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How to Make Your Bra Cups Smaller


Prepare to be amazed. Alright, maybe not amazed, but at least perhaps slightly impressed. If you’re like me, and you don’t have any lingerie stores near you that carry the size(s) you need, and you order a majority of your bras online, then you’ve probably realized that a lot of the time, you really have to guess what size you need based on previous experience and reviews. And you’ve also probably discovered that sometimes, the bra just doesn’t fit. No matter how many scoops, swoops, sucking in and re-adjustings you do, some bras come straight from bra hell (can’t you almost hear them cackling as they stab their gore into your sternum for the fourth time?) That’s where I come in. This will be the first in a series of bra fixes and alterations, because sometimes returning or exchanging that bra becomes incredibly expensive if you’re not conveniently located, and my new motto has been “if it doesn’t fit, make it fit”. This post will tackle how to make bra cups smaller. The beauty of this trick¬† is that it works if you ordered a cup size too big by accident, if the bra is just sized larger, if one breast is smaller than the other, or even if you’ve recently lost a bit of weight and your favourite bras are now wrinkling sadly. The best part about this alteration is that nothing permanent is done to the bra, so if you grow or put on a bit of weight, you can easily just cut the stitches and restore the bra to its original cup volume. All you’ll need is a needle and thread, some pins, and maybe a thimble, depending on how much you value your fingers.

Like the genius I am, I decided to order a 28FF rather than my usual 28F in the new colourway for the Cleo Marcie (candy pink) because I’d somehow convinced myself based on a few photos that I’d totally be able to fill out the FF. Wrong. So wrong. Unfortunately, by the time I’d received the 28FF and realized my horrible mistake, the 28F had sold out, leaving me with a bra that was absolutely stunning, but just a few smidges too big. So, I decided to put my new motto into action.

To begin, take the victim bra of your choice and figure out how much the bra doesn’t fit you by. Is it a little bagging, or are you swimming in the cups? Next, figure out where the cups wrinkle the most. (Top, bottom, sides, etc). Once you’ve got that figured out, you’re going to need some pins. The Marcie bra had too much space around the top and apex of the bra, which gave me an awkward shape. To combat this, I took the main seam of the bra, the big one that runs from the strap to the gore, and tucked at the gore so the cup was pulled (comfortably) tight over my boob, like this:

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Pinch the excess fabric

 

Once you’ve done this, pin the fabric in place. You may want to pin it a few times to keep it from sliding around as you sew. Fold the fabric over, so that it’s right up against the wire, like this:

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Fold the fabric right onto the gore and hold it tightly

Next, take your threaded needle and begin to sew. Put the first stitch through the folded fabric, and from then on, sew the folded fabric to the gore. Obviously, the gore has very stiff fabric and is a bit harder to puncture. Try to avoid the wire, because that’s REALLY hard to puncture. This is where a thimble will come in handy. Work your way from the seam to the top of the gore, making tight little stitches, securing the fabric:

The final product looks like this:

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What’s also great is the alteration is pretty subtle!
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There isn’t much difference between the unaltered left side and the altered right side!
And here's the back view!
And here’s the back view!

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And the difference in cup sizes is quite noticeable. It’s a full cup size smaller, and fits like a glove!

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If you want to change the volume in the bottom of the cups, (making them less deep) do the same thing as above, but with the vertical seam. Pinch it to the bottom wire and sew it and a bit of the fabric around it in place. This also works if there’s wrinkling in the sides of the cups because the wires are too wide. Pinch some of the extra fabric to the wire and sew in place. Caution: Those two alterations mentioned above affect the cup fit a lot more than the one I did above, so be careful how much fabric you sew to the wire. On this bra I tried both of those alterations, but found the seam-gore alteration more suitable to what I needed, and removed the bottom-seam alteration. I kept the pictures, though:

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It looks a bit like creepy voodoo, but here’s the pinning for the bottom alteration
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Almost done sewing
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The final stitch for the bottom seam!

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions/concerns/comments, please leave them in the comments – and good luck!

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19 thoughts on “How to Make Your Bra Cups Smaller”

  1. What a great idea!! Thank you so much. I’ve lost about 30# in the last year and I have so many bras that no longer fit. Now I don’t have to get rid of them!!

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  2. thank you very much! I was just about to give away my designer bras which I hardly had used them, now there is a hope that might be able to use them!

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  3. Does this work for a padded bra and if so how would you go about that because I just bought a really cute lingerie one and bought the wrong size and do not know how to fix it because they do not sell the one I want in the size I want. Please help

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    1. It depends on how molded the cups are- I’ve used this alteration for lightly-padded bras such as the Freya Patsy, but if it’s more like the Freya Deco, there isn’t much to be done in terms of altering the cups. If it is lightly padded, just take the tops of the cups (i.e., all the gaping fabric) and pull it over to the gore and sew in place. That’ll tighten the top of the bra so it won’t gape any more and make the cups about half a size smaller.

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  4. This is a great post, I just stumbled upon it as looking to make a bra smaller in the cups. Unlucky for me it is the freya deco. Is there anything you think I could do? Only worn it a couple of times but due to breastfeeding & baby reducing feeds my size is on a gradual decrease. Would be such a waste not to get anymore wear out of it.

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    1. In terms of sewing I think not, the cups are quite molded- you could, however, get some cutlets and put them in while you wear it. You could also try sewing in some light padding around the bottom or sides to occupy the empty space. If none of that works, you can sell or exchange it on Bratabase or the reddit bra swap! Good luck :)

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      1. Thanks for the reply. I wasn’t aware of those sites, I will take a look & decide what will be the best option for me. Thanks again :)

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  5. Hello, I don’t usually leave comments, but your site was so helpful, I just had to let you know. I just bought three bras online, and all of them were too big in the cups. (Still searching for the perfect size.) I didn’t want to return them, because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle. Thanks to your site, I was able to put some darts in the side of the cups and use your seam/gore alternation, and now they fit like a glove!! I like them so much, I will always err on buying up, knowing that I can alter them! Thank you so much for taking them time to post this, it is greatly appreciated. I will never suffer an ill fitting bra again!

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    1. I’m so glad you found my alterations useful! Those are the exact reasons I post them- making returns and exchanges is expensive, time consuming, and annoying. Keep up the good work and good luck finding the perfect bra :D

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    1. If you can remove the insert, I’d just cut it. Keep the cut part in case you need to sew it back on later. If you can’t remove it, I’d make a small incision in your swimsuit lining and cut it like that. Hope that helps and please let me know if you have any more questions :)

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  6. I don’t usually comment on websites but I just had to say thanks for this! I have uneven breasts and I’ve never found a bra that fit properly, this tutorial is brilliant.

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  7. I just had to come and thank you. I had an almost perfect nude-for-me summer bra (the Fantasie smoothing balcony bra), which fit well on my larger breast, but as clearly too large with empty space and wrinkling at the top and bottom.

    Thankfully, I found this tutorial, and was able to get rid of the wrinkling at the top of the cups, and empty space at the bottom by taking it in both sides by pinching the top of the cup at the sides, and making a “dart” to taper to tighten the loose material.

    I would take a picture to show it off, but afraid it won’t show up in the comments.

    It feels like I have a new bra now, and makes me excited to wear it again.

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