Pattern Preferences

I’ve had a number of people ask me which I prefer, the Sewy Rebecca or the Pin-Up Girls Shelley. The Rebecca was published before the Shelley. I had also sewn the Rebecca pattern a couple of times before the Shelley pattern even came out, so was used to that pattern before I even tried the Shelley.

In fact, it was the Rebecca pattern I made for the Sew-Along hosted by Amy of Cloth Habit. It was during that time – when the Sew-Along was happening – that news of the Shelley pattern came out. I loved the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern, and have both of Beverly’s Bra-Making Manuals, so was excited about a new pattern from her.

Over the years, I’ve had people email me and ask me which bra I prefer. And honestly, I had a hard time deciding which bra I did prefer.

The Sewy Rebecca pattern consists of a three-part cup: the upper cup, lower cup and power bar. This photo of the Rebecca pattern is taken from the Sewy website.


The Pin-Up Girls Shelley is a four-part cup consisting of the upper cup, split lower cup, and power bar. This photo of the Shelley pattern is from the Bra-Makers Supply website.


The two bras really are similar in design. One big difference is the Sewy Rebecca is fully lined inside the cup, and that really makes it look so professionally finished on the inside – something I love.

However, I’ve made a couple of Shelley bras now and lined them on the inside making them look as professionally finished as the Rebecca always does.

My most recent bra that I made was a Pink and Ivory Rebecca and while wearing it, I realized, for my shape I prefer… the Shelley.

So, what finally made me prefer one pattern over the other? Well,…

I have read many comments on blogs, bra-sewing forums, and personal emails to me where people have expressed their thoughts on another bra – the Marlborough by Orange Lingerie.

I know sewers who love this pattern. It’s their TNT pattern that they go to every time. I haven’t personally made up the Marlborough, so can’t say anything from personal experience. One of the reasons I haven’t made it up is I’ve heard it has a shallower fit. Another reason is I’m outside the bra’s  size range. I can play around with sister sizing and grading to get the right size for me, but hearing the bra fit more shallowly has been the one factor making me hesitate to try the bra. Although I must say, I’ve seen so many beautiful examples of the Marlborough sewn up and they all look lovely. I don’t think it’s the right pattern for me.

After wearing the Rebecca, I’ve realized there’s a shallowness to the fit of it as well. Although the two patterns, Rebecca and Shelley, are very similar, they don’t fit the same on me.

The Pin-Up Girls Shelley bra pattern gives me a nice shape and lift. The Rebecca pattern does not give me the same nice shape. Even though the patterns measure pretty much the same – the cross cup seam is the same length, and the bottom cup depth is the same, the upper cup is shallower on the Rebecca. I even added 1/4″ to it, but it still just didn’t give me the shaping I want.

Happy creating!

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10 thoughts on “Pattern Preferences

  1. I’m so pleased, for Bev’s sake, over your review. The Shelley has been my goto pattern now for over two years. DH has even made me plexiglass pattern pieces from the customized Shelley that Bev fitted me with. I’m leaving tomorrow to attend the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference where I’ll attend Bev’s Bra Camp and her Bra Dress classes. Sew excited!

    1. Starr, I’m jealous! Well, maybe envious is better. No, that’s still not good. Oh, I’ll just be happy for you! I really want to go to the Stitches conference too, but couldn’t make it happen this year. A few women I know are talking about next year. The Shelley is my main go-to pattern as well, but I really wanted to like the Rebecca. I’ve learned it’s just not the right shape for me. Have fun at Stitches! I can’t wait to see what you make!

  2. Great review! It’s always nice to hear which patterns work best for different people. What I’ve found with bra patterns is that there is no single pattern that will fit everyone, and everyone is going to have a different favourite to work with their fit. Some will be designed for larger busts, and some will be designed for smaller and shallower cups- and it really all depends on who is making it! It’s so nice that there’s more variety of patterns out there! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Erin! I agree, it’s great there are so many patterns available because we are all differently shaped, and one pattern won’t work for everyone. They’re both great patterns, but for me it’ll be the Shelley going forward.

  3. I’ve been following your bra making experiences on this blog and I glad you posted this information. I wear a large cup size and my breasts are no longer firm and perky. I haven’t started my bra making journey yet. I enrolled in Bev’s Craftsy class, just never followed through with making one. Although I like the look of the Rebecca, the Shelley seems to be a deeper (and more accommodating) fit. Guess I need to get on the bandwagon — it’s on my (very short) summer sewing list. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Robin. Yes, jump into bra-making. It really is great – especially once you get the perfect fit. The Craftsy classes are great too. I have them both and have watched them both over and over. If you’re just starting out, I recommend the Pin-Up Girls Classic pattern. There’s a little less sewing involved in the cups, and thus easier to make alterations for fitting. Let me know how your journey goes!

  4. Great review, Michelle! And the timing is perfect for me, as I’ve been thinking on buying a bra pattern and my “top 3” are the ones you’re talking about. Well, to be fair, my favourite is the Shelley because I trust Beverly as if she were some sort of Bra-Making Messiah 😉 But the thing is that I’ve only seen Shelley and Rebecca made in larger sizes, so I don’t know if they’ll work well with my size, a 26D/28C. Which one would you recommend me?
    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Thanks Sofia. I think all three are great well-established patterns that make beautiful bras. I agree, I do think Beverly has the most experience and I trust her for that reason as well. The Shelley and Rebecca will both accommodate a larger bust size, so that is probably why you’ve seen them for larger sizes. A lot of patterns do not. That was such a surprise for me when I first started making bras. For you size, any of them will work. If this is your first bra, start with the Shelley. Beverly’s instructions are top-notch! My second choice would be the Marlborough, because it’s in English and I know Norma knows her stuff as well. The Sewy patterns are in German. I have English instructions, but I don’t like them. I don’t think the instructions are great. I don’t follow them.

      1. Thank you Michelle! I’ll probably go for the Shelley then. It isn’t my first bra (I’ve submitted several self-drafted ones to Erin’s Bra-a-Week, that’s how I’ve found your blog ;)), but it’s my first with a commercial pattern, so I’m going to apreciate those top-notch instructions!

        1. Sofia, I thought I recognized your name, but couldn’t place it. Yes, without a doubt, Beverly’s instructions are the best. Do you have her Craftsy classes? I’ve made notes on my patterns of all the tips she gives on there. Both classes are great! I can’t wait to see your Shelley! I’m sure you’ll be submitting it the Erin’s challenge when it’s done.

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