Chapter 3: ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos

This ‘Kestos’ style bra arguably has the simplest pattern out of the MA students’ selections, with this triangle style bra relying on just two darts per cup for its shaping. Alberto Atalla’s greatest challenge in recreating this bra was in the accuracy of detail. The simplicity of the original design means there is fundamentally much less room for error and nowhere to hide minor flaws or workarounds.

Alongside the elevated level of accuracy required for this pattern there was also a need for an elevated accuracy of stitch. This bra contains many small details that aren’t visible from a distance: for example, the ‘jumped’ stitch at the bust apex, in what was originally a twin needle lockstitched tape. Alberto Atalla painstakingly recreated this minute detail using a single needle lockstitch machine.

Although the replica bra isn’t the same shade of pink as the original archive garment, it is impressively almost identical in terms of material quality, and how accurately all of the materials are colour matched to each other. Indeed, if not for the original maker’s stamp and the colour difference, the two bras would be near indistinguishable from one another.

'High Line' CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, c. 1941, Great Britain. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice

'High Line' CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos

Date: c. 1941

Origin: Great Britain

Fabric: Cotton

Brand: Kestos

 

This rendition of the Kestos bra was trademarked in 1941 by Rosamond Lilian Klin, commonly attributed as the inventor of the Kestos bra. Her name is sometimes also written as Rosaline and Rosalind.

The Kestos bra is based on two lightly darted triangle cups, overlapping at the centre front. Elasticated straps cross at the centre back, fastening around the front with buttons underneath the bust point. The bra was designed c. 1928 by Rosalind Klin, a Polish-born designer residing in London. The Kestos bra remained popular through the 1930s and 1940s. Although the Kestos brand produced many different styles, this bra shape became generically known as ‘The Kestos’.

The ‘CC41’ label sewn into this bra indicates that this garment was part of the CC41 utility clothing scheme, rolled out by the British government in 1941 due to nationwide shortages during World War II.  The CC41 mark was applied to specified, government approved fabrics and clothing. Utility clothing under this scheme was tax free. Initially the scheme was flawed as its limitations meant that goods were produced cheaply. However, in time the symbol became associated with cheap but reliable goods. The scheme was scrapped in 1952 following the rising popularity of imported goods after the end of the war.

Reproduction ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, by Alberto Atalla
Left: Alberto Atalla's Reproduction. Right: Original Garment.

Reproduction ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, by Alberto Atalla

Date: 2017

Origin: United Kingdom

Fabric: Cotton

Made by Alberto Atalla, MA Pattern & Garment Technology, London College of Fashion

Reproduction ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, by Alberto Atalla. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.
Reproduction ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, by Alberto Atalla. The Underpinnings Museum.

Technical illustration and garment pattern by Alberto Atalla, MA Pattern & Garment Technology, London College of Fashion, UAL.

The pattern is not shown to scale.

Pattern Suggestions

The triangle shape of the Kestos bra style is constantly recycled in modern lingerie design! It’s incredibly versatile and an easy starting point for a lingerie project. This pattern gives a relatively pointed bust line, but this can be easily rounded out for a more modern fit. Lighter weight fabrics such as a lace or tulle will give a more forgiving fit than a crisp cotton.

Reproduction ‘High Line’ CC41 Cotton Bra By Kestos, by Alberto Atalla. The Underpinnings Museum.
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