The Bodice (Mieder)

The item here is another flea market find. From the material and wear I guess that it is no younger than 1920s. It could be from Miesbach or from Munich. It is made of black atlas silk and embroidered with thick black silk thread. The lining is satinized material, probably cotton, in two layers with one layer of jute in between.

These two pictures show the inside, right, and inside, left. The white stitches fix the decorative hooks; black stitches are from deliberately obvious restoration work. The boning shows where it has warped the lining. The right side has hooks at the edge, while the left side has chains a little way from the edge so that the left overlaps quite a bit. It is prevented from flapping around by the G'schnür (explanations are to follow).

The outside (left, right) shows how the hem is cleaned up with a strip of the lining material. The upper edge is rimmed with fine black taffeta ribbon sewn on in a zig-zag. Both sides carry six decorative hooks (G'schnürhaken). Their number can vary from 4 to 6 according to the size of the Mieder and maybe the financial resources of the wearer. Rich people wore hooks of hammered silver; these here are probably only silver-plated, although the metal is very soft. The emboidery consists of stylized roses winding between two double lines of stitching parallel to the upper edge. Between the double lines, as between their vertical counterparts, boning is inserted. I cannot determine the material of the boning - it is dark grey, about 1 mm in diameter (round cross-section), and breaks easily if bent too much.

The detailed view of the centre back shows fan-shaped embroidery and part of the rose embroidery mentioned above, crisscrossing stitches covering the two bones on either side of the middle seam, and the hook that fixes the skirt (if you raised your arms, the bodice would slide out of the skirt and reveal the rather ugly lower edge). The hook has the form of a basket with 3 flowers and two ears of wheat.

A closeup on the front of the right side. The vertical edge, which would be covered by the left side almost up to the hooks when worn, is stiffened with a bone. The left side has one bone off the edge which would, when worn, sit more or less in the middle.

Finally, a closeup on two of the G'schnürhaken (hooks) reveals that apparently one of them had fallen off or broken with strain and been replaced by one of a different design.

Scan of the embroidery in back



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