In the spirit of saving money -- well, technically spending less than I ought to -- I've turned to many DIY projects. Sure, some of them probably were more expensive to produce on my own, but given the time value of my labor (market value = $0), I'm sure most of my little DIY projects came out ahead on the benefit:cost ratio.
So, without further ado, I present, "How to Make a Hands-Free Pumping Bra"
Actually, before we begin: This is not the totally lazy/poor man's version of how to make a pumping bra. For that, consult other blogs where the instructions basically are to cut a vertical slit into the bra. My DIY tutorial is a little more involved and hopefully will produce a more durable bra.
- cheap sports bras
comment: I found mine at Wal-Mart for a pack of 2 for about $9 and some change. They are VERY stretchy, so though I do not know what size I WILL be once my milk comes in (fingers crossed!), I went with my best estimate given my current chest/band size, factored in some post-partum weight loss (wishful thinking?), and ensured that these babies would stretch.
- sewing machine and thread
comment: I have a Brother CS-6000i.
- miscellaneous: a sheet of paper, some cardboard, scissors, and a ruler/protractor
1) Try on the sports bra and mark off where your milk-producing "spouts" will be in said bra. I used a Sharpie pen (for a lighter colored bra) and some Ivory bar soap (for a darker colored bra). To give myself more room, I also tried the sports bra on over a t-shirt and bra since I don't have an accurate measure of my future bust size. Here's mine (before):
5) Use a an overcast stitch* for stretchy fabrics. I also changed my needle to a ballpoint needle for this task. I used a 3-point zig-zag stitch (stitch #8 on my machine with 1.0 stitch length and 2.0 stitch width and tension at 4) and went around the marked circle two times with a few reinforcement stitches at the end. I know it's hard to sew in a round, so when in doubt, make the circle tighter/smaller than you think you should or if you can't see your stencil marks clearly. The material is incredibly forgiving and will stretch once you wear it, so ensure a better fit by not making the holes too large. And don't worry if it's not perfectly circular either. Carefully rip off the paper backing. (If your stitches seem too loose without the paper, increase your tension and try again. If this step makes you nervous, I suppose you can just wash the bra with the paper and allow the washing machine to dissolve it off.)
7) You're done! Now you have a very handy (not terribly shabby looking in my opinion) hands-free pumping bra for only about $5 -- many of which I've seen retail for about $25 or more -- OR you have yourself a very...uh..interesting...and non-functional bra...for...uh....recreational purposes. Here's mine (after) with the pump part shown on the right:
* Disclaimer: I do not profess to be a master crafter, sewer, etc., so give me some leeway in my recommendations, please. :)