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Corsets and Crinolines - unique vintage clothing

Horsehair crinoline

Horsehair crinoline
Horsehair crinolines became fashionable at the end of the 1830's when the high waisted Regency styles started to evolve into lower waisted bell skirted styles. These new bell skirts needed substantial support to keep their shape, so crinolines either stiffened with flax, cording or horsehair were called upon. Of course, everyone knows that eventually in the 1850's these petticoats would no longer give enough support, so the cage crinoline was invented.
Part of the problem of finding horsehair crinolines is that I don't think many women wore them as they were hot, heavy and itchy, most opted for the linen corded crinolines (also hard to find). When the horsehair crinolines went out of fashion, many of them were cut into other things (bonnets and hats, skirt hem stiffeners, etc).
This crinoline dates from the mid 1840's when skirts started to get larger. The horsehair was supplemented by rows on cording woven in alternating between the horsehair. It is a very itchy skirt, and is possibly a commercially made garment which would have been very expensive at the time. There are old chain stitch sewing machine stitches, which would be appropriate for the era (sewing machines were around then), as well as hand sewing. The waist band of the skirt is made out of cotton drill. The horsehair fabric wouldn't have went up far to the waist to allow for the tight fitting, low waisted, pointed front bodices of the 1840's. The crinoline is in excellent strong condition. There are no holes or tears but some rust colored spots are visible, as can be expected for a garment 160 years old! The hem is bound with real silk velvet and the crinoline fastens at the front with linen covered buttons.
The waist measures 33", but there is about 1" of material so you could push over the button to fit a 34" waist. The crinoline measures approx. 36" at the front and 40" at the back (to go over a small 1840's padded bustle).
(Formerly L. Hidic)