I finished sewing the Boylston Bra by Orange Lingerie last night. It fits! I can't believe it! And it actually looks good. Honestly, I was surprised. I wasn't expecting it to both fit and look good, but it does.
Once I had narrowed down a size (through 3 woven cotton (not recommended) muslins) it took me 2 naptimes and 3 full evenings to cut and sew this bra.
I used the instructions from the pattern, along with the Craftsy Bra Making Construction and Fit class. I would not have been able to achieve the results I did without the Craftsy class. In my opinion, the Boylston Bra pattern isn't written for someone who has never ever made a bra before.
32DDD. (I should have bought the smaller sized pattern, because I'm not my RTW size in this (also, the sizing is confusing, as DD appears to be an 'E' in this one?). I used the sister sizing/bottom cup depth info that I posted about a few days ago.
I sized up the band to a 38 by adding a total of 6" to the band (3" on each side). I should have added slightly less than that, because my band could stand to be about 1/2" shorter (I'm on the tightest hooks).
I also added 1/4" at the bottom of the bridge, since I have some splaying action going on there. This since this piece is cut on the fold, it added 1/2" total (which come to think of it, could be where I gained that 1/2" extra on the band?)...
Non-stretch lace, 15 denier lining, powernet (the non-stretch lace and powernet were from Fabricana, and the 15 denier lining was from Bra Maker's Supply). I fully lined the lace, so everywhere that has a layer of lace in this bra also has a layer of 15 denier. I should have bought some fabric adhesive, and I learned that basting with the lace side down (feed dog side) is the only way to control these two layers.
I bought fabric adhesive for next time.
I also used a 'large' findings kit in black from Bra Maker's Supply. I didn't use the neck/top of cup elastic, and I barely had enough strap elastic. Such is life when you order a kit...
For the strap elastic, you basically have to have a mostly fabric strap, because there was only 20.5" of strap elastic in the kit (10.25" for the entirety of each strap). Particularly a bummer, because I have 2 more kits that I had planned to do fully elastic straps with and now I know I won't have enough.
Size 42 regular underwire from Bra Maker's Supply. I bought a 42, 44, 46 underwire in the regular and the long lengths, and the regular fit well in the Boylston, and the 42 fit my body well and fit in the bra too! I think I will likely be able to use the 44's in a future bra (perhaps I'm a 43? haha), but the 46's are definitely to wide and too long.
Rotary cutter, self healing mat, pattern weights
Bernina 1230 sewing machine, 1/4" foot, zigzag foot, blind hem foot (for lining up top stitching)
Embroidery scissors, applique scissors
Iron, pressing ham
Size 10 ballpoint Schmetz needle
Straight stitch, zigzag, 3 step zigzag
I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself on this one! It was super unfamiliar construction, difficult fitting, and tricky fabrics, and I ended up with a great result!
The stitching on the top of the right cup feels like it needs some stretch, but I think that has more to do with a bit of a seam allowance issue in working with the two slippery fabrics together. Although, I wonder if I would have been better off using a zigzag stitch on that seam.
I also don't really like the lace for the straps. It just feels too delicate. If I was going to make another lace Boylston I would likely do full elastic straps. I think the neck side of the straps would have benefited from some top stitching, as well as the top of the cups, but that could just be because of my fabric choice.
I think I'm going to try a Marlborough Bra next.