>Edwardian Lingerie- New York Times articles

>Combination Lingerie Adds Much to the Comfort of Women and Affects a Considerable Saving.
By Anne Rittenhouse

The New York Times, March 14, 1909
During the Lenten season many women make new underwear for Spring and Summer. They usually follow the best garments offered in the shops, who clear up the old models in January and begin now with new ones.
It is the custom of many to buy a few extra good pieces at the shops and use them for models for the remaining pieces of each set.
It is an approved plan to make up underwear in matched sets, as it is easier, and a woman always feels better dressed when she can put on undergarments of the same material and trimmed in the same way.
Often women have certain methods of trimming clothes from which they never depart. They use special lace, or scalloped edges, with buttonholes beneath for ribbon, or a certain embroidery.
There has been a wide revolt from making up lingerie trimmed with all kinds of cheap lace and embroidery. The French convent work was responsible for the upsetting that method. It brought about a wide sale of garments, untrimmed except for the scalloped edge overcast with a buttonhole stitch.
It was hard to make this method popular, for the Americans had been brought up on many ruffles of lace, good or bad.
The instance of the better shops upon the plain underwear made it the fashion. It was easy to copy at home, lasted longer than lace and embroidery, and needed much less mending when it came home from the wash.

Three Pieces in One.
The work of making lingerie is much lightened this season by combining three pieces in one. the slim as well as the stout woman approves of this plan. After a woman has worn the three-piece combination, which fastens down the front, is without belts, drawstrings, plaits, or gathers, she cannot return with satisfaction to wearing the three separate pieces.
The new garment is worn over the corset, which is placed over a thin lisle-thread skirt or a knee-length combination suit.
The latter is more acceptable than any other garment under the corset. The shirt cannot be kept down, and wrinkles around the edge of the corset, making a ridge that shows through the outer skirt.
Dressed in this fashion, a woman is more comfortable than she has ever been. Her underclothes are reduced to minimum weight, her waistline is natural and not made larger by strings, buttons, and belts, and the lack of petticoats gives her greater freedom in walking.
Few women feel that it wouldn’t be wasteful to discard many undergarments that are not worn out in favor of a new kind, but the woman who has sets of new ones to make up should not fail to adopt the one-piece garment. She will at once realize its convenience and comfort.
The top piece of this garment should be made rather slim and without sagging at the belt, as no fullness is required there. Shirtwaists and bodices fit snugly at the waist, and a full garment beneath would seriously interfere with their shape.
There is quite a fashion for making tiny cap sleeves instead of mere shoulder straps. These fit the armhole closely and are run through with wide ribbon.
On the finer ones white wash net is used not only for the cap sleeves, but for the edge of the neck. One-inch satin ribbon is run through this. On each sleeve this terminates on top of the arm in an extra large bow, which is a pretty style.
This cap sleeve also gives a good chance to hide the shield.
Unless a woman is obstinately old-fashioned she does not want to take the trouble to make white petticoats. If she is wedded to duck skirts for Summer and expects to wear light wash frocks much of the time, she must have white petticoats. Otherwise she does not need them.
Lined skirts do not need any long petticoat, as the short one which is attached to the corset cover in the one-piece garment is sufficient. Beneath dark skirts that are not lined is worn a soft silk petticoat that has little weight or stiffness.
These are made of silk pongee for street wear or any of the soft imitation silks. Taffeta and sateen are too stiff.
For evening wear the inexpensive mesaline petticoat is preferred to all others. This can be easily made at home from materials picked up at silk sales, and in this way a woman can afford more than one.
If she has only one, then it should be white, made on simple lines of a seven-gored pattern, without box-pleated back, and to fasten in front.
It should be cut off at the ankles, as all petticoats should be for street or house wear. One should get them of even length without a suspicion of a droop at the back.
Long petticoats are always in the way, can never be held up with grace or ease, and cannot be kept clean for an hour.
Knickerbockers have arrived and have their place in the wardrobe. they are no longer considered freakish or indecent.
Satin ones, lined with muslin, flannel, or silk, are worn with evening gowns, and the black ones are worn on cold days under smart coat suits or one-piece visiting gowns.
Pongee, China silk, and soft linen are all used to make these modified bloomers.


The Smart Lingerie From The New York Times, Sept 15, 1907Nothingis more essential to the proper costuming of any figure, and especially of the poor one, than the corsets and lingerie. No detail in these is too small to be overlooked, particularly if one be too plump or too slight, for even a small band, an extra bow, a gather here and a plait there add to or take from the apparent dimensions.Combination Garments For the really stout woman there is, perhaps, no more satisfactory garment for cold weather than the woven combination in the skin-tight Jersey rib weave in silk or wool or a mixture to be worn under the corset. If the separate vest is worn, it is apt to roll up below the corsets and form a ridge, and the attached drawers may be either long or short, as the wearer and as comfort decrees. However, for Winter weather the ankle-length garment, even though the sleeves be short and the neck low, should be worn by all women who walk at all.These combination garments can be procured in any desired degree of fineness and at very high prices, as well as such low prices that the woman of small means may wear as well-shaped and as warm a combination garment as her rich sister.No other garment should, of course, be worn under the corsets, and if the drawers combination is worn no other drawers are necessary if extra long hose are worn.Corsets for Stout People The corsets should be selected and tried on with the utmost care. No two stout figures are alike. The wide, short woman requires different corsets from the tall, stout woman. One woman’s hips may be unduly large in proportion to her shoulders, while in another fat figure the bust may be excessive, or vice versa.The woman whose bust and hips are both excessive has the hardest problem of all to solve, but it maybe solved with great satisfaction to herself if she will carefully study different models of corsets and try them on under a close-fitting outer garment.It is necessary to put on a gown over corsets before heir effect on the figure can be properly estimated. The writer has seen figures apparently vastly improved by one pair of corsets, and not half so much improved, apparently, by another pair, but the donning of the gown provided the latter to be the greatest beautifier when the figure was clothed. There is doubtless a misleading of the eye by an unconscious study of corset detail instead of the general lines when such a deceptive effect is obtained, but it exists, as all really clever corsetieres know by experience.The woman whose figure is fat about the arms at the side of the bust, and with a strong tendency to rise above and over her corsets, should wear a mode with strap extensions at the side above the bust in front, and a similar extensions at the back, where also there is often a cushion of flesh.The two ends are united by means of a flexible rubber band that gives with any strain, and the strap is covered or slipped through a slightly shirred band of silk or linen, or is edged with lace.Corset Covers For stout figures having small busts, as is often the case, the rather low-busted corset should be worn, and the bust should be thrown out as much as possible, to balance the rest of the figure.To confine atoo fleshy bust with the old style corset top there are various corset covers, to be drawn tightly over the chest, which give firmness to and confine too-rotund outlines. One of these is shown in one of the cuts accompanying this text. The tie ends may be drawn as tightly as one pleases, but instead of being pulled crosswise one end should be drawn up toward the chin and the other toward the toes, and when the cover is tight enough the final tie may be given. The ends going around the waist have tapes of either silk or linen sewn on them, to that there is no unnecessary bulk. The back is seamless and on the bias, and the fronts are also cut bias.One cover may be procured at a moderate price at the shop, but it ties on the shoulder with tapes, the lace edges extending across the end. This is a mistake. There should never be any loops or bows on top of the shoulders. The top of the shoulder should be as flat as possible. The object of the tapes being left is that the cover may be adjusted to fit both that long and short waisted figures. One can, however, put these garments on and have the tapes tied so that they are made to fit as one wishes, and then have the tapes and one or both lace edges removed, laying the front end over the back, and have a flat strap seam. This fits them smoothly.This style of corset cover can be procured attached to a glove-fitting skirt, but these have to be ordered.Princess Slips.If the long princess, or combination, slip is worn, and a snug bust support is wished, bias sections similar to those forming the front of this cover are let in at the side seams, and the ends are tied tightly,as is shown in the drawing of the corset cover along, and then the slip proper is buttoned over it.For the medium figure the slip accompanying this article is admirable, and it is free of all fancy touches in order to show its lines. It may be modified in many ways.Sometimes the lower part of the corset cover is gathered or plaitedinto the beading band instead of being fitted with darts. Theskirt section may be perfectly plain, or with a habit back, or have a ew plaits in the centre back. Many a stout figure is flat, and even shows an indentation in the centre just below the waistline, and wherethis is the case enough plaits should be introduced to conceal the defect.If the abdomen is very prominent, and the hips narrow and flat, another common defect, the princess slip should have a yoke, and the skirt section should be cut circular, plaited, and joined to the yoke at the line necessary to increase the hip prominence, and thus by contrast to apparently reduce the size of the abdomen.Many stout figures are so flat and narrow in the back below the waist and about the hips as to be quite out of proportion, and this deficiency increases the lack of grace. When this is the case the yoke should be cut short in the back, and the skirt section plaited on very full, or gathered in.Wherever plaits or gathers are laid they should be graduated lightly and stitched flat, and the yoke should come over them for an inch or an inch and a quarter. There should also be a bias facing of the same depth, and this last should be stitched to the yoke a quarter of an inch above the top of the gathers or plaits. This care is necessary in order that no ridges may be made to show though thin frocks, and so that there may be a more perfect gradation to it.  As mentioned, with the skin0tight drawers attached to the combination garment, no others need be worn, but if the fine web silk chemises are worn, drawers are a necessity. They should always be as flat as possible at the top and with the back section seven or eight inches longer or deeper than the front, and should have darts taken in to fit them and a shaped yoke piece as thin as possible stitched on instead of a band or other finish.If worn outside the corsets, as is often preferable, too great pains cannot be taken with their fit at the top.The bottom, of course, may be as voluminous as one desires and as elaborate and heavy or as fine and dainty as one cares for.The drawers and corset covers are often combined and the petticoat is separate.
Petticoats
The separate lingerie skirt is finished at the top, like the drawers, with a narrow yoke of fine nainsook pointed in the front, and it may close at one side of the front or in the centre back. These skirts are especially pretty in dimity, the fine cross lines giving body, and the tiny rosebuds or other small flowers in whatever color they may be can be matched with buttonhole embroidery of the same color as an edge to the ruffles and in the ribbons used. The Frenchwoman, however, is the only one who fully appreciates the beauty of figured dimities in underwear.

For Defective Figures
The tops to the princess slips fit best when separately cut and joined to the skirt by a band of beading. A narrow ribbon is drawn through the beading and tied will drawn in what little extra fullness there may be, or it may be omitted entirely.
This corset cover top, in the case of thin figures deficient in bust, should be gathered and left quite full at the top, while below the bust the fullness may be laid in tucks. When the chest is narrow and hollow a nainsook ruffle with lace may be added to the inside, the top joined to the lace insertion or the beading at the top of the garment. The ruffle may be graduated to suit the figure, and such an addition will not heat the figure or prove unhygienic, as are so many of the so-called “dress improvers”. The only other way of relieving the distressing defect of a flat chest is to make the other parts of the bode as small and flat as possible in order to reduce the contrast.
Occasionally a figure is too long waisted- quite frequently this is the case- and when it is the bust should be so corseted as to allow it to be as low as possible. A good deal of fullness, unless one is stout, should be allowed in the corset cover between the bust and the waistline, and the belt should be placed as high as possible.
With a short-waisted figure the reverse should be observed, and while the bust should not be raised in a very high-busted corset, it should be carried moderately high, and one should sit erect and with her shoulder held as high as possible. No slouchiness of figure is pardonable in a short-waisted figure. A waist may be large in itself and yet small in proportion to the rest of the figure, while an eighteen-inch waist may be large in proportion to meager hips, a flat bust, and general attenuation. A waist large in proportion to one’s
figure is a misfortune to be fought against, but not by tight lacing. It is a common misfortune, and, if the figure be otherwise good, need annoy no one. If one is stout, one cannot well exaggerate the rest of one’s figure in order to make the waist appear smaller, or one may if one is thin, or even moderately plump. The best method is to practice religiously and regularly ever day the bending-over exercises so often printed, and even these of of little use in certain cases, although, in the case of the fatty one, they are efficacious.
There are worse things than a large waist, even when fashion decrees small waistbands. A straight monument has dignity of its own. Take the same monument and slant it into a narrow circumference a quarter of the way down from its top, and the dignity is gone. The same applies in a modified degree to a stout, large-waisted figure, which, if dressed in long lines and well carried, has dignity, but if it is laced so that the flesh is squeezed out above and below the corset line, it not only merely loses its dignity but is made more or less grotesque.

Hose Supporters
To return to the question of corsets for individual figures. Most of them have hose supporters at the sides, and in some these extend well around to the back.
Where the figure has too full an abdomen with flat hips, four different supporters should be attached to the front of the corset; those at the side, while allowed to remain, should be left rather loose, so that the hips may not be drawn down still further and rendered out of proportion. The arrangement just described, with the supporters drawn taut, will flatten the flesh out and crowd it to the sides, where, if the sides are left loosely drawn down, there will be ample room for it without injury to health. If the abdomen is small and the hips large, two supporters are enough to attach to the front, and whereas the others were fastened all along the front, in this latter case they should be fastened to the centre only, and there should be two on each hip section. If the back is flat the corsets should be short and supporterless, while if very wide and large supporters should be fastened as far back as is comfortable.  In order to enable one to draw the corsets down firmly without tearing the hose the latter need reinforcing, and with the snap-on garters a bit of satin ribbon the color of the stocking can be held under the back next to the skin, and a bit of cotton wadding inserted under the rolled top of the stocking between the outer part and the clasp and the clasp then snapped. This will prevent a stocking tearing out when nothing else will. A bit of
rubber webbing, however, is much better than the satin ribbon, being less slippery. The webbing referred to is elastic gartering.

Chemises
Many women, even those too plump for perfection, prefer nainsook chemises or those of silk to the combination undergarment, and will not give them up. When these are worn they should be shaped to the figure as much as possible and the skirts cut short.

Bulkiness
Of course none but the thinnest women will wear more than one petticoat, and if the latter is of silk is should be as fitted as carefully at the top as the lingerie skirts or princess slips.  Of course all these suggestions relate to details, some of them seemingly trifles only, but to repeat the old adage, “trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.”
It is upon the unseen foundation that the fit and grace of one’s gowns largely depend, yet while the average woman desires grace and good lines, she clings to old-time ungraceful and even cumbersome models in underwear, when such garments as described above may be purchased in good materials at prices so moderate that even a poor woman may do without extravagance to buy them. Then, too, a set of these garments may be used as patterns for endless numbers of similar ones, to be made up at home in any desired material.

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