Attention Ladies!

This guest post by Lake Lili and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rulesthat are listed below first… Yes

Okay Guys… time for a break. This article is really directed at the women in your lives and some prepping items that don’t get discussed too often. No I am not talking about hygiene items – I am hoping by this point that those items have been taken care of and that even you single guys have some stocked away just in case (note: pads are good for dealing with wounds too). Nor am I talking about the extra essential stash of chocolate that if it doesn’t save your own life might make that guy of yours crack a smile in the aftermath.

No I am talking about your bras. Don’t burn them, they are way too handy. But in order to be handy then need to fit correctly. I’ll bet when you went out buying your fabric for your preps, bra fabrics didn’t even come to mind. Nor perhaps did finding a pattern. But before you do it, please go and get properly fitted.

Now fittings used to be done in every department store by elderly ladies who usually also did the alterations… but that bit of service has gone the way of the dodo bird, so you usually have to look for a specialty lingerie store. You usually have to make an appointment. Look for one who charges for the appointment so you don’t end up having to buy a $100 French lace bra. If the embarrassment is too much then here is how to get your proper sizing.

This is still going to be easiest done if you have a friend (or husband) to help. You will need paper, a pencil and a cloth measuring tape (or a good long piece of string and a regular measuring tape). Put on the bra that make you feel your best – obviously make sure your breasts aren’t hanging down to your waist or hiked up to your chin. Neither position will be comfortable when you are chopping wood or feeding chickens. Now:

Measure under the bust. You have to keep the measuring tape snug to the body – not too tight and not loose. This strap is the main support and if it doesn’t fit snuggly, all the weight will end up on your shoulder and your back will ache at the end of the day. Put a line on the paper and write this number under the line.
Now measure the upper bust. This is the spot where the breast comes out from the ribs. This number gets written above the line.
Now measure the full bust. Again the measuring tape goes all the way around the body at the fullest part of the breast. This is the around number.

Now comes the math part… Okay I never said there would be math but this is how you get those fancy numbers they use on bras in the stores.

The band number is obtained by adding 4” to the underbust number. So if your underbust number was 32”. Your band number is 36”. However if you measure an odd number like 32 ½“ then after you have added 4” and got 36 ½“ then you round up to the nearest whole, even number – so your measurement is 38”. Those 4” are designed to give you room to breathe and are where you put the hooks and eyes.

Now to get the cup size, subtract the upper bust number from the full bust number. Each inch of difference represents a cup size. 1” = A cup, 2” = B cup, 3” = C cup and so on through the alphabet. If the difference is less than an inch, it cup size is a AA.

So the number you see in the store are the band size and then the cup letter.

Now you know what size you really are. This is important to remember because given the increased amount of physical work most of us will be doing after the SHTF, that number will change as our weight does. Knowing how to make new bras will make you very popular in the neighbourhood and give you trade items in the future.

Take the time now to research bra and pantie making. There are some great sites out there like Make Bra ( and the ClothHabit, which just ran a bra-sew-along ( and has a pattern for panties ( A company called Sew Sassy Fabrics in Huntsville, AL ( sells all the fabrics and notions needed, including patterns. In Canada, there is the Bra Makers Supply in Hamilton, Ontario ( ) which also has classes.

Also remember that you can have fun with these. There is no reason why what you wear under the camo has to be dull. Give it a bit of spice.

The point of all of this is that without good and comfortable undergarments, the amount you can accomplish in a day goes down. When the SHTF and you are guarding your family and working in the gardens and butchering a hog, you do not want to be worried about sliding bra straps and panties the hike up. And even more to the point, if you know how to replace what gets worn out and can do it for both yourself and others around you, you will be miles ahead.

Okay guys you can come back in… it’s safe now…

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. THANK YOU Lake Lili for reminding us to take care of ourselves! We are always the last to be provided for. Our own doing. We have been programmed that way.

    I have several sizes of bras stored but they wont last forever. I am surprised how fast they wear out doing farm chores. Ya, I wear a shirt. LOL. But in summer, they take a beating, sweat, dirt, my straps get really dirty when wearing tank tops.
    I sew and have a whole room dedicated to it, but never thought to make brassiers and panties. I will look at those sites for sure.
    Now, I can throw away the case of ace bandages and duct tape I was going to use for a makeshift bra! The girls will offically be holstered in a proper manner.
    Actually, if I have the chance I am having a surgery to cut these babies off. I don’t need them anymore. They have always been bothersome.

    I will miss dryer soft undergarments when we have to hang dry clothes. I hang clothes, but throw them in for 5 minutes when slightly damp for a softening fluff.

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Don’t throw away the Ace Bandages and Duct Tape — I can think of very few items that have more uses for things other than what they were made for than those two! 😉

    • STEVE BONZAI says:

      MAKE a bicycle operated dryer/ tumbler. use a rope on a wheel frame instead of the belt. dryers will be plentiful.

      • Steve,
        NICE! Soft chonies are go-0d.

      • HomeINsteader says:

        I can run my 70’s vintage stone-wheel grain grinder by bicycle like this; long-term grid-down? No problem. Want honey-butter with that fresh bread, baked in my outdoor brick oven?!

        • Encourager says:


          • HomeINsteader says:

            Let me know when you’ll be in the ‘hood, Encourager; we’ll pig out. Then we’ll turn our bras around and wear them upside down.

        • Tactical G-Ma says:

          My granddaddy’s mill was run off a steam engine. He had a saw and grist mill hooked up. In the movies I have seen mules or donkeys even men pushing a post in circles. What was that for?

          • HomeINsteader says:

            This sounds more like a sorghum mill. The grinding wheels for sorghum mills are, to this day, usually large and heavy. They were previously driven by animal most of the time, such as a mule, donkey, or even oxen. Today, many people use 4-wheelers and such to run circles around the mills and crush sorghum. Do you think that was what they were doing – making sorghum?

            • HomeINsteader says:

              Oh, by the way, all – I just read that GrainMaker (the red grinder people) are coming out with a “personal” sorghum grinder that operates by hand. Should be interesting.

            • Tactical G-Ma says:

              Thanks and thanks!

          • Sounds like a cane sugar mill (or sorghum as HomeINsteader said). If you’re in S GA and close to Lumpkin, there’s a place called Westville that has (or had) a mill like that. “Historic Westville Inc. is a living history museum, which preserves, demonstrates and interprets village life in pre-1860 West Georgia.” –

            I haven’t been there since I was a child and it has probably changed a lot but it was pretty interesting then and probably still is now. Some scenes from the movie “The Long Riders” were filmed there. I’ve always wanted to go back but never find the time.

      • Desert Fox says:

        I use the inside of the dryer as a fire pit for outdoor burning.

  2. Petticoat Prepper says:

    Lake Lili,

    Yes, indeed! Thanks for this article. I actually haven’t given a moment of thought to this topic. What a gaping hole in my preps! You’re right, I’ve tried to think of everyone else and aside from a bit of that dark sweet candy haven’t thought of me. That’s kinda startling to realize…

    Like Mama J, I too sew and have a dedicated room for this. I’ve been adding to my preps there but never gave any thought to the ‘under world’. Will be checking out the above sites today.

    Thanks for a great article and more importantly for me a reminder to think about everyone, myself included.

  3. PreppingMomma5 says:

    I’d probably add for all of us ladies to pick up a couple of good sports bras, because if we have to all work as hard as I think we are going to have to, I’d rather strap everything down and not deal with them getting in the way. Especially with things like chopping wood, and running or things of that nature. Also, I am chuckling inside wondering if the men actually read this once they saw bra or ran for the hills!

    • I read everything….lol. Also I have The Boss, two daughters, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter on the way so I plan for everyone’s needs. Plus having been a single father with two daughters I can even buy feminine hygiene products without a single qualm, quiver or blush. What? Like anyone’s really gonna think they’re for me? Even if some of them do go into the medical supply side, extra large pads for compression bandages, tampons for emergencies involving puncture wounds where its that or bleed out. Not to mention the survival uses of tampons.

      The Boss switched over to sports bras last year for working outdoors for much the same reason you did. It works for her.

    • I’ve actually moved to sports bras full time. They are way more comfortable and still offer the support I need. I figure when shtf I’ll keep on doing the same. I have the fabric, notions, and pattern to make them on a list of things to purchase in the near future.

      • I love sports bras, but when you are busty they give you a uniboob. Looks weird. Hahahahaha.
        I would like to get my hands on the fabric they use to make sports bras.

        • Oh, Mama J, I’m plenty busty… plenty…. It just doesn’t matter to me in day to day life/work…. now I do have very nice double barrel sling shots for when I really need the lift and separation for an outfit to fit right for a fancy occasion, but the uni-boob doesn’t bother me (or my fiance).

          I’m still looking for a source of the fabric I want for them, but I figure in a pinch I can take some old, tighter tank tops I have, chop, hem, insert elastic, and have a makeshift sports bra to get me through. Just a theory, but I can see it working…

    • rev. dave says:

      I read it all. With 9 daughters I need to know this stuff too, just in case they don’t read it. I can also do a French Braid in a little girl’s hair, and iron pleats and darts. But you learn to do what is needing to be done, right?

  4. BlueCaribDreams says:

    Lake Lili,

    Great article! As a guy prepping for his GF, mother, and 2 daughters… I am always looking for woman specific preps. I am on my way to the websites you mentioned, thanks!!!


  5. Good reminder for those that need support in that area. Have always despised wearing a bra and don’t wear one around the house. Can also get away with going without one in the winter when I wear several layers of clothing. I prefer to wear a tank top or camisole and wear those little reusable silicone covers. I haven’t forgotten those in my preps and will happily do without a bra when the shtf!

    • Allhoney,

      I have always despised wearing a bra too! I thought I was the only one.

      You are not going to believe this, but corsets are more comfortable (just don’t pull them too tight). However, I don’t work in the garden in one.

      • Kate from GA,

        Me too… :-D.

        • Tactical G-Ma says:

          Stay off the steroids and you won’t have to worry about manboobs. Haha!

        • I wanted to talk about why MD hated…..? but T-Ma went there so……..I wanted to know if he hated wearing the bras or the corsets?
          Hahahaaaaaa! Sorry MD, you didn’t specify.
          Please, please, please don’t answer that.

        • Repair Mama says:

          Cast and tug, cast and tug.
          “I didn’t say it wassnt pretty, but I dont know if I’d wear it fishin”

      • Sisterjudi says:

        I prayed for boobs and when I got them I was so unhappy cause I had to wear a bra.I hate bras.few years ago got breast cancer so one booby is a minus a and one is a plus b and I really hate bras now.So I only wear when I really have too.Now I hate boobies
        I am looking ini n Ga for some secluded property does anyone have any suggestions for me.Thanks guys and gals.

        • Tactical G-Ma says:

          GA is more expensive than AL or TN but 2 of my faves are Pine Mountain and Albany. TN has no income tax and AL has no income tax or property tax on the first 150 acres of primary dwelling for retirees. I have much family in the Trenton / Dade county area but it is close to other towns and cities I don’t like.

          • Sisterjudi says:

            Thanks I love Tenn ,and have looked there,after I read about it here.I didn’t connect with the area or the people I met.I am looking for Christians and Preppers.I found a few neat people in N Ga but have had bad luck with real estate people which is weird
            You would think they would be eager to show properties but I am now I am on my 4th one and she is dragging her feet.Thanks for your feedback.

            • Sisterjudi,

              I have a friend who is a Realtor in North GA. He and I usually go to the Cannery together (he isn’t Mormon). If you are looking for land outside his area, I bet he can refer you to someone who will be attentive.
              He seems to know everyone in the state! Email me from my blog if you are interested and I will give you his info.

            • Secluded N Ga property is usually either owned by the government or expensive but it can be found. Finding the property online then contacting the realtor selling it might be your best bet. We have been looking but haven’t had the funds to pursue anything so we don’t have a realtor in the area.

            • Hi Sisterjudi, I can help you out with your realtor needs (I specialize in the NW GA. area and everything is kept confidential). Please contact me if you’re still interested -Jon

          • Repair Mama says:

            The great thing for tennesse is they have no income tax, but sales tax on food and everything else at 9.25% I go over the state line and shop. no tax on food there and everything else is 6%. I also live almost in the middle of no where. Beautiful area

  6. Thank you Lake Lili, your article reminded me of something I had not considered for my preps, and was humorous as well… I’m still chuckling.

  7. HomeINsteader says:

    I love it when we get useful information and a chuckle, all-in-one! Great job!

  8. LOL This is such a great topic. If you go to Victoria Secret they will fit you for a bra. I buy bras there because the hold up well to the wear and tear. I wait until they go on sale and buy half a dozen. I have stocked extra under garments for both my dh and I.

    My big addiction is socks. I ask for socks for every holiday. I have two (large) drawers full of socks–one for my ankle socks and one for my trouser socks.

    Now I can’t wait for my dh to come home–I am going to tell him that the Wolf Pack was talking about boobies and socks. 🙂

  9. Excellent reminder. I will add that there is one store that doesn’t charge for being fitted and they still do fittings – Victoria’s Secret. Of course, the sticker shock that goes along with the bras pays for it, but I was an avid Wal-Mart bra wearer for years. The girls are a bit larger than they were years ago and I never liked the VS bras until recently, but once they made some I liked, I’ve been hooked. Fortunately, they last longer (for me) and go on sale once or twice a year. As for sweaty times, I have a couple of sports bras and I always use deodorant under the girls for added protection. It helps keep the good bras clean longer.

  10. Encourager says:

    Great, timely article! I have never been able to get a bra that fits right. I take that back, it happened once and then they quit making it 6 months later. I have been trying to make up my mind whether I should go to one of those bra-making stores or not. I did not know that Victoria’s Secret did fittings. Maybe go there first!

    I have looked for sites to buy material for nighties (I like mine lacy) but have had no luck. Thanks for the sites to explore!

    • Encourager,

      If you go into Victoria Secret, they will fit you for free and if you tell them what you want in a bra, they will bring you exactly the bra that fits your needs. I don’t mind paying a little more for good quality and excellent service. But I do wait until the bras go on sale. If you buy online, they will start sending you coupons in the mail. I like the $10 off coupons.

      • The free panties coupons are good when it’s not for the “butt floss” kind. I give those to my girls and try to not think about it.

  11. Remember – when you first try on the bra it should fit comfortably on the first set of hooks, the ones near the ends of the two straps. Those extra hooks are for tightening up after age causes the fabric & elastic to stretch. If your brand new bra has to be worn on the tightest set of hooks that bra band is too big.

    I have also read on bra making sites aimed a larger busted women not to add that extra amount to the band as some companies automatically add and customers end up with bands that are too big. Thus the note about buying only bands that use the first set of hooks.

    • Judy, another one says:

      As a large-chested woman I want to second the ‘don’t add the extra ;inches to the band’. If you are larger than a “C” you want that lower band snug, snug, snug. Your back and shoulders will thank-you. I also want to add that every style and make of bra fits differently. The size you get from those measurements are only a guide especially for the larger cup sizes. Try them on until you find something that fits.

      • Agreed Judy. I don’t like to feel like the sisters are falling out of the bottom and I almost always get the band size without adding the extra inches. I have even had arguments with the sales ladies on this. My other problem is one side is a cup size larger than the other.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Thanks for adding that Stephanie! There is alos something called a bra extendor available at maternity wear stores that help lengthen the band for short periods of time.

      • Repair Mama says:

        in a pinch, I have made the extender from the end of the straps cut from old bras that get tossed. turn them around and stitch together. walaaa. free extender

  12. Nan in NC says:

    Thank you for the great post. I have thought about making bras and panties, but had no clue where to begin. I will check out the sites you mentioned.

  13. redprepper says:

    wow, thx! thinks i did not even think about! not very good at sewing, but gona make my own now!

  14. The cups from an old bra come in handy if you plan to become Jewish 😉

  15. MountainSurvivor says:

    Very good sense of humor and a good lesson for finding and fitting into the right size.

    • Encourager says:

      Mountain Survivior, your comment fits in nicely with the yarmulke comments, doesn’t it??? Heeeheeeheeeeeee!!!!

  16. Ha, Ha! When my bras wear out and taking them in when it looses stretch doesn’t work, I become my grandma—binder time! Using a wide stretch wrap bandage and the clips to hold it together!

  17. Thank you SO much! I have extra undies in several sizes packed but (as another lady said) I know they won’t last forever. It will be very handy to know how to make more for myself and any other women. Sports bras are also a good idea … perhaps the one time that “uni-boob” is preferred is when chopping wood. 😉

  18. HomeINsteader says:

    LOL! That’s hilarious, “uniboob”.

  19. Most women make the mistake of too loose a band and too small a cup. Get as snug a band as you can stand, on the loosest fitting. Now if you are a DD cup like me you’re not going to find 34″ bands in the more popular brands. A 34DD with only big box stores to shop at has to make due with a 36D. 34DD is like a $40 bra at a boutique, 36D is a $12 bra at Wally World or Target. You can add hooks from old bras or the fabric store. I just gave up and went to sports bras for most of the time, so the glam ones don’t wear out. I’m totally going to be looking at that makebra site… I want a tactical bra. Also see Silliness, but kind of hot.

    Don’t forget the value of a bra as a holster or to carry things in. You can sew pockets to one or just stuff a tiny gun in a holster into your bra.

    • Judy, another one says:

      Penny Pincher I have to tell this story. My dad was station on Guam during WWII when they hit the beach the Native Guamanians were shirtless. The chaplains were upset and issued all the ladies bras. The ladies wore them around their waists and used the cups to hold trinkets. Dad thought it was pretty amusing.

    • PP,
      Well sounds like we could swap bras. LOL.
      I carry my cell phone in my bra. My kids laugh when they ask where my phone is because I start patting my boobs.
      Tactical bra….? Dang thats HAWT.

    • might also check out for concealed carry

      Holster attaches to a bra. It’s a Lisa Looper creation and was a big deal at the SHOT show. She also has other holster styles and belts for women’s carry.

  20. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Lake Lili
    Good article. My grandma and my mom (pre Rosalind Russell days) used buttons. Don’t forget your notions. Zippers, hooks, snaps, even grommets will be scarce in almost any disaster.
    I being one with more than my share, have actually bound my chest while doing certain activities where they get in my way or may sustain trauma. Cutting trees and downed limbs with a chainsaw is one. Hunting with a longbow or recurve. Boxing and kickboxing. Of course, that was all when
    I was a young delicate Amazon.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Thanks TG-Ma! ou can never have too many notions, or needles and thread. Also recommend a darning egg for all thouse holes in socks.

  21. Sorry guys…no push-up bras after the SHTF! LOL

  22. I haven’t laughed this hard at a post in a long time. No one is funnier than folks laughing at themselves. Boobies rule!

  23. I started making my own bras and panties about 25 years ago. I am capable of fully clothing myself and have a ton of fabric and a sewing room with five machines and a cutting table and lots of room. I have a room decicated to fabric storage. I actually prefer not to wear a bra, so I make one that just cuts down on the jiggle factor. The only way that I will wear one is if I am doing paid work at a school. Otherwise, the girls are free. No, I am not saggy.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Oh wow… dedicated sewing room… in my dreams… one day… Any suggestions or tips for making bras/panties? or buying fabrics for them?

      • Old nylon slips that are outgrown or worn out can be used for panties or bras. Tshirts can be used for either, also. All my bras and panty material was bought at a salvage place. None of the pieces were perfect. But, I could cut around imperfections in the new fabrics.

        Remember, I had 2 dedicated rooms. Both were about 19’x17′. It makes sewing a pleasure.

        I make one type bra by making the top of a tanktop, gathering the center front vertically, and putting elastic in the bottom casing. You cut the front of this bra anywhere from 3″ to 6″ longer than the back. This is to leave room for breasts. When you sew up the side seam, make sure the front is on the bottom. Let the feed dog gather the longer front to fit the back. This is a very comfortable bra. It holds things up without choking a person.

        I hope this helps.

        Panties? Make one pair and learn to correct the fit. I have to cut the bottom edge in the back a little less curved so my cheeks won’t hang out when I move. If a person has a flat behind, that person can cut a more severe curve so as not to have a droopy pair of panties.

        Using a serger makes smoother panties. However, maybe that will not be a factor if times are hard. Use a zigzag stitch to attach the elastic to the top and to legs.

        Panties I have made look exactly like store bought. However, that does not have to be the ultimate goal.

        • You can actually use a tank top by cutting the front longer. Open the side seam up to 1″ of the armhole, but don’t cut the armhole open. Then sew like I said, the front on the machine and the back on top.

          Or, use a tank top as a pattern.

          Remember, cotton fabric rots, mildews, and wears out faster than a synthetic fabric. Use a fine merino wool to make a bra that will not make you cold in the winter. Cotton kills in the winter, leaving you cold. If you don’t have money for stretchy wool material, cut something up that you no longer need or use. Or, use silk. I don’t mean satin or silky material. I mean real silk, stretchy silk. Polyester is better than cotton if you cannot afford or find stretchy wool or silk. Buy what you need now instead of waiting until you need it the most.

          Practice making undergarments now.

        • HomeINsteader says:

          “look exactly like store-bought” – EXCEPT THEY FIT! I gotta get busy and make me some…

  24. Angelica Thistmore says:

    Don’t forget about the drag queen and transexual community. This article seems radically biased towards “natural” women. Even though there’s a little “extra” down below doesn’t mean there aint a little extra up above as well.

    Our bras are as good as anyone elses! Just because you’re a survivalist doesn’t mean you have to be homophobic. Live and let live isn’t that what the libertarian attitude is all about?

    Or are you just a bunch of hippocrites hunkered down in your biased bunkers?!

    • Angelica, We are just talking about what we think we might need in a survival situation and in most of our families the women wear the bras. No need to pick a fight.

    • Lake Lili says:

      Hi Angelica,
      I am not sure where you are coming from… but thanks, I’ve never been accused of being radically biased towards anything other than common sense, so a new one… I wrote the article with the intent to help other preppers learn the about how to size themselves for making their own bras. I know very little about drag queens or the transsexual community but based on your response I spoke with a number of my friends in Toronto’s gay community and they advise me that the principal of how to size for a bra would be similar. Regardless of whether your breasts are natural, augmented or false the point is if you need a bra, be it for a show or chopping wood, this is how the numbers are achieved and a couple of sources for materials. If you need to wear a bra then be prepared and have extras on hand or the materials to produce them. I hope that helps you in making your own.

    • HomeINsteader says:

      “radically” biased? Someone is radical, that’s for darn sure.

  25. Stealth Spaniel says:

    Thank you for the lovely article! I had checked for some good bra patterns (being a woman who sews) but I like the sites you listed. Personally, I don’t intend to go all “they’re a nuisance, I just want them out of the way, it’s TEOTWAWKI”. I intend to be lifting my sisters up to the heavens in red satin and lace while heaving that shotgun around. If I end up defending my home and family with said shotgun, the last thing an intruder will see is perfect orbs of God’s creation. His last thought can be-“Jeez! I was on the WRONG side!” 🙂 St.Peter may go easier on him-and I’m all for redemption!

  26. Desert Girl says:

    Every time I come on this site, there’s another amazing article! I can honestly say this is something I had not thought of. Thank you Lake Lili…

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