Friday, October 14, 2011

Vintage Style Underwear ~ Part 2

The bra is done. I got bored with it yesterday so finished it up quickly before I was tempted to shove it to the bottom of my sewing drawer and forget about it.

It came out better than I thought it would. I really do like it but it's just so darn ugly. ;P I wish I had used prettier fabric. Or a different color. I forgot how much I hate white bras. But I bet I can dye this one if I want to. And now that I know how easy bras are to make, I can whip up a new one whenever I feel like it in whatever fabric I want.

I sewed the binding on:

And added the hooks:

And added the straps last.

It gives a nice shape under my dresses and tops. It is so different from my modern t-shirt bras or the stretch sports bras I usually wear. It lifts and defines each breast into a kind of cone shape, but it actually makes them appear smaller than my modern bras do - which in my case, is a good thing.

Making a bra really forced me to evaluate my body. That can be scary but now I have been reinforced strongly in my theory that I am really very terribly short waisted, and that a higher bustline like the one  my new bra gives is actually better for my shape than modern bras that give a lower, fuller, more rounded line. There is not much space between my underbust and my waist so any hanging boob flesh that obscures my mid-section just makes me look top heavy and fat all over. : / Did you know that when I wear a soft molded cup t shirt bra there is literally ***1 and 1/2 inches*** between the bottom of my bust and my actual waist???

For comparison, here is a picture of a plain sweater I like to wear. This picture is with my "best" modern bra, that is, the one that I feel is most flattering to me. It gives a pretty good lift, but a very rounded shape.

And here is the same sweater with the bra I just finished making. Definitely more pointy in shape, and my midriff area is more visible and less curvy. I doubt I will wear this bra with this sweater, though, since there is too much nipple effect going on. :P (forgive my horrible hair).

But I do like the vintagey silhouette it gives. It seems trimmer, tidier, more put-together. I am so pleased with how it works underneath this white blouse.

I got this blouse, and the silk/linen stripey skirt this summer at a fill-a-bag-for-$1 day at the thrift store. I love this blouse, but with  my modern bra, the pleated midriff section sat across the bottom of my boobs. And then the waistband of the skirt was just below that. It was ugly and horrific and dumpy. To make it work I had to pull down the blouse so the midriff section settled at the proper place, but then I had excessive boob crack issues from the neckline. Now, I don't need to tug or pull anything into place, and the midriff section sits where it is supposed to sit. And because the midriff band isn't straining to encompass boob flesh, the side zipper zips up easily and I don't feel like I'm trying to squeeze into something that is too small for me. And yeah, I gotta loose my belly pooch. ;) No, I am NOT pregnant.

Now I need to finish up my undergarments and make a real vintage style dress to go over my new bra! I'm thinking something fun and twirly and totally girly from the 1940's would be just the right thing!



  1. Wow, that really does look great on you! I never looked at any of your pictures and thought you looked at all fat, but you do look much thinner with that bra. It's amazing what a difference it makes for your figure! My modern bra (and dress and camisole) issues tend to be that the straps are always always always too long, even when adjusted to be as short as possible, so maybe I will try something like this one day instead of just altering the straps on bras I already have.

  2. Fabulous! And so interesting how different the silhouette is between vintage and modern bras. Gotta give vintage bra sewing a shot. I keep meaning to but keep procrastinating ;)

  3. Sandi, me too! All my straps are way too long and I hate how adjusting them shorter doesn't work, since they slide out after a while anyway. : / Seriously, the total length of my shoulder straps ended up at exactly 13". Way shorter than standard bra straps!

    Lauren, thanks! I know, the difference is really cool. I never thought about it much before, but now I can see why maybe I haven't liked certain vintage styles on my body. I wasn't wearing the right undergarments!

  4. I can't believe the difference it makes in the shape of your bust?! Amazing. Nice job. Will store this project away for a rainy day.

    Btw...that last outfit is adorable! I'm loving the "higher" more natural waistline that is in fashion right now.

  5. I totally agree about vintage bras. They are so slimming and fit beautifully. I can't wait to make a vintage bra. Colette patterns has a blog post about beautiful vintage lingerie details and Mrs DePew on etsy has a fabulous 40's PDF book about lingerie sewing, with lots of great ideas for embellishing. I think your bra looks really fantastic! You're motivating me to get up and finally sew my own bra!

  6. Agreeing with everyone else, I never thought you looked anything close to fat, but this bra *does* make you look thinner and more elegant. I could really use a higher bustline for the same reasons you do - might try making myself a bra then ;)

  7. I want a bra like that!!!
    Great job!

  8. I have the SAME problem. about 1" between lower rib and my hip bone, and a 38H bustline. I may have to try this.

    One question however; is there anything stretchy in this bra? if not, how does that affect wearability?

  9. EllaJac, there is no stretch at all in the bra besides the natural give of the linen I used to make it. I wish now that I had made the underbust band just a *tad* bigger, since before I sewed the band on the bottom the fabric stretched a bit and it fit comfortably. Sewing the band on caused the lower edge of the bra to not stretch at all, thus it is a tad tight now. Not so that it is unwearable, but I will take that into account next time. :)

  10. Sarah Jane did you draft this pattern yourself? I was curious because I am going to delve into 40's bra making myself sometime soon for World War 2 reenacting coming up in January.

    God bless,

  11. Rebecca, I draped it. I just pinned it and fit and cut til it looked like I wanted it to look.

    WW2 reenacting sounds so fun! What kind of event will it be?

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  13. Sarah thats what I thought that you had draped it yourself. I wish I could do that! I found a pattern on etsy so I am going to try that out.

    Yes the WW2 event is an immersion event for civilians and military alike. I am joining this group-;id=409;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eangelfire%2Ecom%2Fma3%2FPaperDolls%2F

    and we are going to the Battle of the Bulge event-

    There will be workshops on different aspects of a woman's life during the war and we will be staying at the Fort. I am so excited! I can't wait to get my outfit together and start a new time period reenacting.

    God bless!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!