This is the first part of a two part post. You can find the follow-up to this post here.
I’ve tried on a lot of bras in the past six months. More than 45 styles, some in multiple sizes. Most I’ve ordered from online retailers since I have local supply issues.
My body has changed, my size has gone up and down in both cup and band…and I’ve struggled to find styles to fit my shape the entire journey.
Recently, I’ve had luck with stretch lace cup styles. While I was ecstatic to pinpoint one fit point that could make choosing bras from internet retailers easier, I was also discouraged because so few bras in my size and style range feature stretchy cups.
During one of my recent orders, I noticed something interesting about the Elomi Valentina: the bra band tension was uneven. The top half of the Valentina’s band was very loose around my ribs…so loose that all of my support was coming from the bottom half of the band. I figured that wasn’t good, and concluded I have a fit incompatibility with Elomi because I have an “A” shaped, flared ribcage at my band area. Then I noticed the same problem, to a lesser degree, on my Panache Idinas – which are my best fitting bras to date (they really do fit me unbelievably well). And upon reflection, I could see how uneven band tension may have affected fit in some Fantasie styles, as well.
So I asked fellow bloggers about this, and discovered that some routinely alter their bras not just to narrow gores or shorten bands and straps, but to balance uneven bra band tension.
As an experiment I tried fastening my band unevenly – the bottom of the band on the loosest hook, and the top on the middle hook to help balance the tension. Magically, the cup wires widened, quadraboob lessened, wrinkles in the band disappeared, gaping cups filled, shape improved immensely, and my band stayed horizontal to the floor!
Today I took my three best fitting bras to a local shop for a fitting with their seamstress, who agreed to alter my bras to help adjust the bra band tension. While I was there, of course, I tried on some of the lovely bras in stock. I can honestly say having a fitting with a seamstress who can alter bras is a life-changing event. With her help, I realized I had been sizing down in cup size to counter the uneven bra band tension…. I went up one to two cups in each style, while she pinched in the top halves of the bands on the new bras. Not only did I go up in cup size, I could instantly wear styles I had previously discarded because of fit anomalies.
So here’s my advice. Put on your bras and then reach back and test the tension on your band. Is it even? Remember, the bottom of the band can be loose compared to the top, also. Does your bra fit better if you equalize the band tension? Test it out – tighten the hooks on the loose half. How does it feel? Does your band feel more comfortable?
If you think your fit has been suffering from uneven bra band tension, I advise finding a seamstress who can take small tucks in the band on each side to equalize tension. This small adjustment may make a huge difference in the comfort level of your bras, and help you wear styles you have discarded.
For more information about how you can alter your bras for a better fit, here are some great links:
This is the first part of a two part post. You can find the follow-up to this post here, including instructions on how to perform this alteration.
Dressing Curves: Alterations – Reduce the Band Width, and Alterations – Moving the Strap Position
Braless in Brasil: 10 Rules of Bra Alterations, Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures, and All About Band Sizes
BustyResources: How to Alter a Bra
Bratabase: Bra Alterations, and Bra Adventures – Bra Alterations
As always, I welcome (and hope for) input from my readers and fellow boob bloggers! Please comment on this post or drop me a line at info[at]widecurves.com.
I’m fortunate that I don’t see this with regular bras, but I do see it in longlines because my ribs flare out just under where a regular band hooks. I’ve been avoiding longlines because it would mean sizing up one band size to wear them, but maybe I could have then adjusted…hmmm…
Now that you mention it, I’ve never had a well-fitting strapless (not to mention longline). Now I wonder if this has played a large part in the ill fit.
I feel like I should try everything on again, just to see what happens.
Brilliant. I’ve been doing the uneven hooking thing for a while now, but mostly to lessen the bulges under the band without compromising the support. An I wasn’t all too happy with the results because the hooks puckered and showed through clothes. What you wrote makes perfect sense. Now off to the seamstress for me 🙂
So glad I could help!
Does anyone have suggestions on doing this yourself? It would be great if someone could make up a tutorial!
Kate, great question. I need to post a follow-up to this post and in it I will include photos and tutorials if I can find them!
Brasihatelove wrote a really simple, easy tutorial on how to alter bands. Instead of an even alter it would be more like a /\ sewing or like a dart on the top half of the band. Fold the top half of the band inwards, towards the inside of the bra, \ and then pin it with a pin. and try it on. If it fits better you can sew it without cutting. or you can adjust to make the top half a little bigger or smaller. When you get it the way you want, you can also use fabric glue and glue it before you sew it, if you want to. I couldn’t find the tutorial from brasihatelove right away but I found a link that might also help:
[…] Last month I posted about how I suspected a few of my key fit issues weren’t because of bra style, but because of the uneven bra band tension I experience in some (okay, all) bras in my post “It’s not the bra style, it’s your bra band tension!”. […]
[…] problem in these brands, or if you would like more brands to be available to you, you could try fastening your bra diagonally (so onto tighter hooks at the top), or you could try this alteration of adding a dart to the top of […]
[…] bands will always roll up or shift up throughout the day because my flare pushes the band upwards. I can alter my bands to equalize band tension to reduce this effect; however, rolling and shifting will still happen to some […]
[…] are already blogs out there that have covered altering band tension. Widecurves covers it (here:http://widecurves.com/its-your-bra-band-tension/). The alteration would be the opposite in this case, where you actually WANT an uneven band […]
I love this! I have had this problem more times than I would like to remember. Top of the bands are too big making cups bag or wrinkle on top. Thank you so much for sharing this blog!