1887 B BALDWIN PATENT 358249: PART 2

NOTE *This article was originally published January 2015 for Foundations Revealed. The link can be found here.

This article is the second part of a 2 part series dedicated to a patent by B Baldwin of 1884. First part found here.

INSPIRATIONS
I spent quite a while deciding on what material choice I would make for the corset. One of my favourite corsets is by  R & W.H Symington of Market Harborough, a red and black sateen corset dated around 1900. Now although this would have come after the patent I love the colour play and decided to colour block the panels so the gore detail could be seen as well as the curved line from the back to the front an integral feature of the patent that represented Hogarth’s line of beauty.

If this patent was manufactured It would probably have be constructed using a single layer of coutil.  I decided that this corset would be made with a fashion layer backed with coutil and then lined so all the inside is neatly finished

The start of the article will look at the text provided with the patent which gives a small insight into its construction. For reference I decided to scale up the drawing and highlight the bone pockets that featured on the outside of the corset. The illustration made it clear where they should be placed  and how many.

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• “11 denotes the bone pockets which are formed in the usual manner in this class of corsets- that is, by stitching independent strips outside of the sections of the corset during the process of manufacture”

• The bust gore seaming is hidden by the bone casing.
“It will be seen in Fig 1 that the seams joining the bust gore and the front body section, the seam joining the front of the underarm section to the front body section and the seam joining the front of the back hip gore to the back body section are wholly conceauled”
It can be seen in the illustration the double dotted line representing the visible curved line. It gave indication of the order which pieces joined together. I actually thought the double line of stitching g was a nice decorative feature too.

• “12 denotes a curved and recurved seam (Hogarth’s line of beauty,) which extends from the top of the corset at the back, following naturally the curves of the body from between the shoulder blades down across the waist and over the hip at the front.
• “Commencing at the bottom, this seam first joins the back edge of the front body section and the front edge of the front hip gore. After passing off from the rearwardly extending tongue 13 of the front body section, and joins that to the front of the back body section. It then passes off from tongue 13 and joins the back of the underarm section to the front of the back body section”

PRE CONSTRUCTION
Prior to commencing construction there were a few preparation stages I had to make which I haven’t included photographs off but are as following beginning with the fabric cutting.
• cut a single layer of coutil for Front, back, bust gore, back bust gore, front hip gore back hip gore
• Cut a double layer of coutil for the centre front, centre back
• Cut a single layer of silk for the front, back,  front and back hip gores and front and back bust gores . I decided I wanted to show off the curve so cut the front and back in black and the gores in aubergine
• Cut a single layer of cotton liner for the front, back,  and bust and hip gores
• All the silk pieces were fused with a medium weight woven fusing
• I prepared all the bone casings. I Fused the slate silk and the cut strips of approx 27mm wide (following the selvedge) I Used a tape maker to make 12mm bone casings. I also cut 2 strips of 5mm silk and made bone pockets with a 25mm tape maker. These would be for the sides.

CONSTRUCTION
Following the advice from some of the other articles on Foundations Revealed I pin rolled the silk pieces to the coutil layer so they could be treated as one.  In the past I have basted the layers together with a long running stitch around the edges but in many occasions still have the annoying rolls and creases appear.

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Demonstrating pin rolling to the back hip gores

1. Inserting the front bust gore into the front panel
To insert the bust gore I needed to spread open the slit in the front pattern. This would be hardest part of the makeup as it would be required that I stitch the straight edge to 2 convex edges whilst maintaining the sharp point at the bottom of the gore.
As the point was very tight I wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre the needle and foot and turn the work whilst stitching the panels right side together (I tried with little success in the toile).
I decided to overlap the seams and stitch directly on the top on the outside layer. I firstly drew on the seam allowance on the gore 10mm  around the point. The front was slightly different. I used 10mm at the top of the split (upper edge) and tapered it down to 5mm to the point. I pressed back the seam allowance on the front panel and slit around the edge making sure I slashed down to the apex of the gore.

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The seam allowance drawn on for the front bust gore

I then placed the front panel over the gore and top stitched around. The slashes enabled me to easily work the slit open and around the gore.

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The front bust gore inserted

2. Inserting the back hip gore into the back panel.
The same method of application would be applied inserting the back hip gore into the back as the front bust gore above. This was slightly easier as the corner was at more of a right angle so easier to manuveor the needle as opposed to the slit in the front panel I had to spread open. A second row of stitching was also applied to the curved  edge going back toward the CB.

3. Joining the back panel to the front hip gore.

Next I joined the front edge of the back panel to the front hip gore. I overlapped the seam so that the double row of top stitching was made on the back panel.

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The back panel and front hip gore

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The back panel and front hip gore sewn together

4. Inserting the back bust gore into the front panel
The pieces were joined using the overlapping seam technique as applied to the other gore panels. It was important that the drill hole on the front tongue and the notches were carried over to the pieces to allow for the pattern to align correctly. A second row of stitching was applied to the lower edge.

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The back bust gore and the front panel

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The front panel with the back bust gore inserted

5. Joining the front and back sections and adding a double row of stitching going down.

Working with opposing seams it was important to add plenty of notches particularly where the front met the hipgore/back panel seam and the intersection of the back bust gore/back panel. At this point I really loved how playing around with colour for the panels drew attention to the panels and just how interesting this patent was.

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The front and back panels pinned together and ready for sewing

6. Make up the centre back strip right sides together, seam the CB and topstitch.

Join to the back panel sticking only the top silk/coutil layers. The under layer would join to the liner.

7. Inserting the busk

8. Joining the front to the centre front outer
When joining the centre front panel I stitched only the top layer of silk/coutil. The under layer would join to the liner. I top stitched the centre front layer.

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9. Further Construction
Using the edge of the foot stitched channel in the CB for the eyelets and bones either side. And also a channel in the centre front for an additional flat steel.

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The lacing panel

10. Applying the bone casings
The corset patent demonstrated there were external bone pockets with the majority focused on the front. Counting the bones that appeared around the front I realised that due to my small frame I  wouldn’t be able to squeeze in as many as the patent illustrated. My large print out of the patent came came in handy where I highlighted the casings to make easier to see.
There were 11 12mm bone casings in total shown plus the larger side pocket that would 2

 

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Original boning channel diagram

I started from the side where the wider bone pocket was placed.  This bone pockets were positioned relatively straight up and down the corset. The side bone pocket was positioned half over the front seam of the back hip gore.  I then worked my way from the front around to the side pinning the bone pockets into place. The front bust gore seams were hidden and a bone pocket also went thought the centre of the gore. A casing also covered the front seam of the back bust gore.
The front bones pockets tapered down to side by side at the waist position  and then spaced out evenly as I worked my way to the back. As I was pinning them on I began to feel that I was losing the colours covering with external casings and I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the panels of the finished corset. I Added an addition casing at the back (not featured on the patent) as aesthetically I felt the gap was a little out of proportion in comparison to the others. Presumably if I had a bigger frame all the other casings would be a little more evened out.

11. Make up lining layer.

Fabric seamed together right sides. The gores were inserted exactly the same as the outer layer, although I left out the double row of stitching. Attached right sides together to the facing of centre front and centre back. The corset could then be turned through.

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All the bone channels sewn down

12 . Boning
Spiral steel bones cut and tipped to length s were inserted into all the seam pockets. Flat steels were used in the back. I was uncertain at first due to the curvature on the pattern and whether this would affect the choice of bone into the seam. I wondered whether the flat steel would fit the seam allowance or whether it would tear under pressure.

13. Binding
I must admit I cheated with the binding. Usually I would make it as I did the casings but I had some black Cotton pre made to hand. I first machine stitched it to the underside and then flipping it over and hand stitching.

14. Decoration

Like many of the corsets of the patents time I decided to decorate with a deep embellished  lace trim hand stitching the lace to the upper edge. Being as this corset would be worn as a fashion outerwear garment as opposed to lingerie I chose to place the lace scallop over the edge for a little style detail.

15. Finally the last stage was to apply the eyelets.

THE FINISHED CORSET

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PHOTOGRAPHY: VAPOUR TRAIL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

_MG_3576 copy.jpg

MODEL: BEX FISHER, PHOTOGRAPHY: MONIAPHOTO

 

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MODEL: BEX FISHER, PHOTOGRAPHY: MONIAPHOTO

 
CONCLUSION
Overall I love the finished corset, the colours and the applied lace finishing. I really enjoyed this challenge using gores as a way of adding capacity. I tried to be true to the patent sketch and for this corset did not adapt it too much. Obviously as this pattern was fitted for my small frame I feel it is a little swamped in casings to the outside. I think I’ll play around with this pattern and use a combination of casings applied to the external and internal of the garment so more of the colour blocking and gores can be seen. I really do like how effective using the coloured silks for the gores and casings were and placing emphasis on the different shaped pieces.

 
Fit

  • I found the corset to be fairly comfy to wear and wasn’t too restrictive so the patent worked to Baldwin’s intentions.
  • I was really pleased with the fit of the corset. I was slightly surprised that the gores did in fact work with my frame and I feel confident in using them again in future designs regardless of size. I really loved the curves the gores created probably helped with the choice of restriction applied to the waist being greater than that of the hip.  I actually like a little bit more waist reduction so maybe this is something I can also adapt the pattern to later on.
  • I think being as this is a fashion style corset I would also raise the centre front creating more of a sweetheart shape neckline and adding into the depth of the bust gore for a little more coverage.

Things I’ve learnt

  • PIN ROLLING… I think from now on every corset I make ill be applying this technique. So pleased with how effective (and surprisingly not very time consuming) this preparatory technique is in the overall finish.
  • INSERTING GORES…Now I have mastered the technique of inserting gores I am fairly confident that they will feature in many more of my own patterns in the future.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed these articles as I have found the journey of making a corset from a patent. Feel free to ask any questions with regard my techniques or processes.

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1887 B BALDWIN PATENT 358249: PART 1

NOTE  *This article was orginally published January 2015 for Foundations Revealed. The link can be found here*

1887 B Baldwin Patent: Corset and method of making the same

This is the first part of a two-part series discussing B Baldwin’s 1887 patent 358249. This article will discuss the patent, it’s pattern and how it was created whereas the second will focus on recreating the corset and my methods used in its construction.

When I first saw this patent I was immediately attracted to the unusual paneling and the wonderful shapes the lines created. Personally I love corsets which have a focus on the waist section, such as some of the ventilated styles as opposed to your typical Victorian style with their up and down straight panels. I thought I could have some fun playing with color when recreating the pattern for the final corset.

As I’ve not before incorporated gores/gussets within a corset pattern before I knew this would also be a personal challenge. As someone with a petite frame and from a pattern cutters point of view I’ve associated gores and gussets with adding capacity and support for the more curvier figure. From a construction angle I must admit so far I’ve always avoided them as I knew it would be challenging to insert, particularly sewing round the corner at the apex of the gore. This patent would definitely be a learning curve both pattern wise and testing my sewing ability.

The Patent

The patent is comprised of two main parts, the first illustrates the corset and it’s parts- drawings of the pieces and the second is the specification that forms the letters of the patent declaring the description of the invention. The patent can be found here.

Baldwin’ patent relates invention of new improvements in corsets. As stated in the letters, Baldwin’s patent relates to the manufacture of corsets and its general object to Simplify and improve their construction. This could be accomplished by ‘so shaping the pieces of which each half of the corset is composed’

Part A shows two figures as seen below:

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FIGURE 1 shows a completed half corset with all the stitching detail demonstrating the contruction in line with the written description

2FIGURE 2 is a general view showing an outline of the pieces of which the half corset is composed.

Patent Observations

  • The pattern was made up of 16 pieces (8 per half) it featured both hip and bust gores.
  • Straight front busk used. No indication of depth of centre front given so length would be determined later on.
  • The main body of the corset was made up of 4 pieces. I’ll rename the pieces as follows for the remainder of the article which will make it easier to distinguish than the numbers of the pieces in the patent (which in my opinion) were oddly marked Centre front (1), – – Front (3), Back (7), Centre back (2).
  • The gores would also be referred to as Front bust gore (5) back bust gore (6) front hip gore (10) back hip gore (9).

Centre Front- The centre front was a straight strip piece to which the front was joined. The front seam of the FRONT Panel was curved which would give some curve to the corset over the abdomen region.

Front- As indicated on the drawing Point 4 denotes a slit cut into the pattern which would be opened out to insert the FRONT BUST GORE. The BACK BUST gore would also be partially joined.

Back- Would feature a cut away section which would be opened out slightly when inserting the BACK HIP GORE. This piece would also join to the FRONT HIP GORE creating that S bend curve.

Centre Back The centre back was a curved piece which would help curve the corset inward following the curvature of the spine. I did initially wonder at this point how the seam would be boned.

Object of the Patent

Relates to the manufacture of corsets, and has for its general object to simplify and improve their construction’ this would be achieved by the patent pattern lessening the number of seams in the garment.The essential principle being that the front and back body-sections are joined by a single curved and recurved seam, which follows naturally the curves of the body from between the shoulder blades at the back of the corset down across the waist and around the front of the hip to the bottom of the corset at the front. In doing so the corset will closely naturally to the figureThe corset will conform to the curves of the figure without the necessity of pressing or forming it into shape.There being no special pressure or tightness at any of the seams or at any portion of the corset.Baldwin also states in his letters that completed corset when drawn tightly around the figure ‘bring an embodiment both of Hogarth’s ‘Line of Beauty’ and the Grecian line of Grace. This would be achieved via the corsets construction and Baldwin’s principle of the front and back sections being joined by a single curve. I decided to do a little bit of research.

Hogarth’s Line of Beauty

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The line of Beauty is a theory in art or aesthetics used to describe an S-shaped curved line (a serpentine line) within an object.

The theory originates with William Hogarth and is an essential part of his theory of aesthetics as described in his Analysis of Beauty from 1753. According to his theory it is to be observed that straight lines vary only in length and therefore are left ornamental. Curved shaped curved lines signify liveliness and can vary in their degree of curvature as well as length.

This theory can be seen with the curved and recurved seam taken from Baldwin’s notes commencing from the bottom the seam first joins the back edge of the front body section and the front edge of the front hip gore. This seam passes along the rearwardly extending tongue of the front body section and joins that to the front of the back body section. It then passes of from the tongue and joins the back of the underarm section to the front of the back body section.

Initial Thoughts

When I first looked at the drawing of the corset I found it a little intimidating to envisage how the pieces would come together for the finished garments especially with the external bone casings providing the structure. I wanted to be clear on its construction and how it was intended to fit the body before I adapted the pattern to my own measurements

I therefore decided to do some further research into some of the history of the time. Moreover look at some of the corsets from this time and the assignor to Thomson, Langdon & CO.

History

The patent was assigned by Thomson – presumably Thomson, Langdon & Co. (American, founded 1865) was probably most known for his glove fitting style corsets. The illustrations below are actually of a later date so maybe this corset patent of 1887 as a fore runner to the later styles. The Foundations Revealed article by Marion McNealy provided a lovely timeline of the styles.

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Corsets of 1887

I also used The Metropolitan Museum in New York online site for some visual sources of actual corsets from this period for inspiration on fit, colour and fabric. For anyone that is not familiar it’s well worth a look. Admittedly I did spend quite a while looking up corsets from this period but will just include a couple for the sake of the article.

CI46.27.6_F

Ivory Silk Corset dated 1887 – Made of ivory silk the corset featured a front bust gusset. (Laura Loft has a useful article discussing gores and gussets). The article describes as a piece inserted between 2 panels and a gore being a panel inserted into a slit which was opened out during manufacture. The corset has a straight upper edge with a deep lace trim. The external bone casing were positioned close together at the centre front providing lots of support to the abdomen.

50.105.41_front_CP4

American corset dated between 1885-1887. Another corset featuring a gusset instead of a gore. I wondered whether this technique was used often. Gores would certainly be harder to insert pivoting the apex around the slit. The corsets of this time seemed to be cut quite low and straight over the bust perhaps keeping level with the overbust line. I also noticed that the corset lower edge sits high up on hip and featured a smooth dipping curve to the CF.

Planning Stages

My body frame is quite small so I was interested in whether the hip and bust gores would really work for me. Typically they provide capacity in these areas but being quite petite I wondered whether they would be too much and I would have to reduce them right down. Was there any point in making this corset for me? Or should I find someone of a more curvier figure. While I’m probably not the right figure for this style, never the less it would be interesting to see how this style of pattern would fit a small frame.

Things to consider – The sketches of the patents pieces would not be accurate scaled versions of the final corset. I would work with them loosely but would provide a good starting point for piecing together and seeing how the corset fitted together.

Observation – I would probably add some height into the bust gores as they came under the over bust line to make it more wearable for the modern day wearer me who wouldn’t be wearing it as an outer corset as opposed to undergarment

Measurements

Usually I work to a 2 inch reduction throughout my corset patterns for bust, waist and hips. However as the patent stated ‘The corset will conform to the curves of the figure without the necessity  of pressing or forming it into shape’. I Decided on a 5cm/ 2″ reduction of the waist with less on the upper body and none on the lower body. I would still have some defintition of the waist without the corset being too constrictive.

Measurements

  • Overbust: 76.5cm
  • Underbust: 69cm
  • Waist: 64cm
  • Top hip: 79.5cm
  • Full hip: 86 cm
  • Over bust to underbust: 6.5cm
  • Underbust to waist: 12cm
  • Point of bust (POB to POB) 18cm
  • Waist to top hip: 10cm
  • Waist to full hip: 20cm

I then made a table to work out my corseted measurements:

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Approach to the pattern

Baring in mind the patent was only an indication of the pattern pieces and not actually a pattern itself to adapt, I decided before working to any measurements to piece together the patent to get a 3rd visual idea of the pattern. This would help determine grain lines of the pieces as well.

As a commercial pattern cutter (my day job) I was fortunate enough for the purpose of this challenge to have access to a large scale plotter. Yay- this would save the time of lots of cutting and sticking.

I enlarged the patent to 600% a rough guess of the scale as a starting point. (on a side note the diagram was also printed out and proved most useful as a visual aid for how the panels were joined shown later on and for the bone placement.

I cut out and carefully pinned together the pieces of the patent in order to get a 3D impression of how the corset would shape to the body. The hip and bust gores gave a lot of shape and curve emphasis as noted by Baldwin in his patent. I found that the centre front and front panels gave the corset quite a curve over the abdomen demonstrate which could be seen on some of the images previously mentioned above. The curve was quite flattering and worn would smooth over the stomach area.

NOTE: I compared the 600% scaled version to my measurements and found they were way out. I repeated the exercise printing out the pieces to 500%. I intended on working with something slightly closer to my corseted measurements as a starting point.

Drafting the pattern

First, I used spot and cross paper (on the reverse), a method I use at work. I’m able to still see the faint markings from the reverse as a guide but don’t find it so distracting when working with small increments in the adjustment stage.

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My first aim was to ensure the lines representing the overbust, underbust, waist, top hip and full hip were spaced according to my measurements. I lined up the waist on the scaled up patent pieces which I had gauged when it was placed on the mannequin on the main pieces now renamed CF, FRONT, BACK and CB and drew around.

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I realised straight away that the position for the bust gore was in totally the wrong place in comparison to what my measurements said. This could be due to a couple of reasons. The main and probably most likely was the scale at which the pieces were enlarged by. Realistically to get a truer size the patent probably should have been enlarged somewhere between the 500 and 600 %. Also quickly comparing my measurement to that of my mannequin I realised that the length of my body between the underbust line and waist was greater. I decided that the next step would be extending the pattern at the waist so all the pieces lined up with the critical horizontal measurements axis.

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At this point I realised I most likely would make a couple of toiles. Working from a patent I wanted to get a feel for the corsets construction and it’s intended look. It was crucial that the pattern maintained the S bend curve through from the front and back. As I would be cutting right through the waist to extend the upper section of the pattern I would have to reshape the curved line.

At this point I decided I would ignore all the other measurements around the body and work first on the depth adding a total of 6.5 throughout the garment. I determined from piecing together the patent that the seam allowance included was roughly around 10mm. This was marked in to to avoid confusion. I carefully traced around the pattern ensuring that I marked in all the horizontal lines which would help repository the pieces. After some consideration I decided that I would add 5cm depth between the underbust and waist. Looking at where the hip gore started I decided also to drop from the waist to the top hip by 1.5cm

On the CF, FRONT, BACK, CB pieces I cut along the waist line

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On a fresh sheet I marked in the waist position, I faintly marked lines 5cm above and 1.5cm below which would be my guide for repositioning the flat pieces. I drew around the pieces aligning them vertically. The centre front and centre back I simply filled in the gaps.

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The front and back sections were more difficult and it took a couple of attempts to get the right shape curves. At this point I had to use the front hip gore to check my seam measurements were correct for the main curve that joined the front and back. This was probably the hardest part as the seam ran through so many pieces.

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At this stage I also ensured that all the other seams aligned correctly before making my first toile.

Toile 1

Observations

  • Hip gores start too low
  • Too much bulge over abdomen
  • Excess fabric over hip
  • Excess fabric over bust

Toile amendments (work on the half)

  1. Raise waist line up by 1cm on all pieces ( which would lift up the hip gussets)
  2. Bust gore: pinch out 1cm24
  3. Side bust gusset: panel pinch out 3 cm. Reshape upper edge. Reshape curve toward back to flatten it. Initially I was going to take the 3 cm from the centre of the piece but realised I would have too much of an angle at the centre point. Instead I took out 3 x 1cm equally spaced throughout the piece.25
  4. Front hip gusset:. pinch out 1cm from centre lower edge to 0 at upper edge . Then reduce lower edge by 1cm reshaping main S bend curve.26-127-1
  5. Front: Pivot pattern piece from waist down to move the seam over by 1cm this will eliminate some of the bulging over the abdomen. Pinch out 0.5m from main A bend curve at waist.28-1
  6. Back: Pinch out 1.5cm from lower edge over hip.29-1
  7.  Back hip gore: Pinch out 2.5cm from lower edge

Toile 2

For the second toile I considered construction methods and tested out how the final corset would be pieced together, this time also including the double stitching line and bone pockets.

For the boning I used a combination of spiral and flat steel bones. The flat steels were only used in the centre back panels to provide support either side of the eyelets. The Flexible steel was inserted into external Bone casings. This adds support but also allows for flexibility

Observation: This toile also allowed me to determine their placement. As I had taken out a fair amount of room over the hips I may not be able to use as many channels as were illustrated in the patent sketch.

Busk: I had determined that I would use a 14″ busk for the final corset. However for the sake of this toile I used something slightly shorter as my supplies were yet to arrive.

 

C1870-1879: MAROON AND MUSHROOM CORSET: CARROW HOUSE: COSTUME AND TEXTILE ARCHIVE (NORWICH, UK)

Record Number
NWHCM: 1967.567.37

Summary
Dated 1870-1879

This spoon busked corset is constructed using alternative panels of maroon and mushroom cotton twill. The corset is stiffened with corded panels used vertically in the front sections over the bust and horizontally over the hips. Cording was a popular method often used in addition and as an alternative to whalebone. Cording was the application of sandwiching twisted cord (usually hemp, cotton or paper) between two layers of fabric. As the cords were inserted they were stitched in place on either side. Once the cloth was constructed the shaped panels could be cut. Depending on how the panels were cut the direction of the cording could be controlled. As in the case of this example cording was also viewed as a design detail. The corded panels provided suppleness to the gament whilst still controlling the wearer’s figure.

16. Laced Unlaced - 0100

The corset is boned in chanels of 3. The front section of boning finishes at the corded panel whereas the side of the corset features an external chanel running from top to bottom which breaks up the corded sections. The corset is trimmed with lace at the upper edge and also heavily decorated with contrast thread flossing over the bone casings at both top and bottom. It can also be seen over the corded bust panel. The bottom edge is machine bound. The centre back of the corset features 12 pairs of brass eyelets evenly spaced for the lacing.16. Laced Unlaced - 010216. Laced Unlaced - 0105

The spoon busk used at the centre front comprises of two parts and features 4 hook and eye closures. The design was distinctively wider at the lower edge and dished inward, going over the abdomen. The theory was the cupped metal shape would offer firm support md protection for the wearer’s lower organs.
The spoon busk was patented by Joseph Bekel in 1879 although there are plenty of early examples from the 1870’s featuring this innovation. With the combination of the cording and boning with the spoon busk made the corset heavier and a more restrictive garment. The spoon busk was a popular feature in corsets until the late 1890’s.

 

Spoon busk patent

Corset-Steel. No. 214,352. Patented April I5, 1879.

US214352-0

Description

WITNESSES: INVENTOR: WMWQKM ZQ 0/7 B x uAA/vw A’TTSENEYS.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE.

JOSEPH BEOKEL, OF NEW YORK, N. Y.

IMPROVEMENT IN CORSET-STEELS.

Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 214,352, dated April 15, 1879 application filed March 14, 1879.

To all whom it may concern:

“Be it known thar I, JOSEPH BECKEL, of the city, county, and State of New York, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Corset-Steels, of which the following is a specification.

Figure 1 represents the outer side of a set of corset-steels to which my improvement has been applied. Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the inner side of the same. Fig. 3 is a detail section of the same, taken through the line as m, Fig. l.

The object of this invention is to furnish steels for long corsets which shall be so constructed as to prevent their lower ends from hurting their wearers when the said wearers are sitting down.

The invention consists in steels for long corsets, having their lower ends bent inward, and provided upon their inner sides with pads, as hereinafter fully described.

Similar letters of reference indicate corresponding parts.

A B represent a set of corsetsteels, which are secured to each other by loops 0 and pins or knobs D, in the usual way. The lower ends of the steels A B are bent inward slightly, and have pads E attached to their inner sides, as shown in Figs. 2 and 3.

By this construction the pads E will prevent the lower ends of the steels A B from hurting the wearer when she sits down. With this construction long corsets can be worn with ease and com fort, so that the advantages from their use can be had without the annoyance hitherto experienced by their wearers when sitting down.

Having thus described my invention, I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent- Steels A B for long corsets, having their lower ends bent inward, and provided upon their inner sides with pads E, substantially as herein shown and described.”

JOSEPH BECKEL

References

Doyle, R (1997) Waisted efforts- An illustrated guide to corsetry. Sartorial Press Publications. Ontario, Canada

Corset-Steel. No. 214,352.  Patented April I5, 1879.  http://www.google.com/patents/US214352

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C1600-1699: Leather Stays: CARROW HOUSE: COSTUME AND TEXTILE ARCHIVE (NORWICH, UK)

Record Number
NWHCM: 1966.259

Summary
Dated 1600-1699
These back lacing Stays of heavy leather with stomacher front are constructed from 3 main pieces joined by Streatley stitching*. The front section of the stays is very wide at the top featuring a square neckline and tapers down at the waist. The leather at the front is covered with green fustian* and bordered by panels of brown wool. The top edges are covered with linen tape. The stays have 10 pairs of stamped and pressed eyelet holes impersonating hand worked eyelets. Scoring on the leather is used to represent stitching down the centre back. There are eyelet holes along the upper edge so that shoulder straps could be attached. Tabs at the lower edge would splay out over skirts. 

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FRONT: Green fustain covered leather stays

The term Fustian is derived from Al-Fusṭāṭ, suburb of Cairo in Ad 200, where textiles were manufactured. It eventually spread to Europe where there were guilds of fustain weavers by the 13th Century. According to Wilhelmsen, fustian is the oldest cotton  fabric mentioned in English.

Fustian belongs to a wide group of fabrics that are characterized by their piled surface including moleskin, velveteen and corduroy. Fustain is also a subset within that group of fabrics in which the pile is produced by weaving two sets of cotton wefts or fillings, on a linen warp.

‘In all fustians one of the sets of filling yarns is made up of floats (yarns that skip over two or more adjacent warp yarns). When a pile fabric is desired, the weft floats must be cut, a process originally performed by hand with a fustian knife but now done mechanically. The pile is brushed, sheared, and singed, and finally the fabric is bleached and dyed’

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SIDE: Panels joined by Streatley stitch

Streatley stitch used to join the stays panels is typically classed as a Glover’s stitch and can be described as being a combination of a backstitch and overcast stitch butting two pieces together. ‘It is made by passing the needle twice through the same hole’. The thread must be kept behind the needle (right hand side) at the second stitch. it makes the horizontal stitch and then the diagonal as it passes the thread on to the next horizontal. (Edwards) The stitch has a characteristic pattern of Z shapes on one side and x shapes on the other.

BACK: Leather scored vertically to imitate stitching

BACK: Leather scored vertically to imitate stitching

REFERENCES

EDITORS (2014) http://www.britannica.com/topic/fustian

EDITORS (UNKNOWN) Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton,

EDITORS (UNKNOWN) http://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/traded-goods-dictionary/1550-1820/fullers-earth-fustian

EDWARDS, I (1929) Practical glove making. Pitman publishing Corporation. New York

 

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