Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pink brocade Au Royal corset

Spain. c.1911-1913. An early 1910's longline corset made from bow patterned pink brocade. Although it does not have any brand stamp, it does have the same model number (T- 54 and E/5) and maker's pencil marks as two other Au Royal corsets from Madrid, Spain in the collection. Au Royal Corsets were based at 13, Fuencarral, 15- Madrid.

The top of the corset is edged in a wide band of finely made lace trim with pink silk ribbon inserts ending with a bow at the front. The front busk is curved which is slightly unusual for the 1910's but more common in European corsets than in North American longline corsets.

Although longline corsets were cut straighter and gave less waist reduction than earlier Edwardian corset gave, some early 1910's corsets still utilized diagonal seaming to give the body shaping. This model of corset uses an unusual placement of diagonal seams with the seams running towards the back rather than to the front. The corset is not lined and only the bottom inside edge is bound in twill tape.

The corset is boned with 18 spring steel bones, most of which are pre-curved to fit the figure better and shorten the breaking in time for a corset. The bottom front of the corset's skirt fastens with a hook and eye under the busk. The busk also has an ornate pointed busk hook sewn on top of the material. These are often seen on European corsets and were used to anchor the waistbands of petticoats, etc underneath it to stop them from riding up and creating bulk at the waist. Their second use was if you tied the excess ends of the corset lacing around your waist, you could anchor them underneath this hook to also prevent additional items at the waist.

Au Royal diagonal seam corset

The busk is fairly unusual for 1910's corsets as it is curved, most busks by this date are straight. The busk also has a ornate busk hook slotted into it to anchor down excess corset lacing and the waistbands of petticoats. The front bottom of the corset fastens with 3 sets of hook and eyes. Although this corset is typical of 1910's corsets with it's high waist placement and fashionable long line shape, it has two unusual features.

C.1910. A drab sateen corset made by Au Royal Corset 13 Fuencarral, 15. Madrid. The high, heart shaped bustline is covered in beige colored silk satin with a wide 4 3/4" band of scalloped lace trimming the top of the corset. Peach silk baby ribbon is threaded through the ribbon slots in the lace and a peach silk rosette (now shattering from age), decorates the top of the busk.

Most 1910' corsets have straight seams or some diagonal seaming left over from the S-bend styles of the early Edwardian era. This particular corset has diagonal and curved seams running to the back and front. The seams on this corset look like a cross between the backwards running seams of the late Victorian Y&N Diagonal Seam corset and the forward running seams of a typical early 1900's S-bend corset. The unusual seaming on this corset gives a more pronounced hourglass figure yet still retaining the slim fashionable lines of the 1910's. The second unusual feature on this corset are the metal loops sewn on the right hip. These were meant to attach stocking suspenders to but the lack of any on the left side is a mystery.

The corset is boned with whalebone along with flat side steels. The back steels are curved to follow the lines of the figure which allows for a smoother and comfortable fit. Silk flossing strengthen and decorates each bone casing.

Baleinage Extra "Ariston" along with the model number of 1800 is stamped in purple ink on the inside. The corset is not lined.
Measurements: Bust 32", Waist 22", Hips 35", Busk length 12", Front length 17 3/4", Back length 19".

Abdominal Corset

England. c.1910. A creme coutil lady's abdomen corset belt. These were worn by pregnant women as an alternative to the maternity corset, by women after surgery/pregnancy or by plus sized ladies who needed extra abdominal support. Elastic panels at the sides provided comfort while the

cotton twill belt provided the needed support and fit. The abdomen corset is boned with watchspring and adjusts like a regular corset at the back with lacing. There is decorative flossing on the bone casing in an effort to relieve the surgical starkness and add some femininity. Shell buttons placed around the corset enabled the wearer to button her petticoats and pantaloons to the corset.
Measurements: Waist 30".

Extremely Long 1910s corset

United States. c.1911-1912. A white longline corset made out of white coutil and trimmed with a band of scalloped lace around the top in which baby ribbon can be inserted. This corset is much longer than most 1910's corsets were made and dates to approximately when hobble skirts were in fashion. It is so long that on a woman with a height of 5'9", it would end at the upper mid thigh .area and would be even longer on a woman of shorter statue.

The corset still has some vestigial elements of early Edwardian corsetry such as a heart shaped bust which had been popular on turn of the century corsets and the use of diagonal seams with a long straight busk, a remnant from S bend corsets. The corset also has a waist which is nipped in more than most 1910's corsets found giving the wearer a more hourglass shape than a tubular shape.
The small waist paired up with the diagonal seaming, long, straight busk and extremely long hips, would have given the wearer a an elongated S bend shape. A sort of happy medium between the exaggerated S-bend shape of the turn of the century and the straight tubular shape of the 1910's.

The corset is not lined and is boned with flexible watchspring. The corset is old store stock and was never worn.

Measurements: Bust 26", Waist 17 1/2" although it is stamped as being 18", Hips 30 1/2", Front length 15 1/4", Back length 20", Busk length 11".

La Reine Cluny Lace corset

England. c.1922. A lightweight corset made out of panels of white cotton Cluny lace possibly made by Symington's (Market Harborough, Leicestershire). The corset is lightly bonedwith most of the figure support coming from the
horizontal bands of white cotton twill tapes although the bone casings are made up of white sateen. the corset only has two stocking suspenders and there is no evidence that it ever had anymore.
The cotton twill tape on the inside has "The La Reine Corset Qual. X. Patent no. 13336 17 Rustless and Fibress Back Supports".
Measurements: Underbust 26 1/2", Waist 23 1/2", Hips 30", Busk length 8 1/4".

M&K Hip Confiner corset

United States. c.1910-1914. A white coutil hip confiner corset made by the M & K Corset Company (Jackson, Mich.). This minimalist style of corset was popular with slender women who did not need the full support of or want to wear a longline corset. On a thin lady, it would have given light waist reduction and minimized the hips to that she could wear the newly fashionable narrow, tubular skirts. The hips are still deeply cut and shaped like the hips seen on an Edwardian S-bend corset. It was also an early form of the stocking suspender belt.
The corset has a short busk front and laces up the back. The only boning (watchspring boning) is found at the back on each side of the grommet holes.
Measurements: Waist 22", Busk length 7".

A. Simon corset

France. c.1911-1914. A pink coutil longline corset made in France by A. Simon (Paris).
The corset is fairly unusual in the fact it has a curved busk and that it is boned with whalebone. Curved busks, although common in the Victorian era, feel out of favor during the
early Edwardian era when the straight fronted corsets became fashionable. Longline corsets almost always used a straight busk so perhaps this was made for an older lady who was used to the curved busks of her youth? Whalebone was also very expensive and hard to obtain by the 1910's as whales had been hunted to near extinction so this would have been a very expensive corset to purchase although recycled whalebone from old corsets may have been used.
Pink "X" shape flossing decorated the bottom of most of the bone channels. The bottom front of the skirt fastens with hooks and eyes below the busk. A wide band of lace trim decorates the top edge of the corset while a pink silk bow and pink silk baby ribbon add a degree of softness to such a rigid structure. The corset is not lined but has contrasting white cotton twill bone casings and a cotton twill waist tape on the inside. The waist tape has "Garanti tout Baleine" on one side and "A. Simon ses corsets Btes S.G.O.G" on the other side.
Measurements: Underbust 27", Waist 22", Hips 33 1/2", Busk length 10".