I've been hunting the clearance racks for regular bras the last few months. I refuse to pay more than $5- $6 for a regular bra which means it has to be marked down at least 80% for me to even consider buying it. For my conversion photos I bought a 2 pack of bras at Big Lots for $8. I had all the materials for the conversion so that made it $4 each for a nursing bra! You'll probably find it difficult to believe, but these bras are actually more comfortable than my more expensive nursing bras! No, these bras aren't lined, but I just made some nice super easy contoured nursing pads so it doesn't matter anyway ;-)
I used my handy KAM snaps pliers to do the conversion, but you don't have to have snap pliers to do it. (See end of post where to get the materials) However, snap pliers have been so useful for a variety of projects and this would be a good reason to invest in a pair :-) KAM snaps make a nice secure hold and they are very easy to undo with one hand which is very important to me.
First, you want to cut your straps.
Then add your snaps. Please make note I have the top bands twisted for the photo (sorry for the confusion). We will fold the straps up to sew the raw edge into the strap to make a tab below.
Now fold the ends up to make a 'tab' and zig zag several times to enclose ends and make secure.
This is what it will look like after you are done and the bra is snapped.
Next is to sew a ribbon to connect the strap to the bottom of the bra. I used 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbon, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
It fits great and it's easy to unsnap with one hand. I did the conversion on my next bra the opposite way, with the tabs the opposite way (see photo below) but I did not like it as much. When you unsnap with one hand on the first conversion you are pulling up so you are putting pressure on the band of your bra where it's very secure and there is no give. If you do the conversion like I did in the second bra you are pulling down which puts pressure on the straps. My straps are very stretchy and it was difficult to do this with one hand when it makes the straps stretch so far down. Plus I'm sure repeatedly pulling on the straps wouldn't be good for the bra. I am going to be changing the conversion on this second bra to the first one I did. However, I wanted to show you both ways and explain why the first bra is better.
If you don't have snap pliers:
You can purchase these nursing bra clasps from Sew Sassy Fabrics and make the conversion with them. I have not found nursing bra clasps from any local sewing store around here so more than likely you will need to order these. Even if you have to order these clasps, it's still very affordable to make your own nursing bra.