Anatomy of a 1900s Taille


Like the 1890s taille, I have found this one in London. It is short, with a false V neckline and standing collar, a style popular from soon after the turn of the century until about 1910. The style very is similar to the dress i have dated to c. 1910 - see "Dress Anatomy". The fabric is wool gabardine with machine lace and satin, remarkably well preserved save some wear of the more exposed portions of the satin.


Front view, back view
The taille is only waist-length with the hem made to look like a satin belt. The top fabric defines a V neckline supposed to look as though a lace waistcoat and undergarment showed in the opening. In fact, the all of it is sewn into the front parts and closed with snaps. The sleeves are tight and wrist- length.

Front, inside
Black fabric is about the worst to get a good look at... To the right of the opening is the edge of the base bodice, marked by the interchanging hooks and eyes that close it. Immediately left from it protrudes the middle lace flap that covers the decolletage, onto which the collar is sewn (upper edge of the picture). In the lower half of the picture, a wedge of the right waistcoat-like flap shows. The middle flap sits between it and the bodice. Left of the opening is the edge of the left bodice edge and the left waistcoat flap. At the lower end of the opening, the belt with its three hooks shows.
The taille would be put on like this: The bodice is hooked closed in the centre front, then the middle flap and attached collar buttons onto the left front of the bodice with snaps. The collar is buttoned closed in the centre back. Now the left waistcoat flap is buttoned onto the middle flap, then the right flap onto the left one, all under the cover of the top fabric. Finally, the belt is hooked closed.
If you found this purely verbal description confusing, here is one with illustrations.
When I demonstrated this to a friend, he commented, "Now I know where the cliché of women taking hours to get dressed comes from."

Back, inside
Like in the 1910 dress, a waistband is attached to the back seams with cross-stitches. All seams and darts are boned along the lower part. A seam of unknown function runs through the light cotton lining from below the arm to just below the shoulder blade. It was made after the lining had been made up, so maybe the lining had bagged.

On the waistband sit three hooks facing down. The matching eyes would have been on the skirt. Instead of being set onto the seams in hoses, the bones are worked into the seams of the lining which has been made up separately. The hem is neatened with a bias strip of the lining fabric.

Looking at the inside of the left front part, notice the snaps in the corner of the waistcoat flap. It buttons onto the middle flap. The hooks and eyes are set in between two layers of lining fabric.

A detail view of the inside of the right front part illustrates more clearly (I hope) the relative locations of the middle flap and the waistcoat flap. Below the bodice as the innermost layer, the middle flap protrudes at right angles from the bodice edge (centre of picture). It then angles up- und outward to meet the left side of the neck from where the standing collar, which is set onto its upper edge, continues alone to the back of the neck (upper left corner of pic).
Below that layer is the waistcoat flap with its two snaps which fasten it onto the opposite waistcoat flap.

The sleeve is decorated with a false zig-zag cuff of satin and black machine lace. At the left edge of the picture, a slit shows which is closed with two snaps. It is made up quite neatly inside.

Although top fabric and lining have been made up separately, the sleeve was made in one go as was customary at the time. While the shorter inner seam (lower right corner) is neatened rather sloppily, the outer seam has been done in an unusual and probably time-consuming fashion, turning the edges of top fabric and lining against each other.


waist 71 cm
breast 96 cm
shoulder width 13 cm
back width 32 cm
neck->waist 34 cm
shoulder->breast 23 cm

Established 20/1/99



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