I’m nearing the end of making my 1920s brassiere, an essential element in my 1920s capsule wardrobe series. For the last week I’ve been sewing all the finicky bits: hook and eye closures, seam binding, and lace trim. This means I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing, which I actually don’t mind that much. Sure it’s slower than machine sewing, but there’s a meditative element to it. (Not to mention lots of these elements can’t be sewn on with a machine)
Something I’ve noticed on extent garments from the 1920s and beyond is the extensive use of seam binding. In and effort to be historically accurate, I ordered a large roll of rayon seam binding (100yds!) from Amazon. I then proceeded to overlap the edges of my side closure strip with the seam binding, machine sewing what edges I could and hand sewing the edge where the hooks and eyes prevented machine sewing.
I won’t lie, I’m inordinately proud of the neatness and smallness of my hand-stitches here. Thems is stitches even a Victorian would be proud of! As you can see, I overlapped the silk-satin bound side edges of my brassiere with the seam binding, encapsulating the ends of the hooks and eyes. I love the neatness this gives to the sewn parts of the hooks and eyes.
Hook and Eyes
In total I added seven set of hook and eyes to the side closure of this brassiere. I sewed them about an inch from the edges so that there’s some overlap and a little wiggle room should I need to sew an additional row at some point due to cookie consumption.
Years ago I purchased a lot (as in a lot in an auction) of vintage and antique lace on etsy. Some of the lace trim was obviously synthetic (scratchy nylon), but there were a lot of pieces made of cotton that look to be from the 1920s-1940s, with a few pieces of net lace that look to be Victorian. For this brassiere I chose to use one of these cotton trims.
I think this is bobbin lace (please correct me if I’m wrong!). It’s not the most amusing pattern, but I had a lot of it, with plenty leftover for trimming other undergarments. To attach the lace I hand-stitch the bottom onto the coutil body of the brassiere and will stitch another line across the satin top edge.
In case you ever feel bad about your trim stitches, don’t! Extent garments often feature horrendous stitching where attaching trim is concerned. So in that spirit I wasn’t as careful as I was with the seam binding.
That’s all for this week for my 1920s brassiere! Please feel free to share your sewing projects in the comments!
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