lördag 16 mars 2013

Push up or tying down?

A small update of my Lengberg bra-project. It did not turn out as planned, in the last fitting it was too big so I had to cut down on some excess fabric over the chest and thus loose the lace insertation I had done. I must learn that I am really thin over the chest. Bummer! Then I realized I had erased all project-pictures from the memorycard of my camera. But luckily I had quite a few pictures in my phone as well, just bear with the poorer quality.
I decided to try to pimp it up with some lace,
 cut from an old linnen bed sheet.
Since it will be laced in one side I cut the pieces bigger on the
 one side so that  I got  a strip of double fabric to make the eyelets in.

And here I thought I was done, not counting the eyelets.
All hemmed and all seams felled.
But when trying it out one last time it was just too big over the chest,
 not giving enough support, so  after some hesitation I had to
 loose the lace and take it all in about four centimetres.
Twenty eyelets in total, thinking a tight fit will not
 let it move around as much but stay in place.
So this is the finished piece, now all that is left is
 attaching a skirt and making a lucetcord in white silk.
Then I will try to take some  pictures with it on...

And for those of you that are interested in more of the background facts, here´s something for you.

Castle Lengberg is situated in the Austrian part of Tyrol, and was at the time of the renovations, that caused the brassieres to be dumped alongside other waste underneath the floorboards, owned by the austrian noble Virgil von Graben. Virgil was a member of the Meinhardiner family, one of the most influential at the time, and he was the master of Lienz, Lengberg, Heinfels and Sommeregg. He was close to the Habsburgs and did extensive reconstructions of Lengberg as well as other castles. He hosted a large party when the Lengberg Castle chapel was reinvested in 1485, and most of the renovations was probably done by that time.

This means that it was most likely members of his household that wore the garments found. This means they may have been worn by members of high society and the wealthiest in the region, with extensive connections with the noblest families in Europe.

And there are also written sources from the time and place of these finds.

"There are some written medieval sources on possible female breast support, but they are rather vague on the topic. Henri de Mondeville, surgeon to Philip the Fair of France and his successor Louis X, wrote in his Cyrurgia in 1312–20: “Some women… insert two bags in their dresses, adjusted to the breasts, fitting tight, and they put them [the breasts] into them [the bags] every morning and fasten them when possible with a matching band.”

These ‘bags’ served the same purpose as antique breast bands – that is to contain too large breasts. However, the “shirts with bags in which they put their breasts” that Konrad Stolle complained about in his chronicle of Thuringia and Erfurt in 1480 seem to have obtained the opposite effect, as he concludes his description with the words “all indecent”.

An unknown 15th-century author of southern Germany was definitely referring to breast-enhancement in his satirical poem as he wrote: “Many [a woman] makes two breastbags [bags for the breasts], with them she roams the streets, so that all the young men that look at her, can see her beautiful breasts; But whose breasts are too large, makes tight pouches, so there is no gossip in the city about her big breasts.” As we can see, medieval bras worked both ways." (Beatrix Nutz is a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology, University of Innsbruck(http://www.historyextra.com/lingerie))

So, following this, and considering the fact that there were no less than four brassieres in very different shapes found in this one place, there must have been just as many ways to make a brassiere or supportive underwear as there were people making them during the late medieval times. I thus am convinced that my version, although not entirely true to the original, may well have existed, with good support and quite a lift for the bust.

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