corsetry- how to guides in periodicals

While trying to help another costumer I decided to totally test and challenge what I thought I knew about historic corset construction.

I have about 17 years worth of images stashed from auctions and online galleries as well as have pages from books on theory. I have a great handle on pre-industrial stays and post 1900 stays but the actual assembly of 19thC corsets has been frustratingly difficult to get a handle on.  Most corsets are displayed on a stand and many interior images are not illustrative of construction more concerned with makers marks.

So I started looking for museum examples and textile curator comment. Side note- blue satin was big for the 1870s!

Blue corset, c. 1868-1874

  FIDM to the rescue!

From here I hunted for these precious instructions, and HEARTH came to the rescue! Title: Harper’s bazaar: Volume II, Number 41
Publication Info: Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, Mann Library
Series: Browse the rest of the issues of this journal: Harper’s bazaar
Print source: New York: Hearst Corp., October 9, 1869   PLEASE NOTE: Harper’s Bazar is the correct spelling at this time, but often sites will use the more recent variation. If you are having trouble finding either sales of the original magazines or articles try searching for both.

  (The thumbnail links to the individual page)   Right, so handy written instructions! But oh, there are patterns for all of these! In a supplement. Most annual bound volumes do not retain these, however one person did offer the full magazine for sale a while ago.  

Free Shipping** Harper’s Bazar Harper’s Bazaar Complete Magazine With Corset PATTERN SHEETS Oct 1869 Original Re-enactment Costume History.   So close! I hunted antiquarian sites, and other online archives with no luck. From here however I was reminded that Harper’s Bazar was basically a reprint in English of Der Bazar. Which gave me some more search options!   Friday, May 03, 2013
Making a Fichu-Collar: Tutorial for a Useful Early Bustle-Era Whatsit

The Inspiration Fichu-Collar from Der Bazar

Let’s dig into the version that made it onto my dress. The basic design comes from Der Bazar, the German magazine from which Harper’s obtained a good bit of its content, in the January 9, 1871 issue. Yes, much of my research dates from 1871, or from 1868-1869.

Ding ding ding!!!   However from this point I have run into a Pinterest Go Round. I found a pinner who seems to have uploaded scans directly. However there are at least two different sources of the patterns, one where the overlapping lines have been highlighted, clearly multiple views stitched together a lot of work to disregard, the other looks like a scan of aged paper.   So I have tried to find an academic source and have managed to find the current stable Digital collection in Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf

Der Bazar : illustrirte Damen-Zeitung. Berlin : Bazar-A.G., Jg. [1.]1855 – [5.]1859 = Bd. 1-15; Jg. 6.1860 – 83.1937[?]

And here is the corresponding page from der Bazar!Der Bazar › XV. Jahrgang. 1869. › Nr. 37. Unfortunately no supplement for this one however there are extra materials listed in an old version of this site.  

    I have been able to compare the digital effects of the patterns on pinterest and I think I can work my way through the university files to find the ones that were printed in page at least. I suspect there are some scans of the tissue supplements that may be down to individual owners of copies of the magazine.   While I have saved these scans for personal use I am putting in every effort to credit those who have done the actual scanning and preserving of these documents. Once I have this I will update with a part two of this post.       (Side note, instructions on drafting and assembling an 1869 bodice!)

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