Date: c. 1890s
Fabric: Cotton coutil, silk fur
A miniature corset that was likely intended as a travelling salesman’s product sample. ‘#28’ is hand written on the interior of the garment, likely referring to a catalogue style number. Although crafted at a dramatically reduced scale, the construction techniques and patterning are equivalent to that of an everyday corset of the period.
The garment is crafted from sturdy cotton coutil and is decorated with a contrasting red silk fur and ‘Broderie Anglaise’ machine embroidered trims at the neckline and hip edges. The metal busk fastening is stamped with ‘DB’, likely an abbreviation of the original brand’s name. The garment is structured with a mix of baleen and flat steel bones. Metal eyelets at the centre back are laced with contrast red cotton lacing. Hand stitched flossing embroidery is applied to a number of the bones channels, a decorative method of securing the bones in place and reducing wear and tear.
The corset is patterned with a mix of vertically seamed patterns and three gores at the front, side and back hips. The cut and construction style is not dissimilar to other 1890s corsets, with a silhouette that bridged the rounded curves of the 1880s and the ‘straight front’ shape of the 1900s.
Although the corset is unworn (having never been intended to fit a human body), it has sustained some age related damage. The base coutil fabric has yellowed substantially, with rust marks around the metal busk. The contrasting silk fur trim would likely have been a much more vivid red shade originally. Much of the silk fur has now shed, with a noticeable loss of pile on most of the garment.
From the collection of Karolina Laskowska