C.1885-1890. Mid to late 1880's and is the typical heavily gored and gusseted style of the bustle era.
Bodices were very tight fitting, so a corset
was required to mould every lump and bump on the bodice. This corset would have been worn by a very busty and hippy lady. The bust
have gores in them and are "boned" to support a large bust (would fit a C- D cup). The hip area of the corset features elastic gussets, and the sides are "boned" with vertical and horizontal "boning" for extra control.
When I mention "boning", the corset is actually boned with cording made of a hemp like material. This meant it was probably worn by a working class lady, and would have made it sturdy and more comfortable to wear instead of whalebone, although there are watchspring bones at the sides
, back, and one at the front.
It is in wearable condition with extreme care.
No antique corsets should be worn very often. Some damage is evident. At the back
of the corset at the top of the lacing holes and at the front bottom point of the corset, it looks like something has chewed on it ( a mouse?). The fifth grommet from the bottom on the right side is also pulled out. There is wear to the top and bottom finishing around the edges of the corset. Some of the hemp "boning" is sticking through. There is also the typical rust and yellow colored "age staining" typically found on old cotton and the elastic in all 6 gussets have ceased a long time ago to be elastic. The coutil is still very strong and the bust gores have zig-zag gold thread embroidery on them.
I must mention that this corset has been renovated sometime during the late Victorian or Edwardian era. The corset used to have a curved busk, but on closer inspection, it looks like it was taken out, probably when the straight busk became fashionable, or either ripped out as was common. Busks are sharp and tended to cut the material. The corset was sewn togther with what looks like old treadle machine stitches at the front to make a closed front. The new seam at the front was then finshed by sewing a long peice of lace over
the seam on the inside. Most corsets were thrown out when the busks ripped out or when fashions changed, but a working class woman
couldn't really afford to do this especially if the rest of the corset was comfy and wearable. It just goes to show that recycling was present even over 100 years ago!
It probably was a size 26 corset but since the busk is out, the waist measures 25". It is quite a shortwaisted corset. I'm 5'9" and relatively shortwaisted for someone of my height, but this corset is too short on me. Someone who is 5'6" and under, shortwaisted with a natural waist of around 30" would have fit into this.
(Formerly L. Hidic)