A 1880s-1890s Bodice

About a month ago I bought a great late 19th century bodice. I got it on a whim, thinking from the photos that it didn’t look like it was made out of silk. I’ve been trying to avoid silk because I can’t take care of it as well as bast fibers. Well, when I unpacked the bodice, I found that it was completely cotton! Tiny happy dance.

DSCN0168 DSCN0177

The bodice is sized for a teenager. This means that the style it is made in is neither for a woman or a child – it’s like transitional fashion. I’m guessing it was worn with a long skirt, as women wore, but there’s a possibility that it was worn with a mid-calf skirt, the way tweens dressed. I’m not completely sure yet.

DSCN0180

Fully lined in that ubiquitous glazed brown cotton. The bodices closes with a long row of hooks & eyes, and two rusty straight pins still in place. I’m not sure how the collar stayed put, though, there are no pins, hooks & eyes, or pinholes anywhere on it.

It’s completely handsewn, except for the topstitching on the flap at the front, the cuffs, and the little red sleeve caps. It was probably made from a pattern by a fairly experienced but non-professional seamstress – it’s a complex pattern, but I can see where the seams were once sewn in, ripped out and resewn. So … there’s no tag. Nothing that would make tracking it down easier. Boo.

It doesn’t have any boning or boning channels, which kind of strikes me as odd for a bodice from this period – but unboned bodices from the 1880s-1890s are out there.

So I know it’s from the 1880 or 1890s. I’m figuring between 1885-1895, because the sleeves are just a little gathered underneath the sleeve caps, hinting at those huge ridiculous poofy sleeves that came into fashion in the 1890s. It doesn’t have the long slender waists of the 1870s/early 1880s, either, which were called cuirass bodices.

DSCN0184

Sleeve cap from the front

DSCN0186

From the top, with the cap folded up showing gathered shoulder

Here are some similar bodices, all from the early 1890s.

2

This lavender silk bodice has similar sleeve caps, though larger, and a similar waistline. I can’t see how this one closes, possibly along one of the bands of beading in front.

4

Another bodice with the same sleeves, sleeve caps, and waistline. I can’t see how it closes but it must be down the side.

3

Found on Pinterest

Advertisements

About Amanda Goebel

I'm an Anthropology / Fashion History and Material Culture graduate from The University of Delaware, currently working on a Master's in Museum Studies. I'm a living historian interested in costume and culture from years before. I love researching the mundane and the everyday that has changed or disappeared since. I re-enact the 18th century, and I recreate clothing from that time. This blog is where I'll write about my research and projects. View all posts by Amanda Goebel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: