This is long overdue. I’ve been sewing versions of the Marlborough Bra for months now and haven’t yet done a review of the pattern.
Bra Sewing Workshop
I first sewed the Marlborough Bra in a weekend workshop with the pattern’s designer and founder of Orange Lingerie. At the time, I was frustrated with the high cost and poor fit of RTW bras and wanted to sew my own. I stalked a few bra patterns online, but it looked so difficult! When I saw the bra workshop advertised at one of my local sewing stores, Stitch Sew Shop, I immediately signed up.
The Marlborough is the pattern used in the workshop and the first piece of lingerie I’d ever sewn!
My first version was not wearable because the band was too short, but I was thrilled I’d made a bra that looked like a bra.
My second attempt was also completed during the workshop and was a bit better.
For my second Marlborough, I lengthened the band and it fit around the ribcage. I also removed about 1/4 inch from the bottom cups to eliminate some looseness. As part of the workshop, I received two individual bra fittings that helped me understand how to alter a bra pattern to fit my shape. I would never have known what to do without an expert’s guidance. I probably would have given up after my first bra attempt.
I sewed up my second Marlborough with my personalized fit adjustments. The fit was much better, but still required a little tweaking. The power bar was too high under the armpit and the band needed a bit more length.
Sewing Marlborough at Home
I created my third Marlborough at home immediately after the workshop with my final fit adjustments. By sewing another right away, I hoped to lock in my understanding of the process.
To date, I’ve sewn four successful Marlborough Bras and all are worn frequently. While I didn’t rely on the pattern directions during the workshop, I have referred to them in my subsequent makes. They are clear and well illustrated. I think that if I had some bra making experience (or was very brave) I could have followed the directions and made a decent looking bra independent of the workshop.
The fit of the Marlborough is significantly better than my RTW bras which tend to gape a little at the top of the cups regardless of maker and style. By making my own, I can adjust the pattern and ensure a perfect fit. My me-made bras fit so much better than my RTW bras that I am slowly removing RTW bras from my lingerie collection. I make a bra and toss out a RTW bra!
My Marlborough Bra Collection
If you haven’t yet sewn an underwire bra and Orange Lingerie offers a workshop in your home town, register for it! The experience was a game changer for me. After sewing my Marlboroughs, I started making other pieces of lingerie. Panties, thongs, and other bras have followed in quick succession. I’m hopelessly addicted to sewing lingerie now!
Make Your Own Marlborough
Orange Lingerie is running another workshop in my area (Washington, D.C. metro area) in March at Three Little Birds Sewing Company. If you are in town, I highly recommend the workshop. I guarantee you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to sew and fit an amazing self-made bra.
Can’t make the workshop? You can give it a go at home with the PDF pattern. The Marlborough Bra pattern can be purchased online as a PDF for $16.99.