Sewing: Boylston Bra Take Two

Sewing the Boylston bra reviewSewing the Boylston bra review

Wow, look at that crazy happy face! And in reality it should even be that crazy happy as the bra still isn’t an ideal fit and not one that I’d be able to actually properly wear, BUT it’s a lot closer than my last try which was too small, so it’s a big step in the right direction AND it’s super pretty, soooo, crazy happy face ensues!
My last Boylston bra was a 36DD with about 4 inches taken off the band (taking down to what was fit me like a 28FF) and was about 2 cup sizes too small. As the Boylston bra only goes up to a DD cup, my only option to get bigger cups was to keep going up in band size then reduce the band even more dramatically, so I went a 40DD and chopped a as many inches as possible off the band without making it disappear! And here’s how it turned out:

Boylston bra reviewBoylston bra reviewBoylston bra review

Well, I think it looks awesome in this fabric, but it’s not a perfect fit by any means. There is definitely enough space in the cup now, but the cups are slightly too tall which means I’m getting gaping at the top. I think what I’ll have to do is size down to the 38DD, chop off lots of band, but increase the curve at the apex of the cup to get more space, then I might have cups that fit!
The other issue is that even though I chopped out as much band as I could from the power mesh at the back, it’s still too big in the band – even on the tightest hooks it rides up like mad. I think I’d need to reduce fabric at the edge of the bridge (under my arm) too in order to get rid of some band here. Because of the band being too big though, the wires aren’t being held in place firmly enough to tack at the gore or provide much lift, so it’s not quite functioning as a bra should right now. Usually wires not tacking on the gore equals a too small cup, but I think the combination of high gore and no tightness in the band means it’s kind of just floating there rather than pressing in.

Pin this for later:

Sewing the Boylston bra - Orange Lingerie
This one came together SO much better than my last one too though. I knew where I was going with it so much better after having already made one Boylston and a couple of other bras so the instructions were super simple. I love this fabric too – it’s from IKEA and technically upholstery fabric I believe! I hadn’t even realised our local (read: day trip away) IKEA had fabric until recently, then I hadn’t considered it for any projects because I thought it was only useful for furnishings. But when I saw this one on sale (Tigeroga – I think I got 2.5m for about £8, which is ridiculously cheap!), I grabbed some thinking it could make a nice heavyweight circle skirt. Then when I decided I wanted to make a new bra, the cherry on this design caught my eye. I mean, the Boylston instructions do say to use a fabric with very little to no stretch, and this has that, so why not?! I’m sure it’s not ideal for bra making, but it worked!
It took more tracing (with my never ending roll of tracing paper) as I’d picked a new size. I lined it with the same sheer rigid nylon that I used for my last as well as black power net from Remnant House in Harrogate for the band. The findings and elastics were all from Sewing Chest where I have ordered lots of bits and pieces for bra making from!
So what do you think of it? Even though it’s not the perfect fit, it’s still a pretty awesome bra I think and I’m really pleased with it. I’m definitely well on my way to figuring out my perfect cup fit. But in the meantime, I’ve also managed to make a bodysuit using lace and the Watson pattern…more on that soon!

Sewing the Boylston bra reviewSewing the Boylston bra reviewSewing the Boylston bra review


  1. March 12, 2016 / 11:26 am

    What a nice Boylston bra!! I’m sure the next one will be a perfect fit! 🙂 And the fabric is so pretty!! I’ve always thought that Ikea fabrics would made beautiful dresses or skirts, but a bra had never occured to me! Now my next visit to Ikea may be a lot more productive! 😉

  2. March 14, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    What a great bra! I love the fabric and it looks so comfy. Thanks for sharing such good pictures too, those details help. And that Ikea fabric? Perfect! I love using fabric for pieces that it may not be intended for. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

    • Sian Thomas
      March 14, 2016 / 9:12 pm

      Thank you! I know, I couldn’t resist trying the fabric and was really pleased it worked – it would make a great bustier style top too I think 🙂

  3. Susan
    March 28, 2016 / 11:33 am

    I love your bra! Never thought of using IKEA fabric for a bra. Just bought some for a dress for my daughter. Maybe there will be some left ?
    Thanks a lot for all the details on the shops you bought your material from. Never heard of Sewing Chest before. In Switzerland you dont have much choice on material for bras. And in Germany and Austria I didn’t find nice fabric like the one you used for your blue Boylston Bra or all the other satin tricots……. I’m looking forward to see what you will do next !!

    • Sian Thomas
      March 28, 2016 / 3:15 pm

      Ooh, good idea! Bras use so little fabric most of the time, I’m sure you can salvage some from the dress 😉
      We’re still quite limited here in terms of bra making materials, so I’m quite inventive with what I use – it takes a bit of experimenting! I’m hoping to go to the US and pick up some more bra making bits and pieces again soon!

  4. Fredrick Obazee
    February 23, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    Please can you share with us step by step process of how you made this nice looking bra? I wanna make one for my wife.

  5. Renata
    May 11, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    Wow beautiful bra, usually they are pointy and ugly this one is stunning

  6. November 6, 2018 / 11:00 am

    I am also on my 3rd attempt with the bra. Live in Cape Town, so getting hold of local supplies is a pain. Thank goodness I found an underwear factory that stopped making bra’s. Bought 3.5 meters of hook & eye fastening and 30 meters of seriously old and very sturdy casing that is curved. No wire will ever poke through it.
    I am also having a fight with the cup sizes with the Boylston bra. Got some stretch cotton fabric (woven), but also tried to make the bra with non stretch fabric. The girls is beautifully lifted, but the top band is almost 3 cm to wide.
    Absolutely love the Ikea fabric you used.

  7. James
    August 24, 2019 / 2:16 am

    Thanks for documenting the journey. These tidbits of the process help immensely for those following in your footsteps.

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