Monday, 14 March 2011

Research - Undergarments from the period

This section of research is necessary as it is important to know what undergarments were used to give the different silhouette shapes of the 19th century. It shall also help inform my choice in which undergarments to put on my mannequin while cutting for the different styles throughout the period.

This image shows quite well the changing silhouettes throughout the nineteenth (and twentieth) century. All would have been supported by different structures and shapes of undergarments and these are essential in creating the shapes I need for my toiles.
Image from :

Corsets; 1831, 1862, 1879, 1880, 1886 from Dress and Undress, Ewing. E.
These corsets I compiled together show how the shape of the corset does not vary dramatically  through the century, excluding the beginning of the century where bust improver's were worn. The length and style varies but not particularly the overall shape.
1890s bodices. Dress and Undress, Ewing. E.
Later in the century as the fashion was beginning to change, and under garments were becoming less restrictive, heavily boned bust bodices were worn. As I am not producing a piece from this late in the century I shall not be using this type of undergarment it is however interesting to compare silhouette with that of the corset.
Petticoats and crinolines; 1800, 1830, 1858, 1868, 1872. Dress and Undress, Ewing.E.
It is interesting to see here the changing shape of skirt throughout the century and where the volume changes from around to the back.

The silhouettes created by these different undergarments are dramatic and I find interesting the different draping and manipulation techniques required to cover these structures. I hope to learn some of this during my project and also learn more about how the different undergarments work together, for pattern drafting but also my general costume knowledge. I was interested to see that the corsets did not change dramatically in shape as the skirts had done, although some were more restrictive and tightly laced. I also researched into petticoats, and found they were worn on their own with a bustle earlier in the century, and then over crinolines later on, to reduce the hard lines of the boning and give a softer effect to the skirts.

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