At Long Last...The Removable Cup Bra (part one)
Hello! I am unbelievably guilty of having procastinated this post and I owe an apology to a couple people whom I promised MONTHS ago that I would get this post up and running. I've had multiple requests about this, and while I'm happy to share my own particular way of doing this, I'm quite certain there are a hundred different ways and possibly even easier ways, but as usual, my posts are very DIY and this is the way I've figured out that works for me. So, with that, take from this what is helpful and ignore the rest! AND, I always welcome questions, corrections and comments. Okeydoke. With that preamble, let's get to it.
So, the single most important part of this particular technique, for me at least, is that you must start with a strapless bra with rigid foam cups that is a minimum of one full cup size larger than what you usually wear. If you are larger breasted, say c cup or more, I suggest purchasing a bra that is two cup sizes larger than your usual size. Actually, I guess that's two things, isn't it. Ok. Let me explain.
Strapless bras have a couple things going for them that regular bras don't. The cups are much more firm and rigid, this is important because you want these cups to hold their shape even when they are removed from the bra. You don't want limp noodle cups because you are going to deconstruct this bra and they need to hold their shape even when reassembled with snaps. The other thing that is important about strapless bras, and I'm talking good quality bras, don't buy the cheapest thing you can find unless it also happens to do a fantastic job of holding up your boobage. That's what's most important.
My second point about cup size. The cups are going to shrink in size once you remove , cover, stitch, and reattach them with fasteners. When complete, the cups will be overlapping the support structer (the covered wire) rather than sitting above the wire as they are when you purchase them. This is complicated to explain and I will try to illustrate why this is the case as I step you through the whole process. In the meanwhile, get yourself at least one cup size larger than normal or the cups will pop off when you don't want them to! I learned this the hard way.
So let's get started. First, grab yourself a SHARP pair of scissors. Foam cups are sort of sticky to cut through, so you want razor sharp blades for this.
Ok, so you are now going to cut the cups out of the bra. Cut as closely to the fabric covered wire as possible, but check both sides and be SURE you don't cut into the wire casing. You want the wire to stay intact inside it's fabric covering.
That's the scary part. The next thing to do is mark which cup is left and which is right, because once you start covering them it becomes very easy to mix them up and the two cups are actually quite differently shaped. you don't want to mix them up.
So after rummaging through my boxes of scraps and trims, I play with different bits and bobs and decide I'm going to cover the cups in a STRETCH sparkle fabric in light purple - people- do NOT attempt this with non stretchy fabric. This technique for seam-free cups only works with stretch fabric. So Here's my technique for covering the cups.
Drape your fabric over the outside of the cup and roughly cut around the edge giving yourself a solid 1 - 2 inches of excess all the way around. Better to have too much fabric than not enough.
Now, you are going to pin the fabric into place while stretching the fabric smooth as you go. This sounds tricky but it's not if you use one handy-dandy tool. Your knees. Yep. Comme ça:
Perch yourself somewhere comfortable where you sit with a flexed knee. Place le boob cup over the knee. The knee is an ideal form to keep the cup from flattening out as you pin it. For me the sofa and coffee table is the combo I chose to work from. Then...
Centre your fabric over the cup and place a single pin as close to the centre of the cup as you can. Just eyeball it, this doesn't need to be a precision thing. The goal is to keep the fabric centred so that as you begin stretching the fabric taut and pin your way around the cup, you don't pull the fabric too far in one direction leaving you with not enough fabric on the other side. Think of this centre pin as your anchor point.
I begin by placing four pins, one at each 'corner' if you will. Just stretch the fabric over the cup on your knee, and pin in place once smoothe. I find it easiest to do top, bottom, side, side in that order, before filling in all the other pins.
Do here's the top down view of the perfectly smoothe fabric pinned in place on the front of the cup. The action of stretch the fabric over the cup will already have condensed the cup slightly, making it slightly smaller than it was when you started. Then...
Flip the cup over. See those sort of wrinkles on the inside of the cup?? That's evidence of the tension of the fabric on the outside of the cup, essentially squeezing it slightly smaller. It's about to get slightly smaller still with the next step. Fold your excess fabric to the inside of the cup and pin into place without removing the pins from the front side. This will ensure the front stays perfectly molded and smoothe.
Here you see how I've pinned the fabric to the inside of the cup. Again, you need to pull the fabric taut at each pin point.
Next.... we stitch!
I've exaggerated the stitch in this photo just to show you what I'm doing, but essentially you are going to stitch from front to back over the edge of the cup all the way around. I'm self-taught so have no idea what this type of stitch is called. Feel free to enlighten me. Once you have stitched all the way around, you can remove all the pins, flip the cup over and trim away the excess fabric which gives you THIS!
Voila! A perfectly smooth, seamless covered cup. Repeat this process on the other cup.
And that, is the end of part one. It's as much as I completed in maybe an hour or so before I got bored and moved on to a different project. Next steps will be in my next post in the next couple days and will cover how to reattach the cups, trimming, adding straps, and decorating. Meanwhile I'm just going to play with some trim ideas, come back and see what I decide to do. By the way, I'm going to give this bra away to one of my readers when I'm done, so fire me any questions you have.