Monday, February 20, 2012

Cutwork and Soutache Bodice, circa ? (date this bodice!) Part 2

Ok, now it's time to help me date this bodice!

My first inclination is that it's from the 1870s. I'm looking at the shoulders, primarily: the sleeve heads are very fitted, and have no hint of puff that makes me think of the 1880s. But is it meant to sit over a bustle? Here are some comparison shots. Tell me what you think.

Mid-1870s bustle.

Over a mid-1870s bustle, side view.
Over a mid-1870s bustle, front view.
Over a mid-1870s bustle, back view.
My conclusion: this bustle really shows off the tail, but the bodice bunches up at the front waist.

Small back pad.

Over a small pad, side view.
Over a small pad, front view.
Over a small pad, back view.

My conclusion: the back waist is starting to creep away from the mannequin's back. That will probably be mostly fixed when I've relined the whole thing. The front still bunches a bit at the waist.

No padding.

No padding, side view.
No padding, front view.
No padding, back view.
My conclusion: the back waist really stands away from the mannequin now (though I really think that will be fixed when the whole thing is lined). The front waist hangs naturally and with little wrinkling, while the tail has acquired a fold on each side.

The final word: I think I'm going to have to repair the lining before I can really get an idea how this bodice is supposed to sit. The mesh that makes up the exterior stretches, even though it's so heavily covered. In the meantime, though, all you Victorian mavens out there, drop me comment and tell me what you think!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cutwork and Soutache Bodice, circa ? (date this bodice!) Part 1

Before I dive in, first a personal note: those of you who stop by regularly (hi mom) may have noticed the looong periods of silence. I'm afraid I go through bouts of the-rest-of-my-life-taking-over, during which no costuming happens. I know you know what it's like, and thank you for coming back whenever I manage to find something to post about. :)

Tonight I'm taking a break from rest-of-life because I just acquired something AMAZING.

This is a vintage bodice that I bought earlier this week from Via's Vintage in Minneapolis, from her etsy shop (Kellie, the shop owner, is super nice!) I usually stay away from vintage garments that are this old, mostly because I want garments I want to be able to wear, and I worry about 100+-year-old clothes being too fragile. The other reason I stay away, is that I'm simply NOT shaped like a Victorian, and vintage garments from that time from just won't fit me.

This one, however, DOES. In fact, it's even a tad large.

This bodice is composed of a great deal of soutache and cutwork silk applique on mesh (probably cotton), lined with silk.

The exterior is in remarkably good shape.The silk cutwork is shattering in some spots, and bits of the soutache are coming off here and there, but all of the work is almost entirely intact. The lining is another story, and I'll explore the interior in another post.

The sleeves are a little extra long, and end in these wonderful peaked cuffs that extend over the back of the hand.

This is the fun part. The bodice has a long tail, also covered in cutwork and soutache. It was probably also lined once, but as you can see the lining stops short of the waist.

In this batch of photos I have the bodice on over a mid 1870s bustle and an unfinished petticoat I had laying around (yes, I have a lot of random, unfinished bits laying around). In the next post I'll show you what it looks like over other shapes, and I will solicit your opinion on the probable date of this bodice. In the meantime, here are a bunch of gratuitous close ups!

Side front of the bodice, featuring what looks
like tatted knotwork, but is really a couched
boullion type of thing (I'll have to look it up)
Side of the collar, which features a patch
decorated with chain stitch embroidery. There's a
matching patch on the other side.

Back of the collar.
Outer sleeve.
Close up of the upper sleeve. Both sleeves are
frayed the same way, and I think this spot is
where the soutache joined.
Back waistline, with more of the couched "bullion."
The unlined tail.