The Corset Work

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Interior Cover Corset and Book Cover front

Cover and interior book pages: digital ink jet images/text printed on cotton sateen fabric.
Machine stitched cotton embroidered text.

13 machine and hand-stitched pages connected with cotton twill tape.

Corset Width open: 14 1/2”

Page Height: 5 1/2”

Page Width:  6 1/2”

Click here: Exr1_DscpTxtBiblgry111508.pdf
to download the complete text and specs

Health, Strength, Grace and Symmetry, Vol 1:

Muscular Symmetry and Fine Condition...for the more athletic more balanced woman  © 2007


Digital ink jet title on cotton sateen fabric.

Closed Outside Edge Length: 10 1/4”

Closed Outside Edge Width: 9”

Height Outside Edge: 2”

This is the first part of a two part series of small corset books dealing with the history of women, exercise and corsets. This book uses text and images from corset advertisements, women’s magazines, etiquette books and exercise manuals directed towards girls and women from the mid-to-late 19th century. [You can see the 2nd volume here]

Over a hundred years ago, women were being asked “Why should she not reduce herself to a weight which shall make her a Symmetrical Woman, and inasmuch as the only obstacle to her being a beautiful woman is her superfluous flesh.” The answer they were given “Women must persistently, faithfully, systematically, begin a physical reformation.”

Of course, as the primary housekeepers, women were told, “Nothing gives such elasticity to the limbs, and roundness to the form, ease and grace to the motion, as the bending, reaching, lifting, quick walking and swift motions involved in domestic exercise... invigorating the whole frame, preparing the system to develop in full and fair proportions, and to unfold in beauty like the fresh, blooming, and perfected flower.”

Women being described as flora was nothing new to that generation; but now these flowers were expected to be perfecting their forms using physical exercise while being supported in a vast new array of exercise corsets specially designed for that purpose. Of course, with any new exertion in a woman’s life came with warnings, in this case that over-exercising may “...use up force to such an extent that your growing womanly functions become weakened and sometimes dried up!”

As woman explored this new reformation of physical culture, they discovered freedoms that were being created - such as partaking in new sport craze of bicycling, allowing them to physically step outside their home and become a participant in the world around them.

Box interior lined with Bertini paper

Interior Edge Length: 17 1/4”

Interior Edge Width: 8 3/4”

Corset Front:

Height: 17 1/2”

Width closed: 6 1/2”

Machine stitched cotton/poly embroidered text.

Interior pages: Inside Cover back           Page 1, front

Interior pages: Page 1, back                             Page 2, front

Inside Book Cover back

Digital ink jet image, embroidered text

Corset Back

Antique quilted doll corset with corded support and busk
with hand-sewn button holes.

Dyed cording with metal tips.

Corset Lining

Digital ink jet printed pattern and text on cotton
sateen fabric

next Corset WorkHealthGrace_Exer2.html

Interior pages: Page 2, back                                Page 3, front

Interior pages: Page 3, back                                Page 4, front

Interior pages: Page 7, back                                Page 8, front

Interior pages: Page 9, back                                Page 10, front

Interior pages: Page 10, back                               Page 11, front

Interior pages: Page 11, back                                         Inside Back Cover/Page 12, front

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Health, Strength, Grace and Symmetry, Vol 1...

in video