Saturday, 25 January 2014

Up close and personal - Early 1850s peplum bodice

Welcome to the second "up close and personal" blog posts where I get up close and personal with some of the items in my collection.  Today is this lovely beige moire silk c.1853-55 peplum bodice.  I purchased this beauty from the lovely L.Hidic at CorsetsandCrinolines and she in turn had bought it from a dealer who had let his daughter's pet rabbit munch on the back peplums :(  Anyway, on with the photos!

Please excuse my dress making dummy and she's a little too well proportioned for this bodice.  If i ever get a chance to model it on a smaller one I'll retake the photo.  In the meantime you can see how it looks fastened here on the previous owners website.  As you can see it is a beautiful v-necked bodice designed to be worn over a chemisette.  The bust measures 32" and the waist 24 1/2".

The sleeves are made from three pieces, the first straight, the second double ruched then the last being the bell sleeve.  

The bodice has lovely blue and white trim and pale yellow (rather than discoloured) and dark blue fringe.

The v-shape of the neckline is mirrored by the addition of two pieces that run from the waist at the front, across the shoulders and to the back.  The join in hidden by the trim.  Peeking underneath we can see the true colour of the bodice which is a little more pink than what we see today.  We can also see from these photos that the peplums were cut as part of the bodice and not added separately.  Both the v-shape and the peplums help to show off the already very tiny waist.

On to the inside of the bodice now.  Here you can see the design of the bodice more clearly without the distraction of all the trim.  Please ignore the dark line going down the center back, it's unfortunately damage due to it being stored folded at some time.

The peplums have not been lined.  Rather cleverly the maker has turned the seam allowance towards the fashion fabric and then hidden it with the trim (on all but the front two peplums that have been seamed in the normal fashion).  

The main bodice is lined in cotton, is not boned and is completely hand sewn.

The sleeves have been lined in two separate sections with the bottom unlined.  The first is very loose weave and soft with no real body, the second to which the ruching is secured is again very loose weave (see close-up) and feels like stiff organdy.  The bottom of the sleeve has been cut on the selvedge edge.

The bodice fastens at the front with three brass hooks and eyes.  There are also two pieces of tape sewn at the front just at the bottom of the hooks and eyes.  The first is wider and sewn doubled up, the second is thinner and single thickness and may have been longer as the edge is frayed.  If anyone knows what these mysterious bits of tape are for please let me know.  I have a slightly older 1850s basque bodice that has cotton ties coming from the inner back waist with a hook and eye to secure the bodice at the front but those point sideways whilst these ones are pointing downward so it doesn't really make sense for them serve the same purpose.  I can only wonder if the cotton tape on this bodice had something to do with keeping the skirt and bodice from separating?  

That's all the photos of this bodice for now.  I have two more basque bodices that will feature in the future, one from the late 1850s and the other from the early 1870s.  I've also a couple of articles in the works and I will finally put together and photograph my knitted scarf!  Please follow this blog to get updates and/or join us on facebook where I post updates on this blog as well as lots of Victorian and Regency eye candy :)