Friday, 3 August 2012

How To Make A Pointy Bra Round!

Sorry for the delay in posting this tutorial. I had to get major dental work done this week and was so drained by it that I couldn’t inspire myself to do anything other than watch Olympic volleyball with my dog.

Anyway,  you might remember in my last post I showed a method for making a high-cut bra look lower-cut. I’m going to show the alteration to make a pointy bra give a rounder shape on the same bra I showed in that tutorial, but you don’t need to do both together. You can make a bra more round even if you haven’t done any other alterations on it. And in fact, this alteration is in some ways simpler than the alteration that makes a bra lower-cut. To make a bra more round, you don’t need to cut anything, and you can take out the stitching at any time without significant damage to the bra itself. I still wouldn’t recommend doing this to an expensive brand-new bra, but use your judgment and proceed at your own risk. I also wouldn’t recommend doing this to a bra that is too small or close to too small in the cups. The nature of the alteration takes some of the space out of the cups, so it’s better to do this on a bra that fits well or runs a little big on you. However, you won’t lose a whole cup size—more like 1/4 of a cup size, if that--unless you go really wild with it. This alteration will also probably not work with a bra that has a thin lace or mesh upper section—it will only work with fabric that has enough weight to hold a stitch.

The concept for this alteration is pretty basic. Think of it like this: a bra that gives a pointy shape does so because there is too much depth in the cups compared to their width. A view from above:

So to make that pointy-shaped bra give a round shape, you want to take in some of the fabric at the apex so the cup will have less depth compared to its width. Like so:

From the front, the alteration will look like this:

The red line along the seam will be brought up to the red line above the seam. What you will do is take in some of the fabric along the seam that goes diagonally across the cup. Basically you will pull the bottom sections up over the top section and stitch them in place there. When you’re finished, the bottom sections will look the same but the top section will look a bit smaller. It really doesn’t take much to significantly change the shape a bra gives. On my Pippa, I took in slightly more than half an inch at the deepest point of the alteration.

To start, put on your pointy-shaped bra and grab the seam that we are going to sew along. Pull it up over the top section and see how it looks from the side. Try to get a gauge of how much you are going to want to take it in. When you find the best position, tape it in place at the center of the seam (I used scotch tape) and take the bra off.

Now, place the bra over your knee and tape the whole seam.


It’s not going to be at the same width the whole way around. Instead, you will take in the most fabric at the center of the seam and taper off to nothing as you approach the bottom and top of the seam. Remember that you can’t take any volume out of the underwire, so you have to get all the way back out to the normal seam before it hits the underwire. This will probably make more sense to those who sew regularly. For those who don’t, it is ultimately going to look something like this:


When you’ve taped all across the front of the seam, turn the bra inside and tape the inside too. First make sure that the fold is as flat as possible—you want to be sewing three layers of fabric, one of which is the seam, not a crumpled bundle of several layers. This is why I recommend taping. If you want to pin it, you can try to do that too but I think taping makes it a LOT easier to ensure a continuous rounded shape along the alteration.


If you do use the tape, you are DEFINITELY going to need a thimble or two to get the needle through all the layers of fabric and tape. If you don’t have any thimbles, you can make one out of many layers of tape wrapped around your thumb and pointer finger—that’s what I did. I used the tape-thimbles to get the needle partway through the fabric, and then used old tweezers to pull the needle all the way through. DO NOT use your teeth to pull the needle through—you might chip your tooth and it is not worth that risk. (That’s not why I had to get the dental work this week, but it would be a fitting cautionary tale if it was!)

Now that you’re all ready with your thimbles and tweezers and tape, start sewing. It’s sort of an involved process so take your time. I recommend starting at the bottom of the seam, near the underwire, and working your way towards the upper corner where the strap is. You might find that you need to pause a few times to rearrange the tape along the fold so it stays as neat as possible.

When you’ve sewn the whole seam, you should be able to rip the tape off along the stitches. If it’s a really thick layer of tape, be careful and hold the stitches down so the pull of the tape doesn’t distort them.

The finished result from the front:


And the difference from the side, here is the bra before alteration:



…and after!



Here are the two side by side.


I didn’t find that this alteration significantly changed the cup size of my Pippa, but as a couple of people pointed out in my last post, it was slightly big on me to start with. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, you are going to lose some volume in the cup by doing this alteration, so keep that in mind if the bra you’re working on is already a tight squeeze. However, you should be able to get a good idea of how it will fit from the way you tape it before you start sewing.

Here’s the same alteration (taped but not sewn yet) on a Freya Nieve, before:


…and taped for the alteration:


Before and after:


36 comments:

  1. You are the Bra Alterations Queen!

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  2. I must be the only one who prefers the pointier silhouette. However, I still must give congrats cuz I'd never have the nerve to even attempt to mess with the cup of a bra!

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    1. I like a natural look, and sometimes that is a little pointy. Some people, though, are really conditioned to accept only a round, unnatural look as "normal".

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    2. You're certainly not alone! I find bras that other people find 'pointy' to be too round for my tastes.
      ...that said, the Nieve looks better afterwards. xD

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    3. Ms. Pris, would it kill you to kindly respect other people's opinions? If someone prefers a round shape, it doesn't mean they're "conditioned" to do so. Actually, if there's somenthing "unnatural" in the world of boobs, it's the (godawful) look of pointy bras. For crying out loud, justt ake your bra off and look in the mirror - not really pyramids by nature, are they?

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    4. Eva, some are pyramids by nature. Can someone please link to that natural real breast photos for her to see?

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    5. I guess my breasts are "unnatural" because they sure as heck aren't round outside a bra.

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    6. This comment thread got a little out of hand...

      Neither round nor pointy breasts are unnatural. However, some (not all) people prefer their bra to give them a rounded look--whether because that is their natural shape, or just because they prefer that shape. Personally, I feel very self-conscious if my bra gives me a pointy shape. Hence this alteration. However, plenty of people feel the opposite and love bras such as the Bravissimo Dotty Spot that give the pointy look.

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  3. My definition of pointy is a lot different from yours! But this is an amazing tutorial.

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  4. Wow, very useful tutorial! I'm afraid that I don't have enough courage to experiment with my beloved bras, but it looks worth trying! :D

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  5. This is so useful! I hate pointy bras, so I'll definitely have to try this if I acquire one that's too pointed for my taste.

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  6. The Nieve looks at least one cups bigger than you need. Why not try one cup smaller? Then it shouldn't look as pointy to begin with.

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    1. Too small cups just give a dreadful pointed square boob effect.

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  7. Ciao!...You're an Artist to change Bras ...but I agree with Rin Pio Readers...The pointier silhouette is Good!
    It make YOU a perfect, Marvellous Pin-Up!!
    Ciao from Italy
    <3

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  8. Really handy - thank you! I'm contemplating if the fabric of the Panache Tango would hold up to this - they look fine from the front, but really pointy from the sides. I appreciate that some like a pointy look; I'm not one of them.

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  9. I think I'd rather just get a bra that gives me the shape I like, but I'm impressed by this - it's far beyond what I'd attempt!

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  10. I hope you are feeling better post-dental work!

    Like Ann B, I would rather just get a bra that fits me. The Pippa looks too big before AND after, to me.

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  11. Hater, as ever I am in awe of your sewing skills. If not for the fact that I can't sew a straight seam to save my life, I'd be trying this right now with my Freyas. I can say with certainty that mine fit perfectly....& still give the same shape you get - perhaps even pointier. I've become resigned to Freya's pointy shape in G+ cups because their wire height & sizing suits me so well. But I far prefer the softer rounded silhouette you're aiming for with your genius alterations.

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  12. Hope your dental work went well!

    I was wondering if you had more before and after pictures of the front of each bra? I can see the boob shaping benefit from the side views clearly, but I'd like a better idea of how different the bra looks from the front. I'm not worried about how my boobs look from the front, but rather how the bra looks. If I altered a bra this way, maybe it would show less under certain tops.

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  13. For all us lingerie lovers who don't have to worry about a roommate or relative stealing our lingerie, there's a picture on reddit of what we thankfully don't have to do:

    http://imgur.com/e69kb

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  14. I've been thinking a lot about your description of why some bras are pointy. You said too much depth in the cup creates a pointy shape. Do you mean as long as the cup isn't actually wrinkly at the apex? My understanding was if a bra causes quadraboob and has wrinkling at the apex of the cups, you should go up a cup size.

    I don't sew well (just ask all the buttons I've failed to sew on in a lasting fashion). Most of my bras are of very thin, delicate fabric or all lace. And my other bras already achieve a rounded profile. For all these reasons, I'm not going to attempt this alteration in the near future. The one unpadded, sturdy fabric bra I have that is too pointy for my liking is my Freya Active sports bra. It's the only Freya bra I've found that fully encases my breast tissue, without bulging at the sides, under my arms. Would your technique work on a bra that covers so much of my chest? I wear a 28F in the Freya Active (unpadded, not molded) bra.

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  15. I'm going to try this alteration on a Parfait by Affinitas Donna bra, though it doesn't look pointy. The upper section is embroidered mesh, which you don't recommend messing with, but I think the potential upside is worth the risk.

    I prefer bras that are unpadded, unmolded, AND the same color intensity all over. The Donna's mesh is embroidered only on the top edge. The light area between the embroidery and the lower section is too big. I'll try to improve the aesthetics and eliminate slight wrinkling in the mesh upper. This bra is a bit too big on me, but not a full cup size too big. Though my boobs swell when I'm PMSing, most of the time, they are my current size. Plus the top of the bra will be lower, which will let me wear lower necklines. I've never done anything like this before. Wish me luck!

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  16. Love this tutorial! I have several bras that just sit in my drawer and never get worn because they make me look pointy. I've heard a lot of women say that these pointy bras don't MAKE your boobs look that way, they just fit so your boobs look natural....? When I'm completely naked my boobs are round, when I wear these types of bras they turn into torpedoes. Soooo, I don't know if I'm just a freak having round boobs, lol, or if it just so happens that all the people who think this shape is natural just happen to have pointy boobs when they're naked. Anyway, I'm rambling, hahaha! Just wanted to say that I will definitely be trying this one out. I wear a 32H and it's pretty much impossible to find a bra that is unlined unless it has seams, (which more often than not make me look pointy) in my size. I hate wearing molded bras because they make my boobs look even bigger, so this will hopefully be a nice alternative for me :-) Thanks!

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  17. If you want to do the lower top tutorial AND the pointy-to-round tutorial, can you fold over on the other seam (perpendicular to the one you alter in this tutorial) and cut+adjust+stitch the top panel to be lower and more open?

    I'm not that experienced in sewing, but I have a bra with a lace upper panel that might not hold a stitch!

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  18. I personally prefer the "pointy" look (though I'm not sure I would call it pointy since it doesn't look like the bullet bra look at all) because it's more natural to me. Round bras tend to give me quadra-boobs and I can't take a bigger cup because it'll end up too big.

    That's probably because my breasts actually tend to have more lenght than width.

    I did notice, though, that most young women around seemed to hate their natural shape when it wasn't round.

    Anyway, that's a pretty good tutorial and it's especially impressive on the Nieve bra. I'm sure some of my friend will find it useful.

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  22. ahhh this is just what I needed thank you!!!!! I must really need some stronger tape though cause that whole part just isn't working out..

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  23. since my beloved finelines jessie bra http://www.brasandunderwear.com.au/fine-lines-jessie-5-way-convertible-bras.html has been discontinued a few years back i havent been able to find ONE bra that even closely resembles the beautiful rounded uplifted shape jessie gave me. everything looks point and i hate it.

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  24. Terrific blog! I would LOVE it if there was a video of these alterations. Although I know the basics of sewing, I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around your detailed instructions. I guess I'm a visual learner.

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  25. How would I do this on a more structered bra?

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  26. Round boobs are natural, pointy boobs are natural. I personally prefer the pointy shape under clothes, I find it quite sexy on me. =) Naked round boobs are gorgeous too, not much appeal when clothed though, because just looks padded.

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  27. I know this is an old post, sorry. I have a bra that I really want to make work for me and someone on Bratabase recommended this tutorial (which is awesome!) But the 2 bottom sections of the cup are different than this one. They make more of an upside down U shape. Is this still doable? Same method? The bra is the Panache Azira, by the way. Thanks

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