1950s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 5882 – Shoulder Pad Shelf Bust Bra

July 26, 2015

Cocktail Rebel was a Rockabilly event at the beautiful McNay Art Museum. Upon deciding to attend with two of my girlfriends, I asked them what they wanted to wear. My BFF sent me a picture of Cha Cha’s prom dress featured in the movie “Grease”.

I had Gertie’s retro pattern, Butterick 5882, that I had been wanting to try.

butterick 5882

I wanted to keep the ruffles from the Cha Cha dress, at the bust. I pulled out a damaged vintage peignoir set that I was saving for such a project.

ruffle peignoir

I had also recently snagged some small shoulder pads at a thrift store, and immediately thought I would try something new. I wanted to place a shelf bra in the dress with padding at the bra cups. I decided to sew the shoulder pads together to make a full circle. I then added elastic, slightly stretched, around each top half of my ‘cups’ to ensure coverage and give each a more natural shape.

shoulder pad cup

I then encased each cup in the peignoir fabric, and hand sewed the peignoir ruffle collar to the areas of the cups that would be exposed. My shelf bra was made by taking the bodice pieces to slightly below the bust area. I used a thin, lycra poly knit and added a 1″ elastic band, cut 1″ short of my my BFF’s under bust measurement. I then added an elastic bra hook to the back.

shelf bust bra butterick 5882

I sewed the top of the shelf bra to my main fabric like a would a lining, leaving the center back unattached. Once all was placed together, and my zipper was placed, I then hand sewed my bottom bust ruffle trim, securing the outside dress to the bra cups to prevent separation of the pieces while in wear

One additional change was that I changed the arm straps into a halter.

I could not be happier with the end result, and my BFF was gorgeous!!

susan cha cha 1

susan cha cha 2

This is my first post to We Sew Retro, although I have followed for quite a while. Hopefully, this method may be helpful to some, and inspirational to others!

  1. very creative! I’m not a big shelf-bust fan myself, but I enjoyed reading your post and looking at the pictures. Would love to see you post more in the future. : )

    1. Thank you! Its nice when you are limited on resources, and something unconventional like this actually works out!

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