Marlborough Fair

I’d apologise for the terrible play on words in the title of this post, but I’m not sorry at all.

I finally did it! I present to you, with much pride and delight, my first me-made underwire bra!

Marlborough bra in pink milliskin, 32DD

Marlborough bra in pink milliskin, 32DD

I made up Orange Lingerie’s Marlborough bra in size 32DD, from pink milliskin from my Grey’s Fabric Watson Kit (man, I must have gotten about $200 value from that kit by now!). And I am so delighted with it! It might not be perfect, but it’s a good-looking, reasonably well-fitting, wonderfully supportive bra MADE BY ME.

The sizing in the pattern is something I’ve seen mixed reviews about. Some have found it too small, some too big, others just about perfect right out of the box. I made it without any alterations, to see what the drafted fit was like – and I’ve found it runs a little small for me. The pattern only goes up to a DD cup, so I made the sister size to my usual 8E size, 32DD, which should have fit in the cups and been a little loose in the band. However, the band is very snug – wearable, but definitely not a lounging around bra – and the cups are just a *tad* small. I’ve heard them described as “shallow”, and I think that’s fair – a perfect fit around the base, but I’m ever so slightly spilling out of the top. It’s definitely just as good a fit at 99% of the RTW bras I own though! The measuring instructions also didn’t quite work for me; according the three-measurement method given, I should’ve made a 30C. Boy am I glad I didn’t! I think that method of underbust-full-bust-high-bust just doesn’t work for my proportions. But at least I know and am confident in my size.

Pink Milliskin Marlborough

The instructions for the pattern were clear, and I found the line illustrations quite helpful. I referred to the Watson instructions for stitch length and width suggestions though, as they’re not included in the Marlborough instructions. It was also very helpful to have Norma Loehr’s book Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction on hand too; it has good instructions for shortening underwires, which I did need to do. I tipped the ends with heat-shrink tubing, which worked like a charm (I am thinking about doing a tutorial on this – let me know if you’d find it helpful/interesting!). It’s also good to know that I have my underwire size right, especially given that I bought 12 pairs from at almost wholesale price. Now I know they can be put to good use!

Inside the Marlborough

Inside the Marlborough

My previous experience in bra-sewing served me well; I didn’t run into any major stumbling blocks in construction. The only new skill was sewing in the underwire channelling, but I imagine if you’ve ever sewn in any kind of channelling before you’ll be fine; the instructions are very clear, and Norma’s book provides further clarification if you need it. Amy from Cloth Habit ran a bra-making sew-a-long a couple of years ago, which has a good post on it with very helpful pictures (and tips for all the other construction steps too!). I underlined the pink milliskin with white tricot lining, as the cups and frame in this pattern are designed to be non-stretch. I didn’t bother finishing or enclosing any of the seams for this one, mostly because I wasn’t 100% sure it was going to fit (it seemed so small whilst I was sewing it!). For my next bra though, I may experiment with instead fully lining the cup, as whilst unfinished seams don’t bother me a whole lot, it would be nice to have a professional look inside and out.

Pink Milliskin Marlborough - Inside

As you can see, I ended up with an overlap in the underwire channelling at the centre front – which for me is great! It’s now the only bra I have where the bridge sits flush to my sternum, and in my opinion is the best part of the fit.

I can also report on wearability – I wore it all day today and it was brilliant. The band loosened up slightly with wear to a comfortable tightness, and I definitely felt like it was carrying the weight – no strap marks on my shoulders! I definitely like the three hook closure back, too – I think it makes a real difference in larger cup sizes. The underwires didn’t dig in at all, and while the cups are a little small, they don’t cut in. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing this one a lot.

The shaping…I’m not sure about yet. It is a little pointy, which is fine – I’m one for the retro look so not at all adverse to it! – but I feel like the point is a little low on me. Maybe this will be rectified with some adjustments? I’m thinking for my next version, I’ll keep the frame, bridge, lower cup and powerbar as-is, as I don’t think they’re where the fit issues lie. I might experiment adding to the upper cup volume a little (I might compare with the 34DD pieces), and adding a little length to the band (not much though, given that it’s not all that uncomfortable). But I’m tossing up just putting the 34DD cup in the 32DD band. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Lace & Milliskin Set

Matching sets are, of course, my jam – so I’m glad my lace-trimmed Rosy Ladyshorts coordinate so well! And do you like the little rose at centre front? I love this kind of pretty detailing…and it hides my very messy closure of the underwire channelling πŸ˜‰ (I’m sure I’ll get neater with practice!)

So what’s next on the cards? Well, Merckwaedigh MIX30 should be arriving in my mail box this week, and I look forward to trying it and cracking into the gorgeous kits I’ve bought from her. I’ve also got Pin Up Girl’s Classic Bra to try…but I’m tempted to wait until I can get a beige Bra Maker’s Supply kit from Sew Squirrel (because sadly, I do need some bras which are not hot pink/lacy/show through light shirts). And of course, I’ve liked the Marlborough pattern enough that I’ll be attempting some alterations and hopefully – the perfect fit.

I know lingerie fabrics and findings can be hard to track down, especially in the Southern Hemisphere – if you’d like to check out some of my favourite suppliers, I keep a list on the Resources page!

Until next time,

Miss Maddy xx



  1. Siobhan · June 18, 2015

    You’ve done such a good job! Man, that milliskin keeps going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · June 18, 2015

      The kit that keeps on giving haha – there only a tiny bit left now, but maybe enough for one more tiny thing? I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it πŸ˜›


  2. SofΓ­a · June 18, 2015

    Really nice bra, Maddy! The Marlborough was on my to-do list for a while, but I finally decided to buy the Bra-Makers Shelley because I’ve heard some people complaining about the pointy shape too… But I’m sure you’ll be able to fix that on your next version!
    About putting the 34DD cup in the 32DD band… I’m not sure if it’ll work. I haven’t seen this pattern, but in general the inner curve of the cradle has to match the curve of the cup (they have to be the same length. Otherwise, the cups won’t fit well into the cradle). I don’t know if I explained it well… Anyway, I think that it’s easier to add some length to the 32DD band and modify the upper cup seam, as you said earlier.
    And, last but not least: I really love the colour combination! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · June 19, 2015

      Thanks so much Sofia! Yes, I know what you mean. If I put the 34DD cup in the 32DD frame, I’d be modifying the other pattern pieces to get the length to match…but that sounds like a lot of work!! Someone suggested I might try increasing the curve on the cross cup seam to get my volume and projection – so I might try this alteration first. And I love the colours too – pretty girly underwear is my favourite! πŸ™‚


  3. AFI · June 23, 2015

    Maddie, I would very much like a tutorial on tipping the ends of wires with heat-shrink tubing. Please consider it! Thank you!
    By the way, you are very talented: you can see this in your beautiful sets you make! Waiting for more of your lingerie projects πŸ™‚


    • Miss Maddy · June 24, 2015

      Thank you so much! I’ve just started work on a new set, so expect to see that (and a tutorial!) very soon πŸ™‚


  4. Tanit-Isis · June 24, 2015

    This is totally cute! I muslined this one last summer but haven’t had the guts to make the jump to a full version (which is too bad because the muslin fit nearly perfectly—but I am a classic wide, flat bust. πŸ˜‰ ) I didn’t find it pointy, but I was making a much smaller size, too (34B, my “traditional” size)

    From what I recall I would have thought one could swap in the band-piece (not so much the cradle piece) for a larger size with basically no problems. I compared 30D, 32C, and 34B patterns before I made my practice and the only difference I could see was the back band pattern piece.


    • Miss Maddy · June 25, 2015

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚ I’m going to start playing around with sizing and alterations soon, so good to know! Definitely go for the real version…you’ll never go back!


  5. Sigrid · June 26, 2015

    Beautiful bra. Your figure must be like mine as the size charts of most bra patterns put me in a c cup while I’m actually a (European size) 75F or 70F! I checked the Marlborough pattern sizes too and it was the same.
    I often changed the side of the band to match the cup with good result. Basically I stick with the band that I know works for me and adapt the cup.


    • Miss Maddy · June 28, 2015

      Thanks Sigrid! Yes it sounds like we have a similar sizing problem going on there! Thanks for the tip, I’m in the process of altering my Marlborough pattern now πŸ™‚


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