Another Experiment with Full Bust Alterations: All That Extra Fabric

 

Leila is still on hiatus, but I’ve channeled her inspiration for today’s post. I’m not going to go into too much detail, however, because the last time I triumphantly wrote about a semi-successful alteration (creating a scoopier scoop neck), no one told me that they found it helpful! If you’d like to make similar changes to what I describe below and find my instructions too vague, please let me know and I’d be thrilled to fill you in.

After I shared this Spotted Brunia Henley blouse from Anthropologie with you, I wondered if I should have bought it and found a way to make it work, but the $80+ price tag was too much for me.

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Then I got another chance when I found this Joe Fresh version at JCP for only $21. I liked its cheerful floral print on a navy background, and the XL barely pulled at my bust when I buttoned it, so I bought it.

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Unfortunately, every time I wore this top, I felt disheveled and giant.  So finally this week I decided to see if I could do something about it. Here are the before pics (I’m wearing my Panache Idina in all the pictures).

full bust alteration henley before front side back

Here are the options I considered.

Option 1: Create a vertical waist dart from beneath my bust. Note the apron-like bottom that results. Later, I mention how I chose to address this.

full bust alterations joe fresh front waist darts maybe

Option 2: Take in the sides. However, since the shirt doesn’t button all the way down, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to slip it over my boobs once I’d taken the sides in.

full bust alterations joe fresh take in sides maybe

Option 3: Somehow gather everything in back (drawstring?) to create more of a waist.

full bust alteration joe fresh gather back maybe

I decided to start with Option 1. While wearing the top, I pinned the darts where I wanted them to begin, took the top off, marked it, tried it again, and re-pinned until I was satisfied that both the left and right sides would be relatively equal. Then I removed most of the pins and used a fabric marker to create lines to follow. I debated whether to go straight down to the hem (yellow line) or curve back in before the hem (dotted peach lines). I decided to go straight down so that I could make sure the hem was even on each side of the dart in order to avoid the apron-like bottom that you saw in the picture for Option 1. Perhaps the hem would have been level even if I’d curved back in, but I’m not experienced enough to be sure, and it seemed kind of flouncy when tried it on with the pins curving in.

full bust alteration marking waist dart

Normally I would try to begin the dart at a gradual point beneath the bust, which is what we do with Campbell & Kate shirts, but here I simply took in an abrupt 3/4″ at the base of the chest pockets, making sure to match the seams at the bottom of the pockets. This resulted in an inverted poufiness at my breasts, which was great for keeping enough room for my breasts but looked just a tad strange. So instead of ironing the darts to one side, I ironed them down the center and tacked the top of the dart with a short seam perpendicular to the rest of the dart. You’ll still see some of the poufiness in the right side after picture below, but it doesn’t bother me. If I were really ambitious, I could have removed the pockets, made the darts, and either re-attached the pockets over them or left them off entirely.

full bust alterations ironing waist dart open

I also cut the sleeves off to my elbows and trimmed the back bottom to match the front. No hi-low for me! Here are the final results.

full bust alteration henley top before and after front

full bust alteration henley side before and after

Even though I’m pretty happy with the results, I’m not positive that a Henley top is ever going to look as good on a short, full-busted woman as it will on someone who is taller or smaller-busted. I need to experiment with proportions and accessories. If I learn anything, I’ll let you know.

Finally, I also tried Option 3. There were tabs on the sleeves that were meant to keep them rolled. I cut the tabs off and sewed one end of one tab to the right back of the shirt, and I planned to button the other end onto the left (this way I would be sure to have enough fabric width to slip the whole thing over my boobs). Once I safety-pinned the button-end to where I would have put the button, however, I didn’t like the result. It seems to be a curious case of both over- and under-fitting at the same time. Instead, one of my future experiments will be with belts.

full bust alteration back gathers henley top

(You can see from the middle image that I was only halfway successful with my hem. I accidentally created a lo-hi on my left side!)

Corporate Curves Report: White Tops

 

The reason I’ve been so very fond of wearing dresses has been because of my fitness. They simply have been the most comfortable thing to wear. However, I’ve been working out with the Fustra method for a few months now (will write a more detailed post about it sometime soon!), and it has resulted in lost inches around my waist. Now skirts and jeans fit me better, and I am finally getting a lot of wear out of my tops I haven’t been able to wear as much in the past.

First is my Campbell & Kate classic white shirt that has been great in smartening up my sneaker looks. I’ve had some knee issues with the workout regime so there are days when I need to wear flats, and it’s been too chilly for ballerinas.

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Tahari jacket, Campbell&Kate shirt, Lindex skirt and Vagabond sneakers. Bracelet by Marimekko and frames Prada.

I’ve also started wearing white now that it’s spring time and I have wanted to lighten up my looks so this easy-to-wear white knit peplum top has also been a favorite. (The scarf had to be re tied after I saw how it looked on this photo but I did wear it together with this combo.)

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Nine West jacket, Joseph A peplum top, VeryNice strech jeans and Ecco boots. Frames Gucci.

All in all I am now very pleased that during my huge wardrobe overhaul I kept some of my nicer tops and shirts despite their failing the rule “if you haven’t worn this in the past two months, it’s gone”.

 

My Everyday Black Balconette: Panache Idina

 

If Suzette’s had had a 34GG in latte, the Idina would be my everyday beige balconette, too, because even in a skin tone, it’s fresh and pretty. In either color, it’s that hard-to-find combination of supportive and sexy (although strangely, I don’t think any of the sexiness comes across in its photos).

When I like a bra this much, I sometimes pretend I don’t care about seams showing under tee shirts.

Here’s what I love about this bra on me:

  • a lifted, rounded shape that reminds me of a Cleo
  • absolutely no extra space between the base of my breasts and the underwires
  • no underwires poking under my arms
  • perfect tacking

Some reviews have said that the Idina runs small, and I would tend to agree. Although I fit other 34G’s on the day I visited Suzette’s, I almost spilled out of the Idina cups in that size. As for the band, the underwires occasionally pressed painfully into my rib cage. An extender helped, and after two weeks the 34 fit me perfectly on the loosest hook.

idina stretch

One of my favorite features is the stretchy top edge of the cups.

idina sling

A no-stretch half-sling contributes to stability and forward projection.

idina sheer wing

Even though the wings are lined with beige power mesh, I like how they look lacy and sheer on the outside.

full bust bra unfinished seams idina

I’m not a fan of the unfinished seams, but if they help keep the cost to $62 and I get at least 6 months of heavy wear out of the bra, then I’ll put up with it.

full bust bra rolling under underwire

Now that I’ve been wearing this bra for over a month, I wish the band beneath the underwire would lie flat as it does when I press it (top) instead of rolling up under the underwire as it does when I leave it alone (bottom). Fortunately, this doesn’t cause any discomfort.

I still haven’t been able to try the Panache Envy, which was my shopping goal when I discovered the Idina, but you can read Holly’s review of the Envy on The Full Figured Chest. I’ll be curious to compare the two once I’ve tried them both (or to read her review once she has). If plunges are more your thing, then be sure to check out Wide Curves’ review of the Idina plunge.

Off the Rack ~ Comexim Bra Reviews: Eris, Jacqueline, & Free Time

 

It’s been a year since my last Comexim order, and I’ve been clamoring for more of the Polish brand’s bras the whole time. Recently, a group of friends from around the US and I made a big order together in order to save some money on shipping. It was a bit of a process, since we needed them to ship the bras in separate packages each with a value of no more than $200 in order to avoid getting hit with customs fees.

But since we were making such a big order, they ended up giving us a bulk discount and we saved even more money in the end, so it was definitely worth it!

The three bras I selected were “Free Time,” “Jacqueline,” and “Eris.” The style and fit is the same across all three: fully adjustable straps, two rows of hooks and eyes, and lightly padded three-part cup construction. Though Comexim will customize their bras with reduced cup height, reduced or raised gore, etc., I just bought them all as-is, in size 60J, which is the equivalent of a British 28G or GG.

These fit much like the last Comexims I ordered: Very narrow wires, very deep cups, with a profile that’s super rounded, uplifted, and brought together in front. There are a few details that are ever so slightly different, though.

The band definitely feels tighter than the other 60 I own. It’s still not as tight as Ewa Michalak, though, and I don’t feel the need for an extender, so I don’t think I need to go up to a 65. Plus the bands are pretty stretchy and my last ones stretched out a lot after getting plenty of wear. So I still believe the 60 is right; it’s just rather pinch-y right now.

I also feel like the cups are a bit bigger. The volume still seems right. I’m pretty sure going down a cup would be noticeably too small. My last Comexims had a tiny bit of gaping along the top of the cup, especially on my smaller boob, and with these three that gaping is now more pronounced, including on my bigger side. It doesn’t seem to affect the look under clothing, but it has a bit of a deflated look without a shirt unless I’m standing totally straight and rigid.

Now, on to the fun part—photos!

First up is Eris, a most unusual cutie:

eris

What’s so unusual about a bright red, sparkly bra, you ask? Well take a closer look. Those aren’t glitter hearts—they’re tiny apples!

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As a resident of New York City, “The Big Apple,” I’m a big fan of subtle apple accessories, and this bra is a perfect example. My only concern is that the glitter is going to fall off over time. It’s actual glitter affixed with some kind of glue, not mere thread with minor sparkle. I’m wondering if tracing over all the apples with liquid fabric glue or clear nail polish would be a good insurance policy against shedding.

I do like the fact that the glitter tends to grip the fabric of whatever shirt I’m wearing over it. It’d be great for deep V or wrap tops that ordinarily slide around and show off more chest than you want.

Eris’s straps are fully adjustable and the band is a double layer of soft, stretchy microfiber-like fabric. I love these non-mesh wings! Since the straps are quite smooth on both sides, I’m a little concerned that they may not stay in place. But I’ve worn it twice already and so far so good.

Like most Comexim bras, Eris has a big bow in the gore. I’m not really a fan of these bows. For one thing, my boobs are close-set, so they tend to swallow the bow between them. And for another, the large size sometimes peeks out of lower cut tops. I think I’ll probably just remove this one. The little bows on the straps can stay, though, as they give this monochrome bra just a little more visual interest.

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Oh, one last thing I just noticed: Comexim’s photo of Eris shows a little scalloped trim along the cup edge…but in real life there is no trim! Their photo also doesn’t show the bows on the straps. How weird. I can’t say I particularly care, though.

Next is Jacqueline, which I’ve wanted ever since I placed that first order a year ago. I can’t believe they’re still making it all this time later!

jacqueline

I do love a good houndstooth, especially paired with a hit of red. This isn’t even my first bra with this pattern, though technically Jacqueline is not a true houndstooth, it’s more of a wiggly checkerboard. This is real houndstooth:

houndsooth

Again you may notice some subtle differences between the manufacturer’s photo and the actual product:

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The pattern in real life is much heavier with the black, almost like a little white pattern on a black background. I do confess I prefer the Comexim photo, but not enough to really complain about it. Sadly, the pattern of the cups does not continue onto the band, which is a single layer of black mesh (boo!).

Another difference is the red lace trim: It’s a floral pattern in real life instead of the heavier-looking yet narrower scalloped shape of the photo. This also means the bow is a little more dramatic since the lace is wider. The straps are also lacking the texture you see in the photo.

However, I like the practicality of the straps, as they’re shiny on the visible side but felt-like on the bottom, to better grip the adjuster. I also appreciate the detail of the adjuster being black against the red strap.

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Finally, we have my favorite, the Free Time bra:

free time

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This one is a perfect match to the photo! My picture’s not great, and the color is much closer to the manufacturer’s photo in real life. The print is placed in the same spot, to be symmetrical on each cup and on the band. That is really impressive.

I just love this bra! The construction is pretty neat. The dark blue is silky microfiber and the plaid is the same type of mesh bra bands are usually made of. The band is actually lined in the dark blue microfiber with the mesh as the overlay, instead of vice versa. The microfiber feels really fabulous against my skin, especially because bras in general, if they’re as tight as they should be, tend to itch me a lot at the point where the band meets the cup. But this fabric helps keep that to a minimum.

Additionally, even though I was just complaining about not liking the big bows, I like the dual-color double-layered bow on this one. The two colors make it look much more deliberate and like less of an afterthought.

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