Sewing: Boylston Bra, Corset & Briefs Set

Boylston bra, corset & briefs

Boylston bra, corset & briefs

Again with the shocked face, sorry! And as I’ve started typing below the above picture, I realised the lighting has reflected really oddly on the clear elastic between the “bands” on the hold up on one of my legs – looks like some weird attempt at Photoshop gone wrong.
Anywho, this post is supposed to be about this bra, corset and briefs set – not about my failings at posing and weird photography (I swear, once we’ve got this lighting down, my photos will be much better!). So when I told you back in December that I was addicted to sewing lingerie, I really did mean it. I mean, between the end of November and now, I’ve sewn 4 bras, a corset and two pairs of briefs! And apologies to family members/friends who’d rather not to see me modelling my underwear makes – I try to reserve the lingerie posts for Big Cup Little Cup but when its a sewing/lingerie crossover post, it has to go on Rebel Angel really as this is where I focus my personal lifestyle posts and sewing fits into that. Family members – you’ll just have to skip this one!
I mentioned in my Minnie Mouse 1940s bra post that I’d already sewn another set using my fabrics from Sewing Chest and here is the result of that: a Boylston bra, with a corset using my Sew Curvy custom pattern and Ohhh Lulu Grace Hipster briefs. I’ve had the Boylston bra recommended to me various times and after seeing Maddy’s stunning versions of them, I knew I had to give it a go. The reason I hadn’t gone straight to the Boylston is that the bra only comes in sizes 30 to 40, A to DD, and I’m a 28GG. Fortunately, I’d heard it was quite easy to grade the pattern down since the band ran tight anyway, so I took the plunge. My Maya bra didn’t go particularly well as the shape was slightly shallow for me, but I’d heard the Boylston was more projected so I crossed my fingers and started working. Here’s how it went:

Boylston Bra Review

Boylston Bra ReviewBoylston Bra Review

I chose to go with a 36DD which is a (somewhat distant!) sister size to a 28G with the band shortened a few inches – technically a cup size smaller than me, but I worried the wire and cup width might end up too wide if I sister sized too far. Fortunately this wasn’t an issue – in fact, the wires and cups actually ended up too narrow and too small, oops! I did consider gifting in on to someone who I thought it might fit (I’d say it ended up around a 30F), but I landed on a better solution – I removed the wires (hence why in some photos, ie. the full length one above, you can see the wires stuck above the gore/bridge on my cleavage, because I reinserted them for pictures to show fit!). With the wires removed, the cups are still slightly on the small side – I can’t scoop and swoop very much for fear of overspill and the gore sits above my chestbone (as is to be expected with no wires) – but it is most definitely wearable. So for comparison, here are some photos of the bra itself without the wires in place on me, as compared to the ones above where the wires are in:

Boylston bra with wires removed Boylston bra with wires removed Boylston bra, corset & briefs

As you can see, the lift and support isn’t quite as good as with wires, but it’s not bad at all. In fact, I’d say this would make a great maternity bra without wires (not that I need that right now!).
So onto the details – I traced out the bra pattern onto my tracing paper (I swear I mention this every time, but this massive roll of it is one of the best sewing things I’ve bought – I feel I should do a review just on this!). I used this tricot fabric with lace overlay from Sewing Chest for the bra cups, bridge, corset outer layer and briefs front section. The fabric was £8.64 for a piece that was 135cm wide and 90cm long – despite using it for all of this, I still have enough left for probably at least one more bra, so that’s definitely worth it! I used this black rigid nylon to line the cups and bridge of the bra – it was a little tricky to work with as it’s so lightweight, but SO “silky” feeling and lovely to the touch. I then used black powernet which I managed to find at Remnant House in Harrogate before Christmas for the band and the side and back panels of the briefs. Technically the briefs are supposed to have woven fabric cut on the bias for the back and front, but I decided to go with sheer back for them. The findings, elastics and wires are all from Sewing Chest too. For the corset, I used some leftover coutil, spiral steel boning, flat steel boning and grommets from my corset kit from Sew Curvy – I used this to make a single layer corset before with single boning on each seam, so there was plenty left over. The lacing at the back came from a corset which doesn’t fit me right so doesn’t get much wear and the bias binding is some from my stash.
Let’s take a quick look at the inside of the Boylston bra before I tell you a bit more detail on it first though (too much to talk about!):

Boylston bra

Boylston Bra insides

I loved putting together the Boylston bra – everything came together so nicely. You have the option to use foam to line this bra too, which is really nice, but I decided to go for a thin nylon lining as the fabric itself is very thick – you can see it holds its shape very well as it is. The seams on the cups and cup lining end up hidden inside which I really like the look of, and the straps should be hidden inside too – note the “should be” there…someone put on them on backwards the first time…definitely not me, I’m blaming the cat. Next time though, the straps will be super pretty and hidden. Don’t you just love the thicker straps in the same fabric as the body of the bra? I do.
The only issue, aside from the backwards straps, I had was the thickness of the fabric, for example when sewing on the underwire channeling. Yes, I did snap a couple of needles and ended up swapping to one of the denim needles I usually use for corset making!
And so, leading smoothly into the corset making:

Boylston bra with corset Boylston bra with corset

So I did have a few issues with this, although I wouldn’t have done had I been paying better attention! Someone (blaming that cat again) mixed up two panels on this corset so reached the last panel on one side only to realise it didn’t have the straight line she was expecting…since the rest was all sewed in place with boning channels and everything, I ended up just fudging it a little bit and trimming the panels. It means that technically, my corset is a bit wonky, but actually, the fit still isn’t that bad! It just doesn’t have the amount of hip curve that my other has, but that’s fine actually.
I decided to make this corset a double layer one – my last was single layer – so I decided to learn a new technique for the boning channels. I followed a method that’s popular in corset making from LiveJournal that you can see an example of in use here. I found this a lot easier than my previous method of using boning tape which was quite fiddly. I also didn’t have a busk and couldn’t be bothered to wait for one to arrive, so I decided to make the front panel on the fold instead and go busk-less – I like the look in this fabric! I used two strips of spiral steel boning in the front instead to hold the shape, but I could have double up on that for a bit more strength or possibly used flat steel instead.
So even despite my slight panel mixing up issues, it actually turned out really well and I’m pleased with it. I actually ended up making the whole corset and briefs in a single day – pretty impressive considering my first one took me over a month! I’m really looking forward to making another corset in fashion fabric now as I loved making this one – I just need to restock on supplies (and I’ll need to save a bit first before doing that, as I may have bought a few things in the January sales…and a new fridge…)

What do you think of this set? I’m really pleased with how it turned out! Again, it’s still not perfect – like I said, the cups are too small in the bra so I’m planning to try a 40DD next and shorten the band even more. I’m hoping it won’t be a sister size too far! Fortunately, as I mentioned, the band comes up quite tight in this, so my 36DD only needed a couple of inches off each end to bring it down to about a 30 band. Have you tried the Boylston bra yet?

Psst! I’ve also added a “Bra Making & Lingerie Sewing” category to my menu up at the top of the blog!

11 Comments

    • Sian Thomas
      January 10, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      Thank you! Can’t believe it all worked out (and didn’t break my sewing machine with all the layers!)

  1. January 10, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    Wow! I love, love, love that you did this! That fabric is absolutely stunning.
    xo
    styleontheside.com

    • Sian Thomas
      January 10, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I was worried the fabric wouldn’t work out for it, but it seems to have done!

  2. January 11, 2016 / 7:26 am

    good post! thanks sharing!

  3. January 11, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    What a beautiful set!! The Boylston bra definitely fits you better than the Maya, and the fabric is so pretty! Also, the corset is the perfect accessory for this set, it makes me want to stop everything I’m doing right now and start sewing a corset too! 😉 So many projects, so little time!

    PS: In a totally unrelated topic, I adore your hold ups! I might have a bit of a stocking addiction… well, an all-kinds-of-lingerie addiction!

    • Sian Thomas
      January 11, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      Thank you 😀 The Boylston is definitely a better fit, even a couple of cup sizes too small! I love sewing corsets, and definitely agree with you – too many projects and ideas 🙂
      Ooh, thanks – I’ve definitely got a lingerie addiction too. And that reminded me I forgot to mention the hold ups in the post too, so I will add something in about them soon!

  4. January 13, 2016 / 12:25 am

    Super lovely set Sian! Good to see that Boylston is working better for you already., even if it’s not perfect yet. I love the Graces too (though you know I’m a a fan anyway :P). Your corset is also inspiring me to take up a bit of corset-sewing again…

  5. January 13, 2016 / 11:45 am

    I love what you’ve done with this! So good.
    jaspooleblog.com | photography & lifestyle

  6. Unique
    November 11, 2016 / 12:23 am

    could you do a step by step of the bra making process?????

    • Sian Thomas
      November 11, 2016 / 9:40 am

      Hi Unique! Do you mean take photos at each step of the process? I can’t copy out all the details step by step as it’s a pattern that needs to be bought, but I can try when I make my next bra to take photos at each step 🙂

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