Corset Cover

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ca. 1890s-1900s

Provenance: none, probably USA

Label: none, homemade

X.2014.057

Homemade linen and cotton lace corset cover. Closes down front with four varied shell buttons. Handmade buttonholes, hand finished.

This linen corset cover was homemade from an assortment of pieces of linen, four mismatched buttons, and less than a yard each of two types of cotton lace. The body of the corset cover was assembled by machine fairly crudely, though all seams were flat felled. More time and effort was put into carefully setting the vandyked cotton lace into the linen body at the neckline. The arm holes have been faced with a narrow strip of linen, and the waistband is two separate applied pieces (both pieced) with the body of the cover gathered to them.

Corset covers were worn over a corset, but underneath the outer dress, blouse or bodice. In The Dictionary of Fashion History (Valerie Cummung, C. W. Cunnington and P. E. Cunnington, 2010, p. 56) the authors note that sometimes corset covers were sold or made in sets with a matching petticoat.

While it’s difficult to compare vintage sizes with modern sizes due to changes in body shape from corseting, a general conclusion can be drawn here. This corset cover would have fit a woman who (though her waist would have been somewhat smaller) would have been about a dress size 6 today.

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The back, made of three different pieces.

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Hand-worked buttonhole at the center front waist. Also, note how the threads from the machine topstitching were double-knotted together and trimmed short at the corner.

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The inside of the front and back.

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The carefully finished vandyking at the top of the shoulder, from the inside.

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