The Trendelenburg Position


This may sound like the title of a spy thriller, however, it was, and is, a recommended position in which to fit a client. The client lies on her back with the knees raised. The surface may even be inclined towards the client's head. The internal organs which need the support of the corset will then be assisted by gravity into their correct locations at which time the corset can be adjusted and tightened.

From the Jenyns Brochure of 1912



This group of Spirella corsetieres are being trained in the 1910's in lacing the corset on the horizontal client. It may look like a group of trainee doctors and nurses, but the 'victim' is simply covered for modesty. On the right, a Swedish corsetiere in 1923 from the manual published by Korsettfabriken Spirella Aktiebolag in Malmö.


Spencer 1920 and Spirella 1930 used pillows under the derriere to help this lady adjust her underbelt.  


The Dutch pre-war and Jenyns from 1990 still using the position. Note how in both cases the drawing depicts the ever popular fan-lacing corset.




The corsetiere and the client get down to business in the late 1930's.  Measuring the client whilst lying flat was a recommended procedure for many of the more specialised garments. It is also the recommended position from which to lace up any corset that is designed to support the abdomen. 


Ultimately, the client would learn how to adjust the laces and straps herself (Spencer 1947).


Please do not imagine that the Trendelburg position is some historical practice. It is still the recommended way to don a post-partum panty-girdle currently manufactured by Ardyss.



My corsetiere is adamant that the corset laces should only be adjusted when lying horizontally so that one’s internal organs are in their proper place. I usually do this, however, the lady mentioned under suspenders, and in common with those that wear a longer corset, have told me that if they lace up in the horizontal they would never get vertical again !