Tuesday, 21 October 2008


I have received my scraps from the JC Handmade Scrap Challenge 2008! EEEEeeeek! I now have 2 weeks to make one fabulous thing from all of them!

And i've been tagged by Fancy Elastic with the 7 random things about myself meme. Well I have already done that tag but I hate to be a spoilsport, and in the manner of Dottycookie, I thought I would do 7 random things about something ... Val wrote about her wedding as it was her anniversary, but I already covered my wedding too .. so I am going to be an extreme bore, and do 7 random things about my favourite obsession - corsets!

1. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a corset is ..." an article of clothing worn to shape or constrict the torso ... "

2. The earliest records of corseting - reducing the dimensions of the torso with "accessories" - goes as far back as the early minoan culture c.2500 bc. Evidence has shown that narrow waists were a sign of althletic prowess and were often re-inforced by wrapping stiff leather belts around the torso or even straps of wood! ouch!!

the emphasis on small waist is clearly evident from these Minoan artifacts

3. During the renaissnce, some ladies wore elaborate metal corsets for fashion and for orthopaedic reasons.

4. In the 18th century corsets (then called stays) were more triangular in shape as their purpose was to give a "flat" look to men and women. They were stiffened with cane or whalebone.

this set of stays from 1786 is entirely hand sewn!
picture from here

5. Whalebone - used as corset boning in the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries, is the elastic, horny material forming the fringed plates that hang from the upper jaw of baleen whales and strain plankton from the water. Like horn and human hair it is a protein substance which when processed can be easily filed and shaped with heat and moisture. Obviously, it is no longer used these days!

6. It wasn't until the Victorian era that corsets started to get curvy. Before cutting techniques were perfected, the more rounded sillouhette, providing small waist and full bosom and round hips, was achieved by adding gussets into the hip and bust area.
this corset from 1860 has approximately 168 whalebones!
picture from here

7. There are several ways to lace a corset but the most popular and best (in my opinion) is to do it with only one continuous lace which is threaded from the top to the bottom with loops at the waist which control the upper and lower sections respectively. This enables the wearer to lace herself in quite easily.


Kitty said...

I would have thought wearing a corset was just uncomfortable ... but perhaps I'm wrong? Doesn't it make you feel like you can't breathe properly?


lesley said...

Hi There
I'm sure you will make something fantastic for your Scrap Challenge! And there you go, seven things I didn't know about corsets but I do now! Very interesting, I can see why they are a passion of yours, beautiful too! xx

Tiff said...

Great facts on Corsets. I learned something new today!! Woohoo!!

Tracy said...

Hi, Julia! Lovely fabrics there at the top...and appreciate the corset history--very interesting! I think a corset would improve my posture and look considerably for the better--LOL! Happy Days ((HUGS))

driftwood said...

what a great way to fulfill a tag!

Fancy Elastic said...

Seven thanks for joining in!

And I LOVE the scraps, what a lovely selection. I can't wait to see what you make.


Anonymous said...

You are a wealth of information!

summerfete said...

my favourite corset is the Viviane Westwood Renaissance/cherub style one. Just awesome.