Vintage Underwear & Free 1950s Petticoat Pattern

Get the correct shape & look for your Marvelous Mrs Maisel Dresses.

Too often people choose to ignore the foundation garments necessary when sewing vintage dress patterns.

It is not essential to wear everything so tight it’s cutting off the blood supply to your brain. However, shape and form have changed with fashion and time. Plus you want to achieve the best lines and show off your hard work to its best. Therefore the choice of underwear matters.

Probably the most well-known undergarment from the 1950s is the full layered petticoat and the most overlooked, the simple slip.  

Different Types of Underwear


A good fitting bra is important to all vintage dresses. Most people recognise the bullet bra shape from the period of the 1950s and early 1960s. It was very popular but by far from the only shape. 

The bust needs support, and most bras from this time will be full cup and separate the breasts. Long body bras may be the best form of support for larger sizes. Avoid balcony or extreme cleavage shaping bras. 

The bullet bra gives a very distinct shape we associate with the 1950s.

Separated high pointy boobs! 

Certain dresses are designed with this shape in mind, so if it’s the look you want then make sure to fit your dressmaking mannequin with the same shape bra you will be wearing. 

Bra & Girdles

Bra’s as part of full-body “slimming” girdles were also very popular.
Girdles were unboned with layers of fabric to support the stomach and upper thighs and butts.


Slips are important. They were historically worn for both comfort and to help the dress move smoothly over the body´s contours. Plus, often they were used to make the dress wearable for longer before washing. 

They can be full slips or half slips and are made of the finest fabrics in silk or cotton. Often cut on the full bias they should hug the figure and are worn over bra and girdle.


 When wearing full petticoats it’s important to not add bulk to the waist or high hips.

Usually, the frills are fitted to a yoke or close-fitting skirt that is either elasticated or buttoned on the left side. You will find silk or cotton, for comfort and smooth lines, will work best for you on the petticoat upper part. 

Try our FREE Vintage Petticoat Pattern

The very popular full skirts of the 1950s and early 1960s must be supported by a gathered petticoat in cotton, net tulle or a combination of both.

Heavier skirt fabrics will need more layers or tiers, tighter gathers and sometimes a horsehair or braided hem to stiffen the lower edge. 

Petticoats are a fantastic and fun addition to any vintage wardrobe and are a brilliant sewing project and we’d love for you to try them for yourself. 

You can try this incredibly useful and versatile Petticoat sewing pattern from 1955 for free in our shop.

Happy Sewing. 

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