Herringbone Cotton Maternity Waist

Herringbone Cotton Maternity Waist, c. 1910s, Germany. The Underpinnings Museum. Photography by Tigz Rice.

Date: c. 1910s

Origin: Germany

Fabric: Herringbone cotton

Brand: Unknown


This lightweight corset was also known as a ‘waist’, and was intended as a lightweight foundation garment to support the changing body throughout pregnancy, with a particular focus on supporting the back and bust. Contrary to popular belief, maternity corsets did not compress the abdomen, but were instead cut to support it.

The  corset is made from a tightly woven herringbone cotton, embellished at the bustline with a Broderie Anglaise trim and silk ribbon. It fastens at the centre front with a row of bone buttons. Cotton lacing through metal eyelets at the sides of the body allowed the wearer to alter the garment to fit their changing body. Supportive shoulder straps of part elastic (now perished) and cotton are adjustable at the centre back with a hook and eyelet fastening. What little structure is stitched into the corset is focused on the back of the garment, with several flat steel bones inserted to offer support to the wearer’s spine.


From The Underpinnings Museum collection. With thanks to LaraCorsets for help in identifying this garment.

Museum number: UM-2018-014


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