Yesterday's post reminds me that there are lots of things I still haven't gotten around to showing you, so this week will be all about catching up. Remember those saris? I did manage to knock out one Titanic dress from that stash, then got stalled halfway through a second one. But before I show you the completed dress I should show you the corset I made to go under it! I no longer own this corset; due to fitting issues I wore it twice then gave it away to Lauren, who says it fits perfectly. I've cobbled the following together from photos and notes I took before I sent it on its merry way. Despite the fitting issues, I learned a LOT from this one!
While I've made several corsets in modern and mid-Victorian styles, teens corsets were something I've never studied or attempted before. Luckily, the fabulous Jo at Bridges on the Body started up a 1911 corset sew along! Her posts cover every part of the process from beginning to end and made tackling this project much less scary. Of course, despite my best intentions I didn't end up sewing along with everyone else at all; rather I got mine started just as everyone was finishing.
I chose to use the Post Edwardian Longline pattern she provided rather than the Corsets and Crinolines one. I wanted this to be as easy as possible and didn't want to deal with the gussets on the latter. I blew up the pattern and made a mockup (forgot to take photos of that apparently). I found that while the waist seemed like it would be OK, my butt ended up super squished. The corset was also too short and needed a touch more room in the top. I raised the top one inch, added an inch to the upper back and two inches to the butt.
|The pattern with my additions taped on|
I was in a hurry so I decided to not make a new mock up to assess the changes. If I had, I would have found that I still needed to add space in the mid hip. I also needed to add a bit to the waist; even though it's the same width as other corsets I own it still doesn't fit right. Since this style has the waistline sitting a bit higher than earlier corsets the tightest part is actually directly on my ribcage where I don't squish so well. When I made the original mock up I thought the reason I couldn't close the waist further was because the hip area wasn't laced anywhere near closed. I thought the problem would be solved by the addition of those two inches at the low hip. Adding to the hips of other corsets I've made has allowed me to lace the waist tighter before (see Cathy Hay's discovery of the extra room effect), so it wasn't a completely stupid assumption. Even so, I should know that when tackling a completely new style of corset one shouldn't assume that everything will work the same!
I made the corset out of cream coutil with a patterned quilter's cotton for the lining. A mustardy organic cotton served as bias binding and covers the garter straps. I had planned to use a matching twill tape for the waist tape but ended up skipping that part. I also bought some golden Japanese embroidery thread with the intention of doing some flossing, but that didn't happen either!
|Well at least I ended up using half this stuff|
Lazyness prompted me to use purchased casing for the boning channels. I should know by know that laziness doesn't pay. The casing can fit two bones side by side, but juuuuuust barely. In order to get them perfect, I had to hand baste the channels exactly where they needed to go, then carefully stitch about 1/16 of an inch in from either edge. Then I could remove the basting stitches and carefully stitch down the exact center. I was a liiiiittle bit off on some and as a result it was difficult to shove the boning in, but I managed.
I screwed up when placing the grommets. I like to punch a tiny hole where each grommet will go, but this time I got overzealous and didn't notice that part of the corset got folded underneath the rest while I was hammering away!
Luckily the damage is to the very top part of the corset. It won't be taking much stress at all, and will be covered by lace. Some quick stitching later, the holes were patched and the problem was solved. I highly doubt that anyone would even notice it in the finished corset!
|What? It'll be covered up in the end.|
This type of corset doesn't fasten all the way down the front; the busk ends several inches short of the bottom. The bones end around the same point. The two front halves can then open up when you sit or take long strides. This design lets the corset be extra long to provide smooth shaping, but still allows you to move. I loved the long line, but decided I wasn't a fan of the extra fabric over the front of my thighs, nor the super straight line of the bottom. There's also some wrinkling in the lower third; that's because there aren't any garters to pull the edge downwards yet.
To pretty it up I carved out some curves just above each thigh. I bound the edges with a thin bias tape made from the mustard cotton and added some pretty lace around the top. I attached garters at the center front and sides, then clipped them to my stockings to pull the corset into alignment. What a difference!
The back doesn't close as much as I wanted to, but that's what I get for not making a second mockup. You can see that there's a flat spot in the back mid hip where there isn't enough space in the corset and it just smooshes my butt down. The corset isn't laced all the way down because I ran out of silver 00 grommets and had to leave off the last two on one side.
|The poor corset just can't handle|
all that junk in the trunk!
Even better, I can sit it it!
|Look at how well it maintains that smooth line |
all the way down the back!
|The busk is shorter than the corset so that it doesn't|
poke, and the bottom front edges split open.
It certainly gives me the proper shape, and visually it appears to fit well enough. It also encourages the wearer to lean forward ever so slightly, adding to the proper fashionable silhouette. When I first wore it out I thought it was pretty comfortable for the first hour. Unfortunately, after that first hour it became a nightmare to wear! I'm not sure if it's just that the sizing is off, or it's the high placement of the waist that is problematic, or if the style of corset is just not my body's cup of tea. I think that the constant urge to lean a bit forward caused some of the issues. In any case, I learned a lot from this adventure, and the corset is happy in its new home. Everybody wins!