Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern

Lately, I’ve been making more bras (see my previous post) and trying out the Boylston Bra Pattern by Orange. I wanted to share my first experiences of sewing lingerie with you and I’ll be writing about them from time to time in case you find something useful in my musings and I know many sewists often consider sewing their own lingerie. Long time readers might be glad to know that although I’m writing about sewing bras right now, fear not I will return to clothes sewing blogs very soon 🙂

So, I bought the Boylston pattern a while back and I decided that I was ready to tackle a different pattern. I chose to make a padded one for my first version and use some jersey that I bought from Clothspot originally meant for a lingerie project. I paired it with some black lace from my mini bra making stash. 

First off, I made a few toiles of the cups and tweaked the pattern a bit by shifting the apex curve nearer to the middle. I ended up using a modified 34DD cup with a 34D band and frame. My underwires are a size 34 in style 08 from Sewing Chest.

To make life tricky for myself I decided to layer lace over the jersey for the bra frame, so to stabilise the stretchy fabrics I backed the layers with sheer tricot liner. 

Here are some photos that I used on Instagram Stories to show my making process.

So far I’ve discovered that I’m a bit inconsistent with my stitch width/length settings when using zig-zag or serpentine stitch. I must write them down when I get the perfect combination! Also because the cup foam is a bit stretchy and so is my jersey, I ended up unpicking part of the cups and removing a bit of width from the side wireline because they had grown in width a little on my body once I put the bra on.

The fit of my bra is pretty darn good except for a bit of snugness in the back band. It should loosen with wear though. coming up are some detailed photos for you to browse. Oh, and I also made underwear! Two pairs to be precise and I made them using the modified Binky pants pattern by Evie La Luve.

Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern
Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern

So after my first Boylston, I felt ready to tackle some of my good lace. I bought my red and black stretch galloon lace from Sewing Chest, though it’s no longer on their website. To maintain the sheerness throughout the mesh parts I decided to line the cups with 2 layers of stable beige sheer tricot lining. It took me a while to cut out the lace because I mirrored the right and left cups. The edge of the lace is utilised on the upper cup pieces which only have one layer of sheer lining. 

Of course, I just had to highlight the red of the design so I used some red elastic for the lower band and the upper cups/band and straps. Talking of the lower band, I decided to use the edge of the lace here too and so I could get it to line up with the edge I made a centre seam in the bridge and got rid of the two seams that line up with the middle of the lower cups. The lower elastic is in two parts and goes up into a slight ‘gothic arch’ in the middle. A gothic arch is when you bring the bottom of the bridge up in the middle for a more comfortable fit and the elastics follow the line on the inside with the ends anchored under the wire channels.

These images from my Instagram Story show the processes:

The straps are made using half lace and half strap elastic. Here’s how I made the lace parts (I didn’t use the strap pattern piece, I just made my own up)

Another small change that I made to the pattern was to create a back band that gives more side back coverage. The top of the band pattern piece sweeps up from the underarm to meet the straps which then curve down in a ‘U’ shape to the fastener. The extra underarm coverage hides my bit of side-back fluff 🙂 The fit of this band is my best yet. I added a little extra wiggle room compared to my slightly tight first Boylson and this feels good.

Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern
Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern
Trying Out The Boylston Bra Pattern

And of course, this bra had to have some nice undies to match. I used up the last scraps of my lace and the last bit of red elastic for two different pairs of undies. 

And that’s my lingerie journey so far! You know, it’s funny because I don’t wear overly feminine frilly jazzy clothes and I like mostly plains and hardly any prints but in lingerie, I’m enjoying using all the pretty materials. I’ve already bought some lovely lace in all kinds of pretty colours for more sets. I love that I finally feel more confident with the making process and fit of custom lingerie.

Well, that’s me done for another blog post. I hope you perhaps got something useful from reading it? In other sewing blogging/social media news, I haven’t been quite as active recently because I wanted a break from making clothes for a while and blogging as intensively as well. I’ve only been on Instagram sporadically too. I think I’d been putting a little bit of pressure on myself so I eased off. I am planning a summer dress make for the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge though, so that’ll be popping up on my blog in the not too distant future and I have a couple of other things in the mulling and planning stage too so stay tuned…

In the meantime, thanks for reading and I’ll be back soon.

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  1. April 27, 2021 / 9:23 pm

    Gorgeous Diane! I am into using lots of lace as well which I would never wear as an item of clothing but it’s fun as lingerie.

    • diane
      April 28, 2021 / 9:05 am

      Ohh, thanks, Emma! I’ve seen some of your lovely lace. It’s quite addictive to buy isn’t it?

  2. Liz Park
    April 28, 2021 / 5:32 pm

    Wow, Diane! Really nice. Now I can understand why fancy bras are so expensive. I’ve been sewing for nearly 50 years, but I’ve never made a bra or underwear. Your pictures and instructions are very persuasive – I am actually thinking about a lingerie project because yours look so nice.

    • diane
      April 28, 2021 / 7:04 pm

      That’s lovely of you to say, Liz! For years I swore off making bras but I got to the point where I was so fed up with ill-fitting shop-bought bras. I finally caved in and gave it a go, but not before reading an awful lot on the subject of fit. At first, it can be very frustrating if you don’t get the shape you like, but so rewarding if you stick at it. I say give it a go!

  3. Karen
    April 28, 2021 / 6:13 pm

    These look fabulous. Your attention to detail is awe-inspiring. You must feel o-so-special wearing your secret “SuperWoman” undies! I bet when you wear these, you are smiling all day long – making folks wonder what you are up to!

    • diane
      April 28, 2021 / 7:05 pm

      Ohhh, thanks so much for your kind words. Kinda wishing that I had some Super Woman powers as well though 😉

      • Karen
        April 28, 2021 / 7:34 pm

        With you skills and creativity, you DO have Super Woman powers!

  4. Joan
    April 29, 2021 / 1:26 am

    Gorgeous underthings, Diane! I don’t think I have the patience for it, but being able to tweak the fit of each component would be worth it! Red and black: who would have thought! The public vs. the private Diane! ;-}

    I am not a lace person for clothing, but I certainly think I would enjoy that type of secret.

    Do you still wear smooth, no seam cups in RTW bras? Ie, do you have clothes that require an unseamed cup?

    • diane
      April 29, 2021 / 4:48 pm

      Thank you, Joan! So glad you like my snazzy black and red set 😉 Yes, still wear smooth ‘tee shirt’ style RTW bras and I’d like to make one some time. Some clothes just require a very smooth bra. The tricky part is getting the right size and shape of moulded cup base for the size of wires that I use. It’s on my list to try and get at some point.

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