Cotton combinations

About this object

When she first got married, Emily Tinne would have worn what we would consider to be very constricting underclothes. She owned several pairs of these cotton 'one piece', calf-length combinations as the first layer next to her skin. The combinations do have a buttoned flap at the back, but going to the loo would have been quite tricky! Especially as over these would have been the obligatory corset and several petticoats.

Although no one would have seen them under her dress, Emily's combinations have pretty decoration at the neck and the legs. The square-cut neckline and the legs are hand-embroidered with pale blue and white flowers. Both neck and legs have a hand-made, crocheted lace trim.

These combinations may have been part of Emily's wedding trousseau. A trousseau is simply the clothes, linen and belongings that a girl would assemble before her marriage to take to her new home. It would usually be prepared in the time between getting engaged and getting married. The bride-to-be would hand-embroider monograms on household linen and make lace for underclothes. It is unlikely that Emily Tinne had time to embroider these combinations herself though, as she had such a short engagement. She seemed to regret it, writing to her son Pip later, "I was terribly disappointed not to have a longer engagement than I had..."
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