Saturday, February 12, 2011


Lately I have been reading a lot about how children and women were liberated from the Victorian corset. I was inspired by the pattern, Corsage, I knit while watching Edwardian Farm on YouTube. I loved the part when Ruth Goodman takes a bicycle ride. Freedom, she cryes.
It reminded me of the Liberty Bodices, invented 1908 in Leicestershire by Mr Fred Cox. He was inspired by Lewis Tomalin who came up with the concept for Jaeger after reading the work of Dr Gustav Jaeger, a professor of zoology and physiology, who pioneered the benefits of wool in clothing. Tomalin was the one who translated the doctor's work Health Culture (London, 1907) into English
I found some photos of home made Danish "Livstykker".

The reason why children had to wear those was to keep their stockings on. They were often buttoned at the back and it had buttons sewn on the vest and the stockings. An elastic garter was connected to each button and kept the stockings from concertina.
In Danish the word "Livstykke" also means a person who is an extraordinary lively and generous person. A character like this is Pippi Långstrump, created by Astrid Lindgren
Here is a description of Pippi`s appearance.
Her hair, the color of a carrot was braided in two tight braids that stuck straight out. Her nose was the shape of a very small potato and was dotted all over with freckles. It must be admitted that the mouth under this nose was a very wide one, with strong white teeth. Her dress was rather unusual. Pippi herself had made it. She had meant it to be blue but there wasn´t quite enough blue cloth, so Pippi had sewed little red pieces on it here and there. On her long thin legs she wore a pair of long stockings, one brown and the other black, and she had on a pair of black shoes that were exactly twice as long as her feet.
And this is what happens at her first day at school 
Pippi then lies down on top of the teacher's desk, one leg flung into the air, casually displaying her garters, mismatched stockings, and over sized shoes for all to see.
The first book was published in 1946 and I have read that the character was based of Anne of Green Gables. That book was published in 1908.
Here is the finished bodice. I will wear it as a vest under a jacket.


  1. I hope you will be flinging yourself around wildly when you wear it, just like Pippi. I loved those books when I was a child. I longed to be as free and wild as Pippi, I imagine. Last night I went to a party and met a Danish couple who live in my neighborhood. Now I have to find out if they have any interest in knitting.

  2. I never knew that Pippi Longstocking was based on Anne of Green Gables - how interesting! The bodice is so lovely! I ordered the book nd will attempt my own "Liberty Bodice"... we'll see if I can do as good a job as you did. lol I found some old underwear buttons from the early 1900's at the antique shop and might use those for the front closure.

  3. Thanks for the info about
    Edwardian Farm on YouTube. I had not heard of this production and am finding it fascinating. I also appreciate all your historical info. The older I get the more interested I am in history. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with so many of us.


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