I’m cringing- This is my second bra making attempt. It started out bad and just got worse. Grab a cup of coffee.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
All of that lace is hand stitched…I would need another row of hand stitching to secure it.
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.
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?