Orange Lingerie Marlborough vs Merckwaerdigh BHS10 vs Make Bra DL01

Wow, my Marlborough bra post seems to have caused quite a stir…

I thought I would follow it up with photos of how each bra (Orange Lingerie Marlborough, Merckwaerdigh BHS10 View D, and Make Bra DL01) looks under a tight t-shirt. I do this test with every bra I purchase or make. I consider a bra a foundation garment, so if it doesn’t look good under clothing I either return it (if purchased) or throw it out. I did my best to shoot each photo at the same angle and with the t-shirt pinned back at the same tightness.

I fished the Duoplex Orange Lingerie Marlborough out of my sewing trash, brushed off a few threads, and threw in some underwires and put it on. Here’s how it looks:

olmarlborough

See? Quad boob and pointy, despite going up a cup size. Eww!

Now here is the diagonally seamed, stretch lace Merckwaerdigh BHS10, View D. This is pretty close to my natural shape.

merckbhs10

And here is cut-and-sew foam Make Bra DL01. This is one of my favorite bra patterns, especially during winter months.

mbdl01

Posted in Fit

26 thoughts on “Orange Lingerie Marlborough vs Merckwaerdigh BHS10 vs Make Bra DL01

    1. I know! I don’t like hugely padded bras (they feel too fake for most occasions) but a little foam makes a huge difference in helping fill things out a bit. Kind of how pantyhose helps smooth things out without going to the same extreme as Spanx.

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  1. I think the third silhouette is the most like what you would see on the streets from “t-shirt” bras. The first one does look exaggerated–I agree! As you said in your previous post, the seaming and the foam really do make a big difference.

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    1. Unlike a t-shirt bra though, DL01 has seams and can be customized to the shape of the wearer. I actually find t-shirt bras pretty flattering, though they have to be the 1/8″ thick flexible foam and not the super thick stiff foam Victoria’s Secret seems to love using so much.

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  2. I can definitely see that the Marlborough is more pointy, though that look doesn’t actually bother me with the right outfit (but the quad boob would have to be addressed). Clothing size and fit is such a personal thing. If it’s not something you feel comfortable in or think is flattering on your body, you definitely shouldn’t keep it — I wouldn’t!

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    1. I think someone that has a bust that’s large for their frame and is short waisted can carry off the pointed look better than someone like me. I feel like the Marlborough takes whatever I have and makes half of it disappear.

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      1. I think of it as: the larger the bust typically the lower it is, so pointy pushes it up and out of the way (toward the front) and the waist is more visible. And from the front more of the ribcage is visible so the wearer looks slimmer, especially if she has a smaller frame. With me though, you can already see my waist and ribcage, so pointy makes my boobs look “lost.”

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    1. DL01 is a downloadable pattern. You get it directly from the Make Bra website. If you don’t want to splurge on the Make Bra foam then the polylaminate foam from Sew Sassy will also work, though it has a little bit of stretch to it.

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      1. A lot of people think foam = the very dense, stiff stuff used in a lot of the Victoria’s Secret bras. It isn’t. The Sew Sassy, Make Bra, and Bramaker’s Supply foams are very lightweight and have a lot of flexibility to them. Spacer is probably very similar. The thing to watch out for is a lot of spacer foam has significant two or four way stretch. You’ll get serious fitting issues if you use it with a pattern meant for non-stretch fabrics.

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  3. Fascinating. I like pointy, so – in the right size – my preferred shape would be the top one (the Marlborough). I do think that the Make bra fits best. The Merckwaerdigh doesn’t really do it for me. What I like about pointy is the perception of uplift that it gives. The Merckwaerdigh doesn’t do much lifting.

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  4. Great comparison shots. I’ve not had the best of luck with Merckwaerdigh, but surely not the worst. I really like the look of the MakeBra silhouette. I have so much on my sewing plate at the second, but need to try sewing this one before spring comes.

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    1. Merckwaerdigh is somewhere between for me too. With Merckwaerdigh it is more about the design lines rather than the drafting. My favorite pattern is MIX30. If you smooth out the curve at the apex and let out the seam at the neckline edge the silhouette is very similar to the Cosabella Prettie.

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    2. Also wanted to add – I’ve made Make Bra DL01, 3226, and 2610. 3226 is the shallowest, then 2610, then DL01. I find 3226 almost too shallow when viewed from the side, but it gives nice cleavage. DL01 is a very good “all purpose” style.

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  5. Excellent and extremely helpful comparison! I really appreciate the work you put into your posts and sewing. I wish I could use the bra patterns you’re comparing, but I’m a much larger bust. I’m planning to cut up one of my RTW and compare it to my patterns because it is the first bra that not only lifted, but also gave me a nice round shape like the make bra you show above.

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    1. I’ve done that before myself. It is an excellent way to find out how you differ from the pattern and what angles work best on your figure. I mostly try patterns because I am curious to see how drafting varies from designer to designer, but I think once you are familiar with the construction of a bra that copying a well-fitting RTW one is the way to go. Beverly Johnson did a nice article in Threads a few years back about how to clone a favorite RTW bra.

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  6. I said it in your previous post and I’ll say it again – the amount of detail you put into your reviews is ace. Looking at the Marlborough silhouette I think it will work for my breast shape.

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  7. You’ve convinced me to give Make Bra a try, just for the fun of comparing! You and I seem to be opposite body types, and the Pin Up Girls “Shelley” is my go-to, perfect fitting bra. I’m curious to try the cut and sew foam! Thanks for all the helpful info. My Make Bra panties pattern is my favorite.

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  8. How fascinating! The marlborough isn’t available in my actual size, so I don’t know what silhouette it would give me in non-stretch fabric if it fitted correctly, but in stretch fabric it give me a fairly rounded shape. I’m guessing that has more to do with the give in the fabric than the way the pattern is drafted however. I’ve never tried any of the pin up girls patterns, but man did the Kwik Sew ones give me the 50’s bullet bra look like crazy! I really would like to give the make bra foam a shot some time when my current bra sewing stash is somewhat depleted. I think it might be just the thing to provide the support and lift that stretch fabrics are just never going to be able to provide.

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    1. A not insignificant amount of people that say it gives them a rounded shape have used a stretch fabric for the cups. I guess that’s what bugs me so much about this pattern. There seems to be a mismatch between fabric recommendations and fit. Even though the 34C cups fit much better than the 34B, they still felt very, very tight, and the reason why the 36 underwires – which should have felt pretty generous – were feeling small was because the non-stretch cup fabric of the too-small cups was pulling it inward instead of the band pulling it outward. I was thinking this week that if I was to make it again I would probably go up to a 36C, which is totally ridiculous for my 73cm/29″ underbust measurement. I don’t fault Norma too much for the difference in recommended measurements vs actual size (tape measurements are notoriously unreliable when it comes to bra fitting and should only be considered a starting point) but the Marlborough definitely runs very small if you follow her fabric recommendations. In most American RTW I’m a 32C. For some European brands with non-stretch cups I have required a 32D (and maybe a 34C for bands that had less stretch to them) because sometimes the leap between cup sizes is smaller than for American brands.

      Unlined cut-and-sew bras have their place (like during the heat of summer!) but I definitely prefer the more sculpted and defined look of a contour cup. They make my clothes fit much better.

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  9. Hi, just want to say– a bra that seems pointy when you first put it on will round out and mould to your shape after a couple of wears and washes, if it’s made of quality fabric (nothing too plastic).
    A bra fitter gave me this tip and I’ve found it to be true and useful, and helped me find some great bras which I would have initially rejected.

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    1. I think that may be true for larger sizes that have more softness and volume, but it has never been the case for me. Trust me – I’ve tried!

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