Tag Archives: corset bag

The Corset Bag: 1902-1926

What do you do with your corsets when you remove them at night? Oh-o-o-o-, I mean girdle, or whatever you wear to hold up your stockings—for no CHIC woman wears ‘em rolled today!

Well, if you are a very NICE little lady, you put them into a scented corset bag that hangs on the closet wall.

‘N if you ever have one, you will never again be able to bear seeing your girdle lying on a chair! So why not give a lovely corset bag to your girl friend? They may be made so easily, you know. But don’t do what we did, and keep it yourself after it is made, just because you like it so well!

corset bag pattern 1926

EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE ‘EM.

Notice the three top figures in the illustration: they show the way to make this corset bag. Purchase ribbon about 12 inches wide for the outer cover, another length of ribbon of a contrasting color for the lining, and a length of sheet wadding cotton that is about 14 inches wide.

Now make a “sandwich” of the outer covering, the cotton and the lining! Sprinkle the cotton lavishly with sachet, then baste the three pieces together. Now fold them up like Figure A, with the raw edges out, of course. Next bind them like Figure B, leaving loops at either side to hang the bag with. Figure C is the corset bag finished, with the same ribbon you use for the binding appliqued in a circle, and other applique or embroidery in its center. This bag should be about 25 inches long.

Nashville [TN] Banner 19 December 1926: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has been asked, “Why a corset bag? What is the necessity?”  This 1912 squib answers that question nicely:

Corset Bags for Christmas.

This holiday season many women are making corset bags as gifts, and the idea seems a very practical one. The pasteboard box in which the corset is sent home is always a clumsy affair to keep in a dresser drawer, yet one does not like to toss a handsome new satin corset into a drawer filled with other articles. The corset bag is a long, narrow case made of linen or silk, and in it the rolled up corset may be kept when not in use. Every corset should be tightly rolled when taken off, since this keeps it in better shape, and the corset bag will hold the rolled up corset firmly. Some of these bags are of heavy linen embroidered with dots in Dutch blue, old rose or some other pretty color. Evening Star [Washington DC] 8 December 1912: p. 74

The term “corset bag” seems to have made its first appearance beginning in about 1902. Prior to this sellers of corsets often furnished long, narrow boxes to contain the rolled corset. They would have seemed drab compared to the pretty articles described in the papers. And, to be fair, pasteboard is not the optimal material for storing textiles.

black satin corset bag

Embroidered black satin corset bag, beautifully finished and lined. https://www.etsy.com/il-en/listing/675829325/victorian-corset-bag-edwardian-lingerie

Speaking of underwear, there are the most exquisite bags into which to put one’s corsets in traveling, or one may have a bag for every pair if they are all best, and some fortunate women revel in the finest of the dainty things. One of the corset bags is of white silk, with a large cluster of lilies of the valley with their green leaves hand-painted on it. The bag is long and narrow, and is gathered with a silk cord or ribbon at the top.

The New York [NY] Times 25 March 1902: p. 7

The corset bag has become a part of one’s underwear. It isn’t really to wear, but all who wear corsets should know about it. This is a long, narrow bag of silk or muslin; it should be four inches longer than the corset and of exactly the same color. It is furnished inside with little scent bags suspended from narrow ribbons Into this bag the corset is put at night and the string is drawn up. This serves the double purpose of protecting the corset and perfuming it. More than that, it hides the corset, and in case it is laid away, one can tell at a glance the color of the corset that is inside.

Nashville [TN] Banner 25 October 1902: p. 13

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.