Hi y’all, Susan (Melissa’s assistant) here with you today. In my sewing efforts, I have not yet delved into bra-making. I’m vaguely interested, but it hasn’t risen to the top of my priority list. Having said that, I do sometimes have special bra needs, and I seriously balk at “special bra” prices.
So a few years ago I realized I could hack ready-to wear ones to fit those needs when necessary. I save ones that are past their prime to use for this kind of thing sometimes. They might not have a lot of life in them, but they’re fine for one-off uses a few times per year.
I’ve hacked them in several ways — cutting and resewing the straps to make them cross-back or halter, cutting out bra cups to sew into a swimsuit, or the tip I’m here to share now, replacing the straps when they’ll be worn with a top where they’re visible. I’ve made fun lace straps, braided knit straps, and more. For this one, I’m creating a bra that I intend to wear under a variety of my Kirei Camisoles. By adding a knit strap to my bra, it looks like I’m layering tank tops, but without the layers (and with summer temperatures as hot as they get here, fewer layers are important!)
Kirei includes a shelf bra option which is awesome, but there are times I want or need more support. Therefore, I’m making knit straps the same width as on a Kirei, so the result will basically just look like double straps on the cami.
To begin, you’ll need some knit fabric, fusible interfacing, and a bra. If you don’t have one to repurpose, you could buy an inexpensive one to use for this.
Decide where to cut off the straps. For this one, I cut the front at the seam; on the back, I left a bit of the stretchy part with the slider. Measure the length that you cut off.
Fuse interfacing onto the wrong side of a piece of your knit fabric. The scrap should be a couple of inches longer than your measurement in the previous step, and at least 4″ (10cm) wide.
Note: this is more interfacing than is used in the Kirei straps, but I wanted additional strength for best support. 😉
Cut two strips, 2″ (5cm) wide and a little longer than the strap piece you cut from the original bra. This will give you wiggle room if the fabric has less stretch than the original strap.
Press the long strap edges to the center of the interfaced side, then press in half so that the raw edges are inside (just as you would with double fold bias tape). Using a stretch stitch, sew down the long edge (open side) to close the straps.
Attach the straps to the front of the bra. Use a tight zig zag stitch here for extra strength.
Using the length from before (of the strap you cut off), measure and pin the strap to the back. (You can see that I made mine way longer than I needed because I just used the length of the fabric scrap, but it’s better to have too much to play with than not enough!)
Now, try on the bra and adjust the length of the straps as necessary. Stitch the back strap seam (again using a zig zag) and trim off the excess length. Done!