The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. An adage I think of when I look in the mirror sideways and see my protruding stomach. I always had a tummy that stuck out. I cured this unappealing appearance with a panty girdle or a two-way-stretch. They are made of an elasticized fabric with control over the stomach. Wearing the girdle made me look slim and trim.
Momma had the same figure issue. As a child it was hard not to be aware of the garment momma wore to remedy the protrusion. Hardly a panty girdle; it was monstrous apparatus, a corset. The term is short for corset girdle – a tight laced, boned garment designed to trim the waist, hide the stomach and shape the figure. When I was small enough to only hug her around her hips, expecting to feel her soft warm flesh, I was greeted with the feel of row upon row of metal (or whale bone). I had the impression of a suit of armor under her dress. She was very private about her undergarments, so I rarely saw this armor under her dress,. At night I saw it stretched out on her bureau when she was dressed or undressed for bedtime.
Momma’s corset was made from a very thick cotton pink fabric. There were narrow, vertical row after rows of stitched pockets or casing to house the long bones or stays. When wrapped around the body, the left and right front panels consisted of a score of eyelets on each side and lacing from the right side to the left, from top to the bottom. This created a look of x’s with a neat bow at the bottom. The success in eliminating the stomach protrusion depended on how tight momma chose to pull the lacing. This garment was costly, so she could only afford to own one. I have no memory of how momma was able to launder this contraption. I have no memory when momma stopped wearing her suit of armor.
My memory of momma’s corset goes back countless years so I have taken the time to Google “The History of Corsets.” Fascinating! The corset goes back to early sculpture depicting a corseted female.