Pale Blue Satin Bullet Bra Corselet With Freehand Quilting

Pale Blue Satin Bullet Bra Corselet With Freehand Quilting, c. 1950s, Ukraine. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: c. 1950s

Origin: Ukraine

Fabric: Rayon satin and cotton

Brand: Custom made


This home made corselet has a number of innovative decorative and functional construction details. The outer fabric is a pale blue rayon satin, lined with a plain woven cotton. It is cut for a curvy figure, yet has none of the steel boning that was considered a standard in most Western foundationwear, instead relying on considered patterning, seaming and strong fabrics to achieve its shaping. The bustline has a particularly striking silhouette, with extreme pointed cups, structured with circle quilting. Throughout the body of the corset there is freehand, machine embroidered quilting in an abstract pattern.

Gusset inserts at the hem are created with layered strips of narrow elastic to allow some flexibility of fit and movement. The corselet fastens at the side of the body with a placket of buttonholes, with large acrylic buttons threaded onto cotton twill looping. The shoulder straps are made of rayon satin and can be adjusted at the front cup apex with buttons and loops. A nylon lace trims the bustline and hem.

The interior of the garment demonstrates some innovative solutions. The placement of 4 satin loops suggest that garter straps were detachable. Additional flaps at the centre front and back with loops and buttons suggest that other undergarments may have been attachable here, to help keep vertical tension in the garment (in the absence of metal structures), and to keep a smooth line for exterior clothing.

Life under Soviet rule often meant shortages of goods that many individuals in the West took for granted, including quality ready made clothing, and certain materials and components. As a consequence many women took to making their own clothing and underwear, with innovative solutions to the fastenings, materials and components that were used as standard in Western lingerie.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska