Altering lingerie: a brief run down

I am always on the hunt for an amazing bargain, online and in-store. Pretty much anywhere I can find lingerie. Now the thing I have learnt is that lingerie is easy to alter. I often fall in love with a piece and then realise that its not in my size or its discounted due to a fault. I have now learnt what is fixable and what isn't. 

Yesterday I picked up a corset for the absolute bargain price of $7!!! Yes you heard me......$7! It was on a faulty rack in my local Bendon outlet (a new addition for them). The tag said "Faulty front left suspender attachment unstitched." I examined the garment and saw that the stitching was indeed undone. They had forgotten to tuck that area when sewing on the elastic for the suspender. I could see that it was easily repairable. Unstitch the elastic, tuck the fabric under, sew it back down. Done! It was a 5 min job! I checked out the rest of the garment and asked an assistant if that was the only problem. She said yes and realised it was easily fixed, however they just send garments back if a fault is found. It was my lucky day! This was a $159 corset and it was now mine! (Well actually a gift for a friend, but it was in my hands!)

Pleasure State White Label "Luminous" corset.

Things that are fixable

Incorrect band size

I often purchase bras in the wrong size. I know this sounds terrible and not something I should do being in this industry, but I know the ones that can be altered. I am a 10C (32C, 70C, 1C, 85C) but that means I can fit into a 12B, 14A also! Sounds crazy I know but with a small alteration they can fit me perfectly! If you go up a back size to what you normally go for, go down a cup size and that will be your cup equivalent. So when I found a stunning Stella McCartney black chantilly lace and gathered tulle bra only available in 14A I was wrapped! The cup fit perfectly but the back was too big. This one I fixed myself, but did you know a tailor can do it for you for around $10-20? So if you absolutely adore the bra and find a great bargain then grab it and get it altered. It's a quick and simple job.

The same rules go for corsets. Its just takes a little longer and costs a little more but still worth it for a bargain piece.

Sizing rules for alterations

Go UP a band size DOWN a cup size to what you normally would wear.
10B = 12A
10C = 12B, 14A
10D = 12C, 14B, 16A
etc etc

If you alter the back just one size the shoulder straps are usually fine where they sit, but sometimes if you take it in, the shoulder straps become too centered and create a V position in the back. Get those straps moved outward slightly to take it back to the normal shape. The straps should sit pretty much right in line with the middle of the cup if you do up the bra.

The photo above shows part of the hook and eye back. All that needs to be done is unpick the row of stitching that attaches the clip section to the fabric. Cut the fabric section down to fit. Usually one size smaller is 3cm. Do that to the other side as well by another 3 cm. Make sure this is measured on you not just going via a standard sizing conversion. It all depends on the elasticity of the garment. Take it to a tailor and get them to do it on you for a perfect fit.

Stella McCartney "Amber Chatting"

Incorrect bottom size

You can alter some styles of bottoms easily but not others. Depends how much work you are willing to do or how much you're willing to pay to get it done. The easiest items to alter are spaghetti strap g/strings or bikinis. You're really only taking in the sides of the garments by a bit and is nice and easy due to the minimal elastic. If it's only a size or so difference, you don't need to change the construction of it. The bigger it is the wider the cut in the fabric, so it may bunch in the front or back if that's too wide.

Faulty Stitching

Often the only reason some faulty garments are put on the rack is because the stitching has come undone in sections. Often due to the elastic part of the garment being pulled too much and the thread snapping. Easily fixed! Tears in fabrics however I would not recommend when it comes to lingerie as you don't have much room to play around with the sizing if you need to sew it in.

Straps too long

One of the easiest and quickest fix it jobs. Whether its an elastic strap or fabric one it doesn't matter. If it's a spaghetti strap on a chemise or camisole they can be hand sewn by yourself. Especially if the garment has no sliders to adjust the length.

These rules are also the same for lingerie you've had for awhile and have stretched over time. I will do a more detailed post on how to do this yourself and what exactly is involved if you take your garments to a tailor. Just have to find the time to pull apart a few pieces to photograph and dust off the sewing machine first!

Have you ever had your lingerie altered to fit you better?


  1. Great Post, Must have this done as finding a 12F is a joke. Thanks :)

  2. It certainly gives you more variety to choose from if you're willing to alter 14E 16D or DD Just make sure you do alter it before you wear it! I've failed to that before......not a good result!


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