fashion

C1941/42 AVRO LACED BACK CORSET WITH BELT (UTILITY) PART 1

Summary: Avro laced back corset with belt

Maker: Avro

Model: UB902F Utility 1941/1942

Place of Origin: Britain C1941/42

Materials and Techniques: Cotton Coutil, rayon elastic inserts, metal eyelets, steel

Outer: Two part corset comprising of 5 panels either side in a single layer of coutil. It has a split front busk and lacing at the centre back supported each side with two bones of flat steel. The centre front and centre back panels are faced. Seams are backed with single casings of herringbone weave tape encasing the boning. The top and lower edges are bound in a ribbon tape.

Inner: The corset features A deep underbelt with wide elastic panels attached into the side seams of the outer corset. It features a hook and eye fastening at the front that sits directly beneath the busk.

The underbelt is constructed with a double layer of coutil which sandwiches the woven elastic panels. The additional underbelt in the garment would have been constricting, providing firm support to the abdomen and flattening the stomach.

The corset features 2 sets of 28mm suspender joining the outer and inner corsets with metal suspenders and adjusters.

21.5cm Busk

19 sets of eyelets spaced 2cm apart

Construction:

The corset is machine stitched  (13 stitches per Inch). The panels are joined together using the felled seam method encasing all the raw edge and pushing the seam toward the back. The seams have a double row of stitching. 18mm bone casings are applied to the inside of the garment. The front two bone channels do not follow the panel shape stitched down vertically instead.
The corset is boned using flat steels either side of the eyelets at the centre back and wide 9/10mm spiral steels in the bone casings. The spiral steels do not finish the entire length of the bone channel providing some ease of movement for the wearer

Dimensions

Cf depth: 34.5CM CB depth 37cm

Waist circumference 26″: Hip: 35″

Label:

UR170G, Avro Corsetry- UB902F, Laced back corset with belt, Specification 9033, Type 3, Size assortments, 26 x 32, 33 x 36

UTILITY CLOTHING

The Utility scheme was introduced toward the end of 1941 in response to the shortage of raw materials and labour for the war effort. Utility clothing was marked with the CC41 ‘controlled commodity’ mark. The mark meant the item met the governments austerity regulations and assured customers that the clothes were reasonably priced and of good quality.

The board of trade sponsored the creation of several ranges of utility clothing which were subject to austerity regulations. They restricted the amount of cloth, type of decoration and also the amount of time for manufacture. (Limitation of supplies cloth and apparel order 1941).

These restrictions also applied to the manufacture of corsetry. Steel that would have been used for corsets was used in favour for munitions. As men went to war women replaced mens roles in the the factories and the demand for practical clothing grew.

With regulations in place and CC41 marked clothing became popular skirts hems rose. Waists were nipped in conserving fabric for the war effort. Slacks were also worn made popular by the film star Katharine Hepburn. Silk and wool were highly uncommon. Silk was used for parachutes and wool for soldiers blankets. Cotton was also rationed though not so heavily. Rayon became the number one choice of fabric for the 40’s as it was readily available and relatively inexpensive.

To further economise, the Making of Civilian Clothing (restriction orders) was passed in 1942. This forbade wasteful cutting of clothes and set list of restrictions that Tailors and dressmakers had to work to. For example, dresses could have no more than 2 pockets, 5 buttons, 6 seams in a skirt, 2 inverted or box pleats or 4 knife pleats and no more than 4 metres of stitching. No unnecessary decoration was allowed.

The term ‘Utility’ became synonymous with austerity shortages and rationing.

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C1880- 1885 CHILD’S STAY BAND: SYMINGTON CORSET COLLECTION: COLLECTION RESOURCES CENTRE (BARROW-ON-SOAR, UK)

Record Number

Summary

Dated: C1880-1885

Child’s stay band from the Symington collection of corsetry.  Constructed from red sateen with hessian interlining and cotton twill lining. The stay band has an adjustable wraparound strap and fastens using hooks and eyes. The front and back of the garment are corded for support as well as providing additional warmth for the infants body.

Stay bands would have been worn by both sexes from babyhood through early development. They were flat panels of cloth that wrapped around the body and fastened with straps that passed through slots at the front. They were typically made from cotton and interlined with hessian and corded or quilted at the front and back. Whilst there was no shaping or restriction to the stay band, the garment supported the body and believed  to prevent deformity of the spine.  Children wore stay bands until around the age of eight when boys were breeched and girls would begin to wear specifically designed corsets. Almost all children’s corsets had adjustable features to allow for growth of the body.

1

Front view shows vertical cording either side of the centre

3

Opened stay band shows further sections of cording around the garment in vertical strips

4

1913 STRAIGHT FRONT CORSET: SYMINGTON CORSET COLLECTION: COLLECTION RESOURCES CENTRE (BARROW-ON-SOAR, UK)

Museum Reference

D1

Summary

Dated: 1913

This corset is constructed in two parts made from white open weave cotton and printed with blue mock chain stitch circles. The cotton net was lightweight and breathable allowing air to pass through the holes and kept the skin cool when worn making the corset suitable for summer wear.

This long line style corset is cut under the bust line and finishes over  the thigh with a  dipped hem at the back to sit over the buttocks. The actual waist line was lifted higher than the natural waist so that extreme restriction could not be achieved. Corsets from 1910 featured a straight front but their function was not to compress the waist. The S- bend corset was cut low freeing and no longer supporting the breast. It pushed the stomach and pelvis in, hips and buttocks back and the shoulder and bosom forward creating the pouter-pigeon mono-bosom that was popular with Edwardian fashion.

The corset fastens at the front with a 10″ flat narrow split busk that does not run the full length of the garment. The bottom is left open at the front. The corset is firmly boned with flat steel double bones encased in channels at each seam. Even though the cut of the corset is long the bones only finish part way down the channels to allow some ease of movement to the lower half of the body though still providing support and control. The corset features 4 x plain adjustable suspender.

Trimming is minimal on corsets of this period, most only having lace around the top edge. This corset is finished with a layer cut from the cotton net applied to the upper edge and is  bound at the lower edge with twill tape.

Dimensions

Waist circumference: 24″

Side Depth: 18″

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. 

image

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’

image

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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