A Late 1830s Evening Bodice

The bodice measures approximately 30" around the bust and 22" at the waist. There are four main pieces in the bodice. The two back pieces are cut on the straight of grain and the two front pieces are cut on the bias and joined at the center front with a piped seam. The lining is made to fit, and the silk is pleated to fit the lining. The pleats open up at about bust level, and the fullness is controlled at the top of the bodice with three rows of gathering stitches. The top edge of the bodice is not sewn to the lining. The bust is padded with cotton.

In the side views, you can see the padding in the bust area. The bodice has a V waist, which was becoming popular at the end of the 1830s and beginning of the 1840s. The waist still appears to be just above the natural waist. In the 1840s, waists became much lower.

The back of the bodice is just two pieces, one right and one left, although it looks like four. The "seams" are actually tucks. The lining is one piece. The tucks are sewn about 1/16" from the fold, and look similar to piping. The bodice is decorated with narrow self piping at the center front, armscyes, shoulder seams, sleeve seams and above the sleeve puffs. The bottom edge is bound with thick, round piping about 3/8" in diameter.

Details of the front. The pleats are sewn with tiny running stitches, about 20 an inch. There are four on either side of the center front seam. The pleat closest to the center is the highest. The rest slope down gently.

Page Two-Details
Page Three-Overall Views of the Inside and Details
Page Four-Details of the Inside

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