Tag Archives: corsets

stays

Finished Projects: Regency Shift and Short Stays

Ok, so I really only just finished the shift.  The short stays were finished last year and I never took proper blog photos.

- The Shift -

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And one “in progress” pic.  I am actually pretty proud of this, because this picture is taken inside out!  I did a pretty good job of those seams, if I do say so myself :)

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Pattern:  Country Wives- Two Chemises- 1805-1807

Fabric:  100% Linen.  Lightweight.

I was recommended this pattern by a friend, and after I got it finished I loved it.  I’m actually halfway through the other view in the pattern, too.  I had been putting off making a proper Regency shift for well over ten years, so it’s about time I made it!

The pattern is basically about 6 pages of written instruction, telling you how to cut and assemble a shift.  There are minimal illustrations. I was really frustrated by it at first, but after I figured it out I loved it.

This pattern is for historically accurate sewing, so the instructions call for piecing the width of the shift, as fabric widths were narrower in the past.  A little math and reasoning allowed me to cut it full width so I could cut out the step of adding a panel.

I found it extremely frustrating that each of the two large panels (for front and back) were to be cut 40″ long, and the pattern gave allowance for two yards of fabric.  36″ + 36″ = 72″ long, which is 8″ shorter than the 80″ that would be required (assuming that the person who sold me the fabric cut it on grain. Which they didn’t.  So when I pulled a thread to make sure I was exactly on grain, it was even shorter than 72″ long.)  So I hemmed and hawed, and posted on my Facebook page, and finally realized I needed to cut it CROSS GRAIN.  Duh.  But if would have saved a lot of headache if it was just noted down in the pattern.

Other wishing that there were instructions included for cutting it full width and not piecing, and other than the whole cutting cross grain conundrum, the pattern went together very easily.  I did a lot of handwork- I flat felled my seams by hand,  hand sewed my neckline casing, and hand sewed my hems, but the side seams are done by machine by French seams, and the stitches that don’t show are done by machine.

I did shorten the sleeves on the chemise I’m currently working on (the other view of this pattern) because I think they’re just a bit too long and too full to go under all the things I’d like to make in the future.  That view has drawstrings at the bottom of the sleeves and gathers.  Well, you’ll see if for yourself whenever I get it finished!

For those interested, I bought the pattern from Wm. Booth, Draper.

I do sell the Laughing Moon stays and shift pattern in my Wearing History Store, if you’re looking to make your own shift.

- The Stays-

I don’t know how many of you remember, but last year I was really trying to wrap my head around short stays. If you’re interested, I did two blog posts with my research.  One here and One here.  This is actually my fourth pair of Regency stays.  I made two sets of long stays (each of which was a disaster in one way or another), and one set of short stays.  But my short stays accidentally got shrunk in the washer (oops), so I had to make a new set of short stays.  Plus, I wasn’t entirely convinced that they were what I wanted.

These were actually finished last year but I didn’t get any proper pictures. So- ta da! Pictures!

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Pattern: Self drafted.  I honestly don’t remember much about it, and I was a bad girl and didn’t really keep much track of what I was doing or what went into it.  But I did find one progress picture.

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Fabric- I believe I used a cotton canvas sandwiched between two layers of linen.

And for the sharp eyes among you. YES, I messed up my eyelets.  I wanted to do spiral lacing and then spaced out on how to do it.  It was a very stressful and busy in my life dealing with family stuff during the time I was making these last year, so I’ve given myself a free pass ;)

Have you been doing any sewing lately?

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Sunday Inspiration: 1905 Corset, Suspenders, and Stockings.

I had scanned in several more pages from the 1905 Delineator when I was making up my S-Curve corset, so I figured, rather than getting lost in my abyss of a computer, that I might as well share them now!

Here’s a few little fun ads from 1905 that show some garments that go under what you usually see.  Make sure to read the ads, not just look at the pretty pictures, to get a good idea of what’s going on and what was offered in the period.

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“…like all American Lady Corsets, it has the essentials for stylish form building, but the special purpose of this garment is to give a sweeping curve effect to the entire figure.  The lateral sections accomplish this by training the flesh from the front to the sides and back…”

It’s interesting to note these earlier S-Curve ads almost need to talk the reader into buying the “new” silhouette.  I’ve seen several of these in this era, and they’re always amusing.  Note that most often ads of the early 1900s and before emphasized shaping the figure by FOUNDATION GARMENTS rather than by DIET.  Once the 1920’s hit, diet was often advertised as well as foundations, and this continued throughout time… only now do we usually tend to rely on diet alone to achieve the essential shape.  Well, diet and, often, surgery.  Sure, spanx and the like are now used, but they don’t have nearly the effect of the foundations of our mothers and grandmother’s day.  In terms of a fashion history perspective, I find the modern ideals of figure most depressing and, usually, unobtainable for most people.  Combination undergarment + diet for certain looks seems much more achievable, in my opinion.

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Although we don’t actually see the “Hose Supporters” here, it’s worth noting that the advertisement shows an active lady.  Sport for ladies was growing from the 1880s on, but it especially was present in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Golf and bicycling, most noticeably.

And it’s also worth noting that not all Edwardian corsets included garters (suspenders or supporters).  There were often separate articles that were purchased and used for this purpose.

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And for those fancy garter hooks, here’s hose that will not tear!  In earlier time periods there were elastic, knitted, or ribbon garters.  In the Edwardian era, garters like we see on later foundation garments were in use.  We needed fancy new garter tops to keep up with the wear and tear of the metal on fiber!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

Edwardian Bust Improver “Perfect Form”

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In line with my last post, I wanted to share a funny little Edwardian innovation that appeared in many periodicals of the time.  This one happens to come from The Delineator, April, 1905.  The “Sahlin Perfect Form”.  I’ve seen these ads many times, but had never seen a real one, until I happened to see one on Ebay, just sold recently.

These images are from the eBay auction, by seller $4europe.  They took quite detailed shots, by which we can see the basics of constructions.  These images are the property of the seller, and are just posted here for educational use.

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Where the boning crosses, it creates an arc.  Similar boning was done to create the rounded styles of stays in the 18th century, but here it was often to stand away from the body, rather than hug to it.
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If you compare this to the original ad, the buckles were to make it adjustable to the figure, to wrap across the back, then fasten the ties through the buckles at the sides.

Fascinating piece of fashion history!   Wonder our Edwardian counterparts would think of the “chicken cutlets” of today?

Finished Projects: Edwardian S-Curve Corset + “Improvers”

If you’re following me on Instragram, you may have seen my progress posts on my Edwardian corset and bust improvers.  The corset project was a UFO from last year’s Historical Sew Fortnightly from the same challenge.  This year I was determined to finish it.  It’s just in at the deadline, barely, but I finished it!

I have a few entries for this challenge, since I decided to make Edwardian bust improvers to go with the corset.  Each project is listed separately, but I’ll include them both in this post.

It was much too small, so I had to add 2″ panels to each side.  Luckily, with the other seaming, it’s not terribly obvious.  I had accidentally cut this WAY too small, and had forgotten I had added extra seam allowance to my mock up but didn’t transfer it to my pattern.  Thank goodness I had *just* enough coutil and fashion fabric to cut panels!

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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton coutil, silk broade

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset

Year: 1903

Notions:  Metal boning, busk, eyelets, ribbon, vintage laces, corset lace, bone casing, twill tape for loops for detachable garters (garters were made for a previous corset, but work for this one as well).

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close, but I serged the inside seams instead of leaving them raw or flat felling them.  The garters are not really period correct, as they would have been constructed differently.

Hours to complete: Way too many

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Pretty expensive.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d guess in the $50-$60 range.  Most of the materials were bought either last year or several years before, so I didn’t need to buy any new products to complete this during this year.

paddingAlso made were the padding.  I made the “hip pad” from the Truly Victorian pattern that was included with the corset.  For the bust pads, however, I decided I wanted ones similar to those in the LACMA museum, that I had seen in the “Fashioning Fashion” exhibit.

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Woman’s Bust Improver (Falsies), England, circa 1900, image from LACMA
I drafted up a quick pattern based on these.  First I made ones that were 16″ across, but they were kind of big and more “Barbie”ish.  Today I whipped up another pair that are 14″ across, and they suit better.
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To compare, here’s the larger ones, and the smaller ones.  They’re both somewhat ridiculous, but so period correct!
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I actually ended up sticking this up on my site as an e-pattern.  Since I went to the trouble, I thought others might want to make some, too.
e102COVERwebFair warning/disclaimer.   These were based on those in the collection of LACMA, but the pattern I made is in no way affiliated with LACMA, or endorsed by them.  It was just a fun, quick project, using an existing period example as inspiration.
In any case…
For kicks, I took pictures of my corset with a dress I had made a few years ago with padding and without padding, to get an idea of how it changes the silhouette.
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How interesting!  It reminds me so much of this ad:
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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton muslin, cotton shirting

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset, + Wearing History E102- Edwardian Bust Improver

Year: 1900-1908

Notions:  For hip pad: Cotton wadding, twill tape.  For bust improvers: cotton wadding, double fold bias tape, flat lace that was gathered, lace beading, silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close.  I think the TV pattern is dead on for the period.  Bust improvers of the time varied greatly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some exactly like this existed.  The museum examples were constructed open at the back, so they could be stuffed and unstuffed.  For ease, and because I will very seldom actually wear these, I just stuffed them and seamed it in, so they have  closed back.

Hours to complete: These were quick. Probably under an hour for each item.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Everything was from the stash.  Actual cost of each was probably under $5.  The cotton batting was free, and everything else was constructed of scraps of inexpensive cotton.  The lace was probably the most expensive part, since it was all vintage.  The silk ribbon was maybe a few dollars a yard and under a yard was used on each bust improver.

Inspiration: 1905 Corsets

Today I have, what I think, are the most gorgeous pages of corsets I have ever seen in an Edwardian magazine.  These are both from a copy of The Delineator I have in my archives from September, 1905.

Not only are corsets beautiful, but the page layouts are gorgeous and they include great descriptions of the corsets, and what figure types they are suited for.

“No, 1 is a plain little corset designed especially to soften the angles of an extremely slight figure ;  No. 2, made of fancy sateen with ribbon decoration, shows the natural hip and high bust effect ;  No. 3,  illustrated in white coutil, is for larger hips and high bust ;  No. 4 of white satin, is designed to reduce the too pronounced curves below the waist.”

“No. 1 is a ribbon or tape girdle, especially favored for golf, tennis, and other outdoor sports ;  No. 2 is a novelty corset of brocaded satin, lacing at each side of the front ;  No. 3 combines a bust supporter of white satin ribbon and a hip reducing corset of sateen ;  No. 4 is a slightly boned silk jersey model for a medium figure, giving the high bust effect.”

I love that it includes an image of a ribbon corset! I’d love to make one of those some day.

I find it very interesting that one of the corsets includes a bust supporter.  This is the era when the top edge of the corsets started to move closer to the waist, so it is very nice to know there were options out there for ladies who required or desired bust support in a corset.  Many ladies would wear separate brassieres, which offered very little support compared to what we are accustomed to today.

I have picked up the Truly Victorian S-Curve corset again, which I set aside and has a remained a UFO (unfinished object) since last year.  These are very inspiring for me to finish it by the Historical Sew Fortnightly deadline!

I actually love these images so much that I have added one of them to my Cafepress store.  So you can get T shirts, journals, etc, with the image if you love it as much as I do!

1905_delineator_corsets_journalI do not mind if you share these original images, but please do remember to link back and give credit, as it always takes me a bit of time to clean up the originals and share.  Thanks :)

 

Corsets: 1916

In our 1910s Suit-A-Long group the question of corset height was brought up.  Here are two pages of corsets from the 1916 W & H Walker catalog.  This was the same year that the pattern was released, so is appropriate to the WWI era and the era of this suit.

1916corset2web 1916corset1webWe see the difference in height of the top of the corset in these images.  There is also a variety in length of the hip.

The size numbers would be for the corset size.  It does not state if these are the actual corset measurements or the measure of the finished waist size.  I am assuming they are the corset measure, as the “spring” allowed at back varied from person to person based on preference.  The corset “spring” refers to the inches allowed at back for comfort- corsets would not be laced edge to edge, but allow, usually from 2″-4″, or even 6″ at the back when laced.

Sizes 18 to 30 have the most options.  We see medium bust and hip (6M50), medium low bust and long hip (2M129),  low bust and long hips (8M49), medium high bust and long hips (3M99).

There is one corset that is for comfort, with tricot for ventilation and front and back lacings (8M98), in the same sizes as above.

There is one corset for “Misses”, which would be for young ladies, and is designed as a “first corset”.  5M89 in sizes 18 to 26 waist.

There is one corset for girls, aged 7 to 13 years, which includes shoulder straps.

There is one nursing corset (7M98), which has nursing flaps at the bust and is available in larger waist sizes than the standard Misses corsets.

There is one corset for larger women, called a “form reducing” corset, which has a reducing flap at the sides, to help pull in the hips, and a spoon bust which “insures absolutely flat abdomen”.

One brassiere is shown on the page (11M29), which was available in sizes 32″ to 46″ bust. The brassiere has the appearance of a corset cover, but was of more substantial construction.  These usually had flat felled seams, boning, or both, and fastened up the back.   They did not have cups or breast support as we’re accustomed to today.  In fact, most styles of dress did not require a separation of the bust, but rather, a smooth line.  It’s a continuation of the “pouter pigeon” look of the S-Curve corset era, but with a slightly higher bust point.  The bust may be restrained, but not as much as in the “flapper” era.  In fact, brassieres would change very little between now and the late 1920s.

There are also various women’s needs that are on the page- mostly of the past “sanitary” variety.  Included are women’s dress shields that are “waterproof”, and a  “sanitary apron”, which would have the long skirt worn at the back so you wouldn’t have any accidents during that time of the month.

I, for one, am happy we’ve progressed… both in terms of undergarments and in terms of these icky “solutions”.  How far we’ve come with both brassieres and sanitary products in one hundred years!

Research & Musings: Regency Stays Vol. II

I had so many thoughts when I posted my last post on Regency short vs long stays, that I had to continue into another post!

If you missed the first post, you can find it here.

Big ol’ disclaimer right now:  This post is entirely based upon my thought process, and questions based on existing materials found online via extant periodicals and personal reflection of extant costumes.  I may be right, I may be wrong, but I’m certainly questioning what I thought to be the “standard” view of corsets of this period.

Late 18th Century:

With Cups

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V&A Museum.  1790s Stays

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Met Musem: Stays, 18th Century.

Without Cups, Without Shoulder Straps

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Met Museum: Stays, 1700-1799

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Met Museum:  Corset, late 18th Century.

With Tabs and Straps and Without Cups

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Met Museum:  Corset- 1780s-1790s.

In the late 18th century, when fashion underwent radical changes, it seems that understructure had big challenges on how it would conform to the changes.  It took time for some people to convert to the styles, of course, and we were adjusted to the same sort of stays, in little changes at a time, rather than the big changes that were to come in the next hundred or so years.

It seems we could not make up our mind.  We blend the ones similar to those that came before, but are challenged in a way to make the breasts seem to be “natural”, and yet, enhance nature and uplift.  The 18th century stays flattened and brought together, but the cups on the ones above, combined with the structure of the 18th century stays in other places, seem to indicate that fashion was trying to change.

Whatever genius came up with inserting gussets- I tip my hat to them.

In early Regency era periodicals, it seems to refer to the 18th century stays as “long stays”.

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A Comparative View of the Social Life of England and France, Mary Berry, 1828

And yet, we see, by 1803 they were back.

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Ladies Monthly Museum, Volume 11, 1820.

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The Lottery Ticket and The Lawyer’s Clark: A Farce, 1827 (same year as the above)

So, as far as I can tell, we have the types of stays pictured above- where we never quite knew what was going on.  Corsetmakers were playing with length, proportion, cups, no cups, tabs, no tabs, cording, and boning, and lacing.

-  Early 1800s  -

It appears, we have a VERY short period where it looks like short stays were quite popular.  Or, a combination of very short stays and “long stays”.

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Ladies Monthly Museum, Volume 11, 1820.

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Across the front it looks like these were probably the “elastic” that was referred to in a period source in my last post, a stay of French origin, the source says.  The museum confirms that these were “probably French”. Across the front would have been small, spiral springs of metal.

Met Museum: Corset, 1805-1818.

And another pair here.

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Abiti Antichi, 1800.

It is worth noting, there also appears to have been a use for the “bodice”

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V&A Museum: Bust Bodice, 1820-1829

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Met Museum:  Brassiere, 1820.

It’s worth noting, Short Stays were also called “Jumps”

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Which begs the question… is the famous Kyoto wrap stay really a “stay” or is it a “bodice”?  Or perhaps a mutant of both?

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Kyoto Museum: Brassiere, Early 19th Century.

So, we see, there is a lot of variety.  When we get to around 1817, we get what most of us seem to think of as the “standard” Regency stays, which in period examples is known as the “Divorce” corset, the “Armenian” corset, the “Armenian Divorce” corset, the “Circassian” corset, or “long stays”.  Stays and corset both seem to refer to the longer type of support, with corset being both spelled as “corset” and corsett”.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 7.02.15 PMLa Belle assemblée: or, Bell’s court and fashionable magazine, 1817
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The Hermit in Philadelphia, Second Series, Robert Waln, 1821Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 7.05.40 PMThe Literary Gazette: A Weekly Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, Volume 1, 1817

“Divorce” meaning, as far as I can make out, the separation of the breasts by use of the gussets and the busk at center.

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Kyoto Costume Institute: Stays, 1800-1820 via Isobel Carr

It seems the long stay was back in fashion, and preferred among the fashionable set.  It is most likely a derivative of the “Armenian” or “Divorce” corset, rather than the “long stay” we see referred to as the stays of the 18th century.

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The Principles of Medicine, on the Plan of the Beconian [sic] Philosophy.  Robert Douglas Hamilton, 1821

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The Ariel, a Literary Gazette- Volume 1-2, 1827.

But criticism of the new version of long stays was rampant, especially among physicians.

 It seems both “long stays” or “corsets” and “short stays” or “jumps” were available at the same time.  However, it seems that the VERY short stays were only in fashion for a short period of time.  It is highly probable that the “short stays” of 1810 and later were more of a “mid point” stay, higher than the waist, but longer than the very short ones with elastic that are pictured above.

So, there we have it.  I will save my last few thoughts for the next post.  I had no idea, when I started, this would be a series!  But now I’m completely fascinated, so have to share my thoughts and findings.