crazy low back.  I was partly sold on this dress because I thought it made my butt look pretty good and me skinny. Well, slimmer. If you order in the store it can take 8 – 12 weeks. Online, two days.

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It was also also super low in the front. You can see the store bra peeking on the right. And serious (for me) cleavage! Also, the DB bra was a band size too big and the cups one size too small. I look like I have flapjacks in there. Imagine the clerk trying to tell me I could just sew in some cups and skip a bra. Umm, no.


I decided to go to Bare Necessities in Baltimore County to buy a low back bridal bra ($70). But, it still wasn’t low enough at the front OR the back. Color me surprised when the consultant told me they could alter my bra.

So, I took this dress with me to my friend Liliya (who gifted my dress alterations and had it ready in a seriously fast ONE WEEK). She marked up my new bra with pins. The store needed to remove five (!!) rows of hook and eye! I dropped off the bra and came back a week before the wedding.

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In addition, the front cups needed to be shortened another 3/4 of an inch.

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And, since the support from the back band would be reduced, I needed darts at the side to make the corset snug up against me.

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When I got back to Bare Essentials to try on the bra, I was thrilled to find that Kelly in alterations was a blog reader! She reminded me about her comment on an old post and I totally remembered. Who knew good lingerie stores do alterations!?!

She did a ROCK STAR job on this bra!!!  You can’t even tell it’s been sliced and diced. Here’s me trying on the altered version in the store. I was feeling supa cute after three weeks of strict Dukan Dieting. Yes, I became a bridal dieter and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. My breath was terrible, I was irritable and I had dreams of cold glasses of reisling. I was so very sick of tofu and fish. Like, I can’t even look at fish right now without shuddering. But, I dropped the weight and felt GREAT on my wedding day.  I have since resumed my life of fried food, cheese, wine and carbohydrates.

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I can’t recommend to you enough the power of a good bra. The right fit enhanced my curves and is super comfortable even with all the boning from top to bottom. Plus, I can wear this bra with other dresses I’ve avoided in the past because I didn’t have a law back bra! Oh, I also have lots of lingerie inspiration from my two visits to Bare Necessities.

Oh, I am mad at myself for buying this $28 nonsense, because I am a #sucker.  I didn’t even wear it. But, I was in the bridal daze and somehow, it seemed a reasonable amount of money for a 1/4 yard of stretch lace.

Final thought, complaints on wedding dress sizing. <rant> I wish people would get over the number. I bought a size 14 dress. Which, conveniently coordinates with my sewing pattern size. I didn’t bat an eye. Yet, all over wedding message boards people complain about Bridal Sizing and how everything is smaller. No, it’s not. It’s just a number people! Get the size that fits instead of complaining about the number. The number is just a guideline to get you into something that might be close to fitting. It’s NOT “bridal sizing”.  It’s the pattern size. And, it’s the pattern size because most of the dresses are made-to-order. And, it’s just a number. What size is it? It’s YOUR size. Also, amazing how everyone is willing and expects to get alteration on a wedding dress to fit. But, complain about how other clothes fit in the store and how they are ‘cut funny’ when they don’t fit one individual’s body. They fit somebody correctly (the fit model). I wish more people realized clothes weren’t made for YOU. And, alterations became an expected expense to have clothes that fit well. </rant>


  1. First, let me say, I really enjoyed this post. I think your loyal readers love to read anything you deem appropriate to share. Flapjacks, that made me laugh out loud! I didn’t know you could get a bra altered either. I’m amazed. See, you are always teaching me. And, every bride deserves to look they way she likes, so good for you for doing everything you could on your day to fulfill your fantasies. You were truly a beautiful bride, Renee. Yeah, the number jazz is pretty silly. Cramming your figure and feet into clothing and shoes that are too small is pretty much insane, but women do it all the time. Keep preaching, maybe you will make someone get it that hasn’t yet. It’s all tied to that body image nonsense that is perpetuated by anorexic teenage models. You know, the “waif” look. Oh, and good luck with the clear space nonsense. You’s married now, all you got is communal space!

    • I was gonna say all the stuff that Miz Becky has already written so beautifully, so I’ll just say, “Ditto!”

      Bra alterations: I did alterations for a women’s clothing shop in Wabash, Indiana, decades ago. Had to alter a bra for a beauty-padgeant contestant once. Thank goodness it was her grandmother who was the store’s fitter! I didn’t have to be the one to accidentally poke her in the booby with a straight pin. It’s amazing how much better your clothes can fit with just an eighth to a quarter inch alteration in the critical spots.

  2. Hey, you could have just worn that bra with a skirt if you had wanted. You look great!

    The dress was beautiful and so were you!

  3. When I altered that dress for my last blog post, I didn’t include that we used sturdy swimsuit bra cups inside and she wore no bra. The center back was tight enough to hold all her parts together. Her issue was the deep V front so I made a cleavage cover. You looked so gorgeous in your dress and the photos were all so heartwarming and original. The thing about the sizing numbers….drives me nuts…young brides coming to be fitted and their mothers swearing to me that they HAD to buy a size 4 but their daughters are really a size 2 or 0….who cares? Sometimes I have to remove the label for the altering and sometimes I leave it in the garment bag…this seems to make them happy…go figure! You are a lucky girl…having a stash AND a new man in your life! What an adventure you have waiting!

  4. well this reader is interested in the details, at least as you write which is both entertaining and informative. you look smoking in that photo. the pre-wedding diet – eek that sounds tough but as you say, it worked. and now back to regular life. those underpinnings look really useful for various dress styles, now that you have it for your next formal event you should make something that requires it. as for size you are so right, just a number.

  5. I had no idea either that bras could be altered. that’s pretty cool! And yeah, I had the same issue about space when my husband and I moved in together… it was so annoying! Hopefully he will be better than my guy about not leaving used glasses all over the house instead of carrying them to the kitchen. I do the same thing sometimes, but it only annoys me when it’s not my glass. 😉

    • *yes* He’s an avid water drinker. And, leaves glasses everywhere. This morning I couldn’t find any in the kitchen. But, they were in the bedroom, bathroom, computer room and living room. I do the same thing. But, again. Only annoying because it’s not me doing it.

      Also, one of my dress inspirations totally came from your blog! You didn’t like it. It was the drapey vogue! You were not a fan. But, I thought I’d still give it a go.

  6. When I was planning my wedding, my best friend and roommate was also planning her wedding. All we talked about for several months was wedding stuff. It was perfect because we didn’t have to bore other people with all the details!

  7. Wow, color me surprised, too, that the shop altered that amazing bra. I am so glad the alterations could be done for you, so you wouldn’t have the stress of trying to do it yourself. And yes, indeed that is a stupendous foundation that you can use with fabulous new dresses. I am excited for you! I am too old for those kind of dresses, hee hee. You will have to carry that responsibility. And one word about getting along with a husband: humor. Use it generously and often.

  8. I must admit, I never thought of it, but anything that is sewn together ought by rights to suit itself to alteration-and the end result! OMG you may have just woken a monster, you’re gonna expect ALL your bras to fit! LOL!

    Definitely going to second Robin’s advice-use your sense of humor generously and often with your husband, and ask they he use his as well. It’s more difficult to get used to living together than it is to do almost anything else in life. My own husband (v 2.0, actually) was in the military and we’d been married ten years before we were on the same continent more than six months at a time. We then lived overseas, where he was gone about a quarter of the time. Moving back to the US was a real eye opener because he was home CONSTANTLY and still is. You will have to adjust to one another all your life but the positive of that is that no one else, ever, if they go into this whole heart-edly, will know you as well as they do, nor will you know anyone else inside and out as you do your husband. It is the most intimate of relationships, in all ways, not just physically.

  9. May God bless you and your Mother and know I have been praying for her. Your wedding picture is quite beautiful and your Bridal gown is gorgeous and the Train is just perfect. Very very pretty. Wishing the Bride and Groom a Happy Healthy and Prosperous life. (and remember that women are smarter than men –we have more cranial folds for storing info.) God Bless!

    • I see that html did recognize the “”.

      My earlier comment should have read:
      Can we get “” and “” added to the next update to HTML? LOL

  10. We do a similar alteration to the low back bras that we put actresses in here, especially those side darts… thay work magic!
    Congratulations on the beautiful ceremony! Many, many wishes for a happy and joyful life together. I used to listen to my parents describe their relationship as being best friends, and it’s true for me as well now. Best friends with benefits! (oh, and I hope you at least wear/wore the $28 bit of nonsense on the honeymoon… hehe)

  11. I enjoyed the post. I think that a lot of people are not aware of the “bridal sizing” until they find themselves in that world. Sizing is all relative anyway, but the “bridal sizing,” aside from the similarity to pattern sizing seems to be close to “vintage” sizing also. However, I defer to Kathleen Fasanella on the topic!

    I was a bridesmaid some time ago, and the bride, who lived in a different city, basically told me what dress to order and the vendor recommended a size by waist measurement. It was basically a backless dress with sleeves. For FBA me, this all led to some very tricky alteration work for my mother and the search for one of those bras. Not much choice, and I ended up with an uncomfortable backless corset type model. The other bridesmaid, who had ordered the wrong color of dress (!) had a similar issue, and ended up with something that looked like bondage underwear.

    Well after the fact I heard about lingerie alterations, but I didn’t know that there were shops that did them – great information!

  12. I’m so glad everything came together for you. You look like a total rock star in that corset. Kelly did a great job! I do bra alterations in a “good” lingerie store too. Did Kelly put in different underwires or did she cut them down to bring the center front down? I usually try to get the fitters here to start with a bra that has a deeper plunge in the front, but I see pins going across the bridge in your pictures. I’d love to have more options to give people when they come in.

  13. I will listen to any and all wedding talk. Share away! You look beautiful and your dress is perfect. I also had a sales woman suggest that I stuff the top of my dress so it would fit. I nearly punched her in the boob.

  14. I’ll give you a piece of advice that my mom told me before I got married and it’s the same her mother told her: “all men are idiots and you will marry their king”. Ha! Try to look past the clipped toenails you find wedged into the bath mat and save your energy for the good stuff like always being left with an empty gas tank or finding empty boxes of cereal that were put back into the pantry or my all time refrigerator favorite “do you know where the ______ is?”, while he is literally staring directly at. 😉 Six years of college and several degrees later and the man still cannot find the damn mayo.

  15. i haven’t read any blogs for a while. I didn’t realise you were getting married. I just looked through your wedding site, you looked stunning, you make a beautiful couple. I wish you all the best on your journey together. And no its not true that wedding planning is only interesting to the bride and their mother. I can chat about weddings all day long

  16. You are beautiful in your dress, which is also beautiful! Best wishes to you and your groom for a adventure filled, happy life together. Re the bra business. I CANNOT buy one that fits and have gotten to the point of considering trying to make my own. Given that I am 70 yrs and nothing is at the latitude it once enjoyed, bra fitting has reached critical mass, so to speak. BTW, dh and I celebrated our 52 wedding anniversary last month. The most important thing, I believe, is simple kindness. Which is MUCH harder on a day-to-day basis than one might think. Enough advice!! It’s a worthwhile journey to share with one you love. And I seriously love your gown!!

  17. I have never heard of lingerie alterations.
    All you ever hear about is that you are picking the wrong size bra. It’s good to hear something positive once in a while.

    Happy Honneymoon!
    And it’s pretty easy to just buy more glasses.

  18. Congratulations to you and Jordan I hope you two enjoy many, many years together. I will continue to pray for your mother and your family. Please know that God cradles each of us in his hands.

  19. Echoing what has already been said. Terrific bra!

    Also thinking that you need to creat a new dress for the bra. Silly to let it go to waste!

  20. I can’t believe the number of almost impossible alterations I’ve had to do on wedding dresses because the bride was so hung up on that number! And finding bridal fabric and notions is impossible in Bozeman, MT. You look fabulous in that dress!

  21. We’ve been super busy with boat projects and I therefor missed your wedding post! I knew you were moving up the date but I didn’t realize how soon. Wow, you managed to really pull it off beautifully and let me tell you, you had perfect weather; this weekend down here was hot and humid. Please post more pictures on your blog as I’m sure I speak for a lot of people, joyful times should be shared! BTW, your Scrabble announcement was priceless, it’s one of my favorite games.

  22. Your dress was gorgeous, you looked amazing. The clip you showed is one of my favorite lines my girlfriend and I recite all the time, still makes me chuckle.

  23. There are so many good things in this post, but your final rant is perfection. Congrats on your marriage and best of luck to your family!

  24. You were a beautiful bride, and I must congratulate you on finding a groom who was willing to move the wedding up a year for your mother. That compassion is a rare quality!

    and while it’s a pain to move your sewing room, just think of how much harder it would have been to have to move to an entirely new house! I am really very happy for you and Jordan.

    I just lost my mother to esophogeal cancer in May. If you want to know anything about what problems I encountered dealing with it from far away, or what your mother might expect, email me, and I’ll try to help. There’s way too much to write in a blog comment, especially if you don’t need the info. My prayers are with your mother, who is a wonderful and accomplished woman. You are a credit to her.

  25. Honey,

    I won’t be a “hater”. I’d love to read about your nuptials and the wedding details especially the sewing of your trousseau, gown, etc. Then again, as you said, I am a mother, was the MOB just last August too. 🙂

    This is a never to be repeated time in your life so yes, I’d love to read all about it.



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