Friday, 20 June 2014

1940s suspender belt

Fabric: A cotton satin Ikea Gäspa sheet
Haberdasheries: 1.5 m 2 cm wide elastic, 6 suspender clips, 6 suspender regulators, two suspender hooks

When I made my first 1940s clothes in 2012, I attempted to make underwear as well, but I made things unnecessarily difficult for myself by making everything double layered so it would be neat on the inside as well.
I then decided to be lazy and order underwear from What Katie Did. I had ordered stockings from them before and liked those, but I was rather disappointed by their underwear. It’s made of cheap polyester (at 40 euros apiece surely they could have used something nicer?), I didn’t find the garments neatly sewed at all, but most importantly the fit of the bras was the most terrible I ever encountered, at least on me. The Harlow deep suspender belt was fine, the Harlow Bullet Bra was alright but made a weird dent, the Padded Bullet Bra was too pointy for the 1940s, and the most 1940s-styled one, L6036 CC09, just looked awful. Since I wanted a matching bra and suspenders but none of the bras were good enough to keep, I had to return the suspenders as well. Returning went fine, I’ll give them that.

Having found that many original suspenders were simply hemmed instead of double layered, I decided to try to make one again, a bit similar to the Harlow one.

I wanted to use light pink satin cotton but opted for white instead because I couldn’t find pink suspender clips. White ones were readily available though. I ordered six complete clips, and got seven :P.
The suspenders I ordered had hooks to make them detachable, but there was no need for that, so I removed the hooks and used them for the closure. I bought ribbed elastic for the closure, but since that actually had more of an old-fashioned feel about it than the suspender elastic, I decided to replace that. I guess next time I’ll buy separate parts!

I used tie wraps as bones next to the closure in the back. I wouldn’t dream of using plastic boning in a corset, but I felt that here, steel would be a bit too heavy duty.

I left off the lace (which the Harlow suspender has) as the original examples I found didn’t have any.

I wanted to test-wear the belt around the house but didn’t get round to that. I wore it for four consecutive days during the D-Day commemoration though, and am super pleased with it! It fits perfectly, neither slipping down nor feeling tight, and the clips are much easier to fasten to my stockings than the smaller clips of the modern belt I used before, didn’t snap open once, and keep the stockings in place very well.


  1. I just found your blog! You make such wonderful things.
    Did you use a pattern for this suspender belt? I am looking to make one myself.

    1. Thank you!
      No, I based it on an existing suspender belt. If you can get hold of a cheap one, it isn't too hard to draft a pattern of it, and maybe change it a bit to your liking. In fact, it shouldn't be hard to make a pattern from scratch, either, based on your measurements.

  2. After being inspired by your project, I made my own 40s suspender belt out of lavender cotton sateen. I love it! Thank you for the vote of confidence and inspiration.