I don't have the expertise in this area, but....
- alternate stiffening materials - hemp rope, whalebone
- when did hemp corded corsets come in? I thought these were 15th C, although we are rather lacking in full proof of their existance
- "They were not designed to draw in the waist nor enhance the breasts, rather they were to flatten the chest area." I'm not sure if I agree with that - seems there are plenty of 16th C corsets that do enhance the bust - not by making them bigger, but by better displaying the clevage than earlier garments.
- tell me more about this smaller 16th C waist - I've never heard of that.
I haven't edited because I don't have the background to get the edit right. Tiff
Never heard of the hemp corded corsets, and I should have included the whalebone in the 16th century corsets which is when I beleive they were being used. All references to the 16th century and corsets that I have come across (ones that appeared not to be of some general waffle anyway) indicated the chest area was flattened which pushes up the breast line, apparently (I'm a boy so I will ahve to defer to the lasses here). I'm not talking about trying to remove the breasts altogether, but rather make it flat from the waist up until the upper edge of the garment.
"French women have inconceivably narrow waists...over the chemise they wear a corset or bodice, that they call a 'corps pique', which makes their shape more delicate and slender. It is fastened behind which helps to show off the form of the bust."
And from the late 1590's "I will have a petticoate of silk, not red but of the finest silk there is...it shall have a French bodie, not of whalebone, for that is not stiff enough, but of horne for that will hold it out, it shall come, to keepe in my belly...my lad, will have a Busk of whalebone, it shall be tyed with two silk points..."
The first is the small waist reference and the second indicates it's ability to hold in the stomach and shows that whalebone was used.
Still if you find better info put it in. I won't complain on being corrected. --User 144 23:01, 5 Feb 2006 (CST)
- Oh, I forgot a few more stiffening materials - reeds, straw, quilting, buckram
- You're right about the bust not being enhanced, I'm more talking about the view of the cleavage is enhanced though, if that makes sense.
- The hemp corded corsets are rather conjectural. Something is needed to explain the softer (ie curvier but still stiff) look of early 16th C italian garments. As one of my friends found out, trying to support an ample bust with the dress bodice alone, soon leads to destruction of the dress's shoulder seams. Nor does it lift quite as far as in the illustrations.
We don't have an extant period one, but I think there might be some rather vaugue literary references.
have a look at: http://homepage.mac.com/festive_attyre/research/diary/diary2.html http://homepage.mac.com/festive_attyre/research/cording/cord.html http://homepage.mac.com/festive_attyre/research/diary/stiffeners.html Tiff
The European Corset Society indicates that brass wires could be used to strengthen late 15thC bodices. --User 144 05:55, 6 Feb 2006 (CST)
Very Interesting. I assume they would have some way of making sure there were no pointy ends, or they would quickly work their way out. Brass doesn't corrode as badly as copper or iron either, so that might be useful (wouldn't want a green or rusty coloured bodice after a few warm days). A strengthened bodice would have to not only be strengthened, but cut so the seams were located in lower stress areas. I expect that explains some of the cuts that look unusual to modern eyes.
I'm sure there were a multitude of ways to strengthen bodieces. Tiff Probably. I don't believe there are many surviving corsets so finding out more info may be a trifle difficult. --User 144 01:51, 7 Feb 2006 (CST)