Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Look into Lining!

I've been on the cusp of lining my corset for the last few months now and I'm really hoping to be able to get round to it at some point soon - we can but dream! So this is just a quick study on how the stays in the museum are lined and the reasons and techniques that seem to be behind it. - just so that I'm ready when I can finally get round to it.


(all images courtesy of the Fashion Museum Bath and North East Somerset Council)

Details: (or basic observations)
-This pair of stays reflects the apparantly standard technique of lining the tabs first and then laying the body pieces down after. You can tell this by the way the body lining is sewn down along the top of the tabs and not the other way round.
- This corset has 5 inner tabs in-between the CF point and the CB tab.
- This particular corset has had the 'Under-arm strip' sewn on after the lining has been sewn down.
Image courtesy of the Fashion Musuem, Bath and N. E Somerset Council
- As far as I can tell from my photo's, there is definitely one side of the lining (along the eyeletted edges on one half at the CB) that is not sewn down but remains loose. It is hard to see from my photo's if it is just one side; there does seem to be possible stitching marks when I look closely at one of the photo's but they are not definite. The reason I mention this is I have often been confused as to why some of the corsets have this one 'open-side' but the other side is firmly sewn down. There must be a reason. I've included an image of the 'open-side' so you can see what I'm prattling on about. For example, the other BATMC 1.27.85 has one side sewn down and one side loose as well.
-  There are three main body panels to the lining: The CF and the two CB's.I don't see how this doesn't make the lining very baggy compared to the corset as it cannot have the same shaping involved in just one piece compared to the two or three panels on the front, however the above image does not look so badly baggy as I imagine it should. Then beneath each of these panels are the tabs pieces sewn individually to each tab except where they've been grown-on.
- The CB panels have been cut with the first tab nearest the CF grown-on and also, the right side CB piece 
(that is, right when you look at the photo) also has the CB tab grown-on within that same piece of lining. The opposite side doesn't have this piece grown-on but treats it as a separate piece.
Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and N. E.Somerset Council
- This particular corset has a side panel inserted between the CF and CB on the front side. You can see it clearly from the silhouette outline of the corset where there is a step between the first tab and the CF point.. There could be many reasons for this insertion. In my mind though, logically, I think it's most likely to be that this section was inserted after the corset was made so as to make it bigger. If this is so, then that means that the corset was re-lined once this section was added. Which also means they re-trimmed the whole of the corset at the same time, as the trim remains unbroken and of the same piece when it crosses this inserted panel.
- Just to carry on this thread of logic, it also means the under-arm piece was sewn after the alteration was made as it is not included inside the lining. Unless, of course, it wasn't standard practise to sew this 'under-arm piece' under the lining.
- There also seems to be a strip sewn on along the edge of the CB where the eyelets are - possibly as a protective layer, but my photo's are unclear as to where this ends and how it is sewn on. You can see it in the top photo as a slight 'step' in the outline that shows there's a piece sewn on. (Look far left at the first eyelet at the bottom).
- I've also included some close-up images of the lining. 

Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and N. E Somerset Council


(Image Courtesy of the Fashion Museum , Bath and North East Somerset Council)

- Again, tabs sewn down first and then the main body of the lining sewn afterwards. There are 6 inner tabs in-between the CF point and the CB tabs.
- And, as far as I can see (when zooming in); the main body of lining is also in three parts with the seam coming around-about the place of the beginning of the Side Back Panel, just after the second tab.
- The CF panel is a complete one piece that includes the CF point but has the first and second tab treated separately.
- On this corset, you can see from the photo, that the Under-arm tab has been sewn down before it was lined.
Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and N.E Somerset Council
- Another interesting detail is that you can see the abrasion from the two inside front bones on the lining - like shadows, and therefore you get to see their positioning and see how thick they are.
- I can't tell from my photo's whether or not the lining has been sewn down or left loose on this on at all, they are just too vague and I thought I'd remembered to take a photo of this particular detail as I'd noticed it on the very first corset I'd looked at - but obviously I hadn't remembered as there's no record. Oh well. Maybe next time I go up...
- Edge trimmed with a soft leather, the same as the 'under-arm' piece.


Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and N. E.Somerset Council

- As with the corset above (BATMC 1.27.865) the CF panel covers upto the second tab, although with this pair the seam sits slightly nearer to the CF, about midway accross the second tab.
- Again the corset is sewn with three panels - a CF panel and the two CB panels on either side.
- On this particular corset none of the tabs are grown-on, all are sewn indiviually with the main body of lining sewn down on top - this does not include the CF point. There are 7 inner tabs on this corset running in-between the CF tab and the CB tabs.
Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and N.E  Somerset Council
- There's an interesting detail seen on this corset through the tear at the CF, which shows the panel having been lined with a layer of canvas. BATMC 1.27.865 also seems to have this oppurtunity to look at the under layer but the tear does not show so much. I will say though, that this is possibly only for the CF, maybe as extra support or even it could be the Centre Busks compartment as when lifting up the loose lining section near the eyelets on the one side, you can see the sticthing marks of the boning. (see opposite).
- Edge trimmed with a woven herringbone tape by the looks of it.

.BATMC 1.27.44:
Image courtesy of the Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council
This is such a beautiful crisp looking job. See how neat the lines are and how clean it all looks - and I don't just mean the lack of stains - I mean the preciseness of it. It's just lovely. So...
- Again, the corset is lined with three main body panels, the CF which in this case runs to the end of the third tab and then the CB panel which covers to the eyelets.
- None of the tabs are grown-on apart from the CF tab.
- There are 8 inner tabs between the CF tab and the CB tabs.I wonder if this has to do with the size of the person rather than just style? Just a thought.
- I haven't recorded whether or not this corset has an open CB lining or not.
- There are does seem to be a slight shadow of a top bust line inner boning. running almost along the egde.

Monday, 10 June 2013


This is worth writing in CAPITALS! 
The tailors where I did my work experience once told me that the tailors that trained him used to chew on cotton threads so that when they pricked themselves and bled a little on the garment they were working on they could take the spittal-soaked ball of cotton and dab it on the blood and it would come off. He explained that only the person's spit whose blood it was could clean the blood up.
I liked the detail as a bit of social history and a pictoral fact, and imagined them crossed legged on the table, hunched over their sewing and chewing cotton.

BUT! I have just been sewing the final stages of yet another sample for a shift, in expensive linen and all white and glorious, and I don't even know what happened, except that while I was on the machine I felt a tug on my finger and the next minute there was a large (about 5mm) blob of blood on my white linen. Panic! This was supposed to be for photographs! 
So I shoved a bundle of the thread I'd been slowly chopping of and gathering into a little pile, into my mouth and chewed and sucked and got it all moist and dabbed it on the blood, and dabbed it on the blood, and got an off-cut of linen and held it on the back and re-sucked some more thread and dabbed it on, and dabbed it on. And do you know what! It's all gone! It really has.