November 2019: Open Front Cross Bra Tutorial

Since I've done three cosplays that involve oddly-shaped bra tops with varying levels of coverage and support, I figure it's about time for me to write a little guide on how I pull it off (and/or, keep it on)—WITHOUT using clear straps. I'm going to walk you through the process I used for Sheena's bra!

Caveats: I'm fully aware that my chest fits into straight-sized clothing and have a relatively small ribcage. This method may not work for someone whose breasts are larger or whose ribcage circumference doesn't have a lot of bra strap options in length or thickness. I also can't personally account for breasts that are significantly different in individual size. I have also spent hours, and I'm talking HOURS adjusting fit in the mirror. You'll want to jump, twist, bend over, do the "vacuum" test (vacuum your living space while wearing it) if possible. Even though it's not your fault that anime/game designs often have ridiculous, impossible expectations for clothing, if you "fall out" of it in public, you'll be blamed for indecent exposure, not the original company that created the character.


Step 1:

Start with trying on the deep v bra... upside down. Turn it around so that the hooks are in front. Take your bra extender piece and hook it to the hooks, leaving the loops unhooked. Then, take a safety pin and pin the non-hook end of your extender to the loop end so that it overlaps at a length where the bra sits comfortably on top of your breasts. You'll likely have to keep turning it around to test and re-pin, as it is difficult to guess fit. If you have space, you can cut off the v-bra's original loop end and sew a seam that joins the bra extender to the space where the original loops were. There are several ways to extend your band's length, but the point here is: make sure it's not pressing down on your chest like a binder, or making your breasts sag forcibly. Your breasts should be sitting comfortably in a normal position with the bra cups snug, but not tight, against them.

Step 2:

Get those pesky straps out of the way. Snip them off with a little extra room and curl down the top triangle area where they connected to the rest of the bra. Feel free to save the straps and use them for future projects. Then, either machine or hand sew them into place with a little space for the elastic to pass through later. That part is important! If your elastic doesn't touch the entire length of your breast, there won't be enough tension to keep the rest of the top secure. Here's an example of what the heck I'm talking about. It needs to have tension through this region!

By now, when it's spread out, your bra should look like airplane wings with big turbines but minus the plane... if that makes sense! (It doesn't! So here's a photo!)

Step 3:

So, we have little loops at the former strap location. Get out your elastic. I like to use swimwear elastic because boobsweat and washability, but you can use regular elastic if you have it. We'll need four strips total, and we're going to make them into two right angles. Because Sheena's top has a tie-back and not a connector, I was able to be a little liberal with the length of the elastic. You'll still want to figure out how much you need to use by either measuring or fiddling with the actual material and looking at your reference.

Cut the elastic and sew two strips together in a right angle. Some intense zig zag stitching on the spot where they connect should do!

Another note while we're looking at the shape. See the upside down U shape? The reason I call this a "cross" tutorial is because the fabric from the left side will cross over to the right side, and vice versa. That will cover this U so it's not visible while you're wearing the garment. If you need a tutorial for a completely open front garment... I think you're probably going to need to look primarily into athletic tape, if I had to guess. Otherwise, press on!

Step 4:

Now, zig zag stitch both of your right-angle elastic strips to the actual bra at the corner of the new "inner bottom" area of the cup. Really tack that sucker down. Then, thread the "bottom" line of elastic through the loop you made from the former strap. A safety pin helps! Also, if you want to stuff the bra for more volume and use the existing slot, make sure you don't accidentally sew over that opening!

Step 5:

Stitch down the elastic along the inside inner edge of the cup with button thread. Now you have a workable base!

From here, this is where you customize the shape of the cover. For Sheena, that meant two elongated not-quite-teardrop shapes as well as a cover for the straps. I made channels for the elastic with the machine, but most of this was hand-stitched. YMMV! I also attached a hook and eye to close the bra for when I was dancing, as I created this look specifically for a formal ball and can't take any risks.

The rest of the Sheena write-up can be found here; let me know if you have any further questions if you're following along and something doesn't make sense.


If you're going to be wearing this top at a convention or otherwise out in public, I highly, highly recommend a backup method of coverage underneath. I have tried all of these options and sometimes combine it all.

Option A

Invest in some pasties, doesn't matter whether they're reusable. I don't recommend something that blends in with your skin tone because no matter how much YOU know it's not your nipple/areola, someone else or a photograph will tell a different story. If you go with something that contrasts your skin in a noticeable way, not only will you be able to tell when your top is misaligned, but you'll also be able to photoshop it out more easily. Alternatively, if you get pasties that "match" your character or series theme, I find you get a little extra fun out of the outfit. It's literally an "inside" joke!

Option B

I always pair kinesiology tape with pasties, for obvious reasons. You'll need to protect your nipple/areola area when you use this method if you want to prevent injury. First, measure the length of tape you'll need to cut out, then cut out your strips with rounded edges. I like to use four strips total: two longer ones to go from the underside/side of the breast to the top crossed area, and two shorter strips on top in the opposite direction of the long strips for security. You can experiment and see what works best with you. Removing the strips without redness/injury can be a bit of a pain, since you'll need to soak the area with baby oil for a long period of time before it will come off easily in the shower. You may not be in a rooming situation where that is possible, but again, it is NECESSARY to prevent injury.

Option C

I only use fashion tape in conjunction with A or A+B. Do NOT expect fashion tape alone to hold your outfit to your skin, especially if you will be in hot and/or humid areas. Fashion tape is little more effective than scotch tape. If you have delicate edges, it's useful for tacking down but it will not bear weight. It may wrinkle and look like areola skin if it becomes dislodged from the fabric. Use with discretion!

Photos by me.

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