July 29, 2010

edwardian posture - ideal vs. reality

The Gibson girl silhouette is so pleasing to eye. By 1908 the S bend line has softened a bit compared to a few years earlier, but the leaning forward, scooped in small of the back, and mono-bosum look was still the ideal. Here is an ad for American Lady corsets found in April 1908 edition of The Designer.

The new snug hip! Let's compare the illustrated model's posture to a few photographs of actresses wearing the latest fashions.

They are all standing like upright citizens with good posture. The third lady from the right comes closest to the ideal, and the draping on her bodice definitely helps her achieve the desired look. For fun I laid a piece of vellum over the photo and drew the American Lady corset on one of the ladies to see how it would fit.

Very shapely. But still not leaning forward. And not nearly as long and slim a line as shown in the ad. By the way, the actress with the exposed corset is Maxine Elliott and quick search will result in tons of beautiful pictures of her.

July 22, 2010

warner's rust-proof corsets

A lovely illustration from an ad for Warner's Rust-Proof Corsets published in the April, 1908 edition of The Designer.

Pretty, pretty, pretty. The copy explains how Warner's has advanced corsetry with rust-proof boning, stocking supports, and "now in 1908 the standardizing of the construction of our 61 styles, so that every corset bearing the name of Warner's, whether selling at $1.oo or $5.00, shall be equal in wear and unbreakableness." I love that word, unbreakableness.

I found the magazine at a garage sale tucked between a 1978 JC Penney catalog and a Sears catalog from the same era. Not wanting to alert anyone that I had found something cool, I kept it between the two telephone book sized catalogs and said, "I'll take these three." "At a quarter each that'll be 75¢." Score!

You learn a lot about how women lived when you look at an antique magazine like this. In addition to stories, cooking advise, and household tips, there are several pages of the latest fashions for the lady of the house and her children. There are ads for the things you'd expect, hats, cleaning products, and food. And some for things you might not, like the two ads for raising poultry at home.

July 20, 2010

fun news

There was a big reason I wanted to finish the 1650 bodice by July 4th. Soon I will be a student at Kent State University's School of Art studying textile arts. Graduate school. Yea. For now that means packing up my belongings then unpacking them at a new place. The sewing machine is in the shop getting cleaned and oiled before the move, the work table has been broken down, and books have been boxed. The bodice will have to wait until everything is unpacked, which won't be forever, but does mean a delay in finishing it. I wish I were organized enough to make a seamless transition from one space to the next, but I'm not. As soon I have a new sewing spot set up I'll have more bodice updates. In the meantime, here's a picture of patterns ready to go to a new home.

July 15, 2010

corset tour 2010

I'm embarking on another cross country road trip in a few weeks. If anyone knows of any foundation garment related stops worth making along the way please pass them on to me. I can't promise they will fall along my travel route, but if they do I'll visit and report on them. Great collections large or small, old stocking factories, or corset makers who should be interviewed? Leave a comment here or send me an email, but do let me know!

July 13, 2010

light as a feather, stiff as a board

It is light as a feather, but the ancient fabric seems more crisp and fragile rather than stiff.

I'm still dealing with hand issues (Why won't the swelling go down? Or rather, why does it go down, but reappear as soon as I use my hand?) so I thought I'd share this corset I have. So pretty. This is a circa 1890's corset. It appears to never have been worn. Made of a single layer of cotton, with whalebone boning except for the busk, underbusk, steels along the center back, and one at each side. So it is indeed very light. And this corset is tiny. The waist is only 20 inches laced closed. Tiny!

It has the original lacing too. Things like this are nothing but fun to study. A friend once called me a corset nerd, but I'm not the only one who finds these pieces fascinating. Right?

July 5, 2010

a skirt in a day

I made this skirt a while ago and thought I'd share it.

The fabric is denim pulled from a $2 a pound bin and the pattern was the easiest pattern ever. Vogue 6702.

I'm not certain what year it was published. The original price was 40¢, the pattern was for only one size, and pieces were precut. And look how the pieces were marked.

Somehow futuristic and old-y time-y at the same time. I'm thinking maybe the later 1940's. Any guesses out there?