One of the few things we womxn are happy about during the lockdown is to be bra-free every day. Many are afraid of the coming day we squeeze into a bra again and choke the whole day.
As I wrote in one of my blog posts, I wear bras only half the times outside. My boobs are idli-type and don’t bounce, but I want to hide the nipples appealing their existence shirt ke peeche. That's the only reason I wear a bra now.
Recently I saw a brilliant artwork by Mr. Samyak Prajapati on the male gaze. A woman in a dress is walking in the street and apes are staring at her brashly. This is exactly how we womxn feel outside, isn't it? I feel the urge to kill all these apes!
Only to avoid becoming a murderer, I need to block the ape... male gaze. For the time being, until we create a society where womxn are not objectified but are respected to be equal humans.
Ugh, so irritating, but I still need a bra. For my nerves. But I hate it.
And I don’t put nipple patches - that nipple Band-Aid - into my options. Is there anyone who uses it? How’s it? I think I’d feel more miserable…
So I decided to DIY stress-free bra or bralette or whatever hides nipples and shuts the male gaze.
Easy DIY / Upcycle "Comfy Bra aka Boob Mask aka Male Gaze Blocker"
I don’t know how many episodes this will go on. I have multiple ideas.
I choose easy models with the materials everyone has at home, e.g. no adjustable straps, no shirring threads.
And I will show you how I modified the patterns (shapes, length of lines) instead of just showing the final perfect one. The whole journey including failures. It might help you modify yours while making your own.
If you want to make a bra which will make your boobs look bigger/smaller or facing upwards against the gravity, this series is not for you because I’m not aiming them. There are tons of DIY bra tutorial videos on YouTube, so please refer to them.
What we seek here is physical and mental comfort.
OK, let’s start today’s journey. It’s the easiest model and it's upcycling.
First, please measure your nude under-bust size. Yes, just below the boobs. Then prepare:
- 1 T-shirt
- Dupatta/scarf/ any fabric which has a length more than:
Your under-bust size + 1m
Here, I am using the leftover border which I have quite long.
And... you can always stitch by hand if you don't have a sewing machine. Only when you get addicted to sewing, you can think about buying one ;)
Cut The Materials
Cut out a tube from the T-shirt with the height 10 inches.
* I first did this in 11 inches but revised it to 10 inches as per below.
From the dupatta/scarf, cut out 2 tapes of:
Length: Your underbust size + 1m
Width: 2 inches
The blue part of this leftover border was exactly 2 inches! Hehehe...
Cut the backside of the T-shirt tube to make the entire length to:
Your underbust size + 4 inches
Prepare The Tapes For Stitching
Fold the sides of the tapes with 0.4 inches, and press with an iron.
This will make the stitching process a lot easy.
Fold The T-shirt
Fold the 2 shorter sides of the fabric to the wrong side of the fabric with 0.4 inches, and stitch.
And fold the 2 shorter sides to the centre with the right side of the fabric facing out, with a gap of 1.2-1.4 inches in the centre.
I make this gap to make the bra's centre thin because this bra is shaped by twisting the centre.
What we do now is to stitch 2 tapes to the top side and the bottom side of this.
The T-shirt fabric comes between the folded tapes.
First, pin the middle of the tape with the centre of the top side of the t-shirt like this:
Then pin the rest. Do the same to the bottom side.
Now, stitch 2 tapes from an end to the other end.
Fold the end of the tapes inside and start stitching. Do the same at the other end.
Stitching is done!!
This is the outer side of the bra:
And this is the inner side:
How To Wear This Bra?
It was quite easy, right? But it doesn't look like a bra, does it?
Here's how to wear this bra.
First, tie the tape of the bottom side to your underbust with the inner side out.
It doesn't need to be very tight for our purpose here.
Then, twist either right side or left side by putting the upper side tape into the bottom side tape:
Then lift up the 2 tapes and tie at the back:
This is the halter-neck type, and you can try many other ways to tie.
This is the V-strap bra type.
Yes, there's too much happening at the backside! You can also tie the bottom tape at the front or the side to avoid this jam.
Why I am not showing you the front? Because it sucks!!
There is extra fabric hanging at the busts' sides! Ewwwww!
Haha, I could guess what was wrong. The height was too long. It should be about the same length as the length of this diagonal line at the side boob.
So I unseamed the bottom side tape and cut the bra for 1 inch.
After re-stitching the bottom tape, the bra looks like these:
Now there's no extra fabric hanging.
Like this, you can modify the look of your bra by modifying the length or the width. For example, the entire length of the bra fabric was:
Your underbust size + 4 inches
But if you shorten it, the triangle part would be smaller.
Since both my T-shirt and the leftover border were pretty thick, I made another one with thin (non-stretchy) cotton fabric.
The centre front part (where it's twisted) and the tapes are easier to handle with thin fabrics.
If you make one with a very thin fabric, you can even insert a pad or a piece of fabric from the centre, to make sure it hides nipples and blocks the male gaze!
I've worn them one time each till now. They're definitely comfier than a bra, and the thin one is comfier than the thick one.
The tapes (straps) are a bit annoying, like the electric cords around a laptop. But I could reduce the annoyance so much by tying the bottom side tape at the front and/or the upper side tape at the sides like this:
* Since this dressform is bigger than my body, the bottom side tape looks too short. But it's not!
If any of you made this bra with me (I will be very happy!), please let me know how you went and how you felt when wearing it.
See you in the next episode with another model, stay tuned!
In 2003 when SARS spread all over East Asia, I saw news from Taiwan about people making masks with bras due to the short supply of masks.
In 2009, “Emergency Bra”, a normal bra which transforms to a gas mask in the emergency, won the Ig Nobel Prize for public health.
Although these were born out of disasters like SARS and Chernobyl nuclear accident, these were the news you watch with a smile. Because we were still far from disasters.
But look now. All human beings are forced to wear a mask every day, and as if it's not enough, citizens in many countries are getting tear gas attack by police.
This is the video on Emergency Bra invented by Dr. Elena Bodnar.