16th Century, Pair of bodies

A Pair of Bodies

A pair of bodies
Dorothea's pair of bodies, line drawing by Janet Arnold

After looking through my closet, under the bed and other places that my costume end up hiding I realized I never got around to making a late Elizabethan corset or pair of bodies.

A tragedy that must be remedied.

The Tudor Tailor book has three or four patterns for late Elizabethan corsets, but as with everything in that book the patterns scale up too big for me.

Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg's pair of bodies
Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg's pair of bodies

Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620 by Janet Arnold has a pattern for Pfaltzgrafin Dorothea Sabine von Neuberg stays which she was buried in.

Those are a bit closer to my measurements but I was not looking forward to doing a mock up and fitting it.

So I decided to use my usual bodice pattern, took it in two inches, and modify the front to a mild point, as I didn’t want something quiet as extreme.

Arnold speculates that Dorothea’s bodies were made form three layers total, the top being a layer of silk satin mounted on a layer of linen, and then another layer of linen behind that. The channels for the bones were then stitched through all the layers and then each piece was over handed together before being bound around the edges.

For my pair of I am using scarlet cotton sateen and two layers of cotton drill.

For boning I am using nylon cable ties.

1 thought on “A Pair of Bodies

  1. Your stitches are beautiful. Thanks for the stitching diagram, I am going to try embroderie thread and that stich to make a corset without a sewing machine. Also to try a corded corset. Your work looks so good.

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