Friday, November 23, 2012

c1785-95 Child's Soft Boned Bodice

  Cinching up tight....

   Emma is modeling a young girl's soft boned bodice, c1785-95.   This would have been worn as part of a gown, fully visible, with matching sleeves that pined onto the straps. It looks a bit wonky because Emma is wearing a later mid 19th c boat neck chemise underneath of it, instead of a proper shift.

Designed to grow with the child , the front lacing opening is covered by a wide flap that pins closed over it~ so as the child grows, and the front no longer touches when fully laced, the flap will cover this.  I have seen rare maternity stays with this feature as well, but to this this bodice's tiny size, and the fact the straps have two sets of eyelet holes as well, this is most definitely for a growing girl

There are horsehair pads stitched to each side in the back to help puff out the waistline of its matching skirt~ long since gone.  Note the sort of 'hump' you can see going across her shoulder blades horizontally,  this is not a seam, but where the boning in the back stops for the bodice straps to ease over the shoulders
The pads are stitched of coarse linen and stuffed hard in the ends with horsehair.  There is a line of stitching to keep all stuffing in a neat little roll at the end of the pad

Do not confuse a soft boned bodice for a set of stays. From the inside, it looks like a set of boned stays, and is constructed in nearly the same manner, but the outside is covered in a figured silk.  The reason I say 'soft boned' is because this bodice is ONLY boned at the back and front, with no fill at all in the sides

The shoulder straps have two sets of eyelet holes, Emma is wearing with them pined at the first, or shortest position. As a child grew, they could then move the straps to the outermost eyelet hole. Of I what I have seen of these early garments, most  would knot their shoulder straps somewhat permanently~ some even stitched them in place, and then would only have to do up the front or back laces of their stays or bodices when worn

The inside of the front flap is a gorgeous early 1740 powder blue silk damask, and not entirely one large piece either, but made up of several smaller pieces joined together, which again is fitting for a child's garment~ many were made from Mamma's olde cast off gowns


Kleidung um 1800 said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful garment in detail. I love to see how thoughtful it was constructed with all the adjusting parts (shoulder straps and front flaps.
The horsehair pads in the back, which are tucked under the skirt, are lovely as well. Everything seems so simple, yet so well though out.


Sherri Farley said...

Very interesting. I love seeing the construction methods of long ago. That may be a cast off of Mothers, but it's a lovely piece of fabric! The color still looks so vibrant.