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Edwardian and 1910’s Brassieres

Edwardian and 1910’s BrassieresWhen corsets dipped below the bust in the early 1900s, what did women use to support the bust? How did bras develop into a must-have garment?

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dregae  
  Great article!!!! This answered so many questions. Thank you!!!!!!  
 
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beespoke  
  I love the 1917 bosom form patent. I am not able to discern how the underside of the bust is supported as there is no boning nor gathering there. . . nor how it is secured in the back? I'm assuming that the lowest ruffles are to cover the tops of the high waisted corsets of that time period? Any ideas? Advice? I would love to construct this beautiful brassiere.  
 
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3mily  
  I'd like to make the bust confining bandeau to go with my post edwardian long line corset and 'suffragette' house dress. It says it is elasticated in the back....would it also have a fastening of some kind?  
 
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jenthompson  
  3mily - the bandeaus that I have seen usually close with hook and eyes, buttons, or ties - even if they have elastic. The bandeau with elastic that is pictured in the article above mentions that it is black closing. My best guess is that it would close with hooks.  
 
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jenthompson  
  bluesnorkel - I love the look of that bosom form too! I haven't read through the entire patent, but my assumption is that this garment is just meant to augment, not support. These things were marketed to women who were fairly flat-chested, and they usually just strapped on to the chest with ribbon ties to create curves where none existed before. If I am reading the diagram correctly, there are small darts in the bottom of the bust cups to create a more rounded shape, and there is a tie on the inside that pulls the boned cups into an arch. The wearer could tie the ribbon tighter or looser to create more or less volume in the cups. (think of stringing a bow in archery). But if that is the case, then the inside of the cups would be empty because the ties would prevent any the wearer's bust from going into the cups. But if you were more endowed on and need something that offers support, I would suggest making something more like the bandeau or the cupped short brassieres and just add the ruffles in a pattern like the patent. There is one on my Pinterest board that is somewhat similar to this style: http://pinterest.com/pin/186688347022877840/  
 
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seashellbikini  
  So in your research, have you discovered what, if anything, was worn under something like a bandeau and corset in the '10s? Most of the drawings don't show any kind of chemise or combinations, at least as far as I've found, and it seems like it would add unwanted bulk to the sleeker lines of the time, but the idea of wearing a corset over skin alone is unappealing to say the least. Just over drawers, maybe? Any insight would be greatly appreciated!  
 
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jenthompson  
  Kris - I wish I had a good answer for you, but the truth is that this is a bit of a mystery to me too. I found one article from the 00's that describes a sleeveless, knit union-suit type garment worn under the corset, brassiere, and drawers to provide warmth and comfort next to the skin. I have also seen numerous chemise, combination, and step-in garments that are either sleeveless or have narrow ribbon straps at the top that could be worn under a brassiere without being seen. But there are other examples where it is very obvious that nothing is worn beneath the brassiere, and I'm not sure what that means for possible layers beneath a corset. But at some point in the 1910's, the corset began to evolve into the more "modern" girdle and brassiere, and women abandoned wearing garments under them. I'm just not sure exactly when and how that change took place.  
 
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seashellbikini  
  Thanks, Jen! I'm trying to figure out all the layers I need for an evening gown :)  
 
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