C.1868-1870. This bodice
proves that not everyone was a miniature stereotype that most people believe Victorian women were. The problem with finding large sized items, is that they used up alot of fabric, and as fabric was expensive, it was either worn until it fell to bits
or when it ceased to be fashionable or wearable. It was then cut down to make clothes for younger often smaller members of the family or made into other household items.
This bodice remains as a legacy to all the large women that lived that no-one today thinks existed. It's in fairly good condition and it's near excellent state probably owes it's existence to the fact that it was probably a special occasion outfit. The bodice is made out of a most loveliest copper/peach minute
tartan shiny taffeta, and trimmed with bands of silk velvet
to flatter the shape. Bands of velvet on a bodice was a popular trim during the second half of the 19th century, especially for larger women, as it created a trompe d'oeil,
making the figure seem smaller than it was. Lilly Langtry would borrow this idea later on in the 1880's to show off her hourglass figure.
Oddly for a bodice, this one isn't boned or at least lined inside, which makes me believe
that it possibly was worn over a blouse or was worn as is for comfort. The lady that wore this would have been quite a style concious lady, as it is cut with a peplum at the back
to show off the new crinolette bustle. The bodice is a transitional piece between the two decades, showing styles from both the 1860's (dropped and piped shoulder seams, simple cut, simple styling) and 1870's (longer in the
than 1860's bodices were and a peplum to show off a bustle). She would have been tall, around 5'9" and quite busty, 47" bust and probably did not corset at all or very loosely. approx. 46" waist, shoulders 18". Features
hand and machine sewing. This loose style of bodice for the larger lady would remain popular until the 1880's when very tightly figure fitting bodices would take over. This photo
shows a mid 1860's lady wearing a similar styled loose-fitting bodice with a crinoline. This second photo
shows a mid 1870's lady wearing a very similar bodice to ths, but note how it's starting to become more fitted forshawdoing the tight fitting cuirass bodice of the 1880's but stil retains the dropped shoulders of the 1860's.
(Formerly L. Hidic)