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In reproducing this bodice, I looked to recreate all of the decorative elements in as cohesive a manner as possible with materials of modern equivalents. I decided to use creams and off-whites as the bodice has most likely discolored with age. The reproduction was made with cotton gauze, and care was taken to search for fabric that was as fine and lightweight as the original. This was flatlined to a light-gold china silk in the body. Linen batiste was not readily available so cotton was used instead for the boned base. I used vintage guipure lace trim (c. 1930s) that best represented the shapes seen in the original trim. Lightweight lace, though not as airy as the original, echoed the circular theme from the guipure trim and was dyed in tea to match. The painting on the right flange was created with airbrush paint and stencils to give a printed effect. I chose to dilute the paints to create lighter colors than the original, as darker colors, to a modern eye, could overwhelm the rest of the bodice. Polyester satin, dyed in the appropriate color, was used for the bow and for the trim on the sleeves and collar. Decorative cord was also dyed for the top of the collar. Crochet ball fringe was not available for purchase and crocheting my own was not a reasonable option, so a trim of monkey’s fist knots was created instead.

Figure 1: Reproduction Front

Figure 2: Reproduction  Back


A few changes were made in the construction process to reproduce this for a modern body. Most notably, the high standing collar, when mocked up to the original dimensions, was much too high for the model’s neck. The owner most likely had a longer neck and higher hairline at the nape. In addition, the horizontal darts in the center front and back were eliminated as they were not necessary for the fit. The back closures were changed to be uniform hooks and bars all the way down, and a larger underlap was incorporated. The seams are finished in the same manner as the original with the exception of the yoke attachment to the bodice.

The original had the square neckline finished separately and the yoke attached with raw edges left inside. I sandwiched the yoke seam allowance between the body layers to eliminate the raw edges. Although the bodice still makes the most sense worn with a skirt or belt that sits under the front blouson, the gauze layer and flanges were extended all the way down to the hem and finished with a bias facing along with the base. The padded eggs are not as large, as there was less space to fill on the model. Seams and bone placements reflect the original bodice. Images of the bodice on the model are seen in Figures 1, 2, and 3.  Figure 4 is the interior of the reproduction.

Figure 3: Reproduction Sleeve Detail

Figure 4: Reproduction Interior

 © Michelle Bentley, 2017