How to rescue a damaged bra
Environment,  Sewing

Visible Mending – How to Rescue a Bra

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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.

Close up of how the silk on my favourite bra has started to tear.

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.

Visible Mending?

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.

The bra straps with the frayed silk cut off

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.

The Cups

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.

The bra cups with the frayed threads cut away

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.

A bottle of Prym Fray Check

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.

The edge of the silk pinned along the foam cup

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.

The edge of the silk whip stitched in place along the edge of the foam cup

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.

The Lace

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.

The matching lace pinned over the stitching

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.

Prick stitching the lace to the edge of the foam cup

I made sure to go through both layers, the silk and the foam. This will hopefully hold everything together a little better.

One half of the finished bra cup with lace

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.

Stitching the silk of the second cup in place

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?

The finished bra with the lace covering the 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

The mended bra The mended bra Bra mending in progress The bra mending process The mended bra Before during and after mending the bra Before during and after mending the bra