Black and purple Marlborough bra

Purple and black set

More Orange Lingerie pattern! This time it is the Marlborough bra, an underwired bra pattern with power bars on each side of the cups.

I use the bra kit that Jenny gifted me when she visited Tokyo sometime ago. Yes it is 8 months that this kit had been sitting in my stash….

Bra kit from Jenny @cashmerette ! Thank you, I'm so excited! 👙

A photo posted by Novita Estiti (@verypurpleperson) on

I cut the same size as my Boylston bra without making any muslin, assuming that everything would go as smoothly well as before. Of course I was wrong!

This bra is designed for rigid lace and fabric with no to very little stretch on the front part, and the kit has perfectly reflected that. But as a result, the bra feels quite restricting to me. The cups fit relatively well and I can hook the band without any problem, but the lack of stretch on the front part is too much for me.

I think this bra might be better for the more well-endowed ladies who need really strong support. I need the movement and comfortability of stretch fabric. Smaller people also tend to have less ‘cushion’ under the bust, I can feel the strict band gripping my ribs and it’s a bit hurting after a while.

Purple and black set Purple and black set

Purple and black set Purple and black set

Similar thing happened to the Montgomery brief. I can wear it, but the rigid lace front part feels too restricting. The previous Montgomery brief that I made is very comfortable, but this one in exactly the same size is very rigid and not comfortable at all. That is why you don’t see it on the dummy, I couldn’t get it past the dummy’s hip.

Actually I quite like the shape of the bra on me. It is such a pity this set is not comfortable because it looks so beautiful! I plan to make this pattern again in lined stretch fabric like my Boylston bra.

Purple and black set Purple and black set

IMG_6018 copyHere’s another black and white picture of the bra on me. Isn’t it pretty? Too bad I can’t wear it too long. Next time will be better!


Bra pattern is Marlborough bra by Orange Lingerie (PDF), size 30DD.
Brief pattern is Montgomery brief by Orange Lingerie (PDF), size XS.

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  • Brandy

    Since I learned how to sew panties from your blog (thank you!) I thought I’d show you my new invention: a travel pincushion. It’s very easy to make. You just need an empty, washed, EOS lip balm container and remove the spokes (can be cut with wire snips or use a Dremel). Then make a small pincushion and glue it to the bottom. It fits a small array of needles and/or pins that can travel in your purse (when closed).

  • What a beautiful bra shape! Lingerie making is still a mystery for me, but: would it be possible to change the rigid lace panels with elastic lace?

    • For the next one, I will use stretch lace. But it is too much hassle for me to change the lace on this one. Maybe I will change the band on this bra with longer ones, but honestly I prefer starting from scratch 🙂

  • Lynda Schuch

    So sorry, I forgot to mention. If the bottom cup is to long between the band and apex seam, that you could trim and take a little off of the bottom of the cup. However this only works if the seam fits well over your apex line. Try pinching out the wrinkle on the bottom cup by tucking them in first before you even think of unpicking all your hard work.

  • Lynda Schuch

    Hi Novita. Thank you for all the inspiration that you give me. This bra and brief set are so pretty.

    From the photo it appears that the bra bridge and band seem to fit well, if not go one size up on the band. Compare this bra to another you have sewn, which fits perfectly. Please try this bra pattern again. From looking at your photo, it appears that the bra pattern cup size it to small to completely cover and support the breasts. Therefore being pushed upward and out of the cup, creating the “flat” spot and wrinkles at the bottom. Also, if the wires are to small this could also create the feeling of being restricted. I normally use the cup patterns that are non-stretch lower cup and stretch lace on the upper cup. When using the same pattern for a non stretch lace (like you have) I usually go up one or two cup sizes, only on the upper cup, as the lower cup has no stretch any way. Hope this makes sense. The fitting sequence is that the band and bridge must fit well first, then only will the cups fit. I hope this is some help to you. Kind regards Lynda

    • Thank you so much for the helpful pointers Lynda!

  • Rosa

    Hi Novita, beautiful bra. Such a shame you find it uncomfortable 🙁 It does look great on you.

    I have made both the Marlborough and the Boylston and have had similar fitting issues and mixed results. Success seems to be wholly dependent on the fabric used. I have made both in a size 36E (38DD with band and frame reduced by 1/2″).

    The Marlborough I have made in both lined rigid and lined stretch lace. The lined rigid lace version has become my favourite bra. The stretch gives a great comfortable bra but with less support and a rounded shape. A version I made in unlined rigid silk was a disaster with the powerbar cutting into the breast and creating a weird kind of ‘quad boob’ effect 🙁 .

    My most recent version of the Malborough i have made with a unlined rigid fabric and stetch lace uppercup which was a success.The fit is very firm and supportive as you mentioned (which i like) and the cups are a great shape; a sort of a rounded point….

    I have made two versions of the Boylson now: one lined in foam, one without, both in a rigid fabric. Both have been a disaster in my size with the upper cup completely flattening out the breast. The cups fit but look terrible! Your recent version in a stretch fabric has inspired me to try again with a foam lined lycra & lots of stretch! Thank you for sharing you makes with us. Your work is always an inspiration!

    • Hi Rosa, thank you so much for sharing your experience with these two patterns.
      Despite the result so far, I find the Marlborough and Boylston have very appealing look. That is why I want to keep experimenting with them.
      Glad to hear that you have find success with the Marlborough! Hopefully I will find mine too 🙂

  • sallieforrer

    Thank you for this review! It’s so helpful to have this kind of information out there! If you make it up in stretch fabrics, will you adjust the size at all? It’s a shame it’s not a very comfortable set because it’s really beautiful!

    • I think about making the next one in the same size to compare the difference of fabrics. I find that the cups on the Marlborough have more projected shape while the Boylston has more rounded cups. Probably because the fabric on Marlborough is more rigid.

      I kinda regret using this beautiful kit and end up with this result. All these experiments are very interesting though!

  • Kathryn

    I also experienced this difference in comfort between these two patterns. The 32c in the Marlborough felt so tight across the front, the cups were also slightly too small. It’s a lovely shaped pattern though, I love the straps that curve along the side of the cups. Your post has reminded me to take my muslin out and see how to make it work.

  • It is beautiful; I’m sorry the fit isn’t great. I just bought this pattern, so I’ll keep your fit issues in mind and definitely make a test one first.

    The purple and black are beautiful together!