Thursday, January 26, 2017

Regency/Empire Era Bodice

From the seller:

A very pretty yound ladies lawn or muslin printed bodice dating to 1805 - 1810. It is for a small lady or a girl.

The material is fine cotton lawn or muslin with a stripe effect. It is printed with flowers and fronds in light cinnamon. It has long sleeves, also lined in cotton. There are two little brass rings at the back, for attaching a skirt, or possibly a belt.

The condition is excellent, and it is a charming example of early 19th century summer fashion.

Measurements: Across shoulders 13". Bust about 13" across.

It is lined in cotton and has front ties.

From Me:

There are several examples of this style of bodice:

Looking at the extant bodice here, I was confused at first. I think what is going on is that this worn much later as part of a costume - which is why we see the hooks and eyes on the outside of the bodice. Those were used to hold up a Victorian or Edwardian era skirt much, much later.

The sleeves appear to have this slight flare at the cuffs with a bulging elbow that then goes back to a normal looking sleeve.  I've included a couple of examples from Museums but it appears to be mostly a 1795-1805 thing.   Not the best range, but, given all the different dates, I'm going with around 1805 for this one.


  1. What confuses me here is the print on the fabric. Isn't it also a bit unusual for the era? Something about it seems off, but I can't lay my finger on what.
    Maybe this was part of a regional costume, rooted in Regency construction-wise, but actually made and worn much later?

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