December 14, 2012


The Americans among you may not know this, but the contraptions worn to keep up classic stockings (those without sticky plastic at the top) you may know as "garter belts" are known to the English as "suspender belts". 
Cheap versions of these are often sold at big chain lingerie stores around Valentine's Day and, weirdly, Christmas. Those will typically have four plastic clips. If you're really interested in wearing stockings, you'll want a more serious version, with at least 6 straps and and metal clips (sold at places which specialize in stockings or vintage lingerie. I'm not showing pictures from these sites here because they are quite obviously showing women in lingerie and I don't want to offend anyone or get anyone into trouble where-ever they might be reading this blog). Or, probably even more in vintage style, you could try some kind of girdle (according to my vintage magazine research, suspender belts were mostly worn by teenage girls with grown-up ladies opting for girdles or full-length corsets).
I've occasionally worn suspender belts and stockings under sufficiently wide and long skirts for a few years. In fact, when I threw out an old belt last year, I cut off the straps so I could make my own version. I just didn't get around to it yet.

Also a while ago, I picked up this thing at the second hand market stall. I don't know how old it is, but it's definately a girdle. Wide elastic waistband boned in three places, powernet front and sides layered in some areas for extra compression, a non-stretch center back panel and four suspenders.

I tried it on once... It sort of fits me but I nearly took the skin of my thighs to get into it and then made the foolish decision to try and take it off by pulling it up... This may work for skirts with short zippers (if you're a bit pear-shaped like me) but this stretch material which only ever wants to pull in tighter... I don't quite remember how I finally managed to get it past my breasts and arms and shoulders but I know I considered cutting it up.

And yet, girdles were worn for so long and are still sold at those vintage lingerie places. Surely there'll be some benefit to them? 
And I had 8 suspender straps in my stash...

So, I made a 'light' girdle. The shaping at the sides is based on my lingerie bottom sloper, the length and placement of the straps on the vintage thing. I actually have some powernet but I decided to use lycra now (I don't actually feel the need to compress my hips anyway). 

The 4 cm wide waistband elastic is boned at center back and at two places on the front. I sewed the boning pieces to the inside and covered them with velvet ribbon. 

It's easier to put on than the vintage powernet girdle, but it's still a bit of a struggle. If I ever make a powernet version, it won't be a pull-on style like this. Once it's on, the girdle stays in place rather well and the elastic doesn't bend in on itself. Surprisingly, the four suspenders seem to do a good job at keeping stockings up. I think the fact that, with their very short straps, they can't move about helps a lot. 

I didn't think I would model something like this here but looking at it in the mirror, I thought there was no harm in it ;)

Basically, a girdle is like a tight micro-miniskirt which also holds your stockings...


  1. Really nice! I generally prefer stockings to tights (so much more elegant!), but HATE the rubber parts (they squeeze my legs and make them look horribly chubby - and I'm a size S!). But making a garter belt always seemed so difficult. Your version looks a lot less terrifying, but polished and pretty! Perfect project! :) Thanks for sharing, girl!

  2. I love it!! Great job. I dont often wear a full girdle either. I bought a few garter belts on etsy two years ago (with the metal clips) and they are much nicer for warmer weather but I'd love to try one of these light girdles...or maybe a nice tap pant with garter clips?

  3. It must be a lot easier to keep seamed stockings straight with one of those than a regular suspender belt. Interesting!

  4. Very cool! A great idea.
    This looks so much cuter than tights.

  5. This is fabulous, you are awesome! XD

  6. You look fabulous in it! I gave you the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You find more info on my blog.

  7. Wonderful! I'm amazed that you managed to recreate it. I'm always very interested in lingerie women wore a few decades ago and why some of these pieces disappeared when they seem quite useful! I tried stockings with the plastic thing at the top and never wore them again, so uncomfortable...

  8. That garterbelt is absolute beautiful - where did you find the pattern for it?