Tuesday, February 10, 2015

DIY Nursing Bra Conversion

Welcome to the February 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Do It Yourself
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants are teaching us how to make something useful or try something new.


I've been doing a lot of sewing lately.

I bought myself a sewing machine perhaps a year and a half ago, which is something I had wanted forever. I have dreams, my friends. Dreams of making curtains, of making blankets, of making occasional articles of clothing for my family (I did make my husband, son, and myself matching pairs of pajama pants for Christmas this year!), of making renaissance faire and Halloween costumes (last year, Bug was the man with the yellow hat, from Curious George).

What can I say? I just like sharing pictures of my boy!

Of course, many of my sewing dreams are on hold. For one thing, it's difficult to hang curtains in an apartment. For another, well, have you ever tried to sew with a toddler underfoot? Bug wants to push buttons. Bug wants to help me guide the fabric through the machine. Bug wants to (un)thread the needle. Bug wants to try his hand (er, foot) at using the foot pedal.

So when I do get to sew, it's usually in my husband's man cave, which is not really set up for being a sewing room. But the important thing is that I do get to sew occasionally!

And so when I say I've been doing a lot of sewing lately, I mean I sometimes sew in fits and starts, doing a project here or there, then putting my machine back into its lovely case for a few months or so, until I find a new project I simply must try out.

Today's project: convert one of my regular bras into a nursing bra. Because I'm cheap and don't want to buy an expensive one from the store. (And because, despite everything everyone has ever told me about how being a mother gives you bigger breasts, mine have stubbornly remained quite small, which makes it ridiculously hard to find nursing bras in the store that actually fit me!) It's really quite simple to make your own, and doesn't require a huge time commitment.

The convenience!

DIY Nursing Bra Conversion

Supplies Needed:
  • bra (one that fits you well, please!)
  • something to attach the bottom of the bra to the strap (I'm going to make slightly fancier strips of flannel cloth, because I can. But you can go much simpler; for the first nursing bra I ever converted, I used a soft shoelace. I've also heard elastic works well.)
  • a clasp of some sort (hooks/eyes are cheap and easy to find; snaps might work if you're small-chested like me, some people use swimsuit hooks, or you could get fancy and get some actual nursing bra clasps; for this project, I am cannibalizing one of my nursing tank tops for its clasps, and the instructions will reflect that)
  • thread (the same color as the bra, although I used a contrasting color to show a little better)
  • needles (or a sewing machine, which I used)

  1. Cut the strap from the bra cup. Make the cut right about at the level of your armpit, which will likely be about an inch above it, depending on the style of your bra.
  2. Measure out whatever you plan to use to reattach the bottom of the cup to the strap; this will provide a little bit of support, and keep your bra from just falling apart when you detach the cup to nurse. Make sure that whatever you use follows the curve of the cup, so that it won't be cutting against your skin in any way when you are wearing the bra. And then add an extra inch or two, just for good measure. Cut two (one for each side).
  3. Attach the bottom of your fabric strip/elastic/whatever to the cup. You may want to have it toward the middle of the cup, for a little support, or you may want to just attach it near the edge, if you worry about it being uncomfortable. Definitely make sure it's not going to be in a place where it will interfere with baby latching on!
  4. Here's where the instructions get a little muddled, as it kind of depends on what kind of clasp you are using on your bra. I used nursing bra clasps for this one. Take the bottom part of the clasp; attach the top of the bottom clasp to the bra strap by threading it through the slit, folding it under, and sewing it closed. Attach your fabric strip/elastic/whatever to the bottom part of the bottom clasp, in the same manner as you attached the bra strap.
  5. Attach the top clasp to the cup of the bra, by threading the very top of the cup through the slit, folding it under, and sewing it closed. Make sure you have the piece the right way so that it can attach to the other part of the clasp!

Various steps in the process. Feel free to leave comments if you need clarification, and I will try to explain better! And as you can see, you don't need to be good at sewing to make your own nursing bra.

And that's that! Pretty simple; the first one you make might take awhile, but even with no experience in the process it's a pretty quick process. You'll never need to buy a nursing bra again!
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • DIY: Homeschooling — Have you considered homeschooling but aren't sure how you could make it work? Kerry of City Kids Homeschooling offers some do-it-yourself encouragement in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Super Easy Berry Freezie — Tracy at Raised Good shows how to make healthy, delicious, dairy-free ice-cream for toddlers and their families in under 10 minutes.
  • How to Get Kids to Behave in Church — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how she's been able to participate in religious activities that mean a lot to her, without being separated from her kids.
  • Valentine's Slippers — A sneak peek at Life Breath Present's crochet process with some slippers for Hun for Valentine's Day this year!
  • DIY Nursing Bra Conversion — Holly at Leaves of Lavender provides a quick tutorial for how to convert your favorite regular bra to a nursing bra.
  • Make your own soothing postpartum pads — Lauren at Hobo Mama shows you how to freeze padsicles for perineal comfort after birth, plus bonus healing options.
  • Beginning Knitting Project for Kids: Knit a Pikachu — What do you do with all of those practice squares you knit when you are a beginner? Turn them into Pokemon! Kieran, 7-year-old son of Dionna at Code Name: Mama, brings us a video tutorial for this awesome knitting project for kids and adults.
  • Name Creations: An Inspiring Project that Builds Self-Esteem — Children love their names. Learn easy instructions for children, tweens and teens to put a dramatic name on their door or room wall from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., at Parental Intelligence.
  • Water-Bead Sensory Bottles for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares a tutorial for making a rainbow of water-bead sensory bottles along with ideas for using them with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

This post is shared at the Healthy, Happy, Green, & Natural Party Hop on 2/9/2015.


  1. Huh! I never thought to even try this out. I love the idea and so so simple...I will definitely remember this when I need a new nursing bra! :D

  2. Great idea! It's so hard to find nursing bras that are actually comfortable. (I am small busted, too.) I have been wearing "convertible" bras with straps that detach from the top of the cup so that you can crisscross them, so those can be used as nursing bras, but the strap can slither away--your method of connecting the strap to the bottom of the bra would be useful.

  3. You've got skills! I *love* the halloween costume - that is so cute. My sewing machine is currently broken (I haven't been able to bring myself to pay the $75 to fix it), and I've got so many projects waiting!

  4. What if I'm so lazy that I just box up my favorite styles of bra and ship them to my MIL to do the sewing for me? He he! But no really, I hated hated hated all the nursing bras I wore, to the point that I wanted to scream when they were on! So I think this is a must for me.

  5. This is perfect for when you have the ideal-fitting bra but it's not a nursing version! I know I have a lot of problems with that since I'm such an odd size to begin with (but bizarrely large-breasted instead of small, lol!), so adding nursing into the equation really narrows my options. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Holly,
    This is such good, green and frugal DIY project! Thank you so much for sharing your quick tutorial on how to reuse and convert a regular bra to a nursing bra with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I'm pinning and sharing!

  7. When searching for that perfect nursing bra, comfort, function, and design are all criteria one is looking for. A cute bra that does not have nursing access is not an option, yet a functional nursing bra that does nothing for your shape will leave you feeling blah. One nursing bra brand is both made for easy one handed nursing access yet very fashionable and comfortable.