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Transcript of Corset Timeline
17th Century Corsets
Corsets in the 17th century were mostly made from linen and bones with reeds, bents or whale bone. The neckline of the corset ranges from high neck, to very low. During this time the corset helped to accentuate the bust and put more emphasis on the décolletage. Sleeves were sometimes attached to the corset, and soon the lacing became part of the decorative features of the corset, with women adding ribbons to them.
18th Century Corsets
In the beginning of the eighteenth century, corsets or stays as they were referred to during this time were an inverted conical shape; they were long and pointed at the front which would sit over the skirt a woman would wear. Throughout the beginning of the eighteenth century stays were covered in decorative silks and were most often
Early 19th Century Corsets
During the early nineteenth century stays were soft and had a very natural shape, the stays were made when women were mostly wearing long, flowing and very high waisted dresses. The stays were constructed from satin, cotton silk or linen, again they weren’t made up of much boning at all, support in these stays were from quilting or cording, a stiff busk was also put into the front of the stays, these were made from ivory, whale bone, steel or wood. The stays were laced up at the back, and they always had shoulder straps attached to them. During this time the stays were worn to push up the bust, flatten the stomach and minimise the emphasis on the hips.
Mid 19th Century Corsets
Late 19th Century Corsets
The late nineteenth century brought on the most extreme tight lacing and rigid corsetry, the small waist was most important during this time and bodices became so tight so that women could attain this image. Corsets during this time were made from satin, silk, jean or batiste, they were more often than not decorated beautifully and while the main staple corset colours were still used, this era brought on the most vibrant colour choses for the corsets as well. Whalebone boning was soon becoming too expensive and hard to find, watch spring which was cheap and flexible was then used in a lot of corsets. In the late 1870’s ‘health’ corsets were brought in, these were designed to get rid of the rigidness of original corsets, some also added shoulder straps for women with larger busts.
20th Century Corsets- 1900's
During the early 1900’s the shape of fashion had changes once again, the small waist was still popular, but fuller and more round hips were now part of it, therefore the corset had to change again. The curved busk of older corsets was now thought of as unhealthy and so a straight busk was introduced and used in newer corsets, this gave women a more upright position and opened up the diaphragm which allowed breathing to become easier. The corsets during this time used cutting techniques over boning to give the corset a unique shape. Most corsets had stockings and suspenders attached on the bottom, they were still made with fabrics such as jean, satin, batiste, although silk was becoming more and more preferred as corsets were beginning to be seen as more lingerie then every day wear.
20th Century Corsets- 1910 and Onwards
During this time high waists and long slim figures were popular again, a full bust was still popular, but the waist, stomach and hips had to be the measure in width. Corsets during this time no longer came up to support the bust, and the end of the corset was just before the bust line, the corsets became much longer and sometimes ended mid-thigh. The waist of the corset was placed on a women’s actual waist to be able to reduce the size of the hip, and so it wasn’t able to reduce the woman’s waist extremely. Minimum boning was used, with an average of twelve in each corset. Traditional fabrics for the corset were still very popular, these included broche, silk, jean and coutil.
worn as a visible part of a woman’s outfit, closer to the middle and end of the century stays became more of an undergarment, with the outer layers made from basic silks or linens. The stays were most often laced at the back, but sometimes they featured a lace opening down the middle, there was usually a boned stomacher piece that fit in behind the lacing. The stays were quite comfortable and didn’t restrict breathing, less boning was put into the stays and in the 1770’s there was a new importance to enhance the bust, which meant that there was several horizontal lines of boning, sometimes metal boning was used to give a more shapely and rounded bust.
Throughout the mid nineteenth century, the soft long corsets were gone and replaced with heavily bones and rigid corsetry; tight lacing was very popular as many women tried to achieve a small waist. Older corsets which support was only from quilting did not have enough support for women to get their small waists, so newer corsets were made with boning. Corsets were made from wool, satins, silks and cottons during the mid nineteenth century. The newer corsets came up to mid bust line, again pushing the bust upwards, they also had a flared end to cover flesh and fat that displaced from the compression of the waist. In 1848 the first front fastening busks were invented, this changes corsetry as it allowed women to put on their own corsets and saved a lot of time for women to get dressed.