Bodies Under Construction.

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The latest bulletin from our workshops. A few pictures of a pair of bodies, being made for a client. The request was for a pair that were late Tudor in style for a costumed interpreter in a common woman’s role at a National Trust property. The pattern is one of our corsetiere’s own devising based on the bodies belonging to Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg detailed in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion and the and the Elizabeth Effigy bodies in Westminster Abbey dated 1604-5.

They are being made using a smooth linen lining, coarse linen canvas interlining and hard wearing linen outer. The two photos below show the separate parts being readied for boning. The choice with boning is whether to use synthetic whalebone or reeds. Thin reed boning and flat oval reed boning are available both types of reed make a lovely creaking sound when worn, but need maintenance. The natural dried reeds break if they are allowed to get too dry if they haven’t been worn for a while.

 

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Here is a close up of the side seam to show the various layers under construction and examples of the hand-carved wooden busks that are inserted in the front of the bodies. These are made to size, can feature an optional carved personal message (discretion is our watchword) and are available in hard or soft wood. These bodies are rear lacing. Though front lacing styles are also available, this option is more supportive for the larger bust. The thought is that front laced bodies would have been more practical for women with small children who needed to breastfeed.

 

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While these are finished off, here’s a photo of a front laced pair that Helen made earlier, next to a back view of the bodies awaiting the eyelets.

 

 

 

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