Friday, April 26, 2013

For the Love of Bullet Bras


1940s-50s bullet bra magazine ad
source

Yesterday, I finally sewed a bullet bra- something that has been on my must do list for years. I created the pattern, cut the fabric and completed the whole bra all in about an hour. It's my first attempt and needs a few more small changes to make it perfect but I am so pleased with it! I used this silly fruity print cotton from my stash. I love this bra to pieces. It's so comfortable, I could sleep in it! As you can see by the wonky center seam, I'm still playing with it.

va-voom vintage handmade fruit print 1950s style bullet bra

va-voom vintage handmade fruit print 50s style bullet bra


 I fell in love with bullet bras the first time I put one on. I think I actually said "Where have you been all my life?!" They're comfortable- with no under wire or modern bra nonsense, they support even a larger gal like myself and they look great under vintage clothes.

1950's bullet bra magazine ad

A few months ago, I bought my first What Katie Did bullet bra (the Harlow). It's a gorgeous bra in peachy satin with all of the vintage details that I wanted  but still, it wasn't my dream bra.

what katie did harlow bullet bra in peach satin
 The strap placement creates this awful back fat bulge and they feel like they're going to slip off my shoulders at any moment. I also prefer a thicker strap to support heavy breasts and a higher rise at the sides so there isn't any spillage. It seems like the cup size isn't full enough for me, even on the larger sizes. They did a beautiful job on it, honestly. It is a very comfortable bra (strap issue aside) and very well constructed
but I feel like if I need to make adjustments to a garment to make it perfect, I probably don't need to be spending $55 on it in the first place.

I'm sure many people wonder, why on Earth would a woman with an already prominent bust want to wear something that pointy? This is why I am madly in love with a nice pointy bra...

❤  Bullet bras provide amazing support to very heavy breasts, relieving back pain without the need of under wire
  with modesty in mind, a bullet bra provides complete coverage of the breast. No spilling up top, no side-boob, everything is neatly lifted and held in place with light fabric and spiral stitching

❤  Women with heavy breasts have a problem with sagging- I'm only 27 and they droop! A bullet bra lifts the breasts off of the torso, giving a longer, slim look to the whole body.

  You know that squished feeling you get with a flimsy modern bra? Like you might just spill right out the bottom? A bullet bra's stitching around the entire cup supports from the bottom as well: no fall-out

  Without clothes over the bra, they do look abnormally pointy but with a vintage dress or sweater over the top, it's not as pointed as you think. I stay away from padded bullet bras, which look like road cones under my blouse but a simple cotton or satin non-padded bullet like the one I made is lovely. I wear bullet bras or some other variety of a pointy vintage bra every single day!

  Don't they make a big chest look bigger? There's something quite magical about a bullet bra. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like they make a smaller bust more prominent while minimizing the look of a larger bust. I've tried this on myself with modern and vintage bras and I actually have an easier time buttoning blouses with no button gap while wearing a bullet bra. Maybe they squish a lot of the fat closer to the body? I don't know what it is, but I love it!
vintage 1950s bullet bra ad lovable heart


I'm working on perfecting my bullet bra pattern and making it in other sizes so I can show you ladies how to sew your own amazing bullet bras.  Stay tuned for the free patterns and instructions as soon as I can get them just right!


Have you ever worn a bullet bra? Did you like it or not? What is  your problem area with bra fitting?


45 comments:

  1. I've never thought about wearing one but you've convinced me! Looking forward to your pattern!

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  2. Yours turned out really cute!I use to wear bullet bras I haven't since I had kids though.I should purchase more though now that I've been out of the nursing stage for awhile now.

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  3. Huh?? Now I too am a full figured gal and I have a difficult time finding bras that fit right. Playtex does a great job of a well fitted bra, but I still need underwire for support. This makes me quite tempted to try one. Because by the end of the day that underwire is too much to handle!

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  4. When I was slimmer, and therefore smaller in the bust, I wore them. After gaining some weight, I can no longer find them in my size. To be honest, I can barely find modern bras in my size. I would love to make one to my fit. I've tried using vintage bra patterns but haven't been able to figure out how to grade the cup. I hope you can make your pattern in larger than DDD or F cups! In modern bras, I wear a 38JJ.

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    1. I think I can help you out! I'm planning to do a whole post on grading the pattern so no matter what size you are, you can get a perfect fit! :)

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  5. I love the look of a bullet bra. But you missed a great name for this post: "Bullets over Bra-wdway". Sorry, had to say it.

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  6. This looks fantastic! I don't wear underwire but have a HORRIBLE time finding a good fitting bra. Spillage is a constant problem. This bra would solve my problem! I'm really looking forward to reading more about making my own! No more overspending for something that really doesn't fit right! Thank you!

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  7. Wow you are so clever! You did such a great job, and that fabric is so fun! :) Good work!

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  8. The bra is adorable. So excited to see the final pattern!

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  9. Oooh! I have always wanted a bullet bra, but lacked the fundage for one of the lovelies from What Katie Did. I'm so excited for your pattern!

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  10. Love (!) the charmingly fun fabric you selected for your stellar new bullet bra. I'm with you 100% on their ability to sometimes make a smaller bust look larger (I've experienced this myself with them - I'm not small busted per se, but I'm certainly not giving Jayne Mansfield a run for her money either) and a larger one smaller. Great post and look at one of the most iconic undergarments of the last century.

    ♥ Jessica

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  11. Oh wow!! I simply can't wait for your pattern!! Pleeeeeease can I request you include plus sizes on the pattern - I am a 42F.

    I did try a What Katie Did bra in the biggest size as I just love vintage lingere (so sexy and glamourous) but alas it was too small!!

    Your bra looks fab, I couldn't even begin to fathom out the design of one so I keenly await your pattern!!

    Kind regards,

    Sarah :0)

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    1. Sarah, you got it!! I worked out cup sizes b-dd today, working on larger cups tomorrow!! x

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  12. OMG I am sold chica-must get some asap! Some proper ones LOL Love it-so glad you made it at last-so pretty whoot! xox

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  13. Please do make a pattern for larger sizes. I find nothing goes above an F and I'd love to try and make this myself.

    I have great bras in my size, but nothing in the shape I want.

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  14. Ah, I'm in a perpetual hunt for the perfect bra. Everytime I go bra shopping I leave the store disappointed and empty handed because it feels like there's something wrong with all of them. What makes it extra tricky is that I'm very small around the ribs but have a larger cup size. I have one great pair of vintage bullet bras and I love them, but they take quite a lot of padding which sometimes feels a little exaggerated. I'm really looking forwards to your pattern. The shape looks really nice in your sample. Perhaps I can finally have all the perfect bras I want :)

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  15. I love your blog :)
    Im from Brazil.
    I'm dreaming of a bra these but can not find in my country with affordable price.
    I really want to sew one for me, I'll be looking forward to your tips, thanks for sharing something so precious.

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  16. I can't wait to see what you male of this Brittany :)
    Personally, my favourite bra is a modern one that has similar structural aspects to the bullet bras- it is the most comfy bra I own- and I am not particularly well built there! I can only imagine how hard it is for larger busted women :o
    As to the accentuating/minimizing, I think it is the 'lift and separate' aspect of it. They lift the bust, but separate them, creating a nicer effect whichever way you go :)

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  17. Omg, yours is super adorable!! I can't wait for your tutorial, I've been wanting one for a while, but wasn't sure how it would look on me.

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  18. I hate bras because they are so pricy and never fit right! And I'm a weird size that almost no one carries (small rib cage but big girls!)! I can't wait for your tips. I've been really wanting to make my own.

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  19. Your argument os convincing. If you can do the pattern in a UK 32F I'd be tempted to have a go. I have such a bad time trying to find a bra that fits and is comfortable. Oh, and I hate underwires.

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    1. I'll do it!! Thanks for the size info! So far, I've had a lot of girls above size DD with requests so ladies, I've got you covered!! :)

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  20. Looking forward to the pattern! I've been wanting to make my own bras for a long time, and have been especially looking for Vintage bra patterns. I HATE underwire, and although I'm not the biggest gal, I'm much more so than before having kids. And I love your print, so cute!

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  21. This is fab! I'm a larger busty lady and totally agree with you - so I can't wait for the pattern :)

    Thank you!

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  22. I never bought a bullet bra but I want to try someday. Love the post and your blog :)

    ***

    The Marvelous World of Narcissa

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  23. Very cute I like them all :)

    www.vindiebaby.com
    Vintage Inspired Girls

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  24. Well done! I wear myself what katie did ones, all what you said is right, you cannot wear vintage clothes with modern bra, if you do that you will have the feeling that your breast is too low.... i agree you can button easily dresses and blouses.

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    1. YES!! I look like my boobs sag down to my belly button if I wear a modern bra with a vintage dress. Something pointy and uplifting is a must!

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  25. I've never worn one, but I DO want to try one! I'm just having trouble finding one in my size. Technically I'd be around a US size 30C, but that's a rare size, so I usually try to find 32B bras that run small. Do you know of any brands that run small or might have smaller/custom options I could try?

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  26. I love your bullet bra! I have found a few bullet bras at an estate sale but the straps are too short for me. I very much look forward to your patterns. I actually tried to make my own high waist underwear pattern today and it didn't work out so well! Hopefully I'll have perfected it to go with one of your bullet bras.

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  27. Please sew to sell!! I have tried millions of bullets bras but they all have something not quite right about them. WKD straps are misplaced on me, making it uncomfortable also. The best bullets are my vintages ones but they fall apart all too quickly. Yours looks like a fab shape.

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  28. I feel the same way about push-up bras. Having had a kid, having big breasts to begin with, my girls hang so low without a bra (i make jokes about sweeping floors), it is very painfull when I don't have enough support. Not to mention if they are not lifted up enough, I look like I have no waist and everything looks matronly. So far, a properly fitting push-up has been my only salvation, eases back pain and I feel like I look so much better.I don't look saggy in vintage, but having massive cleavage doesn't quite feel period correct, so I have really been wanting to try a torpedo bra. I was worried that it wouldn't be enough lift. I haven't ordered from What Katie Did yet because the models that come in my size were like $75 and I'm hesitant to spend that much. I would love to learn how to make my own. Can you show how to do a padded one too, I like a light padding cuz it prevents nip-show when it's cold.

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  29. Super cute! I love it and can't wait for the pattern :) I hope you do a sew-a-long.

    I have a vintage bullet bra with girdle, but sadly, one of the straps broke. I'm sure I could fix it, but I just haven't done it yet!

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  30. I can't wait for your pattern. This looks amazing!

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  31. This is fab! I love bullet bras! I have had a few over the years but none that currently fit, can't wait to see the finished pattern and summon the patience to give it a go :)

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  32. You are my hero! I can't wait, it's already lovely!

    Catherine

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  33. Oh I love bullet bras! Agree with you totally, really comfy for bigger busted girls

    :)

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  34. What a cute bra you have made. :) I have never tried a bullet bra before, but now I will sew me one.

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  35. Yaaay :D Can't wait for it in a larger pattern. I'm a 40F (coming up on FF/G) and while I will *technically* fit in to a WKD bra, they've advised me that the band will probably be too tight. Given what you said I will probably also spill out all over the place, with my being a rather fat little pin-up girl.

    I can't sew personally but I am going to wave the pattern at someone who can and then I will promptly commission a closet full :D

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  36. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  37. Did you find any bullet bras for larger breasts? I have 36G-H. I´m looking for att pattern to make bullet bras (and retro style underwear) for my own label, but I still didn´t find any good pattern or handmade custom made bras in those big sizes. Please let me know if you know someone out there who can help me out!

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    1. I drafted my own patterns based on bras from my collection of original bullet bras. You could try doing the same and grading it up, testing for fit, etc. The only patterns that I will be posting will be ones that I can test for fit on live models and I think my size is the largest of everyone I know. Sew up a few samples in cheap muslin and try them out!

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  38. I have the What Katie did Bra too. I love it. I am so excited for the sew along!!! Yes.

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I read every single comment(even on old posts) and they make my day! If you have a question, please email me at va_voomvintage@yahoo.com. Thank you for reading me!! x

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