Epic Bra Making Fail | Amanda Bra

Epic Bra Making Fail | Amanda Bra

I’m cringing- This is my second bra making attempt. It started out bad and just got worse. Grab a cup of coffee.

Epic Bra Making Fail- newbie bra making struggles

This is The Amanda Bra pattern, available at Bra-Makers Supply. It assumes some knowledge of bra making and I clearly have none; so I can’t review it yet.

Let me try to start from the beginning, and explain this epic bra making fail.

Bra Making: The Amanda Bra pattern

The Amanda Bra pattern includes the cradle and wings, and you use purchased foam moulded cups. It’s designed for the $10 a pair cups from Bra-Makers Supply. I reviewed some bra kits I purchased there, and while the quality is good, you’re paying a lot to have your bra making supplies sourced for you. I couldn’t bite the bullet for cups at that price.

I ordered some cups from Licorice & Cream for $1.53 a pair. It took a while for them to get here from Austrailia, but they are awesome and they fit and THEY WERE $1.53.

That’s a lot of back tracking, but it gets me to the first sign of trouble whilst making this bra: My cups weren’t designed for this pattern.

*Hindsight is 20/20, and now I realize that it wouldn’t be difficult to redraft the cradle and bands to match the cup. I cut the cup in the armpit area and smoothed it down to the apex instead. This created a super plunge bra lacking support in the upper cup.

Bra Making: Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

The next issue was covering the cup. You use a very stretchy material and sort of shape it to the cup and mark it to form the cup cover. The trick is to do it in a manner that doesn’t cause the cup to buckle or collapse.

Well, mine was buckling. Instead of starting over, I decided to hand sew a few lines of stitching to secure the fabric to the cup, and give it more structure. It actually worked, and the stitches are nearly invisible. I didn’t go through both sides of foam with my needle,but just caught the surface.

*My store bought bras in this style have gathering along the bottom edge. Perhaps I need to do that in order to make the fabric accommodate the larger cup size?

Here’s the same image, zoomed in and lightened so you can see my hand stitches:

Bra Making Lessons I Learned Sewing The Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

Above, you can also start to another bra making problem. I realized somewhere along the way that my machine can’t handle sewing the foam pads. That’s hand stitching on the stretch crochet lace, too. The lace sort of flops over like it’s sad. Normally this bra wouldn’t have lace on the top of the cup, but I wanted it on the bands and didn’t know how to end it without looking weird. Lots of newbie issues.

*I tried different needles, stitches, pressor feet, and thread- I really think my sewing machine just can’t foam pad. I’m not giving up, but I now own a vintage Singer 206K25. Once I get it running, it will eat bras for breakfast!

Bra Making: The Amanda Bra from Pinup Girls

I realized almost as soon as I began sewing this bra that a regular strap wasn’t going to do it. A cage strap like this (affiliate link) would would give enough support to the upper cup to fix the upper side gape. Since I didn’t have any more of the fucshia strapping, and was too lazy to dye more, I just kept going.

I have a finish rule…I hate UFO’s. But I can’t get past the ugly and skipped stitches. That last strap never did get finished. I took pictures to show you and then salvaged my hardware.

Newbie bra sewing mistake: the hooks are sewn on backwards

These hooks are sewn in backwards. I didn’t realize until bra #3 that the ends of most hook and eye sets open up like bias tape. You can sew one side at a time for neater stitches. I was sewing like crap by the time I got to that strap- if I was going to force a finish I needed to do it right or stop way sooner.

Bra Making: Amanda Bra pattern from Pinup Girls

All of that lace is hand stitched…I would need another row of hand stitching to secure it.

Bra Making: Hand Dyed Underwire Casing and Straps

Here’s the underwire casing, hand dyed to match the straps and elastic. It’s also sewn in by hand- too many skipped stitches whenever I sewed it to the foam.

Side note- I knocked my timing out twice trying to make a rag rug last year. I love my machine but was raised on an old Singer, and my first machine was a big Blue Singer industrial. Newer machines (and plastic machines in general) hurt my heart.

Sewing A T-Shirt Bra

I mentioned bra #3- I’ve already made another one. I crawled back to the Watson like a coward. (Love that pattern.) I plan to attempt a soft cup bra pattern and tweak the fit until I get my new old baby running.

To sew for myself I’m just going to have to slow down. I now have a bra fail under my belt and an unfinished romper lying crumpled in the corner- in a sewing room doesn’t have unfinished projects.

A lot more effort and time goes into sewing garments for yourself. Maybe that’s why I’ve never had a lot of UFOs…I’ve mostly stuck to easier, less time consuming projects. I like to clean between each project because I can’t work in a messy space.

I’m starting to see how one would need to take a break from a more complicated garment and work on several things at once. My attention span is equivalent to a 3 year old so I’m scared to let multiple projects sit at once. I’m pretty sure they will multiply at an uncontrollable rate.

Anyhow, I’m ready for some sewing “growth” so I have to change some sewing habits. I may write about WIPs and new techniques rather than showing a finished project each week. There will be more bra making:)

I’m curious about your sewing habits- do you work on several things at once, or have a strict finish policy?

About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!

15 Comments

  1. Linda Crawford

    It is too bad you didn’t spring for the cups that work with the Amanda pattern – I have used it several times with complete success, in fact, my comment would be that it almost sews itself, it goes together so well. If you have the proper sized cup , fitting is stress free. However! It does make it go much easier if you have bra-making experience. It does take practice to get the material to stretch over the cups without buckling. Very stretchy fabric makes this soooo much easier! I think your bra looks beautiful and I hope this doesn’t discourage you from trying again. The Amanda bra is a completely different shape than the Watson and is a great addition to your bra wardrobe! 

    Reply
  2. Janine

    Your bras certainly look very pretty in the photos but bra making sounds like it’s certainly not for the faint hearted! I think you’ve done really well and learned a lot for next time :)

    Reply
  3. Celtic Thistle Stitches

    Your bra looks really pretty despite all the hassle that you had with it, I am impressed that you even try to sew your own bras!

    Thanks for linking up to New to Me too.

    Reply
  4. Pam @Threading My Way

    Shame it didn’t work out, Amy, because the fabric is adorable. Great job dying the straps to match. I’m with Diana – you’ve convinced me never to make my own bras. In my dreams, I have no UFOs. The reality is otherwise. Mostly they’re quilts or clothes needing alterations.

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth

    Well it’s a pretty bra, even if it’s not what you hoped for! $10 for cups? That’s crazytime…I’d source cheaper ones too. I’m in the midst of trying to get the fit right(ish) on some bras for myself postpartum. Watson is in my queue, though I can’t really start on it since my belly is way up where it would be sitting! I’m mostly a one project kind of person largely because I don’t like the mess that multiple projects creates. If I am working on multiple projects at a time, it’s probably the same project in various sizes for my kids, and my aim is seeing how efficient I can be in the shortest amount of time. This kind of speed work has improved my accuracy in my sewing probably more than anything. Good luck forging ahead with the bramaking. Eventually it’ll all come together!

    Reply
    • Amy Mayen

      It’s so hard to find anything that fits postpartum! And then it might not fit the next month…that’s a little stressful! I think the Watson will be a good choice when the time comes:)

      Reply
  6. Annie

    I saw the first picture, and thought it looks pretty cute! Sorry to hear all the troubles you had with this one. But with failure you gain some knowledge…you are growing as a seamstress!

    Reply
  7. Angela

    Good luck with that old Singer. My first machine was a 1960’s seafoam green Singer. All metal, strong, but loud. So loud compared to my new Singer. The old ones are nice though.
    I definitely prefer to finish one at a time too. If I don’t finish, it’s probably because there is a problem, something is scaring me and I need to take a break from it. I do find it hard to pick it back up though so the better strategy for me is to just pause and not start anything new. The fewer distractions the better.

    Reply
    • Amy Mayen

      I’m surprised that so many of us have a no WIPS rule.

      Reply
  8. Ann

    Very cute bra, so sorry it was a fail! Please don’t be discouraged though, it’s a big jump to a foam cup bra. Did you by any chance take the most recent Craftsy class on sewing lace and foam bras? There are some good pointers in that class if you want to do a molded foam cup bra. I lean toward doing a seamed foam cup bra instead, since I’ve never been satisfied with the shaping in a full molded pre-formed cup. Enjoy a Watson “palate cleanser” break and come back refreshed for another try.

    Reply
    • Amy Mayen

      I haven’t taken any classes yet. My rural wifi is so slow. I guess I could download it somewhere else and watch them at home. I want to take the first and second class too!

      Reply
  9. Diana Rambles

    It looks cute. Seeing all your issues has me convinced to NEVER sew my own bra!!

    Reply
    • Amy Mayen

      The Watson bra wasn’t so hard ;)

      Reply
  10. Ronja Lotte

    You are so brave to even attempt to sew your own bra! Respect! There was once an episode on Project runway, where they had to design and sew a bra and it was chaos! You are doing way better ;-)
    Take care, Ronja Lotte

    Reply

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