Editor’s Note: Since we’re making the Firebrand Jet Set Natural bra this month’s sew along (use code SEWBUSTY for 20% off her patterns through the end of July!), I thought it only appropriate to hear more from Kerry – the designer behind Firebrand Lingerie – about where her love for vintage lingerie comes from. Throughout this post, you’ll see pictures of Kerry’s vintage lingerie collection. Let’s dive in!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of lingerie. For my 13th birthday I asked for a delicate pink lacy teddy. Much to my surprise, my Mom actually bought it for me! Sort of scandalous if I think about it now! From then on I chose to wear the most pretty, feminine lingerie I could find.
At age 17 I went to work in the lingerie department of The Jones Store, a longtime staple of Kansas City department stores. There I really fell in love with bras. This is where I learned how to fit. I loved being able to put a person into the correct bra size and see how their whole attitude changed. I felt like I was changing the world, one bra at a time.
At the same time, I became a lover of vintage clothes, especially the 1940s and 1950s. This was a time when women got dressed, even when just running out to the grocery store or to the hairdresser. In my teen years I would scour the racks at the thrift store for vintage dresses, which were pretty easy to come by at the time. This is where my love of vintage lingerie began. I loved the simple femininity of bras from the 1940s, which gave way to the astounding architecture of bras from the 1950s. By the time I was an adult, I became a collector of vintage underthings.
I’ve been collecting vintage lingerie for years now. It started with vintage stockings. I amassed a collection of over 1000 pairs. Along the way I also collected corsets, girdles, and bras. My focus shifted to bras more recently, especially since I am still amazed by their construction.
When I decided to merge my love of vintage bras with my love of sewing and patternmaking, I came up with the idea for Firebrand Lingerie. The first pattern I released was the Jet Set Bullet, a true bullet bra in the 1950s tradition. It, along with the rounder but still vintage inspired Jet Set Natural, have been the cornerstones of my little pattern company.
Along the way, my bra collection has grown. I still seek out the most unusual bras I can find, mostly from the 1930s to the 1950s. The oldest bra in my collection is a delicate lace bandeau from the 1920s.
I don’t think I will ever get tired of collecting vintage lingerie. I like to photograph my collection and share it on Instagram @firebrandlingerie. In addition, I’m working on releasing new patterns in true vintage style, with inspiration from my collection. I certainly hope you find vintage lingerie as alluring as I do. Thanks to Lindsie at Sew Busty for allowing me to share one of my greatest passions with you. I hope you find a little inspiration from my words! Have fun, and happy sewing!