The most asked question about the Marlborough bra pattern is “Will it fit me?” Usually this question comes from someone outside of the size range listed on the pattern. It is an excellent question and many times, my answer is actually yes!
This bit of sizing magic is possible through what is called “sister sizing”. Sister sizes are bra sizes that have the same bra cup volume and underwire size. The difference between sister sizes is usually just the size of the band and frame.
Below is a table showing sister sizing by row as it relates to the Marlborough bra pattern. The Marlborough sizes are in black and the sister size equivalents are in gray.
If your size appears in gray above, you can find your Marlborough size by finding the nearest equivalent size in black on the same row. For example, if you are a 34E you will use the pattern for the 36DD. If you are a 34F, then you will use the pattern for the 38DD. Then it is simply a matter of adjusting the band and frame to get to your band size.
In the first example above, you will be removing ½” from both the frame and the band at the side seams for an overall circumference decrease of 2″. The orange lines in the drawing below indicate where the new seam line would be for this change.
To increase the band, you add to the side seam. For example if you want a 42D and are starting with the 40DD pattern, you will be adding ½” to the frame and to the band at the side seam for an overall 2″ increase in band circumference. Again, the orange lines in the drawing below indicate where the new seam line would be for this change.
Note that for maximum support I draft a fairly firm band for a power mesh with 50% stretch. If you are going down by just one band size or using a firmer power mesh, you may want to mock up a toile to test the band.
Happy bra making!