Purchasing a bra kit is an excellent way to dive deep into lingerie making. When Orange Lingerie & Tailor Made Shop came up with exclusive kits a few weeks ago, I knew I needed one. In this post I describe constructing the Marlborough Bra Pattern by Orange Lingerie. I have successfully made this pattern several times since I attended a bra making workshop, which you can read more about here
To start, I pull out the pattern instructions and my oak tag pattern pieces. Since I plan to make lots more of these, I have already transferred my correct size onto oak tag. Then, each time I make a new bra I quickly trace the pattern onto paper and cut out the fabric from there. Lingerie making usually calls for 1/4″ seam allowances, making accuracy super important, so this extra step is well worth it. I use a small rotary cutter for lingerie projects but before I do any cutting, I have started using a fusible material to bond the fabric and lining together. I learned how to use this from an Orange Lingerie blog post, and consider it one of the best tips ever. I like to bond the whole piece and then do the cutting as this makes the pieces more stable and less slippery and annoying to cut.
Once the pieces are all cut I make sure I have the correct needle and thread to work with. I use a 75/11 stretch needle and lingerie thread. The other thing I always review is my 1/4″ seam allowance accuracy. I have my machine set to the proper needle position and feed the raw edges of the fabric along the outside of my foot. Everyone does this differently but I find this works best for me.
The cups and frame of this Marlborough Bra go together quite easily. Since this kit did not include scalloped lace for the upper cup I decided to use a small amount of stretch lace to both stabilize and accent the fabric. I really like the end result and it was a simple addition. Next, I sewed the cup pieces together and gave them a nice press. The power bars are then added to each cup and the result is sewn into the frame.
The underwire casing and elastic applications come next. These aren’t hard, they just require attention to detail. The pattern gives great instruction and I always sew these areas very slowly. I use the two step zig-zag approach to the elastics and find that they turn out to be pretty and stong. Attaching the strap elastic and hook/eye closure come next and once again I follow the pattern instructions exactly to get a good result. I needed to alter the scoop area to accommodate the width of the hook/eye, which requires trimming some of the power mesh to make them fit together. Since I’m not all that confident cutting free hand, I use a simple french curve to make this look pretty.
And lastly, it’s time to measure and insert the underwires. I almost always have to trim the underwires and use a wire cutter, heat source tool, and heat sealing tubes to do so. This part always seems scary but once you do it a few times it’s pretty easy. Once properly cut and sealed, the underwires can be permanently inserted and the casing stitched closed. I cut the extra casing from the wrong side and apply fray check to the edges afterward. Oh and I almost forgot, don’t forget the bow, that’s the most important part and the final step!