C.1905-1906. When I saw this bodice, I could tell from the fabric that it did not start out life in the 1900's but 40 years earlier. If you ever wanted to know why 1860's dresses are so
hard to find, or why just bodices from the 1860's remain, it's because the amount of fabric used just to make a skirt to go over a crinoline could make a new dress in future decades. This is what happend to this bodice. Whether this bodice was made out of the original 1860's bodice or the crionline skirt I don't know. I suspect from the way it's sewn and the old stitch marks that it was indeed a 1860's bodice. The rest of the crinoline dress was probably used to make the matching Edwardian skirt (it doesn't remain).
The fabric is that great 1860's crisp shiny taffeta, not the tin loaded shattering kind which would become popular at the turn of the century as a cheap replacement for the exepensive good stuff. The original 1860's bodice was probably a very large size, and you can see on the Edwardian version where they have gathered the fabric at the bust line to make it smaller. The white insert is made out of lace covered taffeta, the collar being boned and made out of the same lace. Silk velvet ribbon decorates the front giving it a corsetted look.
The sleeves are the large melon sleeves which were revived from the 1890's during 1905-1906. The inside of the bodice isn't boned and had been relined in soft brown cotton. The bust measures 40", waist 30".
(Formerly L. Hidic)