The Mystery Marlborough

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I don’t know what it is about putting the word mystery in front of a product, but suddenly I want it so badly! I get so excited at the end of every month in anticipation for my mystery box from Bodils Wear to arrive. It costs me about £25 every month (you pay monthly no obligation) and you will receive a surprise box of lingerie making goodies that have been selected together . I have be a customer for 4 months now, and have been delighted every time. In fact May’s has just arrived and I am super excited- watch this space. (No I’m not being sponsored by her!)

Anyway I don’t like to post too early about them as I might ruin someone’s surprise but here was last months contents which was spring themed.

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Everything I needed to make an underwired bra. The lace is non stretch and the two white fabrics are a lining and a power mesh. When you subscribe you can choose to have wide notions or thin, I choose wide as I need some hard core elastics to keep the girls in check. Everything  is always beautiful quality.

I chose to make a modified version of the Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie. It has gone through several generations of modifications to get a good fit and shape and now it is really comfortable to wear. I considered making another Angie bra but the lace was so lovely and delicate looking I wanted a continuous run of the lace edge.

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It sewed up pretty quickly as these days I know what I am doing. I’ve used lilac thread to top stitch the front, with white bobbin thread.

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The lining is very soft and I’ve used the stitch and flip method to hide all the raw edges on the inside.

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As I wanted to match the lace placement both sides, and as a larger cup size does use more of the lace, I don’t have huge pieces of lace left; but I intend to make some matching undies with pieces of lace, some knicker elastic included in the kit and some white power mesh I already own, which is less firm and therefore more suited to knickers.

One of the things I love about this bra and the mystery box is I probably wouldn’t have chosen this lace myself, but I absolutely love the bra and how fresh and bright the colours are. I love wearing it, it’s super comfortable and perfect for spring and for garments I have that need something a little more subtle under them.

Grace

I’ve been eyeing up the Grace pattern from Ohhh Lulu sews for a while. It uses a combination of non stretch and stretch fabrics together – which means it is perfect to pair with either the Marlborough bra or the Maya bra, which are both made with non stretch fabrics for the cups and bridge, and power net wings.

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The pattern (available here) cost me around £8 and was available for digital download, which is great if like me you are impatient. Measuring myself I came up as an XL – a little surprising as I’m a UK 12/14 – maybe I’m being a little vain here. However making  them up I felt that I could have probably sized down, the power net I’ve used at the sides is extremely stretchy. Still they fit nicely, but I think the size below would have done too!

The instructions were clear and good, though personally I would have liked a recommendation on stitch width and length on a regular sewing machine for application of elastics.

I actually made 2 pairs as my mother always taught me to buy two pairs of knickers with my bras.

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The main fabric I have used was an off-cut from a top I made, perfect to use up strange shaped remnants, I also made this matching, albeit heavily altered Maya bra. (I’ll be posting about that soon). I also used some left over weirdly shaped power mesh, and then bought some stretch lace to sew round the legs for 75p.

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Definitely a pattern that I will be using again, they are a good fit, very comfy, and ideal to go with some of my favourite bra patterns.

 

Marlborough IV – Blossom and Green

Greetings and a very Happy New Year to you, I finally have time to share some of my latest creations with you, that I actually finished last year.

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I found the fabric kit for this bra for sale on The Sewing Chest, who I use for a lot of my findings, if I’m honest I don’t necessarily find it the best website but they are UK based, very quick to deliver and usually have what I’m looking for or a viable alternative. It wasn’t a complete set but had the main fabric, some really good PowerNet, Tricot lining in a matching green, green elastics, and some red and green findings, all for less than £10, bargain. I supplemented it with some lace from TheBraShop on Etsy (actually two lots of lace as I couldn’t pick a colour… sssh… don’t tell), and a few bits from my stash.

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As the fabric is firm I decided to make yet another Marlborough bra, as this is my forth standard length one I was fairly certain how the fit would turn out, but took my favourite bits from version 2 and 3. Version 2 was the red and blue scuba bra, I liked the shape of the cups better on this version they were more round shaped and less pointy. However, version 3, the grey/black version has a lower underarm which was much more comfortable and didn’t dig in, so I used the frame pieces from that bra.

One of the issues I have with my previous versions was that the frame, under the cups kept rolling outwards, something that didn’t happen with my RTW bras. I asked on the Bra Making Forum and I was directed towards an article by Beverly Johnson called Thin is in. It seemed that the problem was the shape of my body was causing it to roll, and because I had been using thicker elastic on the frame for extra support and a longer frame than on my RTW bras the problem had become apparent. I followed Beverly’s instructions on how to fix this issue and now have a much thinner band and the problem has gone, thank you Beverley.

I used the flip and stitch method again to line my bra and hide all the inner workings and so the over all result is pretty neat on the inside.

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Overall the fit is pretty great, it’s comfortable to wear and doesn’t have any of the earlier flat spot problems. However, despite adding more and more to the volume, I still need to add a little more, my breast tissue doesn’t quite fill the bottom of the cup, and the bridge is still sitting a tiny bit away from my chest, not a lot. It’s the best fitting Marlborough so far, and it does look good, so just really small changes now to try and make it the perfect fit.

I have enough fabric left either for a pair of knickers, or for another bra, and I might make another this time with the green lace.

 

Marlborough III

 

Well, I promised myself I was going to stop making Marlborough bras but then I found this beautiful lace on Etsy from Vintage to live by.

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And, well, I bought it, you know how it is!

So as this is fourth go at the Marlborough bra I didn’t really make many adjustments, I just made the band a little lower around the underarm as after a whole days wear I noticed the other ones rubbed a little. That meant just making the curve across the top of these three pieces a little lower.

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The experience of the other bras meant this one came together very quickly with no issues.

I have to say it’s so beautiful I can’t really get over the fact that I made it myself. I’m in love with it and so proud.

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Even the insides are lined and beautiful.

I hope you all love it as much as I do.

 

 

Longline hack of the Marlborough bra

I’ve been lusting after some very nice longline underwired bra patterns recently, but there aren’t many in my size so I’ve decided to have a go changing the pattern I have for the Marlborough bra from orange lingerie to a longline bra.

Here is the result of my endeavours.

 

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My original plan was to use this very good tutorial from the Fairy Bra Mother. Sadly there was an issue, the band pattern she adapted had parallel edges and so you could just extend the band pieces straight down. My band pieces didn’t have a parallel edges, which means I couldn’t just follow her excellent instructions, I had to change the pattern to make the edges parallel first and then extend them. I put on an extra couple of inches so they came to the bottom of my ribs.

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My band edges were at different angles so I couldn’t use the tutorial like I hoped.

Once I extended the band I thought it was probably a good idea to make a mock up, I was pretty sure the cups would be fine as they were the same as my previous Marlborough bras but I wanted to check the band was still OK now I’d altered it. Here is my very attractive and sexy mock up from some scrap cotton I had, a bit firmer that the material I was going to use but unlined.

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Not my finest work but did the job to check out the band.

After that it was just a case of constructing my bra from the actual fabric.

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So it is a really good fit, except this super slippy fabric must have slipped when I was cutting the bridge as it has come out wider than it should have done and I didn’t notice until way too late. In future I will definitely be checking this with slippy fabrics, I’ve used them before but will something so accurate as a bra it makes a big difference to be a bit out. It still fits fine, and is comfortable but it would be better a bit narrower.

I quite liked the length, and the band was a good fit, I could make it a tiny bit narrower but I’m talking about 1 cm around the whole band so a very tiny change.

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Not sure this double bow isn’t a little too much. Thoughts? I love the fabric so much, it seems so perfect for a longline bra, it has been part of my collection for a couple of years and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

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It was my first time using hook and eye tape. Not exactly sure how your supposed to edge it but I just attached it using a zigzag stitch and cut up to the stitch line. It’s not quick to get in and out of… 😉

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Fully lined so it’s pretty on the inside too…

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From all of these photos I can see I need to steam the elastic a little, it’s stretched whilst I was sewing and steaming can help straighten it back out.

To finish it off I was debating whether of not to add side boning to give it some extra support and stop it riding up. I’m going to wear it a few times and see if it rides up or not and then decide on side boning. There is a good tutorial on how to add side boning here.

I feel that matching high waisted panties are in order- has anyone tried the new Maxine panties yet?

Marlborough II

Here is my second go at a Marlborough Bra by Norma from Orange Lingerie.

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The fabric I bought as a kit from Etsy with some extra red powermesh. I fell in love with this kit because of the beautiful fun colours. It looks beautiful and I did a better job of putting it together -BUT, it was a mistake, very sadly, when will I learn not to buy fabric online!? You can just never tell what it is going to feel like or sew like, how thick it is and what the quality is like. I wish I had learnt from previous failed purchases! The fabric, I have no idea exactly what it was, but the machine just wouldn’t go through it, I tried every different needle and thread and I just had skipped stitches everywhere! It was a little like a very thick swimsuit fabric. Generally speaking my machine rebels against knits a little anyway.

The general fit of the cups was much better, I changed the pattern pieces for the top and the bottom of the cup, on the bottom I widened the angle between the two base sides, and then lengthened the top piece accordingly. This slightly helped the pointy shape, I’m more of a round shape, and just gave a little more room in the cup.

 

This worked very well but I  will just angle the left hand edge of the top cut in a little next time as the top of the cup didn’t need to be wider really.

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The kit didn’t come with a matching bow and as I bought the kit just after Christmas there was no red bows to be found, so I settled for making my own, I think the double colour adds something though.

I also lined the cup this time and the extra support from that was really great and made the insides much neater though I still left one seem unfinished this time. I used a tutorial from Miss Maddy Sews.

IMG_0010One of the issues with the kit I bought was that the elastics were fairly poor quality, the band looks fine here but after a couple of wears it stretched badly and didn’t give me the required support I needed, At some point when I can face it I need to take this elastic off and put on a new band and this bra will be sooo much better but at the moment I can’t face unpicking my hard work.

I changed the strap placement at the back of the bra by extending the top of the wing as you can see here, leaving the rest of it the same size and that definitely helped the comfort.

I was going to make matching knickers for this one, but after finding out that the band needs changing I’ve decided to hold out until the next one. A good sew just a shame about the kit I bought, I will learn. Honest.

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It’s still pretty though!

Marlborough – the trial bra

Greetings,

There are many ladies of my acquaintance who like me has trouble to find a bra that fits. Of a drawer full of lingerie I probably only have 2 that fit me really well, provide adequate support and don’t hurt by the end of the day. As quite a busty gal a lot of the designs in my size, 34G, are white, black or nude, more expensive and vary so much in size and style even two from the same shop can differ greatly. Consequently I’ve decided to make my own. As a confident sewer and someone who has made many of her own clothes for many years here is my journey to find the perfect fitting, comfortable but attractive underwear.

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I’ve started with the Marlborough bra from Norma at Orange Lingerie, having seen other people’s versions on various blogs. The pattern was released in bigger sizes and is available as a digital download.

The first attempt I consider to be a toil, as I am expecting the fit may need adjusting somewhat. Given my measurements I have started with a 34G. The instructions were easy to follow, and as it’s my first of these I decided to buy a kit rather than all the notions individually. The kits come in ‘small’ or ‘large’ and this is the size of the elastics included rather than the size of fabric, due to the level of support needed I have chosen large elastic to keep the girls in their place, as is recommended on the pattern.

Here is the outcome.

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Whilst the construction was successful, ultimately it wasn’t quite the right fit and as expected adjustments needed to be made. To begin with the fabric was too thin to give the support I hoped for. As you can see in this picture it pulled quite badly across the lower cup. This would be a little less of a problem if I had lined it but for the toil it was important I felt to get to as many of the seams as possible so that if it only needed small tweaks then I would be able to adjust it. Hence these nasty unfinished seems inside.

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And a few stray threads…

Another issue with the thinner fabric was that rather than shaping my boobs to the bra instead my boobs shape distorted the bra shape. This left me with a slightly unattractive flat spot under each nipple where the shape wasn’t right for me and a slightly pointy silhouette.

The cups themselves seemed fine when I first put the bra on but over time the age old attractive quad boob appeared. Definitely the cup size needs to be increased a little, but the actual frame and band fitted me well. The band was a little high around my underarm so I’m planning on shaving a cm or so from that on the next go.

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I decided to take this one apart and re-use the elastics on a future version that will hopefully fit a little better, did you know that steaming elastics can help them shrink back to their original shapes.  I have to say I put it together way too well for a toil, it took me longer to get the elastics back out un-harmed then it did to put them together!