Boobs and Babies: DIY Nursing Bras

Karen, a married mother of two (two years old and six months old), is the guest author of today’s post. Since featuring her search for the right nursing bra on this blog on December 6, she has gone through 4 months of online ordering and exchanges and 31 bras to find the Panache Andorra to fit her 28K breasts (she wears the Panache Andorra in a 28HH).  That’s when she realized that there weren’t any nursing bras in her size.  Although Karen has been sewing clothing for other people for 20 years, she’s decided that it’s time to make great clothing for herself–beginning with her own nursing bra.

Are you

  • sick of black or white nursing bras?
  • tired of wearing a granny-style bra just because you’re breastfeeding?
  • like me, and manufacturers just don’t make nursing bras in your size? (Not to mention, nursing bras for full-busted women are very expensive for being so plain, and they rarely go on sale.)

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, then do as I did. Grab your bra by its straps and take matters into your own hands! It’s very simple to create your own nursing bra from a loved regular bra. You don’t need a sewing machine because it can be hand sewn with a very straight and simple back stitch. You can be very thrifty about this, using nursing bra clasps from old nursing bras or from thrift store finds or using old bra straps from bras you’ll never wear again.

Before we start, I want to talk about bra choices.

  • Many women are told that they should avoid underwire bras at all costs while nursing, or they’ll get plugged ducts or worse, mastitis. This probably is the general case, as there are far too many women out there wearing the wrong size bra. But, if you are wearing the right size bra, the underwire will never be touching any breast tissue to put pressure on it and is perfectly safe to wear while breastfeeding.
  • If you decide you’d like to use an underwired bra, you need to consider the type of fabric used for the bra cups. Skip the molded cup and look for something with a little give. Lace cups or 100% cotton cups will have the appropriate amount of give for when your breasts are fuller.
  • When picking a cup size, try on the bra in the afternoon or evening when your breasts are less full. The cups should have enough elasticity in them to accommodate your morning fullness.

Now let’s get started.  By doing this simple conversion, you can have a drawer full of perfect-fitting and pretty custom nursing bras!


  1. Nursing bra clips
  2. 60cm of 5/8” wide satin ribbon, cut into two 30cm pieces (or two old bra straps!!!)
  3. Sewing thread to match your bra color
  4. Nneedle
  5. Favorite bra (Here, I use a Panache Andorra.)


Separate your bra straps from the bra cups. You’ll want to cut just above where the strap meets the cup as you’ll need to fold some fabric over to sew the clasps on. Give yourself about 1/2” above the cups to fold over later.

Sew the top of the nursing bra clasp onto the shoulder strap. Make sure the hook is not backwards!


Sew the top of the cup onto the bottom of the nursing bra clasp (the “eye”).



Sew the ribbon onto the bottom of the bra band, just outside of where the cup underwire meets the elastic of the band.

FINISHED!  Now repeat the 5 steps for the other shoulder strap.



  1. C. E. Welch says:

    I'm going to admit here that I know absolutely nothing about nursing bras. What is the ribbon for at the bottom?

  2. BraCraft says:

    A nice tutorial!

    @C.E.Welsh: The extra strap/ribbon goes to the bottom of the existing strap and keeps it from disappearing behind your shoulder when the cup is unclipped.

  3. C. E. Welch says:

    @BraCraft – Aaahh! Makes perfect sense now! Thanks!

  4. I would like to add a tip here, now that I've been wearing my DIY nursing bras for a few months.
    All opening of the cup flaps for nursing can put a lot of strain on the satin ribbon used to keep the straps in place. I highly suggest melting the ends of the ribbon over a flame so that the satin doesn't run at the stitching points and eventually break.

  5. Mind my ignorance. I sew the ribbon onto the bottom of the bra band, do I do anything to the other end of the ribbon?

    • Oh, that step IS missing!!

      After you sew the ribbon to the bottom of the bra band, sew the other end of the ribbon to the bottom of the clasp that’s sewn to the strap. See the “open” slit in the clasp left in Step 2? That’s where you’ll sew on the other end of the ribbon. This way, when you unhook the cup, the strap won’t slip behind your shoulders.

  6. Do you know where can I get good quality nursing bra clips? I love the one on the Gilligan O Malley line of Target, the clips on my other bras are not so good.

    • Try sew sassy fabric 🙂 you can get lingere cord there too if you cut to much off from the brajust know shipping is about 5 dollar or more depending on location so get in bulk


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