Altering the Rhonda Shear Pinup Camisole for Tube Access

I previously posted directions on how to alter a bodysuit for tube feeding. When I worked on these, all of which had underwires, and all had at least a minimal body shaping control level, I found that a simple vertical slit type opening was not successful.  Even though none of  the bodysuits (or bodies, as those of you in the UK call them)  had firm control such as a girdle or Spanx offers, creating a slit resulted in a gaping opening.

However, with this camisole I was able to make a slit opening.  The reason I was so set on this type of opening, is the whole point (for me) was to keep most of me covered up and out of cold drafts and prying eyes, when I had to open or lift up my top for a meal. For the bodysuits, the sort of polygon opening design (shown in the page for altering a bodysuit) fit well, but still exposed a good bit more of my abdomen than I wanted.

This camisole is great because it is not underwired, and it doesn’t have a “shelf”.  Tanks tops and camisoles with a built in shelf bra  invariably  fail for me.  If your tube hits high, especially if it is more to the side than mine is, you probably have a major headache finding underwire bras that don’t interfere with it.  I’m  busty, so if I can wear this without underwires,  you probably can too.  It is padded, but thankfully, the pads are removable.  The cups area is still a little padded, but acceptable to me.  I think it helps with support.   No, this does not give as good of a shape as a well fitting underwire bra, but, for everyday wear, it is great!

I also converted all of the camisoles I bought, save one, into a onesie bodysuit.  Directions for this option are at the end of this post.  If you use a wheelchair, or have mobility issues, you probably wouldn’t want this, but, I really like the simplicity when dressing in the morning, and the draft free qualities of nothing to come untucked throughout the day.

As my tube is almost exactly mid-line, the slit I make is in the center.   If yours is more to the side, it would be easy enough to move the opening over some.

This camisole can be purchased for under twenty US dollars on eBay.  On Amazon and retail sites, it is more like $40 and up.  I believe it is still being made by the manufacturer, but am not completely certain of it.  Rhonda Shear also makes a molded cup camisole that might appeal to you,  also not underwired (I personally do not care for molded cups, but you may.)

The key, I think in it not gaping open once the slit is created. is the addition of a thin non stretch lace sewn on over the front center section.  The non stretch aspect is key!  The alteration also entails making a small dart on either side, once the slit has been cut, and the finished  result is a narrow opening that is a narrow rhombus/diamond shape.

Let’s get started!

Here it is before alterations:

This is with the saucer type cup inserts still in place.  I pulled them out.

and remaining photos show the camisole without the extra padding.

I purchased this lace on Etsy, but there are loads of resources. This was $3.50 per linear yard.

Lay the lace over the front of the camisole and pin in place.

I put it all the way to the top edge of camisole, and will trim excess later.

Machine sew over all edges of the lace.  I used a stretch stitch, but even a zigzag would work fine.  And, if you’re not into lace, any very lightweight non stretchy knit fabric would probably work. This particular lace is about 9″/23cm wide, and is referred to as an embroidered galloon lace.

I topstitched along the horizontal line separating the cup section of the camisole from the lower section too.

I topstitched in a diagonal from the hem up to the center where my waist hits, and then from the center, diagonally upward to the outer edge of lace overlay directly under the cups.  (making an “X”. This was to add stability.  Whether or not this really helps I don’t know, but it can’t hurt.

Next, I measured how long the opening would be and how high it should start.  The photo below shows where the  slit will start.  It is marked with the red tipped straight pin.

Next, I put a cutting mat inside of the camisole, and used a rotary cutter to make the opening.  Scissors could be used instead.

The next step was to put it on for a bit of fitting.

On the right side of the photo above. I am pinching up the excess, judging how much fabric to take up into a dart. You can see on the left side of the photo how the fabric is gaping some.

Pin the excess into darts.  I used straight pins but could have used safety pins instead.

Stitch the darts flat with the sewing machine, and do some sort of finish stitch to the edges of the opening.  This will not only make it look more polished, but will also add more stability to reduce unwanted gaping.

On the left of photo above, the dart is stitched flat, on the right side, the pin is still in place.

Below is the finished camisole.  Read on for directions on how to make this into a onesie.

To  create a onesie, I used an old pair of undies that fit well as guide initially, and from there made a pattern using Swedish tracing paper/sewing transfer paper.

I added elastic to leg edges.

Shown in the photo below is a type of elastic that has silicone strips to keep fabric from slipping, but this is not really needed  It just happened to be the kind I had on hand.


The fabric I chose for this particular project was organic black velour (the inside is a grey shade) but, others I made previously I used other lightweight jersey for.  Some I used lingerie powernet for outside, and lined with a softer thin knit.

After the elastic is sewn in place, sew the front and back to the front and back of the camisole.  I sewed directly to the same edge the bottom lace of the camisole is attached to.

Mark the center of both front and back so it is easier to keep everything lined up correctly.

I am not crazy how the grey underside  of the velour looks in the photos for the blog, something black on both sides would have photographed better, but it was one of those deals where I wanted to just keep on and get this post ready to publish!    I might use the velour again, just because it looks so sumptuous when viewing the right side of the garment, but, next time I´ll use something prettier to line the inside with.

As to how to have the crotch open and close. and drawing on what I learned from wearing the bodysuits I purchased, I found I prefered a snap closure instead of hooks.  So, when it came to making this, kam (brand) snaps were my first choice, and they work well.  I only use two.  The front section snaps over the back.


And here is the finished super comfortable onesie.  No underwires, no more three items of underclothing  on a daily basis.  Just one.