Sunday, 21 August 2011

Art Deco Boudoir Bra

Why am I calling this Art Deco confection a "Boudoir Bra" you might wonder?
Well, the simple answer is a silk crepe hankie and a few lengths of satin ribbon are probably insufficient support for most embonpoints once they have emerged from the inner sanctum of the boudoir.  Imagine walking the dog/doing the weekly shop/going to work on the bus in this .... Yup, the results could be liberating in the extreme and a threat to public decency.  But reclining in your boudoir with a glass of bubbly in hand ... you get the picture.

One of my 1930s needlework books (from my ever expanding vintage craft and sewing library) had some very basic instructions for making a bra out of a hankie.  I decided I would use an original Art Deco silk crepe hankie and some ribbons from my ribbon box to have a go.  There was a lot of improvising - the only instruction that seemed to be precise was to make a 2" dart - and with a lot of pinning and checking on my (size 12) mannequin, I finally got there with the delicate taupe and cream creation above.  I was glad to have a couple of little ready made bows that matched, but when I make this garment again I am going to ensure I have toning ribbon flowers ready (can feel a shopping trek to VV Rouleaux coming on already ...).  Plus, I will make longer ribbon ties for the back and am going to try it with gathers instead of a dart as well as experimenting with different size hankies.  No cheeky comments about extra large men's hankies, please!!

Below is the diagram from the sewing book plus a couple more views of the bra. 



  1. This is lovely in the extreme and SO sexy.Oh to have either the "embonpoints" or the boudoir to try it out!!
    Love the fabric choice by the way.

  2. Thank you, glad you like it, I was pleased I had some ribbon to match but will properly plan colours and haberdashery next time. Haven't dared try this on yet ....

  3. What a beautiful project, I haven't seen anything like this before. Your hanky has a beautiful print on it. This might work for a bikini top if you use something opaque. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you - great minds think alike because I was thinking of trying to adapt it to a bikini top with a pair of 40s type "tap" style pants. Will let you know how I get on! K.

  5. Oh my goodness, this is lovely and I adore what you wrote about it. I can see myself lounging in something like this with a glass of champagne in hand, but not doing the school run. Ha ha.


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