Today's post is all about vintage-inspired brassieres! Each decade has had it's particular silhouette, and nothing completes a vintage outfit more than the right foundation wear.
As you all know, I love sewing vintage patterns and have sewn items spanning many different decades. One thing I have noticed is that the patterns fit much better with the appropriate foundation wear, including brassieres. Of course, you can make slight alterations on the pattern (I'm thinking specifically about bust darts here) to change the look of the garment to suit more modern foundation garments. I know a lot of people do this, but for me one of the reasons I love sewing vintage patterns is specifically for the vintage silhouette it creates!!
The three decades I sew the most patterns from are the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s.
Perhaps the most iconic decade in terms of brassieres is the 1950s and the infamous bullet bra look:
What Katie Did Harlow Bullet Bra
I list some resources at the bottom of this post for sourcing or sewing up vintage-inspired brassieres, but the most popular source at least in the UK is 'What Katie Did'. I have several of their pieces including the Harlow Bullet Bra pictured above. It's amazing what a difference it makes to the look of a vintage piece. As an example, here I am wearing my 1950s me-made shirtdress:
I don't do the 1950s silhouette very often, but it's fun to wear a midcentury frock every now and then. I do wear my 1940s dresses almost every day!! The only option I know of for a vintage-inspired 1940s brassiere constructed using vintage techniques is the CC09 bra from What Katie Did. I wear it underneath all my 1940s me-made outfits:
I have yet to sew my own foundation garments. I've seen a lot of great sewalongs and projects from the online sewing community… and am curious to try. Though, at the moment, my sewing queue is growing longer and longer. So, it might be some time before I actually get to try it out! In the meantime, here are some amazing resources I've collated from the sewing community on sourcing and sewing vintage-inspired brassieres:
- What Katie Did, the UK-based vintage-inspired lingerie shop
- Secrets in Lace, a US-based vintage-inspired lingerie store
- A fabulous post from By Gum, By Golly on recreating a 1940s bust silhouette
- Ohhh Lulu's Pin-Up Sewalong using this bra pattern available from Mrs Depew's Etsy store:
- An interesting discussion by Gertie on bullet bras
- A fabulous post by Mrs Depew about what vintage bra patterns are worth and a fabulous compendium of vintage lingerie patterns!
- Craftsy tutorial by Christine Haynes on sewing a vintage-inspired bra
- Va Voom Vintage's Bullet Bra Sewalong and pinterest board