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Do your bras feel a bit tight during your menstrual cycle or because you’re in between sizes? There are times when the band’s fit doesn’t seem quite right even if you follow your bra size. We’re listing different ways how to stretch a bra band to make it comfortable without losing functionality.
How to Stretch a Bra Band
To stretch a bra band, you can use a bra extender, add a piece of fabric, loosen up the natural fibers, or apply heat to the material. Using extenders is ideal for temporary adjustments. Meanwhile, sewing extra fabric, soaking, and heat exposure can provide a long-term stretch.
Regardless of the bra style, the band provides most of the support, so it should fit you nicely. If it doesn’t have the correct size, the bra may become impractical. These are ways to make fit adjustments without ruining its purpose.
Loosen Up Natural Fibers
Like cotton and lace, natural fabrics don’t have stretch. You can still loosen up the fibers to stretch the band of the bra. Follow these steps to soak the cloth.
- Put one liter of warm water into a bucket or basin.
- Place one tablespoon of baby shampoo or mild conditioner. Stir until the mixture fully combines.
- Put your cotton bra or lace bralette in the solution, and soak it for at least 60 minutes to relax the fabric.
- Get the bra and squeeze it gently to remove excess water.
- Put the bra on a dry towel and roll it. Squeeze until the towel absorbs as much water as it can.
- Unroll the cloth, hold the bra, and stretch the band until it reaches your desired outcome.
- Rinse the bra in warm water.
- Clip the bra in a clothesline upside down. Ensure the band is in an outstretched position, so it will follow this form as it dries.
Apply Heat to the Synthetic Fabric
Some bras mainly consist of synthetic materials like nylon and elastane. Synthetic fabrics are designed to stretch out and return to their original form. Cool washing and heat exposure can stretch out the synthetic fibers.
Band elasticity can wear out over time. The more you wear, wash, and expose the bra to heat, the more you can stretch the band. Follow these steps to stretch synthetic bra bands, especially in sports bras.
- Soak the bra in 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit water for 30 minutes. Another option is to wash the bra in the washing machine in the hottest setting.
- Remove the bra from the water and let it cool down for a few minutes.
- Wear the bra while it’s still wet. This may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, yet the heat and moisture can help stretch the fabric as it adjusts to the body. Do this if you only need a bit of stretch.
- If you want to extend the band further, place the bra on a flat surface, like a kitchen counter or table, while it’s still hot.
- Stretch the band to your desired effect. Secure one side of the band with a heavy item such as a stack of textbooks or free weights. Do the same to the band’s other side.
- Dry out the bra and wait for the band to adjust.
- Repeat the process until you feel satisfied with the fit or effect.
Use a Bra Extender
There are times when the band bunches around the torso, yet the bra generally fits well. A bra extender can also stretch a bra band because its sturdy material can pull the band’s fabric. Learning how to use bra extenders can give your breasts extra room to breathe.
Bra extenders come in various sizes, shapes, and configurations. Regardless, you simply have to attach the hooks on the extender’s underside to the bra’s loops. From there, you can use the bra’s original hooks to connect to the extender’s hook loops.
However, be cautious in using extenders as this can make the straps become further apart. In such a case, you can use strap clips to prevent them from falling.
Add Length to the Band
Aside from making the band extra stretchier, this process can add length and width to the bra. Basically, you would do the slash and spread sewing technique to increase volume.
- Find the flattest area of the band, then draw a line parallel to the side seams.
- Cut along that line and spread the band apart.
- Smooth out the band’s line.
- Cut the sturdy pieces of the fabric that contain the fasteners.
- Sew a piece of fabric or elastic in between the hook-and-eye closures. If you want to add a scrap of cloth with hook-and-eye closures, sew into the hook side first, then to the eye side. Make sure the eyes are facing up when sewing so you can hook them on the bra.
- Create a zigzag pattern as you sew all the way down the joint. Do this until you can securely attach the fastener pieces to the bra.
This technique enables you to add about a three-inch stretch to the band without making significant modifications to the band’s hold. If you go beyond this, the straps may fall off the shoulders.
What Are Signs the Bra Band Is Too Tight?
A bra band is too tight if it digs into the back, squeezes around the chest, and has poor support for the breasts. A too-tight band would result in an ill-fitting bra, limiting your movement and causing pain in the chest.
How Can I Determine My Bra Band Size?
Measure around the ribcage, directly under the breasts, then add three inches to this measurement. For instance, if your ribcage measures 35 inches, then your band size is 38. If you get an odd number, like 39, then go up to the next band size, which is 40.
You can use a bra extender, sew extra fabric, loosen up natural fibers, or apply heat to the bra to stretch the band. While it’s crucial to prioritize the right fit, making some alterations can significantly improve your comfort. Remember, the best bra should make you feel supported yet confident.