Altering a bodysuit or camisole to be g- tube friendly

The photos and directions I supply here are mostly just for your reference.  Tube placement can vary, so what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you.

Since Day One, wearing a bra with a feeding tube has been challenging.  My g-tube sits very high on my abdomen, and so many bras I owned came down too low in the center front and interfered with the tube.  Even many bras that seemed like they had enough  clearance when I stood up straight  would still rub against it when I bent over, or slouched.  And, going without one was not the best solution either, although I found myself doing so just because of the darned tube.

On top of that, I have progressive weakness in my right arm, shoulder, and upper back.  Old rightie doesn’t do a whole lot to pull her weight around here anymore!  So, what I didn’t want was a bra that utilized the shoulder straps for support, and what with the g-tube and restricted lung function as well, I certainly was not comfortable with the band doing the supporting.

I recently got tired of making do, and also tired of wearing so many layers of clothing.  I almost always wore a camisole with a cutout for the tube over my bra and under my top.

Anyone who is a D cup or over probably already understands how completely useless those camisoles are with a built-in bra shelf design.  So, just wearing a camisole with a hole for the tube, and no bra did not work either.

…Then I found a camisole that would fit the girls, (Ahh By Rhonda Shear Women’s Pin-Up Camisole) and that  got me to thinking how nice it would be to have a onesie –  a bodysuit that would take the place of bra, panties, and the tube friendly camisole.

It wasn’t easy, but I found some!   On the Figleaves website they are called “Bodies”.  If you live in the UK, or actually pretty much anywhere other than the US, you will probably have local stores that stock them.  For me, it has been a matter of scouring internet sites including eBay.   Even in the US, if you are a D cup or smaller, you may find some in brick and mortar stores local to you.

If you are larger than one “D” know your bra cup conversion according to what country manufactures the bodysuit.  Here is a good conversion chart:

I’m going to show you one example of what I did, and will probably add more examples later.  But, before we get into this, let me backtrack and talk about the Rhonda Shears Pinup Camisole.  It will work to forego a bra.  It is not a “girdle” and it is easy to make a tube access hole in it.  On Amazon (US version)  it is around $35, but you can also find them on eBay for $18 and under.

For the bodysuit, or “body” as they are apparently referred to in the UK, I ended up purchasing two by Lepel (UK manufactured) from the Figleaves webstore.  They were $40 (I think)  I also got one by Gorsenia (made in Poland)  from a eBay UK based store, and also a Felina (which I believe is a German brand)  from another eBay UK shop.

The Lepel model is the one I started with.  It was my guinea pig.  It has padded cups (why??)  but at least some of the padding is the little insert type pillow that can be removed from the cup pocket.  The same holds true for those Rhonda Shears camisoles. they have padded inserts that are removable.   The Felina is not padded. nor is the Gorsenia.

If you want to attempt this for yourself (I am absolutely loving mine!) you will have to take note where your g-tube is when your body is in different positions.  You can’t just mark the bodysuit when you’re standing up straight.

After several attempts (with the camisoles. and then with the first Lepel body)  I found that other than the basic circle cutout. that does nothing visually as far as  feminine appeal when it comes to lingerie, the shape shown in the photos  below works best.  I tried a long slit. about the width of my g-tube. but it just gapes open once cut.

Other than the sewing machine and thread, here are some supplies I used.

This gimp is washable (100% polyester) and I applied it around the edges after I performed surgery 🙂

Here is the bodysuit:

I  marked where it had to have an opening.  Mind you, this is my second one I converted of this exact style bodysuit. so I already knew from trial and error because I’ve previously altered the first one.

I carefully cut it out. I needed the space between the cups, and cut all the way up, stopping just short of the little  decorative bow.

I sewed the gimp on all around the opening. being careful to not hit the underwires with the sewing machine needle.

Here is the finished product!  No more bare belly for mealtimes if I have to lift my shirt from the bottom.  No more layers of underclothes. and NO MORE bra band bumping and irritating my stoma at the g-tube.  It is a win win win!  (And once it gets figured out. it is really pretty simple to accomplish.)