Let's step back in time for a little history of my fitting process behind the Marlborough bra. Somewhere I remember reading that you should start off by using your "normal" RTW bra size. I use the word normal kind of tongue in cheek because really how normal is normal from one manufacturer to another. Anyway...I digress. So I started with a 34DD, based on my standard RTW size and when I made my first Marlborough, I found the band size to be way too small. I added about 3" to the band pattern piece (meaning I added a total of 6" around). Some of the bras I've made since then using the altered band piece are still a bit too tight through the band size, and others are perfect, depending on the fabrics and elastic I use, I guess. I also added 3/8" total to the fullness of the cup over the bust apex area by splitting the cup and pivoting each piece a bit to add some fullness but leaving the underwire seam length the same.
So...back to the Boylston bra. For the first one, I used a zebra print lightweight georgette crepe-y fabric (yeah, technical term, that) for the cups, bridge, frame and fabric portion of the straps. I was worried it would be too lightweight without any underlining, but it worked out fine. I'm still worried it may not handle well over the long term, but as this was only to be wearable muslin which may or may not work out, I wasn't too concerned about the long term. I used black powernet for the back. The elastics were from my stash.
I also used cut and sew foam for the cups. I've found with my Marlborough bras that don't have any padding, you can see if I'm cold, ifyaknowwhatimean. This is okay if I'm wearing a heavy sweater, or giant scarf over my chest, but I'm not comfortable with the possibility of the "headlights" look generally (12-year-old-boy-from-the-1980s reference that!) Digressing again...In any event, I've decided for the most part, my bras will have cut and sew foam in them. I followed Beverly Johnson's Craftsy class on sewing bras with foam (found here), Emerald Erin's videos on YouTube (found here)and Cloth Habit's tutorial to draft and construct the foam cups and covers (found here).
My first Boylston bra turned out quite well. I'm wearing it today, and it's a tad tight through the cups and the band and the strap placement at the back feels a little too far off centre, but otherwise, it's a lovely bra, and way better in the fitting and comfort department than the RTW bra I was wearing yesterday!
I've already completed a second Boylston bra, adding another 1/2" to the band pattern piece (another total inch to the band - this would be 7" added in total). I also moved the back strap placement about 3/8" towards the centre back, and added a little more to the cup seams at the apex on the inner and outer lower cups as well as the upper cup.
For this one, I used a leopard print georgette for the outer cup fabric, and a kit in brown from Bramaker's Supply (found here) that came complete with Duoplex for the bridge and frame, powernet for the band, elastics, rings, sliders and back closure. Somehow, I managed to mangle the cup foam a little during the process and it rolls to the outside on the upper cups a bit. I think I must have been a bit careless while cutting the foam, and I took another look at the pattern for both the cups and the foam pieces that I had redrafted. I adjusted the pattern for the upper cup fabric piece, by adding another 1/4" to the seam allowance of the upper cup fabric pattern piece to allow for turn of cloth. When I cut the next one out, I paid particular attention to cutting out the foam in order to see if it makes a difference.
And the third time is a charm! My latest adjustments worked , and the fit on this one is pretty darned near perfect.
The outer cup fabric, bridge, frame and straps are lightweight cotton seersucker (from my mom's stash), the bridge and frame are covered with stretch lace from my stash, the band is powernet, and the inner cups are from cut and sew foam. The cut and sew foam, along with the powernet are either from Bramaker's Supply or Emerald Erin (so sorry ladies - I've purchased these items from both of you in the past and can't remember where these exact ones came from!). The rings and sliders definitely came from Bramaker's Supply. The elastics came from my stash.
Next up on the sewing table, a summer "suit" for my grandson, and a dress for my daughter - they're going to a wedding in the Dominican Republic and need some fancy duds!