In this series of posts, I will be covering my research into choosing a pattern for bust coverage/support for my 1920s wardrobe.
This video tutorial, which Pathe dates at 1921, is quite clever, but one needs to feel comfortable working with almost no instruction, as the process of creation isn’t very thoroughly described. It appears to offer little support or compression, making it a better choice for those with a smaller bust.
Mrs. Depew offers several options for patterns, including a bandeau bra from 1927 ($9.50-18.50 and it includes tap pants) in 32″-42″ bust and a brassiere which is more long line and suitable for late 1910 to 1925 ($8.50) in 32″-48″ bust. The difference in these two illustrations is a great way to understand the two distinct bust silhouettes of this era!
Mrs. Depew also offers a 1920s corset in a 32″-50″ bust for those who aren’t ready to be “liberated women” or are just looking for something more to help smooth their dress line. ($8.50-15). The description of the pattern doesn’t seem to indicate any sort of boning, but one still wonders how easy sitting in it would be.
Wearing History has a brassiere (View A) and compression bandeau (View B) pattern in a 38″ bust (presumably the measurement around the fullest part of the bust as she states that testers recommended it for 34D/DD) from 1921 ($6.99).
407A discusses the making of several bust-confining garments, but only 2 can be made without purchasing a pattern:
Page 57 – Plain Brassiere:
- Pattern: Instructions explain how to cut and draft/drape it.
- Why Choose This Style?: Can be plain “for service” or trimmed and “luxurious”.
- Materials: Firmly woven tape or ribbon for straps, self- or pre-made bias tape (for edge-finishing and re-inforcing the darts) and hook-and-eye tape.
Page 63 – Bandeau Corset:
- Pattern: Instructions explain how to cut and draft/drape it. Gives instructions on fitting and construction.
- Why Choose This Style?: It is described as a corset substitute for the slender. Confines the hips slightly but has gussets of elastic.
- Materials: Firm material: coutil, muslin or heavy wash satin. Elastic, bias seam binding, hook-and-eye tape, garters.
There is a book called Vintage Lingerie by Jill Salen which has instructions for creating a 1920s/1930s “Kestos”-style bra, which I believe is featured on the cover.
I’ve dug up as many resources as I can find for patterns, tutorials and other resources on creating brassieres/bandeaus/corsets of the 1920s. I will alter this post as new information or patterns become available.