Sunday, October 04, 2009

Corseting Tascha

18th and 19th century dolls were both plaything and teacher for little girls. Not only did they provide a friend to play with and hours of loving company, but they also taught little ones rules of fashionable dress and how to be a proper little ladye. As some modern dollys teach how to tie shoe laces, some early dolls taught how to tie up a corset or set of stays.

Tascha is an antique 1830 mache doll on milliner body with carved wood arms and legs. I dressed her as a fashionable ladye of the time, which required her to slip on her pantaloon and chemise first, before her new corset. To corset dolly, first I lay the corset, with back fully undone, over the front of her, where it is intended to fit

The top of the corset should come up to, bit not overlapping the shoulder plate. 1830 corsets were meant to compress and flatten everything, even the bust. Towards the latter 1830s, gussets were inserted to allow fullness in the breast, but still retaining the sleek flat lines

I then flip dolly over on her tummy, and hold the lace directly in the center. Each end is then thread onto a blunt eye tapestry needle, and the back of the corset is very loosely laced down both sides, from the top to the hips, going thru every other hole, just like a shoe is laced. At this point , we just want the laces to run thru each hole, with even amount at the excess of each side.
I flip dollye back over, and tie her shoulder straps in bows, tucking the excess lace ends into the corset under the arms. Women would usually just tie and knot these laces, and cut off the excess, as they would shimmy in and out of them without bothering to untie the shoulder straps.

Flipping dollye back around, you can see her corset fully laced, very loosely, with the ends hanging. For Tascha's little corset, her back lacing is over a yard long.

Starting at the top, and slipping your index finger under the first set of 2 laces, where they cross and make an "x", gently pull up and snug up the laces in pairs, to draw in both sides at the same time, and follow this down all the way to the bottom.

A properly fit corset will have a wide gap in the back. Once the fit suits the wearer, the laces are tied in a double bow at the bottom, the excess coiled and tucked up within the corset.

With her wide wooden busk running the full length of the corset, Tascha could never ever bend at the waist! The hips are well enclosed by it as well, making sitting a very uncomfortable affiar for a fashinable ladye of the time. Furniture of the period recognized this, and chairs were made differently for men and women. A ladyes chair was not as deep in the seat as a mans', and often had no arms, or arms that only extended half way to the edge of the seat, to afford her a little more comfort whilst trying to balance herself on the edge of it.


Barbara said...

I'm SO glad I didn't live back then!!! I would have been in so much trouble all the time for either loose corset strings or no corset at all!! Knowing me, it would have been NO CORSET!
LY, Mom

Maide said...

Oh..what a great and gorgeous doll
creation. Your blog is just beautiful...will follow :-)

Greetings Maide