Friday, November 20, 2009

Waist Not, Want Not!

Another busy but non-eventful week...I've been dispatching my on-line shop orders over the last couple of days, so your parcels should be with you soon.
I've also briefly been in conversation with my solicitor again, but it looks like another week has past without any more news on the physical shop...frustrating...but I'll get there in the end...I hope...
I have started to think about some of the items that will be moving in there, once I have the key...
I recently bought this vintage mannequin quite reasonably, because she has a rather large watermark across her hips. This doesn't actually bother me; it shows she's lived a life and has a story or two to tell, but some visitors to my shop may not see her in such a favourable light.

I want to use her to display vintage costume brooches that I will have for sale, which I shall pin across her chest, as well as necklaces, feathers etc - just like Tallulah in my bedroom...
A rather gorgeous vintage corset hides her imperfections and adds another point of interest to my display. I thought I'd try to find another corset or girdle to fit my newest lady, so as to create a similar looking arrangement...
I bought this beauty on-line. It came all the way from France and is completely unused. Unfortunately is is just too large and won't stay on my mannequin. I thought if I really pulled the lacing tight that it would do the job, but it really was designed for a more ample figure!
I love how it is constructed, and to think most women wore these, once upon a time...
This smaller white corset came from Sue at the V&H Fair. I thought it might be borderline size-wise, so chanced it....sadly no matter how hard I pull at the hooks and eyes, its not going to go around my girl's hips...
and the more I look at her, the more I think she wouldn't actually suit a tight, restrictive undergarment. She's a more straight-up and down kind of a girl, probably from around the 1920's/30's, well after the 1800's when women we expected to do awful damage to their internal organs in the name of fashion.
Perhaps I shouldn't inflict this on my poor girl!


As much as I find the old advertisements of the late 1880's fascinating, there is no way I would ever wish to go back to a time when women put their health at such risk.


Having said that, I was rather surprised to find some images on Google which show a few women who practice corset training. A corset is worn virtually around the clock to slowly alter the figure over years. Of course the back muscles become weakened, so the corset can never be removed for any length of time, once this tiny size has been reached.

This is Cathie Jung, who has her place in the Guinness book of records for being the woman with the smallest waist with a measurement of just 15".

Yes, moving on...
I've decided to call my new mannequin Clara, after the stunningly beautiful Clara Bow.
I've tried several options today to dress her up a little, but have decided to go for a simple idea. I'm going to tie a wide pastel coloured velvet ribbon around her waist and hips and I shall tuck lengths of lace, handkerchiefs or vintage head scarves that I have for sale at any one time into it. This should create almost a flapper, handkerchief point hemline, which I think will suit her far more than any corset would!
And I can still pin the brooches and hang necklaces across her front.

Fingers crossed that I'll soon be able to try it out when she moves to her new home on the Market Square.
Have a lovely weekend,
Niki x


  1. Hi Niki

    What a shame about the corset. Not to worry, I'll have it back as promised, and I'm sure your other idea will suit Clara much better.

    How frustrating not to have had confirmation of the date this week. It'll be worth the wait ... eventually!!!

    Sue xx

  2. Oh Niki! Your mannequin is quite lovely and I'm sure you'll find the perfect get-up for her. I have to chuckle over those girdles and such, as I had to attend a wedding after I had given birth (a couple months prior) to my youngest. Vain as I was, I purchased a girdle to wear, and half-way through dinner a cousin of mine whom I hadn't seen in many years came over to say hello, and all of a sudden I had THE WORST stomach ache I ever had and I couldn't even stand up to hug him! lol To think those ladies wore those things all the time! My goodness!

  3. She's a real woman! (Kind of...) I like your plans for her, and that photo is scary...

    But, as I think you know the Little House on the Prarie books, do you remember Ma saying that Pa could put his hands around her waist when they got married? Even pioneer women...

  4. That waist is scary! Mind you echoing what Floss said, my Dad used to be able to put his hands together round my Mum's waist when they got married - certainly can't do that now! ;-D

  5. gosh i was horrified by that lady in present day with the 15 inch waist .... it looks far worse than the ladies of years gone by. Thank for all the pics Niki that was really interesting - Shame about the corsets but she will look good whatever you decide for her.

    Ginny x

  6. Oh that 15" waist is horrifying. Dita Von Teese wears corsets but at least hers look sexy. No one in their right mind would call that 15" waist sexy. And to think Victorian ladies would wear them even when pregnant. The mind boggles. Your mannequin is beautiful, and as you say, very 20s/30s. She's going to look lovely. xx

  7. I'm sure she'll look super (not that i am biased towards the 20's obviously!)It really is horrifying to see how women altered their bodies to conform mind you is it really any different today? have a super weekend..Bath textiles next weekend?

  8. Anonymous11:00 pm

    Hi Nikki,
    Love your mannequin and your ideas for her but how frustrating she couldn't be wedged in a pretty corset.
    That picture of waist lady is frightening 15 inch oh my! mum had an 18 inch waist when she married my dad but good god she didn't look anything like that! the rest was in proportion...and to think she had four ten pound and up babies (gulps) poor mum.
    Clara Bow looks just fantastic and a great name choice for your mannequin who i know will be wearing just as much finery if not more.
    Kristina X

  9. Ms. Jung doesn't have a happy look on her face does she?!

  10. Nikki, oh that is one torcher that I would NOT want to go through. I hadn't even thought about the back muscles...and WHO would want a 15 inch waist anyway? However I don't like the extra flab I have going right
    Interesting facts. Thanks

  11. too mush to handle....this woman does not look so happy with her
    15" waist so I guess that is not what we should want...

  12. Your mannequin is absolutely wonderful. Ms Jung looks as if she is in agony, and how on earth does she sit down..........

  13. Anonymous7:51 am

    Hello Niki, I am sure you will unlock as soon as your fantastic store (Dream)!
    Dear greetings, Maria.
    (with translator)

  14. Ouch! I feel quite ill looking at that 15" waist.

    Your mannequin, on the other hand, makes me smile!

    Hope you have a great weekend, Lucyxx

  15. I know to each their own, but that lady with the 15" waist makes me feel a bit ill when I look at her. Like the other commenters noticed, she doesn't look happy does she??!

    I hope that things are going well with the new store!

  16. She is so lovely and I agree that her water stains just add more character!

  17. Clara will look superb, as you have a unique gift for arranging things so perfectly. The shape is perfect for a Flapper, and her waist size is a boon, all the more room for display! I hope you get your long-awaited date soon, it is sooo exciting! Lois xx

  18. "ms mannequin" is beautiful! i like your idea of her living life...not just staying on some pedestal (or show room floor) *wink* and as for a 15" waist...ewwww! *crinkling my nose*

  19. Dealbaida9:23 pm

    Oh Niki, what memories your peachy-pink corset evoked. My mother wore a similar creation back in the fifties and, whenever we visited my Nana and Papa's house she would go straight up to their bedroom and divest herself of the evil garment! Her mother wore one too and my earliest memories of her is of hugging her tightly to make her creak!!!! Happy days!


  20. Hello Niki

    Ouch! That waist line looks painful somewhow. I know I'd love to have a slimmer waist but not that slim...

    The discomfort women must have endured in the name of fashion & beauty!

    Look forward to seeing Clara in your new shop!

    I hope that you've had a good weekend. Bought another piece of furniture from Anne yesterday.

    Take care
    Isabelle x

  21. Oh heavens to Betsy the trouble us women have with the undergarment world. I think your final choice is a delightful addition to Ms. Clara...I want to call her Clara Belle, bless her bloomers, all will be well from head to toe. Here's wishing you the very best results this week!

  22. Grief, that waist is terrible! I love your mannequin and as Clara Bow was so gorgeous I think the name would suit her perfectly x

  23. This was such a great post. I enjoyed it so very much. I was a little disturbed at the woman with the much too tiny waist. Is it even possible to eat and "process" the food through your system with such a figure???? I do not aspire to that shape!!
    Thanks for the informative and fun post. I think your Clara is a sensible girl indeed!


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx