Would you like to join the
growing group of knitters providing knitted prosthetic breasts for mastectomy
Sounds silly, doesn't it? Yet, when placed in a bra, these knitted
breasts take the shape and feel of a real breast. They are lighter and more
comfortable than silicone prosthetic breasts. The knitted fabric breathes and
prevents the heat rash experienced by many women wearing the silicone ones. Knitting instructions are provided below.
Did you know that just one silicone
prosthetic breast costs between $300 and $500?! Without health insurance,
they are out of the reach of most breast cancer survivors. Even those with
insurance are limited to a new prosthetic breast every two years. If it springs
a leak that is not covered by the warranty, you are out of luck.
Consider joining us. Why? Because knitting a Build a Breast is fun. It is a great
conversation starter. And because it means so much to women who
desperately need a little giggle. You might ask, why a knitted boob? Don’t they have silicone ones you can get at medical
supply stores? Yes. They do. But you can't always get one right
away. You can’t be fitted for traditional breast prosthesis until you have been
out of surgery for at least three weeks.
Build a Breast knitted breasts are currently donated to Skaggs Medical Center for
Cancer Patients in Branson, MO and other Missouri-Illinois cancer centers. As more
breasts are received, additional recipient locations (any state) will be added
Women and breasts come in all sizes, so we need all
sizes. Knit whatever strikes your fancy. Knit your size. Knit your
sister’s size. Just knit.
When choosing a yarn, look for dk or sport weight.
You want something that is soft, lightweight, and that breathes. My
favorite yarn for the boobs is Cascade’s pima tencel, a cotton/tencel blend.
Many are making their boobs out of Debbie Bliss’s baby cashmerino. Bamboo
is another good choice. Avoid pure wool as it can be itchy when close to the
skin. Check your stash, ask your friends to swap yarn, have fun and be
We stuff each breast with poly-fill, but
always leave a small opening so the recipient can adjust the size by
adding or removing filling, and then sewing up the seam themselves.
This pattern provides instruction to begin the front
of the Build a Breast with a short i-cord that will be tied into a knot to form a
nipple. Some women prefer the knitted breast without the faux nipple.
Just cast on, and begin.!
Knitted breasts may be sent to the Build
a Breast donation site by sending an email to one of the following people
for shipping information, questions or comments:
Build a Breast
1 skein Butterfly Super 10 Cotton (100 percent merqcerized cotton; 250 yds/230 m per 100 g skein)
1 set of four 4mm double-pointed needles (DPN)
3.75 mm double-pointed needles (DPN)
Small split ring marker or safety pin
Sharp tapestry needle
Decorative shank button for "nipple" (I find vintage buttons work best)
Stuffing (cotton fleece or polyester fibrefill)
Small weight, such as a smooth stone (see "Designer's Notes," below)
Gauge: 22 sts/24 rows = 10 cm (4 in) in stockinette stitch, before felting. To save time, take time to check gauge.
CO 3 sts onto DPN. K all sts.
Row: *Instead of turning the work around to work back on the WS, slide
all sts to the other end of the needle, switch the needle back to your
left hand, bring the yarn around the back of the work, and start
knitting the sts again. After the first 2 sts, give the yarn a sharp
Repeat from * to form I-cord.
Using larger needles, CO 3 sts. Work 2 rows of I-Cord.
If you don't want to use a bead or button nipple, knit 4 to 5 cm/1.5 to
2-in of I-Cord before beginning to shape outer piece. This cord can be
knotted when the boob is finished. It will look like a nipple through
*Work one more row of I-Cord, increasing as follows: kfb in each st. 6 sts now on needle.
Divide sts between 3 DPN, in preparation to begin working in the round. Place marker in first stitch.
Next Round: [K to last st on needle, m1, k1] around. 3 sts increased.
Repeat this round 19[21, 25, 27, 29] times more. 66[72, 84, 90, 96] sts now on needles. P 2 rounds. BO all sts.*
will now have what looks like a small, sweet triangular hat (or in the
words of my breast surgeon who is Jewish, "A very badly-made kippah").
Don't worry; it will make a perky breast!
Using smaller needles, CO 3 sts. Work 1 row of I-Cord.
Work from * to * as for Outer Piece.
With wrong sides together, sew edges together, leaving a space open for stuffing.
Turn right side out and stuff, using as much or as little stuffing as
you like. One side (the Inner Piece) of the Tit Bit should be flat, the
other side perky but pliable. If it "stands at attention," or looks like
a mutated balloon, you have overfilled it.
Embed weight carefully in stuffing. Sew edge of Tit closed.
Tack the Outer and Inner pieces together through the center, so that
the back is concave and does not sit against the scar and chafe or
Attach a small decorative bead or button for the
"nipple" or, if you have made the I-Cord nipple, knot the I-cord and sew
in place. (If you have made the I-cord nipple, and always wanted a
pierced nipple, you could put a small ring or stud in your Tit's
Block by soaking your Tit in warm water and soap
flakes, rinse thoroughly, and gently squeeze and shape. Allow to dry
completely. Pop it into your bra and wear it out!
• 111 yds/100 m will make 2 Tits. Any soft DK weight yarn may be used,
for example, samples are knit in Berroco Cotton Twist with Sirdar Gigi;
Butterfly Super 10; Crystal Place Chenille; Crystal Palace Labrador; and
Needful Yarns Feeling with Sirdar's Gigi.
• Weight will keep the Tit Bit from bouncing about in your bra.
I use small smooth stones that I have collected as weights. When I make
them for women who are just starting their breast cancer journey
I will write "hope" and "courage" on the stones. I also include a lucky
penny, so that their journey will be an auspicious and not an arduous
• Breasts aren't exact sizes, despite what the lingerie
industry would have us believe. Don't hesitate to adjust the number of
stitches in the pattern to make a Tit that is the right size for you.
• The pattern can be personalized and embellished to match your bras,
clothes or occasion. Last winter, I knit myself an après-tobbagan titty
in striped bright purple and lime green Icelandic wool (no, it didn't
itch) to wear while sipping hot chocolate at the café with my kids after
a hard day on the hill.
• Do not wear a Tit Bit with a weight onto an airplane, as it may be confiscated as a dangerous projectile. Make yourself a non