The Boylston Bra

18 Sep

Eeek my first bra! Choosing the pattern and materials felt a bit like buying my first bra – not know the terminology nor really needing it. Yet possessing the desperate desire to enter the clique of bra wearing (now making) lasses. In the end I chose the Boylston Bra pattern from Orange Lingerie. And bought a kit from thebrashop on etsy. I’d really like to say here how helpful Alison from thebrashop was, answering my questions and adapting the kit to ensure it had everything I needed for the Boylston.

First step: establishing measurements. I was really careful taking my measurements, standing in front of mirror so I could make sure I was standing up straight and that the measuring take was parallel to the floor.  My body circumference directly under bust is 30″, plus 4″ as per the directions and I have my band size: 34″. So far so good. Measurements at fullest part of bust 36″. Hmm not that can’t be right. Check again. Come back a week later and check again. Still 36″. Have I been measuring my full bust wrong all these years? Upper bust 34″, difference between full and upper bust – 2″ therefore I’m a B cup. 34B – exactly what I would buy in the shop (and to be fair fits just fine).

While the instructions are clear and straightforward, they require diligence and attention. I would have appreciated more details in the instructions and perhaps some more notches in the pattern pieces, which would indicate exactly what went where. And I was certainly challenged:

For example once I joined the lower cup pieces together, there is nothing to indicate which is the top and bottom – you have to rely on the pictures in the instructions (which I didn’t realize). As a result I proceeded to get myself quite muddled and having proceeded to attach and topstich the lower cup to the upper cup,  I had to unpick it all because my lower cup was upside down.  Ooops. Also although the pattern is designed to be used with soft foam, there aren’t any instructions for inserting these so this time I decided to skip the foam (although I did later find a useful tutorial on this over on Lladybird’s blog). In the end my cups looked pretty nice – both inside and out.

Sewing the bridge, frame and band together was straightforward and even attaching these to the cups was quite clear and straightforward. But I stumbled when I had to attach the casing for the underwire to the bra. To be honest I found the instructions for this and the accompanying image mind boggling confusing. In the end I refereed back to Lladybirds blog and from her pictures I thought I might know what they meant so just winged it. I think did it correctly. I also got quite confused and had to do alot of googling to learn what the hell a ‘pin stitch’ was, and in the end skipped that step and just top stitching around the casing on the bridge and frame.

The upside to buying a bra kit is also a downsize: I didn’t now what each of the notions required where and therefore struggled to identify everything in the kit. While I could refer back to the etsy listing and deduce what things were, it did mean that I used the leftover grey scallop edge underarm elastic for the bottom of the bra, while the kit actually contained some very pretty pink loopy bottom band elastic. But I wasn’t about to unpick all the zigzag stitch and risk wrecking my fabric for the sake of some pink trim. But the kit did come with a pretty little bow/flower.

Also the back of my bra wouldn’t nearly fit into the end of the eye attachment, so I put a dart in the ends of the back of the bra as that seemed to be the neatest way to make it fit.

I had a few issues with the straps. It wasn’t until I got to adding the elastic to the underarm and strap that I realised that I think I didn’t place the straps correctly. But I couldn’t think of a way to unstitch the top part of the cup to fix the placement. And later I found that the front strap was a tiny bit too wide for the ring on the back strap. So it’s a bit messy plus first time round, I got the strap turned around and twisted so had to unpick and do it again.

Fit wise its quite tight under the bust, I do bulge a bit under the arm, and I have to wear it on the last clasp. It’s much tighter than my RTW bras but that could be partially that all my RTW are old and probably quite stretch. Also I do POP out the top of the bra, that might partially be part down to design (it would look great with a plunging neckline) or it may be partly my poor construction or that I simply need to go a cup size up. Its hard to tell at this point.

All of that being said, I am immensely proud of having completed a wearable bra in a weekend. And I’m already planning my next one, having learned from all the above issues.

 

 

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7 Responses to “The Boylston Bra”

  1. Melissa September 18, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    Yay for you! I recently made a boylston bra for the first time and had similar issues. The instructions could be clearer and/ or a sewalong photo tutorial aye? I made mine from a non stitch fabric and didn’t cut on the bias and I found that pulled the top of the cup askew. When I recut that part on the bias it cleared it up! Theres a tutorial on adjusting cups in a similar design on closet case files re; The sophie swimsuit. I ve added a bit of depth to mine so we’ll see for my next one. Its kind of addictive I’ve found…..:)

    Like

    • rosemary September 19, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Oh I could of killed for a sew-along photo tutorial! Interesting to know about cutting on the bias – my next one I was planning on making from non-stretch fabric cause you’re right they are totally addictive. Question for you – on step 20, did you do a ‘pin stitch’ and if so what is it?

      Like

    • rosemary September 19, 2016 at 8:33 am #

      Ps do you have a blog about your Boylston, if so I’d love to read it?

      Like

  2. Genevieve September 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Great job, you should be proud! One piece of advice I have for your next bra, Boylston or other is that the back band, where it attaches to the hook and eyes, usually requires trimming down to size for almost every bra. Sometimes a smidge and sometimes up to 3/8″. Keep it up and before you know it, you’ll be even more proud. BTW, if you can afford up to $40, I highly recommend Beverly Johnsons Craftsy class on bra construction…she literally holds your hand through the process, well not literally…lol.
    X
    Geni

    Like

    • rosemary September 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

      Thanks for the tip – I’ll definitely trim it down next time (versus putting in the emergency dart). I’ll check out the Beverly Johnsons class as i am already planning my next bra!

      Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My first bra – the Boylston | The Monthly Stitch - September 18, 2016

    […] I’ve wanted to make my own bras for ages now and been inspired by so many people’s blogs on the topic. Plus it was my number one New Year’s Resolution. I decided to buy a bra kit as there were so many notion and things and got a really pretty one from thebrashop on etsy (plus Alison who owns the shop was really helpful adding things to the kit which the Boylston required). It was perhaps the most challenging thing I’ve ever sewn but luckily I’ve had the house to myself all weekend so could concentrate without distractions. If you’re interested in all the trials and tribulations, or want to see some more picutres, you can check our my post on my blog thimble&threads. […]

    Like

  2. #Top5Misses | Thimble & Threads - December 13, 2016

    […] Boylston bra – I feel bad including this on the ‘Misses’ as I loved sewing this little beauty and got a real sense of achievement from doing so, but the sizing is so totally wrong I really do POP right out. As a result it sits unworn in my drawer. I plan to try again however until I get it right. […]

    Like

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