Monday, 29 April 2013

Alterations: Stiffening the cups

Most of you have probably heard by now that I have some problems with the much loved Ewa Michalak bras. 

My main problem is that they are too shallow at the bottom, and thus collapse - My inability to fit in the bottom of the cup can't really be helped much, but I've experimented with preventing the bra from collapsing, by making the lightly padded cup a bit more stiff.

My first attemps have been pretty half-arsed, by using the plastic from Q-tips, to sew a small bit of boning in. This was obviously not a good solution, and I was thus on the look-out for something better.

I then stumbled across the plastic-sheets that you can roll up and stick in your long boots:

It was thin and sturdy, so it seemed bendable and supportive enough to do the job.

My first go was to try and make an entire plastic pad - I used a pad from a PL bra as a template, and cut out a piece, and then made holes to stitch through. The cutting was easy enough, but making the holes were a tough job. I made these with nails that I hammered through, but it was tedious work to get them all done, and even then they were quite small:

I quickly stitched it on a pad, and stuck it in a PL bra to see how it worked - well, not well!

As you can see, the profile is awful - the pad is completely stiff, and stick out.

Furthermore, it doesn't follow the bottom of the cup, and thus actually makes the fold more extreme. Not what I wanted.

So, my next attemp was cutting a little "wave" - I figured this would follow the curve much better, direct the breast towards the middle, and make a smoother transition from boned area to soft area. I cut the wave shape first, and then adjusted the bottom to fit the curve of the wire.

(sorry, forgot to take pictures of the process!) This time, I cut the holes with a scissor, which was much easier, and the holes were about the same size as with the nails anyway - Experience told me that the smaller the holes was, the more difficult it was to make small neat stitches!

I has just recieved an S and a PL bra, so I would test this out on both types:

On the S bra, I sew them on the inside - This was tricky work! I tested where my dreaded fold was likely to form, and then safty-pinned it in place. I made sure to try get it under the seam of the wire, to prevent potential pinching.

Here's how it ended up looking:

For most of the stitches, I could make sure not to stitch through the outer-most layer, keeping it smooth on the outside. This was a little difficult at the bottom of cups, as my hands didn't have much room to work in, making neat work more difficult. But it's not really enough to show through anyway:

So here it is on!

I would saya it's definitely a succes - more uplifted than anything! And no signs of anything going on in the cup. And it's surprisingly comfy too - I can't feel it at all! And added bonus, I usually also feel like the gore doesn't really tack on me, but this seems to tip the whole bra upwards a bit, forcing the gore a bit closer to my chest. All around good points for this!

Next up, I tried it on a Pl - The difference here being that they have pockets on the inside for pads. I therefor had to sew on the outside. 

This was much much easier, because it wasn't the nitty-gritty work in the cup, but the results aren't as good either. The edges would not completely follow the cup, and this could stick out a bit, which does show through clothing:

So, I'd deem this one succes (that I will definitely repeat!) and one not so much (though not unbearable for me). I don't know if this will inspire others to make alterations like that, but there you have it, this is how I intend to make EM's work a bit better for me!


  1. Very interesting! I had never thought of doing this. How exactly did you make holes with scissors?

    1. It was a sharp scissor, so I could poke through with one end, cutting a tiny little slit :)

  2. Awesomness ^^
    It beats the q-tip raft by a landslide :)
    Might even try it on Karmelki, but I do not know where to find the material :/

  3. Really cool!

    Hmm am I crazy for thinking that should actually work with something like Superglue as well? But maybe it wouldn't hold in laundry?

    1. I think it would eventually slip with glue, as you say, when washing it - as the fabric expands when absorbing water, I imagine it will mess it up.

  4. Hmm! Seriously interesting. I'm getting some EMs made and I noticed the padding adds good support and lift but perhaps this works even better. At any rate, good to know it's possible and it looks good.