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Let’s talk about bras. Bras are a pain. Finding a bra that fits nicely is almost impossible. If you do find a style that fits, it probably looks like it was designed by a disapproving vicar. And then there is the price tag. You might as well take out a mortgage to afford it.
So when you do find a bra that A) fits like a dream B) looks pretty and makes you feel sexy and C) didn’t cost a small fortune, you better learn to make it last.
This is what has happened to me recently. One of my favourite bras (Rosie Huntington Whiteley for M&S if you’re curious) has started to fall apart.
Now this truly was the perfect bra for me. I was heartbroken when it started to rip. But I loved it so much I just kept on wearing it. Big mistake. If I had taken action earlier it wouldn’t have gotten into such a state.
In the end it was make or break. I either had to find a way to fix it, or get rid of it completely.
And of course as I am trying to be as sustainable as possible with my wardrobe choices, I went for the first option.
I have become fascinated with the ideas behind visible mending. The idea that you proudly display your mended garments is one that I really love. Especially if you mend them in a beautiful way, making a feature out of the torn area.
But do the same principles apply for underwear? I couldn’t really proudly display my bra. Well I could but I might get a few funny looks.
And besides most of the visible mending that I see done leaves rips and tears on show. Somehow that didn’t seem right for something as delicate as lingerie. But never fear I had a plan.
Mending the Bra
I started by considering the issues. There were two really torn areas of my bra: the top of the foam cups and the silk covered straps.
The Bra Straps
I decided to tackle the bra straps first as I thought that they would be the easiest. The silk was so frayed it was beyond repair and was only going to tear even more. So I carefully cut all the silk off to reveal the elastic strap underneath.
As the straps were a lovely matching green colour underneath I decided to simply leave them as they were. I had considered covering them in something else but sometimes it is good to keep things simple.
As for the cups I knew they were going to need a little more work. I started by trimming away all of the frayed threads.
Then to stop the fabric from fraying even more I used some Prym Fray Check* on the edges of the silk. This should stop the fabric tearing again as it sort of glues the fibres together.
I also used it on a couple of other areas of the bra that were showing signs of fraying. Just because I love this bra and I want it to last for ever. Then I had to wait for the fray check to completely dry before I could carry on with the mending.
Once dry I pinned the torn silk back in place along the edge of the foam cup underneath.
I decided to set the silk back ever so slightly from the edge of the cup so that there was a little less tension. With silk being so delicate it tears very easily. Hopefully by giving it a bit more slack I will avoid more rips in the future.
Then using a co-coordinating thread I whip stitched the silk in place, catching it to the foam cup underneath. It was at this point I decided that this looked incredibly ugly. Visible stitching might look cool on ripped jeans but not on lacy bras.
I decided that I was going to have to cover the stitching with something. I raided by lace and trim box and found the PERFECT matching lace. Seriously, it’s almost like it was meant to be. I didn’t even buy this lace my mum picked it up for me at a car boot sale.
I pinned the lace in place on top of the stitching to see how it would look. It looked so good I could hardly believe my luck. I folded the edge of the lace over to hide the raw edge and began to stitch it in place using small prick stitches.
I made sure to go through both layers, the silk and the foam. This will hopefully hold everything together a little better.
How cute does that look? It almost looks like it was there the whole time. Nobody would know that this is actually a case of make do and mend.
I repeated this process for the second cup. Stitching the silk first and then the lace on top. Again I set the silk back from the edge to reduce the stress it was under.
The Finished Bra
Voila! The finished mended bra! As my first steps into visible mending I am so thrilled with how this turned out. Although it is such a subtle mend I am starting to wonder if this is actually invisible mending?
Hopefully, now that I have repaired this bra it will last for many more years to come, saving me money and the planet valuable resources.
I am feeling totally inspired to do some more mending now. I guess I just have to wait for my clothes to wear out first.
Love Claude x