Foundation Garments: Formal Wear

One thing I'm not too keen on with most modern shapewear is the large amount of rubber. Sure it was used in vintage shapewear, and I'm sure it wore out then too, but even so, I just dont like it.

That's why you are never suppose to put your lady things in the dryer. Like a rubber band left in the sun, it will over dry and start to crack. Rubber that is going bad not only looses its elasticity, it starts to reek.

Ever had a bra too long and wonder why it smells like mildew just after you've laundered it? Yeah, thank the bad rubber. That's what was happening to my everyday bras. The elastic around the bottom, the plush elastic was starting to go bad. I mean, this happens with all foundation garments, and I don't expect the bra to last forever, but the cups and straps were still good so why chuck it and spend $30+ for a new one when all it needed was some replacement elastic?

So I did some research and found SewSassy, a foundation garment supply store. I'm not too keen on ordering from places that require a minimum purchase (and the kicker is they don't tell you UNTIL you are checking out), but they were the only place I could find online that had plush elastic, so I went on and got it.

I ordered a few yards of white, tan and black. When it arrived, I tested one bra and cut off the bottom elastic. I needed to check the stretch of the elastic, and I remember reading you do that via a 5" length. I stretched the old out verses the new, and found that the new stuff had 20% more stretch than the original, so I adjusted the length accordingly. Then, using my ziz zag stitch, I sewed the new band onto the bra and it worked like a charm. Might not be as pretty as the original, but I'll get more wear and no smell. Yay!

Two rows of polly thread. It didn't take as long to undo as I though.

I sewed on the new elastic just like the old elastic was sewn on. I did a ziz-zag on the raw power net then flipped it over and ziz-zaged the top.

Ta da! I'm wearing it now and it fits great!

Perhaps I'm mentioning too many lady secrets in this post. Perhaps it's stuff that we have needed to chat about for some time but we were too sheepish to mention. Either way, I hope other ladies will think about altering or mending even their unmentionables before blindly going out and buying something new.

Which brings me to girdles. I finally got one. Well, a tester.

I got an OBG (open bottom girdle). It was on clearance from OrchardCorset. I was going to get it by waist size because that was all they listed but then I thought about it and went up a size to account for my hips. Good thing I did.

When it arrived the hips fit great. I'm girdled where I need to be down there. My ponch is nice and flat and the back of my mum has a lovely soft incline instead of the cliff butt I'm normally sporting. But because there is nearly a 12" difference from my waist to hips, this OBG does NOTHING for my waist. In fact, it makes me look like a twinkie.

I don't want to look like a twinkie.

This has been my whole struggle with foundation garments. Trying to find something with not too much rubber, but with breathability and cut for my curves.

I've tried Rago. I own their 679 long leg panty girdle with stocking garters (I didn't buy it at Secrets & Lace, too pricy there), but the waist is too short (my big bum) and the garters are not long enough.


I'm leery of trying a Squeem because they are mostly rubber.

I want breathability.

I have a long line backless bra that's a Goddess that I bought for a special back open gown I made, but I tried it on some months later and it was too loose!


I bought this torso shaper from AmericMark but again, my ass, Ill have to cut gussets in the back in order to have it not roll up.

And even after that I don't know how pleased I'll be with the fit.


I also ordered this from OrchardCorset. It was a super long shot.

First thing that should have turned me off was it seals with velcro. The ribbing lace that separates the panels shatter any form this thing would hold and just...

HUGE Miss.

So you can see my frustration on the subject.

Usually when I've tried this much, and I've failed to find something pleasing this much, if it is within my ability, I'll make it.

Thats what I did with my garter belt. I wear this whenever I need to wear my stockings. I made it fit snug around my waist so I don't get pull down. I do wish I had made it a bit more snug around my hips because then Id have more firming there. Remembering my criteria from my last post;



-Ease of bathroom use

-My thighs cant touch

To meet all four points, I'm rocking the breeches. Along with a slip and a white t-shirt, that's my normal formal foundation wear. I so wish I could be more glamorous with the underpinnings, but I need it to be comfortable above all else.

But I'm tired of having this gap in my wardrobe. I'm tired of not getting the shape that I want for the shape that I am. My largest success was the chocolate garter belt, so I'm going to take the girdle I just bought and draft a pattern from that. Im going to sew my own girdle. Yup. I'm gonna do it. Hopefully with minimum elastic, and I think I'll use a funky firm fabric, ticking! YEAH!

I love ticking anyway and I've been looking for an excuse to make something with it. There are SO many cute colors out there!

Ooh, pink!

Lemons into lemonade I say!


  1. Foundation garments can be SUCH a pain!! I agree, I have some full-body girdles that are SO hot to wear, long-line bras that ride up, forget about waist cinchers, they ml create a smooth line where they lay but they create lumps above and below them. So far, the best thing that has worked for me is tap pants, bra and slip for normal wear and when it's not hot outside and I have somewhere special to be, I do the full, open bottom girdle. I just ordered 2 vintage garter belts that should arrive any day now..I can't wait for them to get here!!!
    If you ever need any of that really sturdy knit power stretch that they use in girdles, I found some here. I have a few vintage girdles with the stretch worn out, so I need to replace it. Haven't tried this product yet, but it may be worth a shot! yet!

  2. I know they're modern and such but you should try one of those girdles with no closures (spanx-like) that go all the way up to just under the bust. No rolling or weird gappage.

  3. I have the same problem, too big a hips to waist difference, with a promiment butt cliff.
    What did women shaped like us do back then?

  4. Thank You So Much! for addressing problems we all have. You give me the courage to try things myself and I love the things you do. Lastly, OMG I can't wait to see what the ticking turns out like!

  5. interesting!

    (And the last two bras I purchased came with qualifiers stating that a bra is expected to last... wait for it... 3 months. The spandex/rubber portions aren't guaranteed for any longer than that. Doh!)

  6. I have a Squeem that never gets worn. I love the way it shapes my rear but man, talk about not able to breathe!

  7. Haha. I have these issues, too, with a 13" difference between waist and hip. I also have one of those under-bra tank-style shapers... I've drafted an addition of hook-and-eye-crotch undies to attach to it, to hold it down and prevent it from rolling up. Hopefully it works.

    I do have to admit that I was lucky and found a vintage full length open bottom girdle that fits me PERFECTLY. I also found a short one that works really well, and purchased and altered a long-line bra to wear with it.

    Day-to-day, my ideal would be a long-line bra, running 'compression' shorts (they wick, and prevent rub), and a silk slip. :)

  8. Hun, you need to sew your own. Trust me. Been there, done just that. I too have shapely issues, being short and ridiculously short- waisted. And my refied arse never got the memo that it´s supposed to be a lanky, whitegirl behind. So all foundation thingies have a tendency to squeeze the very life outta the ladies, and the butt, leaving my waist on its own. I end up looking straight and average. Can´t have that. Besides, I have overtly sensitive skin that breaks out at the mere notion of synthetics... the rubber, that is.
    So I have tried and tested.
    I have noticed that simple white, cotton fabric breathes nicest. I sew mine long lines with that. At the back I add a stip of stretchy fabric. I have recently found an undergarmentfabric, that is lightweight and stretches. I can have that at the back. But majority of my bras are white cotton. I have sewn fastning at the front, since I already have undergone one shoulder operation and will be having another in a matter of months. And a few bones help the bra keep its shape. I forsee me sewing all of my undies untill the cows come home.
    It is such a different and comfortable feeling to have undergarment that fits. Be it a slip or a bra or unmentionables.

    A fact; during the course of time women have turned from corseted figure eigths to unshapely blobs. Hence the current sizing and unshapeness of shapewear. There can be support for the shapely ones of us, liberate our bums & chichis- I say.

  9. To give you an idea.
    I make my own patterns. They originated from my former bra, then I honed the fit by every new bra I sewed.
    Even slips and underdresses fit better with shape cut in them. I never sew any darts for slips, but cut the shape to the side seams.
    In underdresses, princess seams are found for better fit.

  10. ...can´t believe I forgot this one...

  11. Good post. But I don't understand when you did the 5" test and "adjusted" because of the 20% difference. I live in FL, and thought that the mildew was from FL humidity! But I need to fix my bras!!

  12. Do you have a pattern for the girdle? I'm looking for a girdle pattern. I'd like to make one that truly fits me.

  13. yes, please explain the elastic adjustment thing on the bra. did you make it longer or shorter? how did you know what to do?

    I wear bike short type undergarments, sometimes actual bike shorts, sometimes the underware type thing. and a slip. i sew my own slips, they are easy and getting pretty hard to find in the stores. I can't stand my thighs rubbing, so I never wear stockings, only panty hose.


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