1920s · 20th century · Undergarments

Choosing a 1920s Bra Pattern Part 2: Tutorials and Patterns

In this series of posts, I will be covering my research into choosing a pattern for bust coverage/support for my 1920s wardrobe.

Part 1: Research
Part 2: Available Tutorials and Patterns
Part 3: Other Resources – Pattern Reviews, Books and Films
Part 4: Which Pattern I Chose

Tutorials

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.

Patterns

Mrs. Depew

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!

1910-1925

Image from Mrs. Depew

1927

Image from Mrs. Depew

1910s-1920s

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.

Image from Mrs. Depew

Wearing History

1921

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).

Image from Wearing History

Lady Marlowe

1927

Lady Marlowe offers a 1927 bra, in sizes 32″-40″ which comes with bloomers. You only get one size per purchase and it is a paper pattern ($18.50, or $17.50 at her Etsy store).

Image from Lady Marlowe

EvaDress Patterns

1929

Evadress Patterns offers a 1929 bust reducer, which features lacing at the back and comes in two size ranges, 32″-40″ and 40″-48″ bust ($5.00).

Books

1925

The Underwear and Lingerie book of the Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences booklets (available from the Internet Archive) is divided into two downloadable PDF files: 407A and 407B

Image from Internet Archive

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.

1920s/1930s

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.

Image from Amazon.com

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.

3 thoughts on “Choosing a 1920s Bra Pattern Part 2: Tutorials and Patterns

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