This week Charles has been busy with his work and I have been at home doing some research, laundry, housework and cooking.
Charles and I have put on weight this past year and his psoriasis has been acting up so we are back to our elimination diet. I have a lot of inflammation in my body, pain in my back and nerve endings etc. It is good for us to shake up our diet occasionally.
At my last visit at the doctor we discussed that many people have gained weight since the covid virus and has made such a upset to our lives. He is seeing that patients have gained from 10 to 30 pounds. We can all understand why so if you have not gained weight from covid stress that is good.
So we are eliminating all dairy except butter and only use that occasionally and some other food that we feel causes inflammation. Here above I am making coconut milk, this is what we did a few years ago when we went on a elimination diet and we both lost a quite a bit of weight.
I have no idea if this is good or bad, it is just what we do to have a milk substitute. I take two cups of shredded coconut, the kind that comes in the baking section of the store in a bag and I put the two cups of coconut into hot water that I boiled on the stove and remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes. Then I put that into a blender and add two cups cool water and blend.
Then I strain it through a strainer and cheesecloth and pour the strained coconut milk into a jar and use as a milk substitute. I keep it in the refrigerator. The coconut fat will solidify to the top and we can warm it and shake it up or remove the fat.
When we lost quite a bit of weight a few years ago we ate vegetables including collard and turnip greens, and sauteed onions with mushrooms and we ate cubed and sauteed and baked sweet potatoes. We cut back eating meat every day to three or four times a week, we had fruit smoothies every evening to replace supper. Our standard smoothie is a banana, some frozen strawberries, blueberries and pineapple. We were adding coconut milk to the smoothies but started just adding filtered water.
We did not eat sweets and our carbs were rice and white or red potatoes. We mostly ate simple food.
Photo above, this was a meal two days ago, Boiled chicken, brussels spouts, boiled potatoes with a dab of butter, salt and pepper, and some baked butternut squash that was leftover from the day before.
Everyone needs their own special food for their body, I am just showing you what we did and not giving advice, each of us has to decide what changes if any they need to make.
A few years ago Charles and I had slowly put on quite a bit of weight. Charles psoriasis was flared very bad and both of us were generally miserable with added pounds. By the end of a year eating better Charles had lost 70 pounds and I had lost twenty five.
2020 was a extremely stressful year for us as it was for many others and we are not surprised of the weight gain. We are not as overweight as we were a few years ago but we need to get it under control so we do not get back like we were before.
Yesterday, Charles had to work out of town so I packed him some warmed up leftovers from one of our meals. I packed it in a thermos meal container. He always leaves out with two quarts of filtered water.
I have cut back on containers that he takes to work because of the covid. He is in and out of his car all day long and we worry about the virus so I wrap his thermos with a easy to wash hand towel and tie it together. It got old very quickly trying to wash lunch boxes.
Whenever he needs to take a meal I get it ready and put it close to the back door. The brown lunch bag is for him to take however many fruits he wants for the day.
Normally on Saturday mornings we eat a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and grits or hash browns but we have stopped that for now. This is a leftover chicken thigh from a meal this week. We sauteed onions and mushrooms and added to the chicken and some curry. Added a bit of preserved lemon as well. So that one chicken thigh made two servings of this above.
Then there is rice with preserved lemons and sliced avocado. Our breakfast is more of a brunch on Saturdays.
I wrote out a weekly menu the first of the week and I have been cooking by that and if I want to I can just repeat that same week until I can get a new week added so I can have a two week rotating meal plan. It is what works for me because as I get older I need a plan to keep to.
On to the Corset! Above is a 1902 clothing catalog
Our history projects this year we are in the 1930's. We are trying to live like 1937 but we are older adults so we would have a lot of habits and routines from long before that year and I have not yet figured out many things about this study.
I would have already lived through many different styles of corsets and clothing. I would have lived without electricity and running water much longer than I have with it.
If I really lived in 1937 and I am the age I am now, I would have already lived through many extremely difficult times and still living in one. I would have been born in the 1860's.
I would have experienced wars and recessions before 1900 and more recessions and world war 1 and the awful flu pandemic, another recession and a great depression.
Researching so much I am quite familiar with the styles of clothing ( but I am not a historian or expert on clothing) and understand that women wore corsets. They slowly changed to girdles and the corset/girdle kept changing. I wore a girdle as a teenager because that was what we wore under our clothing back then and stockings with the clippy things that hang from the girdle. We wore them as part of our under clothing.
Not all women wore corsets and girdles but many women did. The catalogs and newspaper ads were full of different styles of undergarments and corsets.
The clothing styles changed as time went by and so did the corsets. So this above was the corset/girdle of the 1920s.
That long straight dress had arrived, short bobbed hair. And the underneath clothing changed as well.
Instead of the upper body corset, now the hips and tummy were held in tightly for those straight roaring twenties look. There were complaints about sitting down and the waist pulled in too tight.
So in the 1930s, the straight look vanished and the dress had a little flair and looser look.
BUT, what the heck happened to the corset? I would rather wear a armored vehicle than to try and get this on! Now the corset included attached brassier. So now the hips and waist and breast were pretty well secure. I truly wonder how long it took to get this on with the stockings?
Then the 1940s came and fitted dresses were popular and the hemline was raised due to rationing. Yes, Rationing actually caused the hemline to rise so it did not take as much fabric to make the dress.
This is more like my mother wore and I wore a more simple girdle when it became my time to wear one.
The girdles were quite interesting I must say.
But here I am today.
Before I get started I will say I did the no butt gardening and bathing with a washbowl, I can do this for the sake of learning history. Also, this is our real home and real us and real dog hair dust bunnies under the furniture and towels and blankets over the furniture because of the doggies. Just putting that out there.
There is a much better solution for wearing a corset and it is found long before all those corsets and girdles I just showed on this blog post.
We have to go far back in time to learn the smart way to wear a corset.
It starts with the shift/chemise. Not a shift dress but the shift slip that went under the corset.
There is a lot of information on the internet about how to make a shift/chemise. I will add some interesting links at the end of this post.
This is my shift/Chemise and it goes "Under" a corset or under a dress used as a slip without a corset.
I decided to purchase a corset to see if it would help my back and to my surprise it has helped me, especially when I wash dishes but it also quite surprised me in other ways.
As old couples are, Charles happily said he would help to take pictures for this post, I wasn't real thrilled about asking but here it goes.
I do not have a corset with boned in stays and this corset laces in the back and this is what gives it a tight support. I want to sew a boned corset one day or purchase one but this will do for now.
Before I go any further, I have tried those back braces and velcro pull around things but they are terribly uncomfortable and do not work for me like this corset.
So I put my linen/cotton blend loose day/house dress on over my shift "without" a corset shown above to show the difference.
And now with the corset. Everything supported in place. The corset it tightened the breast are lifted up and secure and without straps over the shoulders which for me is one battle won.
I know many women complain about pain from bra straps and purse straps so I know I am not the only one that has this under clothing issue. Some of us have a problem with wearing any kind of bra due to nerve pain.
For many years now of studying history I have had a difficult time dressing in todays world. I just do not feel comfortable in clothes from today and I do not like them or what they are made of. Maybe it is because I never go into a store with more expensive clothing.
What I want to wear I cannot find and I do not want to walk around bringing attention to myself dressing in a certain period of time.
So I started looking for modest dresses and dress patterns made of linen or cotton or wool so I could dress just simple because that is how I like to dress.
As you see above, I am sitting upright as if I am trying to sit most proper. I am only 5 feet 1 & 1/2, probably 1/4 now so it is difficult to sit in any chair for an adult.
As I was about to say, it looks like I am sitting upright as if I am trying to sit most proper. Well, I am not, my corset is sitting me upright. I cannot slouch in the corset and it helps me to sit straight as when I wash dishes, I do not slump. When I eat at the table I sit up straighter and it affects the way I eat.
Actually, my back hurts most days and when I sit in a chair I have to pillow myself in to be comfortable. With the corset I am already supported. I am not to the point of wearing it all day, I had to start slowly but I feel better with it on than off.
In this photo above I now see that this lady's corset is helping her to keep good posture while doing her hand work. Since wearing and feeling that support I can see how they spent hours hand sewing and embroidering and doing all kinds of hand work.
I understand now when I look at these photos, there are layers of garments under the outer dress or gown.
The shift / Chemise is normally made of linen or a linen and cotton blend and they help to wick body moisture and dirt, keeping clothing clean.
There were many layers under clothing depending on the time of year. If it is cold there may even be a layer of wool as they understood how to dress.
I will post some links for you to watch if you would like at your leisure. I hope you found something in this post interesting. It is somewhat a solution for me finding a corset that actually helps and may can give you some ideas of your own.
Getting Dressed Queen Victoria
Wearing a corset Abby cox
Bernadette Banner making a shift
Shift pattern from your measurements