In Episode 10 of the Maternity Sewing Podcast, Lisa talks to bespoke bra maker Hanne Vandersteen about what to consider when sewing or buying nursing bras. Hanne explains why she started sewing nursing bras and encourage all nursing women to have at least one beautiful nursing bra that makes them feel pretty when wearing it!
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Hanne mentioned the bra strap being connected to the base so that it doesn’t flip over your shoulder while nursing. This is an example from one of her bras.
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[0:09] Welcome to episode 10 of the maternity sewing podcast. Maternity sewing.com is your source for maternity nursing and postpartum friendly sewing patterns, inspiration and community. The Maternity sewing podcast is where we have frank conversations, share stories and offer help and inspiration on things like sewing and body positivity, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. Hi I’m Lisa. Today I’m going to be talking with our guest Hanne Vandersteen from Belgium who makes bespoke lingerie. She’s going to be talking to us about nursing bras, what makes a good nursing nursing bra, and what you should pay attention to when making or buying one.
[1:01] Hi Hanne. Welcome to the maternity sewing podcast. Can you start by introducing yourself to our listeners? Hi Lisa. So I’m Hanne. I’m a maker and a teacher. I’m an art teacher from Antwerp, Belgium. I live in Antwerp with my husband and my five month old daughter and when I’m not teaching I’m making lingerie for all women of all ages and all shapes.
[1:27] Okay and I saw that you also offered nursing bras in your shop. What did you decide to add those to your lingerie?
[1:39] Well as I just told you I have a 5 month old daughter and I’m very picky when it comes to lingerie and
I wasn’t willing to settle for the beige and black plain nursing bras I wanted something a little bit more special, something that made me feel a little bit more like me so I set out to make my own nursing bras and then I decided Well it would be a great addition to the lingerie I already offer.
[2:12] So you yeah so you started from your own experience and from not being able to find something nice in stores which I can totally relate to. I also have I also have I think a gray one, a black one and a white one then that’s pretty much it. You’re lucky you have a grey one. Do you offer like a special type of nursing bra. For now it’s mostly bralettes because it’s because
yeah it’s easier in the first weeks when your boobs are going crazy and doubling in size and hurting all the time it’s
very comfortable and to just wear a bralette and I’m looking into maybe some underwires underwire bras but it takes a lot more
[3:06] engineering to make a good fitting underwire bra and it’s so different for all women depending on their breast shapes.
I’m thinking about it but I don’t know how to pull it off yet.
[3:19] Okay and so when you usually make a nursing bra do you just go by measurements that people provide or do they actually have a fitting in person or how does that work? Well it depends. Of course you can come by my studio and then I will fit you fit the bra for you and it will be exactly, as you like it and then there’s also the possibility to do an underwire nursing bra and because I need a lot more measurements and they need to be very accurate to get a good.
[3:52] But the bralettes you can order them online and then you leave your measurements at checkout and I will if you’re not sure about the sizing and then I will just get you the one that will fit you best so. They are all made to order so that’s a good thing because I can like if you have a small rib cage and a fuller bust I can adapt a pattern so it will fit you. tThat’s usually how I go. And so what what according to you makes a good nursing bra? What are the special features that you incorporate in your bras? I think this depends on your need at the moment. I think it also changes through the time. For example when I just when my baby was just born and my breasts are very full and maybe hurting a little bit I had wanted something that was very comfortable. I didn’t want anything that would poke me or scratch me so my nursing bras the bralettes are all very soft and they’re made from mostly from scuba fabric. So while they’re very soft they are also firm and they will give you some support. For me also the clips to unhook your cup
[5:14] that’s very useful. I don’t really like them when you just have to slide them under your breast. For me that’s really important. And I also like it when there’s a little bit of elastic between the band of the bra and the clip so you don’t lose your bra strap and you have to go and find it while holding a sleeping baby. Yeah yeah you have to do we have to be very good become very adept at doing everything with one hand if you have a baby. That’s true. I think mostly it depends on your need, what you wanted at the moment.
[5:57] Yeah so would you recommend like buying different sizes for a different moments so if you have one for the first maybe two months when as you say your breasts are really full and quite large. And you know I can imagine that after a while like I said after half a year or something if you decide to nurse for a longer time then they would maybe diminish a bit in size. Yeah they do or they’re doing that at the moment for me. They say when you’re 8 months pregnant that’s how full your breast will be when you’re nursing. For me this wasn’t the case. I think they grew another two cup sizes so this can happen. So I fully recommend just getting a couple very stretchy nursing bras for those first weeks.
[6:55] In hospital or if you give birth at home for this first two weeks at home, I think that’s really important to get some very stretchy soft ones and then maybe after a couple weeks you can see okay do these fit. And if they do fit you’re fine and I realize you can always buy some extra when you know how your breast are behaving. And then after a couple months for me at around four and a half months so my baby is 5 months old now so for me I see yeah I see that my breasts are shrinking. So that’s useful. I know that I can buy smaller bras again or I can make smaller bras again.
[7:42] Yeah yeah yeah I had actually had the same experience as you that right after birthday they grew like a couple of cup sizes and they were, they felt like they were kind of exploding and I was like what the what is happening to me. But it does pass, yes. Yeah, it does pass and also yeah are these breasts or are these bowling balls, you never know. It’s really weird.
Yeah yeah so that’s a good tip so it’s better to to not buy the really fancy ones right away but just wait maybe like a few months to see if they stay that way if that’s if that’s the size that they are going to be. However I also would fully I would fully encourage you to buy at least one bra that’s really pretty and that makes you feel amazing when you put it on because you know as a new mom you’re like “oh have I showered yesterday? No. The day before yesterday? Maybe.” and you feel so weird and there’s this baby attached to your breast at all times and you just want to be yeah yourself a little bit again. So maybe if you if you like pretty lingerie please do get yourself a very pretty one. Like one very pretty bra make you to make you feel good.
[9:08] Yeah yeah I can imagine that this can help if you are because you’re basically also in pajamas all the time. It’s nice to at least have something pretty underneath I can imagine. I remember the first time I wore something made out of a woven again that’s was like mind-blowing after 6 months. Okay so what’s so what if people want to buy or make a nursing bra. Is there what should they pay attention to? Is there for example specific requirements for different cup sizes or do you need a different kind of support or do you have any tips for that? I think it is the same if you are nursing or if you’re not nursing if your breasts are fuller and heavier and not very self-supporting you might want more support added your bra in the shape of underwires or like this criss cross bra they also offer a little bit more support than like a triangle bra bralette. But I do feel like you need to look at what your needs are at the moment. So if you’re like
[10:32] if you just need to comfort go for the most comfy bra you can find. And if you’d like how do you say it, if you need something to go to a wedding and look fabulous maybe you want an underwire bra that depends on your preferences but what’s really important is that your bra
[10:53] is like big enough so better too big than too small in my opinion and that they’re nothing is digging in your skin or in your breast tissue because that can cause a lot of problems such as mastitis and blocked milk duct so you don’t want that. You want something that’s roomy enough so there’s no digging into your skin. That’s really important. Okay and you mentioned that you make your bras from from scuba fabric. Do you so you don’t think there is like a difference between a synthetic fabric and let’s say a natural fabric? It doesn’t really matter in that sense? Some people really need to get with the
all natural fibers such as cotton or rayon because they’re very prone to things like thrush and which is some type of infection that you really don’t want to harbor him in your bra. So yeah in that case if you know that you are very sensible to that please do stick with the cotton nursing bras and please do wash them regularly. But for me personally I don’t have a problem with the synthetic fibers and I think if you wash your bra and if you buy plenty and you wash them daily it’s not a problem. For me it isn’t.
[12:15] Okay okay that’s good to know. Is there anything else that you would like to share about nursing bras or something that you offering in your shop?
[12:25] Well what I do offering myself and that’s a new addition I’m bit obsessed with it at the moment is the possibility to get all the bras that are in my shop so also you want something and it isn’t available as a nursing bra you can just send me a message and then I will
[12:46] I will transform it into a nursing bra for you. So if you’re like in love with something else and you want something else we can make that happen. But most importantly I think if you and this is why I make linger it is that if you feel good about yourself and your body and it’s not always easy in the fourth trimester it’s not always easy postpartum, please do some time aside to get some nice underwear get some nice clothes and that will make you feel better I strongly believe it.
[13:23] Yeah yeah I think I agree with you. It’s it’s the same I think during during pregnancy as well that at some point you just feel like so big. You feel like maybe you don’t deserve something nice because you know it’s going to pass and you don’t deserve to spend the money on something nice. But it’s probably the time when you need it the most maybe because you know to feel better and to feel to feel pretty in your body if you if you have some because your body can feel quite kind of alien. And I think it’s the same after birth because you know your body is has changed and will not be the same as you know so it’s it can be really nice to actually spend some money and treat yourself. Yeah it’s true. I mean a lot of people say I’m going to wait until I’m back in my skinny jeans or I’m going to wait until I’m until I’ve lost pounds or I’m going to wait until I’m no longer nursing. But then what’s the alternative? That you feel miserable in what you’re wearing every day for like 6 months? Thats a shame. You deserve to feel pretty. You gave birth to a baby. That’s amazing.
[14:42] Yeah exactly. Yeah maybe you want you’re waiting for something that’s not even going to happen. You know you might not ever fit into the skinny jeans again or you’re breasts will definitely not not look the same after breastfeeding for 6 months. That‘s true for me personally that’s true. I weigh less than before I was pregnant but my clothes don’t fit me anymore. You never know yeah. Okay so thank you for sharing your expertise on the nursing bras. Can you tell me where people can find you online? So I have a website which is just my name hannevandersteen.be. And then there’s also my Instagram which is hanne.vds and there you can find information and you can ask me questions if you have any questions on the nursing bras I’m very happy to help you out.
[15:42] Okay great thank you so much thank you bye.
[15:51] That’s it for today’s episode of the maternity sewing podcast. You can find maternity sewing at maternity sewing.com
You’ll find our curated pattern shop of maternity, nursing and postpartum friendly sewing patterns, our blog where we have sewing tutorials and inspiration for pregnant nursing and postpartum sewists, and the show notes from all of our podcasts.
I’m Lisa Kievits, your host today and co-owner of maternity sewing. You can find me at Paprika Patterns and I’m on Instagram as at paprikapatterns. Today I talked with Hannah Vandersteen. You can find her at hannevandersteen.be.
Her shop on Etsy is Hannevanderseetn on Instagram as hanne.VDS and on Facebook as hannevandersteen.
[16:37] You can look in our show notes and on our website at maternitysewing.Com / podcast for links to everything we talked about as well as all the ways you can stay in touch with maternity sewing like our newsletter or Facebook page and a Facebook group. You can also find it on Instagram at maternity sewing.