This was a sad week for busty alterations. A project I attempted completely failed and a bra tragically lost its life.
Not too long ago, I bought an infinity dress online at a heavy discount. The one I specifically got is the brand Ravon by Von Vonni. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “infinity dress,” it’s a simple dress with an empire waist and a halter top, only the halter straps are super wide and are about six feet long with square or slightly angled ends. This allows you to twist the straps into an “infinite” number of dress styles. Here’s a video from Von Vonni explaining how to do it:
These dresses are generally considered to be universally flattering. And why wouldn’t they be? You can customize them however you like and the big, flowy skirt drapes well no matter your shape. So after seeing these dresses in lots of store windows, lots of TV shows, and lots of websites, I bought one from a flash sale site.
But these dresses are not universally flattering, oh no! The Von Vonni was one-size-fits-all, which I thought would be great for a big bust. But it turns out the empire waist is so low that you can’t wear a bra with it. And even though there is plenty of volume in the halter triangles for big boobs, there is an awful lot of side-boob. Additionally, when I attempted any style that involved wrapping one strap over the opposite shoulder (to achieve a one-shoulder effect), the strap going to the opposite shoulder would gap and flap open in the center instead of resting flat against my chest.
Still, when I tried on the dress with a strapless bra underneath, it was so, so pretty and so incredibly flattering. I felt like a Grecian goddess with a perfect hourglass figure. But I refuse to wear it bra-less. Yeah, the adjustable halter provides some support, but not nearly enough. Without a bra, you also get seriously visible nipple, which is pretty funny when you consider that some of the brands that make these dresses tout them as being perfect for bridesmaids—maybe if you want your entire bridal party’s headlights to be out!
So I got to work. I figured I could sew in the cups from a bra and tighten up the empire waist to create a faux bra band. Inserting elastic in the band was easy enough. I just cut a slit in the existing double-folded hem, threaded in the elastic, and sewed it in place. But the bra cups were another story!
I cut off the straps, band, and gore so I was left with two cups like the ones you can buy in craft stores (only these ones were actually big enough). Then I attempted to attach them to the dress. I tried tucking them into existing folds, tacking them in place, attaching them above the waist seam, below the seam. But nothing really worked. The existing seam was just way too horizontal to work in tandem with the deep rounded underwires I was working with, even after bending the wire to have a flatter diameter. No matter how much I pulled the super stretchy fabric of the dress, it just looked crooked and wonky.
At one point, I managed to get as close to workable as I thought it would go. I was pretty excited—this might just work!
Until I tried the dress back on. Now instead of a gap in the cup when I attempted a one-shoulder look, I had a whole protrusion, because the bra cup was pointing sideways and outward.
Sigh! What a waste of a day—and a waste of a bra.
So, ladies, unless you have a low-backed, low-sided, dependable longline bra, don’t believe the hype about these dresses. They, as usual, are universally flattering to pretty much anyone but the big-busted. Next time I’ll just make one from scratch and add a panel so the back is high enough to wear with a bra. In fact, here are some great instructions (and from a seamstress who says she has “gigantic hooters,” no less!): http://sewlikemymom.com/little-red-infinity-dress-tutorial/
I SO know how you feel! I made a version of this dress in 2008 ( http://tracykm.blogspot.com/2008/06/when-babywearing-ends.html and scroll down) which was about a year after I had a breast reduction, but I was by no means small. I could really only wear it one way 🙁 What I figure I need is darts in the straps to shorten the outer edges and make them lie flatter on me. However, I’ve put weight on and I don’t want such a close fitting dress anymore.
could this be helpful?
Von Vonnie actually makes these too, but the problem is that I don’t want to alter the front silhouette. I still want it to be V-shaped, but need enough coverage in back to wear a bra. I might try to buy matching fabric and make a bandeau that curves UNDER my boobs in the front. If it’s successful, I’ll write it up here!
Or you could buy or make a matching tube top and either baste or put elastic in the front to ruche the fabric. Quick and easy.
From what I can see most of the makers of this dress also offer a bandeau to help with coverage. Hope this helps!
You could get a matching tube top/bandeau to make bras possible!