Pretty bullet bra!

Pretty bullet bra!

Hello my Swimwear and Lingerie Friends.

Happy Thursday!!! Almost the weekend and if you’re Canadian then it’s almost a loooong weekend. Gobble, Gobble, Turkey time!!!

Wow, I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving!!! Holy crap time flies when you're having fun!

Wow, I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving!!! Holy crap time flies when you're having fun!

In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, I thought I would devote this post to giving thanks for the miracle that is elastic. It’s a little thing, but when it comes to lingerie, it’s everything!!!

Stretching fabric

Stretching fabric

After all, if fabric didn’t stretch, then there are entire categories of lingerie that wouldn’t exist. I’m thinking of thongs, the modern bra, hosiery would still be in the fully formed stage and unable to grow and accommodate size fluctuations… Wow, it would be like pioneer times all over again. THE HORROR!

Medieval Undies- Huh, well actually these don't seem too bad, now do they?

Medieval Undies- Huh, well actually these don't seem too bad, now do they?

Not to mention that activities like pole dancing, yoga and gymnastics would have been impossible without stretchy materials.

Try this in medieval undies and you're risking a serious wardrobe malfunction!

Try this in medieval undies and you're risking a serious wardrobe malfunction!

These daring little beauties are styles from 1913.

Ya, these aren't really doing it for me... I like a bit of support to lift and separate, these don't appear to have that function

Ya, these aren't really doing it for me... I like a bit of support to lift and separate, these don't appear to have that function

I guess I’d be driven to drink too if I had to wear twenty yards of fabric UNDER my clothes. Good grief… these ladies certainly had the whole modesty thing down pat didn’t they?

They are toasting to the dream of underwear that doesn't take an hour to put on!

They are toasting to the dream of underwear that doesn't take an hour to put on!

Let’s take a brief little tour through the history of elasticizing fabric and maybe then the lowly elastic will finally get the reverence it’s due. Frankly, I’m ready to raise a beer to it right now, for letting me walk around with out being bound head to toe in muslin.

Yay for stretchy undies!!!

Yay for stretchy undies!!!

First, we’ll zip on over to wisegeek for a brief definition and intro to elasticized fabric: “When the word elastic is used as a noun, it refers to a stretchy material or an item made with this pliable substance. Bands made of it are most frequently prepared by weaving together strands of rubber, latex, or other flexible material that can return to its original shape after being stretched or extended. Elastic is most commonly used in clothing, for example, to provide support in undergarments such as girdles or bras.”

Without stretch-ability that bra strap and band aren't as comfy!

Without stretch-ability that bra strap and band aren't as comfy!

For a wonderful little history on the development of women’s under-pinnings and the miracle that is stretchy elastic/rubber you can head on over to Fashion Era blog and learn all about the time-lines on the emergence of bras and girdles.

Bullet Bra Stitching

Bullet Bra Stitching

I did want to point out that bras were around well before elasticized fabric was being used. Infact, according to Wikipedia; “Bras rapidly became a major industry over the 1930s, with improvements in fiber technology, fabrics, colours, patterns, and options, and did much better than the retail industry in general. Innovations included Warners’ use of elastic, the adjustable strap, the sized cup, and padded bras for smaller-breasted women.”

Rosie the Riveter!

Rosie the Riveter!

Now can you imagine how frustrating it would be to have a bra with elastic fabric only to loose the elastic to the war effort through the 1930’s and 40’s? Because that’s exactly what happened. Thanks to the need to control supplies of rubber and elastic for war materials, women were told to wear utilitarian bras and underwear and to conserve their use of luxury materials like elasticized fabrics.

Women's underwear and bra during the war effort

Women's underwear and bra during the war effort

They relied on the physical dimensions of the cups, seaming and reinforced stitching to shape and support the breasts. If we look at the iconic bullet bras of the 1940’s you can see how the conical shape was a direct result of the circular stitching patterns on the cups. The fabric was usually cotton and didn’t have the ability to regain it’s shape once stretched out and as such needed to act as more of a foundation/shaping garment than the flexible style of bra that we have now a days.

Bullet bra with conical stitching to shape the breasts

Bullet bra with conical stitching to shape the breasts

Now, I don’t know about your breasts, but mine do not resemble a bullet in any way shape or form.

{an empty wineskin perhaps, but a bullet, definitely not!}

Wineskin, ick... not sure I could drink out of that... even if it WAS really good brew

Wineskin, ick... not sure I could drink out of that... even if it WAS really good brew

All of this to say, that thank goodness for the lowly elastic, that we all take for granted! Without it, we would be scared to bend over and even more frightened to straighten back up again!

No wonder lambada was created after elastic...wait what about Dirty Dancing?

No wonder lambada was created after elastic...wait what about Dirty Dancing?

Here, here, and now, for some bizarro reason, I seem to be hankering after a bit of red wine… pardon me while I saunter over to the cabinet in my clothing that flexes with my movements and regains its shape after I’ve stretched it all out to hell and back.

She's exuberant 'cause her undies have stretch!

She's exuberant 'cause her undies have stretch!

Cheers,

Maggie

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