Monday, July 29, 2013

Sewing Skivvies: Mrs. Depew Talks Vintage Lingerie + A Coupon Code for Her Shop!

Today I'm so pleased to introduce the lovely Anna aka Mrs. Depew from A Few Threads Loose, who also runs the etsy shop Mrs. Depew Vintage Patterns & Notions. Anna loves vintage patterns, and recreates and redesigns them in larger sizes, with new instructions, and plenty of online sewing support. 

I'm so happy she agreed to do a guest post today on vintage lingerie, despite just moving halfway across the world, because vintage lingerie is something I've always admired, but wasn't so sure was attainable in every day life. But I was so wrong - in fact, I think it might be a solution to the underwire problem (i.e. never finding the right underwire size!) that seems to plague home-sewers (or maybe just me). Also, Anna was kind of enough to give a coupon code for her etsy shop - read on!

There are so many different reasons that the average home seamstress has for trying her hand at sewing her own lingerie. As someone who blogs abut sewing lingerie quite often, I have heard everything including "Store-bought bras just don's seem to fit me right," and "I'm tired of seeing the same 10 bras in every store I go to," or "I'm too busty for the bras sold in stores," and quite often "I'm allergic to latex and can't seem to find bras without elastic," etc. 
 These are all great reasons to sew one's own lingerie but my reason is a bit different. From some injury I don't remember having years ago, (there have been a few, I'm super accident prone) I have a small knot of scar tissue on two of my ribs, and unfortunately, it just happens to be right where the edge of most bras sit. It's also exactly where an underwire rests and wearing most bras causes me an intolerable amount of pain. I can pull off an underwire for maybe 2 hours before I break down and take it off, and many other bras last me about 4 hours before I give up on them. 
So almost as soon as I learned to sew, I was attempting to make my own bras; looking for the perfect design that would be comfortable enough to pull off. But what led me to using vintage patterns? A lot of it had to do with the fact that my mother (an antique dealer and seamstress of epic talent levels) sent me a box full of patterns and right at the top was a 1940's bra pattern. 
I'm the one in the giant hat.
A lot had to do with the fact that I grew up in an antique shop and have always felt just a little bit more comfortable in vintage, but most of it had to do with the fact that most vintage bras are (in my modest opinion) just so much prettier and more feminine than modern bras. And it doesn't hurt that I have yet to find a vintage lingerie pattern that calls for an underwire! 
It took me several tries to figure out that my particular style (and small bust) were best suited to 1920's - 1930's bras which seemed to have the most natural bust shape for me. I love the clean, basic lines of a 1920's bra, they are so easy to sew and they work under almost any clothing.

1930's bras turned out to be just as great, looking a bit more modern and having a more fitted look. This one came from a 1930's German pattern magazine.
The best discovery I made was a vintage bra back closure made from elastic and hooks that allowed me to make a great fitted bra and still have a little bit of give and stretch to give my ribs a break. (You can see a tutorial for sewing one here.
I enjoyed sewing my own bras and other lingerie so much that I eventually added a few vintage inspired and vintage reproduction patterns to my pattern line over at Mrs. Depew Vintage. I now have different bra patterns (and other lingerie patterns) all from different eras and different sizes to accommodate as many needs as possible. 
1940 French bra
With vintage pin-up looks coming back into vogue (thanks in no small part to the lovely Dita Von Teese) you'd be surprised how many women have decided to add lingerie sewing to their to-do list. If you give it a try, you won't be alone. Blogs and forums are popping up one by one as many of us decide to share our failures and successes with others. The thing that many who are new to lingerie sewing learn is that it's not as hard as it sounds, and many find that some vintage patterns are even easier to sew. 
If you'd like to give sewing a vintage inspired lingerie pattern a try, please feel free to use coupon code "SEWINSKIVVIES" for 15% off any pattern (there's no limit) in my Etsy shop until August 31, 2013. 
And please stop by A Few Threads Loose and share your lingerie sewing experiences with me! 
Best of luck to all of you who decide to give lingerie sewing a go. I hope that you find it to be as enjoyable and rewarding as I have. 
Happy Sewing!
Doesn't she make bra sewing sound so fun and easy? Go check out Anna's blog and shop pronto! She has a resource page for lingerie sewing techniques and she does frequent sew alongs so you always have something to refer to when making her patterns! Also, her shop has some great patterns, and not all of it is lingerie either. Though I think I'm going to start with this 1950s Pin-Up Kit. So fun!


  1. Thank you, Kristin, and thanks to your guest. It does sound fun. Must try it out. :)