Musings of a Lady

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Le Modiste: Corsets, Corsets. Part 2

I had the privilege of having a friend help me draft up a period pattern for my 18th century stays.  I made a wool, lightly boned corset that might have been worn between 1770-1785.  I tend to wear fashions from that period so it made sense to use that.  Although this corset is machine sewn, the binding was hand sewn on and let me say, using leather binding is not going to happen again.  Yes, it is period to use it and probably will help the corset last a little longer - no bones poking through - but it was the devil to put on.

We used a period method of measuring my body with a paper tape that was notched in a particular way to note the lengths.  I was given a paper pattern which I then drafted up using the measurements.  I layered three fabrics one of the fashion wool and two of the linen.  Traced the pattern and left 2 inches alway around.  The patterns were basted along the outline of the piece, then based together along the basting lines.  I was fitted to the corset and followed that with adjustments and another fitting.  I had very little adjustments to make since the pattern was drafted to my specific measurements.  The corset was then constructed, bonded and bound.  Phew!  I have worn it twice now, and I so much happier.  My last two attempts using a purchased paper pattern were okay but they just didn't fit right.  I recommend having a corset drafted to you.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the some of the process and the finished product:

Personalized drafted pattern.

Front piece cut, showing the 3 layers.

Basting for the fitting.
Corset complete.

Corset complete - side view.
I really must get someone to take my photos for me.  Anyway, I think if I do this again - not anytime soon, however, I think I would bone it more on the front and side fronts.  The corset gives me the proper cleavage and all but I think the shape could be a bit better.  Again, the leather bindings were very hard to do around the tabs.  The top edges were no problem, in fact, I was able to machine sew it down and then whipped stitched it down on the inner side.  But the TABS!!!!!!!!  I finally ended up making individual strips around each tab as trying to go around the curves at the junctions of each tab was horrible.  My fingers are still recovering.  Any suggestions for period binding other than leather and silk?  All suggestions welcomed.

Stay tuned for  Corsets, Corsets Part 3: Victorian corset.  Also, coming up soon are the results of my two sewing frenzy to make a picnic dress for a summer outing I went to this last Sunday.

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