Friday, June 13, 2014

May Manton 906 - Embroidery for Corset Bag

Best guess is the 19-teens or a little earlier.

This one is in the category of "Who knew?"  Who knew that ladies made bags for their corsets? Who knew that they then embroidered them? (and even spent money on transfer patterns for the designs!)

Interestingly, this pattern for embroidering a long, narrow bag probably dates to a period when corsets had reached a rather extreme length.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art dates this fine example to 1917-1919.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
In 1910 the magazine The Women's Home Companion offered kits for laundry bags, sponge bags, and corset bags, in stamped linen in pink, blue, lavender, or white.  "A most useful set of bags either for the college girl or for the home girl...These bags are especially useful for traveling and they would make a very pretty gift for birthday or Christmas. The stamped linen bag would set you back 40 cents.  Fifteen cents more would get you the thread and the cord.
Womens Home Journal, 1910
Particularly when packing corsets for traveling, the laces, stud-and-loop busks, and the garters all had the potential to snag, so the corset bag protected a lady's frillies from her corset.  But protecting the corset itself is important as well.  Good quality corsets could be quite expensive, and a lady might have several.  As well as an "everyday" corset, a lady might have one suitable for evening clothes, or a flexible, lighter-weight model for summer or sports wear.  I assume that each bag was design to hold only a single corset.