I'm really enjoying this years new Bettie Page by Playful Promises collection, including things in pastel pink. I know, it's probably a lockdown effect, or age, or something. Anyway, the collection includes this set (with a skirted suspender) that changes up their usual tap pant/french knicker with a lace leg and a heart satin centre. Now where have I seen that motif?
These are from the 1930's, and they are MUCH more detailed than the modern mass-manufactured version (not that the BP line is huge - but there's a significant difference between hand sewing one pair and trying to produce 200 at a price people might be able to afford)
The 1930's pair really is entirely hand sewn, with meticulous, tiny stitches. The satin is rayon and the lace is cotton, with french seams (which hide the cut edges of the fabric) and rolled hems. The hearts are appliqued on with tiny heart embroidery round the edge. They would have taken so many hours to make! You can see more details in the link - the museum has amazing photography.
When we make things for a contemporary market, we simplify and speed up. The Bettie Page line has had this yoke based flared leg knicker for a while, but of course when making at speed, it's all done using overlocking on a machine.
In this case, the legs are made of lace, with an eyelash edge trim so that the hem doesn't need any extra finishing. There's a seam halfway down - I am not sure if this is because finding lace with the right edge at the right depth was impossible (or expensive, too much wastage from the middle of the roll) or if it's to accommodate the heart motifs - something I'll have to ask them about! Like most things these days, the fabrics are polyester based. Instead of shell buttons, it has satin covered buttons that are created from a standard base using the satin for the run so that they match.
In spite of superficial similarities, these are very different garments that draw their construction from very different approaches, but they make for an interesting comparison of how clothing has been made over the years.
If you want to buy the knickers - we have them here! You could also make yourself a fancy pair - the sky's the limit depending on your skills - as Karolina, the Underpinnings boss and designer, painfully reconstructed the authentic 30's pattern from the museum garment. You can find it here.
Let us know if you tried either of these!