Last week, as I sat in a meeting with a client, every woman’s worst nightmare happened. I felt a sudden, sharp digging sensation under my left arm. I almost let out a gasp, but managed to disguise it as my male client was talking. I did some subtle rummaging, only to discover what I had dreaded. My bra underwire had burst through the seam of my bra and was now poking into the skin under my arm. Still, there was nothing I could do about it, so I tried to forget about it and carried on with the meeting. All went well, and as we got up to shake hands and say goodbye, that same stabbing sensation returned – but on the right, on the lower down against the middle of my breast. I wrapped up the meeting quickly and dashed to the bathroom to check what had happened. Yep – you guessed it. My favourite, faithful bra underwire had betrayed me. Not only had it fought its way out of the edging fabric on the left, but the wire had actually snapped in half on the right halfway around the cup, leaving me with 2 poking wire ends digging in and rubbing my chest raw on that side.
Has this happened to you? It’s a story I hear all too often, and one I’ve experienced myself more than once. The problem is, it always tends to happen when you’re out and about and don’t have the sewing kit handy to fix it with. So what do you do? Wander around all day with those wires stabbing at you, or that strap hanging limply where it snapped? Not anymore! The team here at Elle Courbee have a few tips to help you do some DIY bra surgery on the go – at least until you can get home for a permanent fix or a brand new bra.
Superglue and Stitches
This method isn’t so much designed to help you preserve your bra long term, but more to help you get through its death throes until it can be replaced. You will also need to make sure you carry a small tube of super glue (like the ones that come in packs of 4 at the supermarket) or clear nail polish, and a mini sewing kit (just a thread and needle is all you need). Start by working the wire back into its casing and roughly into the right place and smooth everything out. Then thread your needle and stick up, around and over the hole at the end of the underwire. Sew a few extra stitches than you think you need, since the wire has a previous record of escaping. Once you’re happy, knot of the thread and then put a little nail polish or glue over the stitches. This will help reinforce the join and fill in any gaps that the wire could poke through. This should be tough enough to keep the wire in check for quite a while.
The Moleskin Method
For this one, you need to be a little bit prepared. But not too much – all it takes it a bit of moleskin (don’t worry, it’s not made from real moles!) and some scissors (which you don’t have to carry, you could borrow them from anywhere). The best way to get the moleskin is in self-adhesive form, which is usually sold as a foot padding product (check out this listing for it on Amazon) and can be found in black as well if you want to colour coordinate. To fix a bra wire eruption, you first need to work the wire back into the casing of the bra. You need to be gentle here so that you don’t stab yourself, but make sure it’s solidly in there. Now you might want to just leave it there – but don’t! The wire will just come loose again within the first wear. Once the wire is back in, cut yourself a strip of moleskin around an inch long as just a little wider than the casing. Then apply the patch, and smooth it on for around 30 seconds to a minute with your thumbs. Your body heat will make the glue adhere to the fabric and create a solid bond. Now this isn’t a permanent fix, but it will allow you to keep wearing your bra for the rest of the day, or even a few days, without being in pain or experiencing any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. If you find it works, you can make it more permanent by sewing the moleskin patch onto the casing – just be sure to clean your needle with rubbing alcohol or something else, as it might get sticky as you stitch.
Of course, it’s not just the underwire that causes problems for bigger ladies. If you’re wearing your favourite bra (that has admittedly seen better days, but you don’t care), it’s entirely possible that the straps can tear or snap when you least want them to. If this happens, you have a few options. The easiest and most secure is to grab a safety pin and use it as an anchor between the two snapped bits of material. It might mean that strap is a little loose for a while, but hey, it’s better than the alternative! If that doesn’t work, you can tie the broken strap around the bottom of your bra band.
Another, maybe not so common issue that can plague plus size women is the dreaded bent bra hooks – particularly if you’re wearing a band extender. This is where the hooks of the hook and eye section of your bra bend out of shape, usually because your bra is slightly too small, or because you suddenly did something very strenuous and they caved under the pressure. Either way, it can leave you with a bra band that’s suddenly far too big, or worse, doesn’t close at all. The solution to this is simple though – just bend them back! The best tool for this is a pair of needle-nosed pliers, which will help you get them back to the right place without causing any damage to the integrity of the metal. But if you’re in a pinch (and have strong fingers), you could use your fingers to bend them too.
At Elle Courbee, we specialise in providing secure and fashionable solutions to all women, no matter what their size. Our range of plus size shapewear, corsets and briefs and girdles all give you a range of shades, styles and sizes to help you feel your most confident every day. So even if your bra does decide to betray you, you’ll be able to handle it like a pro. We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and if you have tricks we haven’t mentioned here, please share them below!