Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A bra strap extender, by my own fair hand

My neighbour J--- has from earliest times been a big fan of myself as Lucy, and has taught me several feminine skills. Recently she lent me a mail-order catalogue full of summer clothes. She thought I wasn't dressing to suit my fuller figure, which is similar to her own; and in the nicest possible way, was trying to nudge me in the direction of dresses and clothing combos that would disguise the flab, and yet look fantastic.

These clothes were generally a lot more feminine than I usually wore. I said to her that I'd been fighting shy of wearing anything too girly, on the basis that I couldn't get away with it. But, she said, 'Lucy, you're a proper girl nowadays, and you will look great wearing clothes like these - just like the ones I'm wearing'. Judging by what she actually had on, she proved her point amply.

I couldn't actually afford to buy anything in the catalogue, at least not in the run-up to my Northern Tour in June, but I had a jolly good look, absorbed the lesson, and said to J--- that as the year progressed my wardrobe would certainly get girlier. Meanwhile, I did already have some nice items that I hardly ever wore, which would give me the right look if I now dug them out and wore them with fresh confidence.

So henceforth there will be less emphasis on jeggings and plain body-clinging tops, and more in the way of patterned dresses and skirts and wide-legged trousers, and soft, elegant, flowing garments generally.

I did not neglect to see what the catalogue had on underwear, and noticed this page about finding the right bra size:

Now bras have always been a problem for me. In the beginning, there were only two peanuts fighting for survival, and no need for a bra at all. Then, under the influence of powerful hormones,  my breasts burgeoned to an AA cup. This was followed by catastrophic shrinkage, when I came off hormones for the Op in early 2011. But, since then, there has been extraordinary expansion, so that I now have a bosom that any thirteen year old girl would be proud of - a genuine A cup. But accompanied unfortunately by a general fattening-up of my top half (well, a fattening-up all over, if truth be told). Size 16 is here to stay. Top and bottom. Sigh.

You can see what I'm saying. A fairly substantial torso, but small breasts. Nightmare! Because not Marks & Sparks, nor Debenhams, nor any High Street retailer, ever stocks 40A or 42A bras. It's possible to buy teen bras that have an A cup, but not larger than a 36A. If you buy from, say M&S online, you can get a 38A, at least when I last looked. But even that is like having a tightly-bound chest. Trans guys, I think I know how you must feel.

I own one rather expensive unwired bra by Triumph, in a superior white satiny material, size 40A, bought online long ago. It was redundant until recently, when I discovered that, finally, I had grown sufficiently in the bust department to fill it. But now its strap feels slightly tight around my chest.

So I decided to make myself a bra strap extender.

You can buy these quite cheaply, of course, but I thought I could easily make one for myself by cannibalising one of two teen bras I no longer wore and had put away. Here's the one I didn't cannibalise:

Right then. Having taken one bra, home in on the fastenings, and snip them off neatly:

Then, sew the two bits together, taking care to get the hooks on the correct side of the joined-up extender:

VoilĂ , one bra strap extender! I make no pretence at being an expert seamstress, but this wasn't a bad sewing job at all, and I can see a career looming in attaching severed fingers and hands, and maybe even in vaginoplasty. Well, the extender did the trick with all my bras, taking the pressure off, and making them all a little more comfortable to wear.

One day, when I'm a little better-off, when the State Pension has begun, I'll treat myself to some expensive bras up in London that all fit properly. Till then, it's fun to make something out of what has been cast aside and is gathering dust in a cupboard.

Now what can you use old bra cups for?


  1. One does what one has to. The problem with some manufacturers is they fail to understand that not everyone fits into the sizes they make. They will manufacture sizes that are popular and will give them the best financial return.

    Shirley Anne x

  2. Well worth finding a specialist shop where you will be fitted as well as any Savile Row tailor fits their suits.

    I too my partner to one many years ago and her cousin tagged along for the ride, both were surprised by how they had been getting it so wrong for so long...

    I know many natural girls who find it difficult to find simple things like bras and shoes to fit!

  3. 40A bras are easy enough to find at a moderate cost, but they're all so depressingly plain. Can it really be that no-one below B cup (save me) wants a nice lacy bra?

  4. I'm a 42A and managed to buy 4 new bras from La Redoute last year. This year there is only one..

    Why didn't I think of making my own bra strap extender? I've got one which is losing it's elasticity. Thank you Lucy for the tip - and the instructions.

    The Taillissime section of La Redoute has some lovely clothes. i don't know if it exists in the UK. If it does, always check the comments - some of their clothes can be on the large side.

  5. http://www.laredoute.co.uk/page/taillissime-plus-size-collection.htm

  6. Thanks, Anji. I've had a look at Laredoute - nice bras, but apparently none in size 40A or 42A!

    I see that Marks and Spencer do presently stock a very limited but useful range of unwired bras in these sizes, and at keen prices. I may consider these after the holiday season.


  7. Using bra extender is indeed a great idea. It could really make you feel comfortable with your old bra even if you gain weight. And you really did a good job in making one.


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