Can You Fix A Broken Underwire?
Many people have known the pain of an underwire breaking in a much-loved bra – sometimes literal pain, if it happened while they were wearing it! And while that wire is damaged, the bra becomes unwearable. Broken underwires can be dangerously sharp, or at the very least just annoyingly pointy and proddy.
You could simply remove the underwires altogether, but this will affect the fit. Underwires make sure the breast tissue stays contained with the cup, and provide the sturdy base required for effective support. Still, it may be an option if you’d rather turn the bra into a sleep one than throw it away.
If you’re really heartbroken about losing your favorite bra though, read on to find out if it can be repaired, and if so, how to do it.
Why do bra underwires break?
First, let’s talk about why this might have happened, so you can hopefully prevent it from occurring again in another bra.
Low bra/underwire quality
If the bra was a cheap one or is just poorly-made, it may be using low quality underwires. The best quality ones are flat, made from properly-tempered steel, and have a plastic coating. All of these reduce the likelihood of it deforming or breaking. But rounded wires, uncoated ones, improperly-tempered ones, and even plastic ones also exist.
The brand may also have used a low-quality underwire casing, the fabric channel it’s placed inside. Well-made bras use a sturdy fabric that the wire can’t easily wear through.
Machine washing and tumble drying
Not taking good care of your lingerie can lead to broken underwires, even in a good-quality bra. It’s best to gently hand-wash your delicates. If you do use the machine, pop them inside a mesh wash bag which stops the bras getting tangled up with other clothing and twisted, straining the wires. And always avoid the tumble dryer. Not only is it terrible for your bra’s elastic, it can make steel underwires more brittle too.
Wearing the wrong bra size
Underwires aren’t completely rigid; they’re designed to flex around the ribcage when you put the bra on. However, if your cup size is too small (i.e.you’re trying to pull them around more breast tissue than they were designed for) or your band size is too small and therefore ultra-tight, they’ll get pulled too much. That stresses the metal, which can cause it to splinter or snap.
When is a broken underwire not fixable?
When people talk about a broken underwire, often what they mean is that it has popped out of its casing. That is often fixable, because the underwire itself is still intact.
However, when the underwire itself is broken, you’re out of luck. If it’s bent, you could try to maneuver it back into shape, but it’s difficult to do this perfectly without professional tools. Plus, that bent patch will now be weaker, making it more susceptible to bending again (and even more easily next time).
And if the wire has actually snapped, it’s definitely time to throw it away. Snapped underwires can be incredibly sharp. Don’t try to tape it back together – not only could it be sharp enough to eventually break through, the support will have been compromised anyway. Two pieces of underwire held together by tape are not as strong as one intact wire!
Related: Bra Care 101: How To Wash Bras
Enora Bikini | Tess Bikini | Marianne Unlined Wire Bra | Enora Minimizer Bra | Marianne Hipster
But wait, can’t you just replace a broken underwire?
Theoretically, yes, you could take the damaged underwire out of your bra and put a new one in. However, underwires come in so many lengths, shapes, and sizes that you’ll have a hard time finding a perfect match at your local haberdashery. Some brands even manufacture their own underwires. You can’t simply buy another ’34D’ wire and expect it to be identical.
The pieces that make up the cup will have been designed to match the specific underwire too. A replacement wire may not follow quite the same curve as the existing underwire channel, or may not fill the entire length of it. And that could alter how the cups fit.
How to fix an underwire that has popped out
If your underwire has simply broken free of its casing at one end, it should be fixable. First, push the underwire back inside the channel. Then do the following:
Sew repeated stitches over the tear in the underwire channel, closing the hole. If in doubt about how many stitches to do, err on the side of too many rather than too few. Optionally, sew a little patch of soft but sturdy fabric over the tear too, to really lock that underwire in place.
Head to your local pharmacy and pick up some moleskin, an adhesive, felt-like fabric meant for cushioning the feet. It will adhere well to your bra too! Cut a strip large enough to generously cover the tear, remove the backing, and stick it on. It should stay in place throughout lots of future washes.
What do you do when an underwire pops out – attempt to repair it, replace the bra, or keep it with the wires removed?
We Highly Recommend
Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.
Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.
If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.
Happy bra shopping!