Simplicity 5549: goodnight, bra

The pattern:

This is Simplicity 5549, published in 1982

I know, girls. I’m sad too.

Version 3 Girl is my favorite. I like how her hair is looped up in a realistically low/no-effort bun, it’s a nice contrast to the other girls who look so styled. 

I also like her crazy outfit the best. The pattern calls this pants-type item a “culottes slip”. I’ve seen it more often referred to as “pettipants,” as in the pants version of a petticoat. It also looks like a longer, loonier version of tap pants. Other than as sleepwear I can’t think of much of a purpose for a culottes slip? Too short to be worn as a wool pants lining. Best guesss is they’re meant to be worn under a skirt, to counteract inner thigh rub. 

I didn’t make the culottes slip version though, so whooooo knoooooows. 

A while back I used the bias slip pattern, this time around I made two versions of the bra. 



The pattern provides separate pieces for cup sizes A through C. 

I cut both bras in a B and did most of the construction factory style until all the parts were assembled and ready to go together. Then I finished the bra in the first photo, with the pink at the center front, first. And it was so pointy. What a surprising and weird shape you have, 1982! I ended up taking it apart, taking out a lot of the shaping, and putting it back together. 

With the second bra I re-shaped the cups for less pointiness, and rotated them so the non-stretch pink runs along the sides. This puts better tension on the seam: there’s some buckling in that seam in the first bra that isn’t there in the rotated second bra. 

These are just for sleeping, so all they need to do is look nice and be comfortable, they’re not like providing shape or all day support or anything. 

The pattern calls for lace and satin, non stretch, with a simple uncovered lingerie elastic band and elastic shoulder straps. I used satin (two very similar but not identical pinks) and a heavy grey cotton 2-way stretch knit with a nice white flecked texture throughout. Instead of the elastic band, I made a knit band with lingerie elastic along the edges. 

I used these guys for the elastic straps: 


I bought these at a yard sale, run by a friend who was leaving LA to go to grad school for costume design at Yale. I bought a bunch of her random sewing stuff: bags of zippers, this crazy pile of cut-off bra elastic, a dress form, and a costume rendering of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Fun when yard sales include costume renderings by future Yalies. 

Hey. Hey yourself.

There’s a front closure. I had two front closures in my closures drawer, and that’s the entire reason why I made two bras. 


All together these took nine hours, the first one took a little longer than the second as usual. I’m going to divide the time factory style and call it 4 1/2 hours per bra. 

Nice straps. Back atcha.

If you’re wondering what all that stuff is on my dress form, it’s padding. I keep a front closure, racer back, molded-cup bra on my dress form, this is the kind of bra I wear, so this is the shape I fit to. Plus, keeping a bra on the dress form allows me to set the bust point in exactly the right place as per my centerback-neck-to-bust-point measurement. 

The other stuff is men’s tailoring shoulder pads, to fill in the tiny mannequin waist and create a butt. 

Below you can see some crazy elastic piecing and satin strap usage, in my efforts to use up scraps.


Sew It or Throw It:

The cup shape of this bra, as patternened, is so far off from any shape I want to wear that this would be a Throw, if it weren’t for the perfectly good bias slip pattern and the interesting culottes slip and tap pants. 

So, it’s a sew. I like these sleep bras, they were fun to make, they wear nicely, next time I would use basically Any Other Pattern In The World. 

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22 thoughts on “Simplicity 5549: goodnight, bra

    1. Fancy pj pants could be fun, and I bet one could have even more fun with lace than they show on the pattern envelope, like apply it in stripe up the side seam from hem to waist and cut away the fabric beneath. Fancy and slightly risqué!
      Or make them in cotton with rows of tucks above the hem for a historical-fiction pantalets vibe.
      I was hoping for a real life daytime function for this silly culottes slip idea, not to use myself but to satisfy my desire for all things to have a purpose, but I guess sleepwear and lingerie is plenty real world enough that maybe they don’t have to have a daytime function.

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      1. I love risqué (says the person who basically sleeps in old clothes ;-) ) but I love these ideas.
        Would having them as ‘lounge wear’ (perhaps minus the cut out side seams) make them feel like they had a real life daytime function?

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  1. Am I missing sing something? Why have I never ever considered sleeping in a bra? Is this a thing? Don’t one’s bosoms slip out sideways if the bra is ummm comfortable enough to sleep in yet should the sleep bra magically stay in place containing said bosoms – feel uncomfortable? Crikey mate, I dunno about this concept.
    Once my young son who is now 22 pinned me to the bed by kneeling on my boob as I lay sideways, perhaps this sleep bra idea is really an OH& S requirement for mummies?!! Love the album artwork though!

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    1. Ow! Holy moly. I curled up in a ball just reading that.
      I have two examples of people who sleep in a bra, neither of which is exactly real.
      1) Marilyn Monroe is said to have slept in a bra. Maybe she really did every night, or maybe it was just something she and her press people told interviewers, to enhance to her Sexy24/7 image.
      2) Carrie Bradshaw always had a bra on in her bedroom scenes. Obviously she is not a real person, but it’s neat how the choice of showing Carrie in a bra satisfied the actress playing Carrie, while also adding some texture to the character of Carrie. And just providing another fun clothing moment for that show.
      Ok so both those examples are ridiculous. And underwire to bed seems like a bad idea. These that I made don’t have underwire.
      I like a sleep bra because I tend to get up in the morning and do a few things (brush boy teeth and my teeth, feed and dress the boy, drink coffee, wake up all the way) before getting dressed myself, and I am not cool with any bouncing while I do all that. I could just put one on immediately after waking up, but at that rate I might as well really get dressed, and then my whole routine is like totally in turmoil.

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      1. The options are mind boggling! I get out of bed and put on a bra under my PJs. So does the 18yo Princess! Funny how having kids changes everything – like sleeping naked, that was a long time ago! TMI?!

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  2. Sleep in bra? Is that even comfortable? I think I’ll stick with my standard pj… Not very sexy, not that my hubby cares – he knows what’s inside.
    The pettipants/culottes slip are a great idea, and just what I need on hot summer days. I have a serious dislike for sweaty legs touching each other under a skirt.

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    1. Yeah, although I think I’d just opt for shorts in hot sweaty weather.
      Makes me wonder if the culotte slip is in part designed for people who are required to wear a skirt in all weathers, as part of a uniform, where shorts or breezy summer pants are not an option.

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    1. Not to be a total enabler, but I just checked the googles and saw this pattern on etsy and eBay, ranging in price from three dollars to twenty. I don’t get how this pattern would pull in $20, but the point is it’s out there.
      On the other hand it would be really easy to take any elastic waist pants pattern and shorten it. Maybe add some width for fun. Super doable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have this really cool ’70s book, The Undies Book. It includes patterns you can scale up (if you have the patience, I don’t know that I do). And I do have some elastic waist pants patterns thanks to all those McCalls and Simplicity Sportwear patterns that encourage you to wear PJs out in public… So I think pettipants might be somewhere on my horizon ;-)

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  3. Knickers + slip, what’s not to love? Oddly enough, having had this very pattern in my stash since 1982, battered but unused, I finally chucked it a couple of weeks ago in my big pattern inventory clear out. It only went up to an [old] UK size 12, which would have last fitted me in about 1990 at a pinch. Bye bye pretty pettipants! I’m also not getting the idea of sleeping in a bra, but then I don’t sleep in anything…

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  4. Yes, pettipants were a mainstay in the ’60’s for wearing under skirts or under the full culottes that were popular then. Warmer than slips so comfy in winter.

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  5. I’ve been wearing pettipants since junior high school in the 1960s. (I have a pair on right now.) They’re comfortable and give you a feeling of security. It doesn’t matter if the wind blows hard or if you’re twirling around. Speaking of twirling, I do folk dancing 3 or 4 times a week and I wouldn’t hit the dance floor without my pettipants. They’re just a classic, well-thought out garment that work better than your standard half slip.

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