Brown Cotton Corset With Embroidered Bust Gores

Brown cotton corset with embroidered bust gores, c. 1890s, USA From The Underpinnings Museum collection Photography by Tigz Rice

Date:  c. 1890s

Origin: United States

Fabric: Cotton

Brand: Custom made


This lightweight corset is created from two layers of cotton sateen and achieves its structure through gored patterning and a mix of narrow strips of baleen and flat steel bones, sandwiched in channels stitched into the two layers of fabric. The garment offers a relatively sleek shape without a particularly extreme curve at the waist,  but does give a pronounced shape to the bust line through the gored patterning and horizontal strips of baleen sandwiched above the gores.

The corset was likely originally cream in colour, but has faded to brown through poor storage and dirt. Decorative embroidered stitching on the bust gores is created with a mix of red and purple embroidery floss, while the body of the corset is stitched with a contrasting red thread. The top and bottom edges are bound in a cotton tape, with a decorative cotton lace  embellishing the top edge of the corset.

The garment fastens with a 4 loop and pin busk at the centre front, with a wide steel underbusk encased in a placket underneath for support and to maintain a straight front. The centre back features 1-part grommets with split washers, encased on either side by a narrow steel bone. The original lacing for this corset is missing and was replaced with contemporary cotton lacing for these photographs.


From the collection of Karolina Laskowska

Museum number: KL-2017-019


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