1905 Sanakor Plunge front corset

As a self directed project at university I decided to make a corset to keep further my corsetry skills. For this is chose the 1905 Sanakor plunged front corset (extant corset is held in the Symington Collection Leicestershire) because it was a cut I have never attempted before and looked to be a unique challenge. This corset presented many new techniques and I learnt a lot of new valuable skills.


As I’m using ‘Stays and Corsets: Volume 2’ (Mandy Barrington) for the construction of this corset I followed the instructions for the pattern drafting process. I’ve made a few corsets from the previous book volume so this process is quite familiar to me.
I started by drafting the block to Imogen’s measurements, I found that as she has a small bust it was better to use her hips as the widest measurement on the block (bust is suggested for this measurement in the book). The block is then widened by 30cm in the side of the block, this allows for additional space for drafting the corset patterns.
Additional measurements are added to the block such as point to point, high hip to further aid in plotting the pattern of the corset.

I decided to make a toile out of drill as I didn’t feel comfortable with my skills to make it up in my duchess satin first time. My biggest concern was marking the satin so the drill toile seemed to be the safest option.
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The pattern pieces were all cut out from two layers of cotton drill with one inch seam allowance. The pieces were tacked to indicate bust, waist, high hip and hip.
For the toile I focused on fit rather than construction, this meant I could speedily sew the toile together, get the fit alterations right and then move onto the real corset with much more time to work on perfecting the overall construction.
The toile corset was sewn with seams to the outside with 1” seam allowance (and shape adjustment space) added all the way around the pattern pieces. The centre front was sewn together as a seam to replicate the busk and the toile was fully boned using synthetic whalebone which were numbered corresponding with the boning channels on my patterns so they could be easily identified and recycled into the finished corset.

The first fitting went well with only a few alterations necessary. The bust seam needed to be taken in a bit as it was gaping and the side to centre back below the waist needed taking in also.
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These alterations were safety pined and then chalked so that this new information could be transferred and sewn for a final fitting.


The second fitting was a success with the alterations fitting Imogen perfectly.

Now that the pattern was finalised it could be retraced and used for the final corset, I traced off the new patterns by dismantling one side of the corset, laying pattern paper over carbon paper and using a tracing wheel through the pattern pieces to transfer the new information.


Once all of the pattern pieces had been transferred using the carbon I used a pattern master to clean up the lines and straighten boning channels.
No alterations were made to the busk panel so that panel was left as is to be used in the final corset.


As the original 1905 corset feature a while lining I decided to replicate this in my version of it. The top fabric was cut from black double duchess satin and the inside was cut from white coutil. 1.5cm was added to all of the pattern pieces with an extra 1” of satin added to the busk panel. It was this panel I was most worried about messing up so I wanted as much room for that as possible so any mistakes could be amended.

IMG_0066I started construction with the back panels, It was difficult to work out the construction of these from the images of the extant garment I had (no further explanation in the book) so I decided to sew the satin to the coutil wrong sides together on the centre back, press, fold them back so right sides were out and then press so the satin rolled over the centre back with a slight lip.

After making my 1820’s corded stays where rather than back stitching my stitch lines I left my threads long, threaded them to the wrong side and then tied them off. I found it difficult to back stitch on this corset as tying threads back makes them look so clean. So I decided on tying my threads back on this corset for all of my boning channels/visible lines of stitching.

On the side panel there was an internal boning chanel made up from tape that was hand sewn into place, for this I used petersham tap and extended the tape into the seam so it could be caught when sewing, the tape was slip stitched into place, catching the coutil layer and not the satin.
I have sewn busks into corsets before but for this corset decided to add a small facing/modesty panel to the hook side which would prevent any skin from showing in the small gap when worn. This was done by sewing the hook side of the busk 5mm to the side of the centre front line (this included sewing along the top edge so that it could be bagged out in the next step), folding this back with right sides showing and then sewing the centre front line of stitching. The eye side of the busk was sewn along the centre front, skipping where the eyes would poke through the seam (right sides together) again including sewing the top edge of the busk panel so that it too could be bagged out.

IMG_0178I have sewn busks into corsets before but for this corset decided to add a small facing/modesty panel to the hook side which would prevent any skin from showing in the small gap when worn. This was done by sewing the hook side of the busk 5mm to the side of the centre front line (this included sewing along the top edge so that it could be bagged out in the next step), folding this back with right sides showing and then sewing the centre front line of stitching. The eye side of the busk was sewn along the centre front, skipping where the eyes would poke through the seam (right sides together) again including sewing the top edge of the busk panel so that it too could be bagged out.

IMG_0181The eye side of the busk was then inserted and using a zipper foot fixed into place. The hook side was marked on the wrong side of the satin with chalk and I used an awl to poke the holes through from the wrong side. When all of the holes had been made the hooks were carefully inserted through them. I later used steam to shrink the fibers of the satin back together closing the holes around the hooks. A zipper foot was then used to sew the hook side of the busk into place.

CBAF22CC-AE4A-4791-9F6A-2BAA9D9182E6Next the bust panel was sewn to the busk panel, Hester (one of our lovely studio technicians) and I had to have a long discussion about this and spent about an hour examining pictures of the extant Sanakor corset and another surviving white variant of the Sanakor. We decided in the end that the bust and busk panels are first assembled with the coutil right sides together. Then the satin bust panel is line up over the top of this right sides together and sewn. This encases the top edge of the bust panel so that it can be bagged out after clipping into it and trimming the seam allowance. The seam is then pressed adding a slight roll/lip to the bust panel edge. A line of stitching is then sewn around the new bust seam approximately 2mm from the edge/seam line this helps to fix everything in place.

Then the boning channels for the bust seam could be sewn, like the boning channels elsewhere on the corset these were tied to the wrong side so that there was no visible back stitching.

 

Next the side seams were prepared, I secured the cotton petersham tape I was using as a waist tape over the waistline, ensuring it was long enough to be caught into the front to side seam.
The side to bust panels were then sewn together right sides together, making sure the bagged out bust top edge lined up with the tacking stitches on the side seam for a smooth finish.

The seam allowances could then be trimmed down. This seam is covered with a taped boning channel so a length of tape was cut to size and then pinned evenly over the seam.
This was followed by using a ‘stitch in the ditch’ foot from the right side of the corset. This foot lines up perfectly with the seam and stitches in the ditch of the seam resulting in beautiful invisible stitching. These threads were also tied to the wrong side. Then boning channels are sewn on either side of the stitch in ditch seam.

IMG_0202The side to centre back panels were then sewn together in the same fashion. Although the waist tape was not caught in this initial seam. After the initial seam had been sewn it was pressed and trimmed, the waist tape was then brought across following the waist line (keeping it taunt in this process) and pinned to keep it in place while the tapped seam was sewn.

966F86B6-2C50-4158-B2D1-602674EA4096The stitch in the ditch foot was used for this process and boning channels were again sewn on either side of the seam.
Lastly the waist tape is caught into the final eyelet channel bone channel. This bone chenel is also tapped, the waist tape was brought up to where the bone hennl would be sewn and then was folded back on itself a fraction to prevent any raw/exposed edges. The taped boning channel was then sewn over this.

A98831A1-C5B4-4706-8219-A1430FDEBD38With the boning channels all sewn the main construction process was finished and it was time to move on to bias binding the edges and inserting the bones into the channels.
The top edge had to be bias bound first as the top edge of the bust panel had already been closed when it was bagged out and there would be no other way to insert the bones than from the lower edge.
Hester and I had another in depth conversation about how the edges were finished, it was difficult to tell from the pictures I had found of the extant corset but we finally settled on the top edge being bias bound with white tape, the tape was sewn 2mm above the white tacking lines so that when the corset was trimmed down and the bias binding rolled over no bias would be visible. Once this binding was sewn and whip stitched down the bones could be inserted into the channels. As I hadn’t filed the edges on the synthetic whalebone down during the toile corst I had to do this first to limit the chance of any of them bursting out and creating a hole. Flat steel bones were used on the centre back boning channels and these were capped. I had always had issues with the caps coming off steel boning but Hester taught me that you can glue the caps on with ‘uhu glue’, which seems extremely obvious but had never occurred to me before and I will be including that in all of my future steel boned corset practices!
IMG_0230With the bones inserted the lower edge of the corset could be finished off.
The binding on the lower edge is something I’ve never seen or heard of on a corset before. There’s a strip of visible black satin bias running along the bottom edge but the black bias is faced with white bias binding which is turned to the wrong side.
The black satin bias binding is sewn on wrong sides together 1cm above the white tacking line, this is then pressed down and the white tacking line is then restitched through the black bias binding, white bias binding is then sewn on 2mm below the white tacking line, the remaining fabric below is then trimmed and the white bias binding is then rolled to the wrong side (whip stitched in place) so that the seam joining the black satin binding to the white bias binding sits exactly at the bottom of the corset and the white tape is not visible.
Eyelets are then inserted into the eyelet chanel, I followed the eyelet placement indicated in the book and spread out 9 eyelets evenly with one eyelet sitting on the waist.
A ribbon is then sewn 2cm above the busk on the bust panel so that it can be tied when worn offering a little more bust support/modestly.

The corset was then complete.


I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this self directed project. I feel as though I have accomplished all that I set out to do with it and more. I made up my first corset using satin and successfully completed it without marking the satin which I was terrified of doing. The new shape was a challenge but I feel as though it came together rather successfully. Alterations were needed in fitting but nothing that took away from the overall silhouette. I inserted my first waist tape into a corset which thankfully wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. I got to have another experience fitting a corset which I feel was extremely beneficial to my skills as an interpreter. I think I now have a better ‘eye’ for fitting and can now assess what needs altering with little input from technicians. Finally I am so pleased with myself with this finished corset, its so clean and the lines are sharp. I have received many compliments in the studio on it and I’m just so proud! Corsetry is a still I want to use more in the future and I feel as though completing this corset was a major step in the right direction.


I hope to make more corsets over the holidays, I’m still determined to finish my ‘Corseted through the Century Challenge’ so I’d like to work on that over the holidays as well as a few other costume and day to day clothes for myself.

Thank you for reading, comments are always welcome!

-Nivera

1890’s Wasp Waist Corset

Following my Corseted through the century project I decided to revisit the 1890’s as I wasn’t happy with my previous attempt at this decade. History was set to repeat.


For this corset I used Mandy Barrington’s 1890 Wasp Waist corset from the book ‘Stays and Corsets’.36de54e8d56da3b58199a2cbb7521be7ae112a85r1-986-449v2_hq.jpg

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The materials I used were,
One meter of pink cotton drill
One 30cm Spoon busk
2 100m spools of poly thread
1 100m spool of topstitching thread
Embroidery floss

Pictured also is lace with ribbon insert and pink ribbon I intended to replace the red ribbon with.
Not pictured are the 4mm eyelets used.
I started by laying out my patterns onto my fabric (cotton drill) and drew out the seam allowances. I used 1.5cm on all of the interior seams and the CB and CF used 2cm seam allowances, this allowed for the fabric to be turned back to the interior of the eyelet panel and for the busk.

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The pattern pieces were then cut out.
b8b61bebe4837c590f8307f47bad1cdc3c7acf6er1-1024-768v2_hq.jpgThis fabric has a really nice diagonal texture to it which I really like for the top side of the corset so I’ve been using that rather than the untextured other side.

And then came my latest new corset adventure, cording. This is a historical technique and provides extra support along side boning although there are samples of corsets that use only cording for support.
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My book ‘Corsets’ by Jill Salen has a small tutorial for cording so I followed that with modern techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided that I’d used carbon paper for transferring information over to my wrong side fabric. But I chose to use yellow which I soon realised isn’t a great choice on top of pink.

You can just make it out if you squint!

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I didn’t think the process over all that well and decided to cord before assembling the corset, although it’s possible to do this I highly recommend assembling and then cording especially if you’re cording a larger area of a panel!!

It was a very slow process but rewarding when complete! It took me eight hours to complete both the large panels.
Boning channels were also sewn in at this stage.
I wanted to give myself a break before starting the cording over the bust and decided to prepare the busk first. This time featuring a spoon busk!! First time working with one and they’re just as easy as rectangular busks, more curvy but plain and simple.
Sewn in with a zipper foot.
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I also at this stage made the dumb mistake of using a pencil to draw guide marks for the busk which are a tiny bit visible on the completed corset! It doesn’t bother me too much is was just a bad decision especially when I have friction pens handy.

For the busk side with the eyes the fabric was marked where the eyes would poke through and then with my eyelet ouch holes were punched. Awls are best to use but I still haven’t acquired one. The eyes are 4mm at the widest part however I used a 2mm hole. The hole is then coated in fray check and left to set over night. The fray check will allow some stretch to the fabric allowing the hole to stretch over the eye and then fit snug to the stud with no loose fabric visible.

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The rest of the corset was then assembled.
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The bust cording was inserted at this stage leaving gaps for the boning channels.
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I used long tweezers to make sure it was sitting correctly and flush to the cording above. Before seams were closed off to the larger cording channels, boning was inserted into the horizontal channels as they’d not be accessible after.
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After assembling the rest of the corset and sewing in the deep so that the two layers were flush with each other the boning channels could be sewn. This was a simple process as of the markings for the channels were on the wrong side of the fabric for easy identification and sewing. Whenever a channel needed to be sewn into the deep the corset was flipped to the right side for precise lines of stitching (just in case the layer done quite like up) being a few millimetres off can ruin the look of the neat and narrow channels!
Once the channels were all sewn it was time to insert the boning, I’m using 5mm flat steel boning which I ‘cap’ to remove any chance of the steels ripping through the fabric. It also makes inserting them into tight channels much easier.
The issues that I ran into (which I did foresee happening) was that the bust channels need more movement to them than the flat steel allows for.

You can see in the below picture how the bust boning is fighting the shape of the channels.
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This was a fight I would not win…
The channels need to be the shape they are for support and silhouette, so how is this fixed?
Spiral steel.
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I’ve been lucky with my last few corsets as they were functional using just flat steel but this corset has beat me!! Unfortunately I didn’t have a supply of spiral steel (the piece you see in my photos is from a old corset and that’s the only length I have) so I needed to order some in. I decided to buy 10m (buying it in bulk rolls was out of stock) which will be more than enough for at least two more corsets. I also bought proper spiral steel caps as my capping method isn’t function for spiral steel so these caps are necessary and a new corset lace as my current one is grubby and needs replacing.

After inserting the spiral steel into the bust boning channels I could seal the bottom of the corset up preventing the boning from coming out. I also zigzagged the bottom edge to prevent any fraying. The top and bottom edge of the corset were then bound in bias tape. I got store bought bias tape this time because I was emotionally ready to sew ribbon bias onto a corset again!
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I also decided that I would floss this corset like I did my 1860’s one. This time I chose a more complicated technique for more of a challenge and it looks lovely!
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Flossing really does add to historical corsets and is something I’ll be incorporating into future corsets! After this I used my new 4mm eyelets and inserted them into the corset. Yes there a lot but that was the amount suggested in the book!

And then the corset was complete ready to be tried on!

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I am very happy with this corset and I think it shows off skills as a seamstress quite well. I’m definitely seeing a steady improvement with each corset I make and considering thats the reason I’m making so many that makes me very happy. The corset is however, too large for me. It barley takes me in by and inch (the full closure measurement is 29″ my regular waist measurement is around 29.5″) when I should have been able to get 4” off with the pattern I drafted. I did however talk to a student who studied at AUB and Mandy Barrington was her tutor, she said that the sizing issue was common in her classes with Mandy and Mandy herself wasn’t sure why some students were having issues with the waist measurement being off. They gave me some great tips for altering the corset size which I will use towards my next one from this book!
I’m excited to move onto my next corset, I think I’ll do the 1880’s next. I’ve unintentionally been drawn the the last half of the century but I am just as excited for the first half of the century. I’d like to complete this challenge of mine before the end of the year but our head tutor sent out an email about the Golden Shears Tailoring Competition which I’m very interested in entering, I’ll probably make post dedicated to that once I’m back a uni and have spoken to our tutor about it further.


Comments are always appreciated! If you’ve worked with this book let me know how it went for you.
Thanks for reading

-Nivera

Corseted Through The Century

I’ve decided to give myself the challenge of sewing one corset from each decade of the 19th century, hence the crafty title of this post. Ideally I should have announced this before I started on this project/challenge but the idea didn’t occur until after completing my 1890’s riding corset.
I’ve become quite obsessed with corsets recently, I really enjoy making them and I’m seeing great improvement with each corset I complete. I picked the 19th century for this challenge as the silhouette (affected by corsets) changes greatly over the century. What I also like is that each decade has a reasonably iconic corset style that sets it apart from every other decade making each decade different from the next. This means the corsets I’ll be creating will be visually different and keep things interesting in the construction process.

References, Sources and Patterns

I own three corsetry books that cover the 19th century.
‘Corsets and Crinolines’ Norah waugh, ‘Corsets – Historical patterns and techniques’ Jill Salen and ‘Stays and Corsets – Historical patterns translated for the modern body’ Mandy Barrington

Currently I’ve only worked from ‘Corsets and crinolines’ and ‘Stays and corsets’ but Jill Salen’s book ‘corsets’ covers the second half of the century quite well. As all three of these books are well used in the historical costume community I’ve found many blog post detailing others experience with these patterns which I’ve read to see if there are any complications or handy tricks about the patterns I can know before hand.

I won’t be making these in historical order, I’ll likely continue making them as I am now and picking the decade that inspires me the most.
Working backwards here are the completed corsets from this challenge already and those planned with patterns (or still need to be sourced). These patterns are not final, there are a few decades I’m lucky enough to have multiple choices for and decision on which pattern I use will lie with what sewing procedures I’ve already applied/want to use and if that corset will include them.

1890-1900
I’ve already completed an under bust riding corset (‘Stays and Corsets’ Mandy Barrington) from this decade however, as the fit wasn’t satisfactory I’ve decided to make another corset from this decade as well.
1890 Riding Corset
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The corset I’ve decided to “replace” the riding corset with is an 1890 wasp waist corset (‘Stays and Corsets’ Mandy Barrington).

I think the wasp waist corset is a much better representation of foundation garments in that decade rather than a ‘sporting’ corset. I’m actually in the process of drafting this corset up as I write this post making it the next most likely corset to be completed for this challenge.

1880-1890
I didn’t find as many references to 1880’s corsets in my books as I thought I would.
There was Norah Waugh’s (Corsets and Crinolines) 1880 black coutil corset which has a more traditional appearance to it. I make mention of the traditional appearance because my other pattern option is far from it.
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The only other pattern from this decade I could find in my collection is the 1885 gold exotic corset from Jill Salen (Corsets, Historical patterns and techniques). This corset is designed to allow for more movement as women begin taking a more part in working life. The corset is described as exotic by Jill as there is a subtle gold sheen to the fabrics used, enhanced by the eyelets.


I’m leaning towards the 1880’s corset from ‘Corsets and Crinolines’ as it has a more tradition appearance and I’d like for all of the corsets to be coordinated. The exotic corset does seam like a fun challenge and may be something I complete at another date.

1870-1880
I felt quite lucky to find two patterns for this decade, both corsets different from each other yet iconic. I’m happy to se both of the corsets involve chording in their construction, its something I haven’t attempted yet but am eager to try.
‘Corsets and Crinolines’ has a 1873 corset which is lightly boned but heavily corded.
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The other option from Mandy Barrington (Stays and Corsets) is a 1875 corded and quilted corset. I love the contrasting visible stitching on the original corset, I’m sure it looked more striking in it’s original condition.

Both of these corsets fit over the hips which is something I haven’t worked with yet and will be a new challenge. I’m not quite decided on which of the two corsets I prefer but I do like that the 1875 corset uses both quilting, cording and boning.

1860-1870
I’ve completed two corsets from this decade already. The first being one I completed last year (my first corset ever) from Simplicity 1139. I am very proud of this corset and it holds a very special place in my heart however, I outgrew (I’m not sure thats the right word to use in this context!) it when I lost 4-5 inches at my waist. I was overweight, healthy weightless. This corset has since been taken apart, the busk removed and recycled for my 1890 riding corset which the boning was also recycled into.
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The second corset I’ve made from this decade is also my most recent corset from my last post. I’m much happier with this one and the fit is more appropriate too! This corset uses the 1860 light French corset pattern from Norah Waugh (Corsets and Crinolines). It was also my first attempt using flossing which is something I want to incorporate into future corsets as it really does add to the historicalness of the corset.
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I’m happy with my most recent 1860s corset and it will be featured as the corset representing that decade.

1850-1860
I’m really struggling with this decade. From what I’ve read its a transitional decade from the stays of the past to more modern looking corsets seen in the 1860s. None of my three books have reference to this decade and finding anything online even after extensive searches through museum archives and other historical costume maker blogs its still difficult to pinpoint a corset pattern from this decade.
I’ve found a few useful sources so I’m going to leave them here for future reference.
1850 Lady’s Stay (L. Balis Patented September 5 1850 Source)

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This source is looking quite promising, although it doesn’t come with a pattern if you follow the link you can find more detailed descriptions and construction instructions. The image I’m using is actually from Wikipedia ‘History of Corsets’ where its referred to as a ‘girls corset’. It does appear to be an adult woman’s corset to me however which is further backed up by the first link posted. Children’s corsets were flat fronted and were for encouraging an upright posture, a strong spine and also for warmth.
The other helpful image I’ve found is also from the same Wiki, “At the Great Exhibition in 1851 Madame Roxey Ann Caplin was awarded the prize medal of “Manufacturer, Designer and Inventor” for her corsetry designs, as the only corsetmaker who get a prize by the Great Exhibition. This prize medal changed the corsetry of England.”
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Her blank stare into nothingness is scary I’m not afraid to admit that! There were a few other corsets from Madame Roxey however they weren’t what I’m after (pregnancy corsets, early child corset, petticoat suspender) so I’m just including this one. I like that this one shows different panel pieces more clearly, even though a back picture isn’t available I would feel confident in drafting it on my own after looking for more reference.
I was able to find one pattern 1853 stays from Godey’s Lady’s Book, my only issue is there little information about it on the source page. It does look reliable and correct for the period (to me) but I feel I’d be happier with more information.1853stays.jpg
1850 has defiantly been the hardest to source a pattern for and its looking although I may draft a pattern for myself instead. I may not have a pattern but I think I have enough reference material to push me in the right direction.

1840-1850
I was very lucky to find two patterns for this decade in my books. There is a small issue with one of them however which I’ll get to last.
‘Corsets and crinolines’ has a pattern for a 1844 corset to be boned on each seam. This corset is quite simple in appearance, featuring two bust gussets, a busk and the previously mentioned bones on each seam.
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The other questionable option is a 1840 Corded Taffeta Corset from Jill Salen (Corsets, historical patterns and techniques). The reason this option is considered questionable is as follows, Jill mentions that the corset has undergone some crude alterations at the front in the form of alternation buttons holes which have been fixed in place with cruder stitching indication that the alterations were made by someone other than the original maker. Jill also states that the corset represents a mixture of styles and its quite possible the corset could date back to as early as 1820. Except for the metal eyelets that date from after 1828 that could have been inserted over original hand-worked eyelets.

I do like both corsets however, I don’t feel using the second one is a true representation of this decade. Its quite possible that it was originally made twenty years earlier with alterations being made to it up until the 1840s. I want to make something that I know is period accurate for the decade and although the second corset is a unique piece I will be choosing to work with the first one from ‘Corsets and crinolines’.

1830-1840
I was only able to find one corset pattern in my books from this decade, though I am aware commercial patterns are available but I won’t be visiting those for this series (am I okay to call this a series?).
The pattern is from Jill Salen (Corsets, historical patterns and techniques) 1830-40 Rural corded corset and its buff orange. This corset has no boning and is supported by cording only. I’m going to leave this one until I’ve experimented with cording first. Its only just occurred to me that I’ll need to oder busk widths of boning for these earlier corsets, heres hoping my new bolt cutters will manage them!


1820-1830
I have two references to 1820s corsets from my books which I’m counting myself lucky for as the earlier I go to the start of the century the harder its become to find original sourced patterns.
The first is a 1820 white cotton corset from Mandy Barrinton (Stays and corsets), this corset has no boning but the two busks, supported by the cording. There is decretive stitching as well as four bust gussets.

The second is a pair of 1820s white cotton sateen stays from Norah Waugh (Corsets and crinolines). They are lightly boned with a centre busk and elaborately quilted around the waist.
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Both of these corsets are fantastic pieces and I’m really not sure which I prefer of the two. I’m not sure how well scaling up the Norah Waugh pattern will go as its fitted over much more of the body than more modern corsets, I can of course make alterations and check measurements before beginning the final pice. I think Mandy Barrington’s pattern may be more straightforward in that respect.

1810-1820
Another difficult decade, none of my books cover 1800-1820 so the first two decades became an online search. While I was sourcing for later decades I came across museum archives which rarely would yield patterns in their collections. Most of theses are from large pattern sheets that featured numerous patterns on a single sheet overlaid and outlined with different lines (usually a unique combination of dots and dashes that related to all of the patterns for on individual product) and if you were lucky within the mass of lines there might be numbers thrown in two which coordinate to different projects. Heres an example from March 1897 by Mode Illustree in Paris France
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I’m getting off topic here but I just wanted to explain that I had come across pattern sheets like this for corsets however they were too difficult to render without photoshop which I don’t have access to outside of term time and I’m not paying for it…
Back on topic! I was able to find museums with completed patterns for some corsets and I ended up with one for this decade.
This is an 1811 Corset in the collection of the Missouri Historical Society, the pattern isn’t in as good quality as some of the others I’ve complied but I’ve seen worse on my search and will count myself lucky for coming across this one!


1800-1810
Found that with the later decades the early decade corsets look quite similar with small alterations to style/shape/fit decade to decade so I was ready for something visually different with the first decade of the century. The solution? Short stays.
After some in-depth Pinterest lurking I was able to find this blog post ‘Short Stays’ Studies containing some amazing research as well as various patterns from the decade. Life saver. There are a few patterns available on the blog but the one I like the best would have to be Bernhardt’s patterns ‘F’, I think I prefer its style and shape to the others.PatronF_kleidungum1800.jpg
It will need to be rescaled but that will be easy enough to do! Thank you very much Kleidung um 1800 for sharing your work!


And that is one pattern, multiple choice or sufficient research for one corset for ever decade of the 18th century. I’m very excited for this project and I think it will be considered a huge accomplishment when I’ve completed it. Hopefully I will still be as excited for corsetry after I’ve finished and not put off the idea entirely. I haven’t given myself a deadline for this huge project as I don’t want to stress myself out over it and rather just enjoy the process but if I were able to complete this by the end of the year that would be fantastic.
I will be documenting each corset/stay here on WordPress as well as major pictorial updates on instagram!
If anyone has any 19th century corset sources I’m missing out on and would like to share that would be greatly appreciated.

Thank your for reading
-Nivera

Stays Construction, Let’s make Butterick B4254

Continuing with my 18th century foundation garments lets take a look at the stays I made. As this was only my second ‘corset’ I decided to stick with a pattern again, although I ran into no issues scaling up the pocket hoops from Corsets and Crinolines I thought a corset with many different boning channels would be more of a challenge, a challenge I will take on at another date.

I ended up completing this project over a weekend (under forty eight hours) which I’m pretty pleased with! I did intend for this to be more of a spread out project but I just really got into the sewing and was happy to power though the whole weekend for it’s completion.

I used Butterik’s B4254 which is apart of the ‘Making History’ collection. I realised this pattern isn’t 100% historically accurate but I just wanted to used it as a starting point and ease myself into the procedures used and the period itself.
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I used version A (circled) which just has a back opening rather than front and back. I choose this for two reasons, the first being I wanted to create that stylistic ‘shelf’ look where the bust is pushed upwards resulting in cleavage and you get a very defined shape of the bust and then immediately flattening down into the waist. Also I thought that having a flat uninterrupted front would mean that when garments are worn over top they would sit flat and not bulge or pucker where View B has an opening, I’m not sure if this would happen or not but at the time I considered it as a contributing factor to choosing View A instead. The second reason being I didn’t want to hand sew that many eyelets! I’m very particular when it comes to historical dress, I like my eyelets hand sewn and colour coordinated. View A has 20 eyelets total where as view B has 40 total, I think my decision based on eyelets is pretty justified!

Construction

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The stays are made up of four pattern pieces the centre front, side, centre back and the shoulder strap. I decided to cut the pattern out in a size 10 although I measured to be a size 12. My reason for doing this was that when I made my 1860’s corset (Simplicity 1139) I used a size 12 and found that the corset was too large and wouldn’t cinch me in as much as I had hoped for, it was a bit of a risk but I had high hopes that it would turn out okay!

 

I had just enough cotton coutil left over from my previous corset to squeeze the patterns pieces onto. Thankfully I was able to get each pattern piece to follow the indicated grain line. I have kept the left overs just incase, this coutil is on the more expensive side so I try and get the most out of it!

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Next I marked the boning channels unfortunately I didn’t have any carbon paper or a tracing wheel at the time and as I wanted to keep this as a weekend project I elected to use the pin prick method instead… This was time consuming. It took me around three hours to do but now I always have carbon paper on hand and won’t make that mistake again! The channels were marked with a heat removal ‘friction pen’, I love these pens so much I’ve never had any issued with them not removing/staining my fabrics.

I then cut the lining out and this is where I went a little wrong, I decided to use a poplin fabric as lining. Yeah I know bad decision. A (100%) cotton would have been a better choice as the poplin is too thin and fragile. So far I’ve only had two boning channels suffer breakouts, luckily they aren’t in positions of friction so I’m not stabbed while wearing the stays. I might re-line the stays before binding the edges but I’ll talk about that later.
I cut two CF lining pieces out, that was unintentional (didn’t read the instructions) I did not double the lining up.
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Next I sewed all the seams up on both the top fabric and the lining. You can really see just how light weight my chosen lining material is here too. I look back and cringe!
The lining is then basted the lining to the top fabric.
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And now for the main event, sewing the boning channels. I would like to thank the Butterick gods for including a guide which indicated the correct order to sew the channels. This is so extremely important as the boning is inserted as you sew because with each channel sewn you would often close off the openings to another channel. The only time I actually found this tedious was when I sewed the horizontal bones at the top of CF, my boning kept trying to twist while I was sewing which was a pain but manageable. I used synthetic whalebone as boning which was left over from my 1500’s ensemble.  It took me seven hours to sew the channels inserting the boning as I went. I spent a total of 13 hours on the stays on the Saturday.
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Then on the Sunday I spent all day hand sewing the eyelets. I am aware I’m missing an eyelet on either side in the above picture, when ironing the piece earlier in the construction process I removed my eyelet marks! As soon as I realised this I remarked the placements and punched the holes and sewd over them. I don’t have a more recent picture I’m afraid!
To remove the remaining pen from the stays I set my iron to steam and ironed over the stays, making sure to move the iron quickly as to not heat the plastic boning up. The pen may want to stick to the areas you sewn directly over it but with a firm press it will disappear!


And thats the stays finished! (To a functional state)

I still need to bind the edges of my stays and I’ll be using chamois leather to do this, thank you Hannah from FabricnFiction for recommending that to me! I did originally attempt to do it with cotton bias binding but it did not go to plan, unfortunately since then University work has picked up and I haven’t gotten around to finishing them off. And that was in late October last year, I do have a week off coming up soon so I’ll try and get them done then and update my blog appropriately.  I may also make a new lining to sit over top of the old one and sew it in when I hand stitch the chamois leather binding into the stays.

Here are some worn photos anyway along with my pocket hoops and chemise.

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Also bonus picture/appreciation for the reduction these stays give,MO5L2vat.jpg-large

Look at my waist in comparison to my hips!!! I was quite surprised to find they take three inches off my waist which I wasn’t expecting from a commercial pattern. I can get very close to a full closure lacing on my own with about and inch gap at the very bottom but from two thirds of the way up the stays make a full closure. I am fairly certain I could get a full closure with someone helping me into them which will likely be my mum when I go home for Spring break!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I’m pretty happy with the outcome of these stays and I’m sure they’ll look better once the edges are bound. I’ve familiarised myself a lot more with my corsetry books and the ones available at my university library so I want to make it a personal challenge for myself to stop using commercial (corset) patterns and instead use patterns from Norah Waugh’s books etc. I feel as though I’ve improved a lot at sewing the past year and my understanding of pattern manipulation has grown at lot too and using commercial patterns is just a security blanket for me now when I could be further challenging myself and extending my skill set and I want to move away from that comfort zone. I would like to complete another corset this year so I could compare it to the various ones I made last year.

And thats it!
Thank you for reading and I’m sorry for my radio silence, hand in for my current unit is Monday so I can catch up on older scheduled posts then!

-Nivera

 

Pocket Hoops Construction, Norah Waugh | Corsets and Crinolines

October was the month I spent making 18th century foundation garments. These foundation garments are made up from a pair of stays, chemise and the pocket hoops which I’ll talk about now!
The pattern I’m using to make the pocket hoops is from Norah Waugh’s ‘Corsets and Crinolines’, this was my first time using a Waugh pattern and also my first time scaling a pattern up successfully!
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The materials I used for this project are as follows,

•2 meters of a medium weight fabric. I used 100% cotton in white

•5 meters of 1/4 inch boning. I used plastic covered flat steel as I didn’t have enough synthetic whalebone.
Rigilene boning is not suitable for this project.

•5 meters of 1/2 inch twill tape

•Heat removal fabric pen ‘friction pen’ in contrasting colour

•2 meters of white inch wide bias binding

•General sewing notions, scissors, pins, ruler etc…

I started off by scaling the pattern up to the size referenced in Corsets and Crinolines, which luckily didn’t take as long as I had imagined it would.
pocket hoops patternI then pinned these patterns onto my cotton, as you need two of each pattern make sure to fold your fabric and save time cutting out.
193e27bf00165fc5093b39def817b81ac6ccec5e_hqI decided to add an inch onto each pattern piece, this is optional but I did it for a few reasons. As it was my first time scaling a pattern like this I wanted room for error so I could fix mistakes, adding the inch would also enlarge the pattern slightly which was a plus for historical reasons.

While doing research I found that pocket hoops were made larger for women with broader shoulders as to keep proportions in check. And as I was a competitive swimmer during my childhood I consequently have broad shoulders so the size adjustment (though it may only be tiny) seamed to be a good idea.

This is all circumstantial and is something to be considered in your personal project.

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Next I used my heat removal fabric pen and marked out the boning channels on the TOP fabric side. I marked these on my pattern so it was easy to mark the end of the channel and then draw a line connecting these marks. Alternatively you can iron your fabric first and then draw the channels, just remember that ironing over the ink will cause it to disappear and if your iron is on steam nowhere is safe.
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I’m lazy so I drew my channels and then ironed but left an awkward channel down the middle un-ironed. This will get ironed eventually after the next step!
Next is to sew the boning channels! I aligned the twill tape it so the top edge meets with the boning channel line. Pin it in place and then sew the top an bottom edge of the tape. Remember do NOT sew the ends off and this is where boning will be inserted. It’s also important to note when sewing the top and bottom edges of the tape to get as close to the edge as possible, this keeps the channel as wide as possible making it easier to pass boning through it.
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I then ironed everything over making sure to press where the twill tape was sewn just to make sure all of this ink would disappear.
Next I got the square pattern piece and sewd one side to the main piece, sewing over the boning channels (this will close them off on one side). Repeat this process on the other side just this time stop and start sewing making sure to miss sewing over the channels (this will leave them open).

If done right there should be small holes in the seams that open to the channels allowing for you to inset boning.

Next I prepared the boning I was using and cut it into the lengths fit for the boning channels. As I had to use flat steel instead of the synthetic whalebone like I had planned I ‘capped’ both ends of the boning with electric tape so the sharp ends would not pierce through the cotton. If you’re unsure of how to do this or want visuals check out my Crinoline Post where I explain my technique.

Once the boning is inserted you can sew over the opening and seal the boning in. I suggest doing this straight after inserting each piece of boning, rather than doing it all at the end. Specifically if your working with steel, the boning will move around and be a pain so it’s better to do it as you go.
It’s not called ‘spring steel’ for nothing and will take out your eye(s) if given the chance.

 

Once the boning is in it should have some structure to the pocket hoops. This is what mine looked like after sewing the boning in.
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They were just crudely pinned to my hoodie at this stage so they’re quite uneven! But this gave me a good idea of how they’ll look when finished!
Next is to sew the bottom onto the pocket hoops, this is the curved pattern piece.

YES! Pocket hoops actually serve as pockets when the correct garments are layered on top of them.

I simply pinned this on and then whip stitched it into place. It is a lot larger because of the additional inch on the pattern but it’s nice to have that extra room to work with. I suggest lining the strait edges up and then working around the curves.  I didn’t want the bottom to be loose and have a baggy look to it so I kept the fabric quite taunt when pinning and sewing it into place.
5583b20d827e1c228c9140ebc35bededd0644b89_hqOnce those are sewn on it’s time to clean up those edges. I turned over the raw edges on the inside of the pocket hoops or  you could sew bias tape on them. I used both techniques but I suggest using bias tape around the ‘pocket’ opening as it’ll look more professional.
9d8d521f3822e42f4dd6ba4226c5fd61b22c2e28_hq75388ecaf76824ac67f8bea341a60f1d8fe001d0_hqNext is to make the waistband, this length should be your waist measurement plus 20 inches. Mine was pretty easy! I have a 30inch waist so the waistband measurement was 50inches. You can just about see where Ive drawn my waistband in the below picture!
60a52e5cf31f0ee109d1ccc215e3b46fb8aa0d9f_hqTurn the edges in by a half inch and then sew them down. When complete my waistband was about an inch and a half wide. I wouldn’t suggest going too wide with your waistband as your going to have to tie it and the thicker it is the harder it will be to tie off
Fold the waistband in half and on the WRONG side mark this point with your fabric pen. Then on either side of this mark measure 4 inches and mark these points. Gather the tops of your pocket hoops down to 3 inches and even out the gathering. Then pin the gathered top edges to the waistband on the other side of your 4inches mark. Sew this down.
9a48f5e246e5cc90a8ba1fb18b5405a98adc5abf_hqI realise this bit is confusing but you want to get the top gathered edges of one individual pocket hoop and pin them down side by side with no gap and sew them down on the other side of your 4 inch mark.
I highly recommend pinning them on first and having a fitting to see if they sit right or need to be moved around first before sewing them in place.

Here’s another picture of mine sewn down to help make sense of this part.
4664a51dd8f104082c74ec2c700e67133734da5c_hqIf you’re still having trouble with this part I suggest checking out Angela Claytons’ Youtube video on making pocket hoops. I’m not 100% sure she used the Norah Waugh pattern but watching her attach the pockets to the waistband helped me make sense of it!

And then the pocket hoops are done! Here are mine on my dress form and stays!

And here they are being worn with my stays and chemise!
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I’m really pleased with how these turned out! And as far as working without instructions I think I did pretty well! When I come back from my Christmas holidays I plan on bringing the petticoat I made for my ballgown with my and putting that over the pocket hoops to see how they hold. I don’t think there will be any issues with them holding a garment but I feel the petticoat is missing when I look at these pictures!

I plan on making a walking ensemble or redingote to be worn over these foundation garments next year and I’m still occupied with my 1860’s ballgown at this stage!
I will fave following posts about the stays and the chemise soon!

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

 

Petticoat Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 9764

This pattern was defiantly the easiest of the three patterns I choose to use when making foundation garments. This is the second pattern from Simplicity 9764 the other pattern being the crinoline I made earlier.
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Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

  • 4m of a medium weight fabric (I used cotton sateen)
  • 3m of a light weight netting
  • Hooks and eyes
  • Top stitching thread in contrasting colour is you choose to gather by hand
  • General notions (thread, scissors etc)

The pattern is really simple to follow and just consists of the petticoat panels and the waistband. Once all the patterns are cut out sew all of the petticoat skirt panels together.
I stupidly didn’t take any photos of this process but its pretty standard and the patterns explains it all well.
Next is to gather the top edge of the petticoat. I decided to hand gather the top edge because of the difficulty I had doing it by machine on my crinoline.
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After sewing two lines of hand stitching I gathered it down to my waistband size.
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And then the waistband was pinned in place.
ZPHJbnF-.jpg-largeThe petticoat fit really well and looked like this with the waistband sewn on.
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I then put it onto the dress form over my crinoline so I could measure the drop the netting would have. The mistake I made here was that I didn’t measure it while I was wearing it, although my dress form is set to the same hight as I am the crinoline sits just that little bit higher on me.
wdpsj5k6.jpg-largeAt the time I worked out that the drop would be 9 inches including seam allowance. I marked everything out with a fabric pen and then I cut cut my netting on the fold in 9 inch widths three times which equaled 18m of netting in total.

I then sewed the ends together creating one long pain in the ass. I had to hem this… It took a long time even with my foot down all the time.

Then it had to be gathered down to 4m. Which again meant hand gathering because I hate myself. Thank god for Netflix. Once it was all gathered down I pinned it to the bottom edge and sewed it on.
Finish by sewing a pair of hooks and eyes onto the waistband and down the opening (optional) and you’re done!
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It took me another month to get around to actually ironing out the whole petticoat and I’m so glad I did. It looks amazing.
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It was so nice to finish off these undergarments with something easy. I do wish I had made the drop and inch or two longer I don’t think it will make a huge difference when the ballgown is on it. The main thing is its covering the hoops and I won’t have that dreadful ringed look like I did on my 1500’s project. One thing to note is that all together its beginning to weigh up, its not something that bothers its just there. I don’t see myself getting tired wearing it for long periods of time but it certainly has a weight to it now than previously with just the crinoline. The skirt of the ballgown will add to this but overall I don’t think it will be a big issue. I love this petticoat I’ve spent too much time twirling in it, its so fun to wear.

I’ll be talking more about future projects in my next post as well as University which has come around so fast!

As always thank you for reading.
-Nivera

Corset Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 1139

I honestly didn’t have high hopes for this, corsetry seamed so intimidating. Although I own Norah Waugh’s ‘Corsets and Crinolines’ I decided it would be easier for me to use a bought pattern rather than attempting to scale and size one myself for my first time. I decided on Simplicity 1139 which, like the crinoline pattern is apart of the ‘Fashion Historian’ collection. The corset and the other patterns from this particular pack are heavily influenced from the Civil War Era making them the perfect for my 1860’s ballgown.
1139

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

  • 1 meter of coutil fabric (I used This Herringbone coutil )
  • One 12″ (30cm) corset busk (White Busk)
  • Metal grommet punching kit // ALTERNATIVELY One heavy duty fabric punch
  • White Top Stitching Thread (embroidery floss works too)
  • 3.5 meters of white cotton pipping (This is just what I used to lace the corset up there are plenty of other options)
  • One straw needle (I refuse to sew eyelets with any other needle)
  • 6 meters of white twill tape.
  • 6 meters of 0.5cm plastic covered steel boning
  • bolt/wire cutters
  • Disappearing ink pen
  • General notions (thread, fabric scissors etc…)

The corset is made up of seven patterns, six are cut on double folded fabric and one pattern (the busk cover) was cut four times.

This being my first corset I actually expected there to be more pattern pieces. In my mind when I looked at a corset I imagined for each boning channel there would be a seam but I quickly realised I was wrong and that boning channels were sewn onto the corset panels as well as over the seemliness.
NnjnLXa6.jpg-largeOnce the pattern pieces are cut out transfer the boning channel lines over to the fabric using your fabric pen. Making sure not to mistake these lines for the grain line as some are diagonal and don’t follow the grain. I made the mistake of sewing my panels together before realising the boning channels needed to be drawn but this was an easy fix using the paper patterns as a guid and drawing them in that way.

You can see the boning channel lines marked in pink in the above images. Making sure to iron the seams out flat as your sew them, it’s really important for this project.
BUT REMEMBER fabric pen ink disappears under heat so it will disappear if you iron over those channels you’ve just drawn. Be careful! I almost made this mistake again but remembered the issue from my crinoline experience.

Next get your twill tape and pin it over the seams on the RIGHT side of the fabric. Cutting it into correct lengths as you go. You’re then going to sew on either side of the twill tape as close to the edge as you can get. This will form the boning channels. Be sure not to sew the top or bottom ends up as this will be done later.
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Then repeat the process and pin the twill tape centred over the the boning channel indicators you’ve just drawn. If you were like me and used a bright colours pen you should be abled to see the lines vaguely through the twill tape making it easier to pin centred.
Technically you can pin the seams and the channel indicators at the same time and sew the all at once but I found doing them in sets was easier to manage!
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Once all the twill tape is sewn it will look like this! Now this is where you have an option and I strayed from the pattern, kinda. You have the choice of using a metal grommet punch and putting metal grommets into your corset for eyelets. However if you’re going for historical accuracy and making a costume that predates the 1820’s then I suggest you read Why metal grommets are the visible panty lines of historical costuming

I personally prefer the look of hand sewn eyelets, when using a colour matched thread they blend into a costume seamlessly unlike metal grommets which stand out and will catch any light source. I just think metal grommets look tacky. Sewing OVER metal grommets to give them the look of hand sewn eyelets, I don’t have problem with.

Mark the eyelet/grommet placements out with your fabric pen, you should have 30 of them if you’ve measured according to the pattern instructions.

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Then begin punching in grommets or sewing your eyelets. Make sure to do the eyelets one at a time or they can stretch. You can use fray check on them before sewing but I didn’t find it necessary this time round.

Continue and repeat 30 times.
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I found that I could do one every 10-15 minutes without distractions.
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They are very pleasing to look at once you’ve finished them though! Next up is inserting the busk. This was my first time using a busk and I find them so cool!
VTcqJe1b.jpg-largeThe instructions will tell you to mark the top of each side (stud and loop), you do this by getting some tape putting on each end and marking the letter ‘T’. Simple!
c3364368725d966935823b901b64349c7fefbd1b_hqStarting with the loop side mark out where the loops will sit within the seam allowance. Use your fabric pen for this. You’re better to measure everything for this. It has to be exact on either side of the busk or it will not connect and create a closure.
a9636cef9112d3d20055df091d1d16279aac0f96_hqAfter sewing the patterns together you should be able to slot the loop busk into the seam allowance and the loops will poke through the holes you created. It can then be sewn onto the base corset like so!
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The some idea applies to the stud side. Just this time your marking where the studs will poke though the fabric. The instructions suggest you use and awl to open these holes but I used my fabric punch and just matched the hole side to one size smaller than the stud so it could be pushed through the hole but not pop out again. Make sure to fray check these punched holes.
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Repeat the process of sewing it together and then onto the base corset. Last but not least. Sew along the bottom edge within your seam allowance and trim any excess fabric. Then pin and sew bias tape along the bottom edge. There were a few places the needle didn’t quite catch the tape on the other side (wrong side) and I just fixed these up with needle and thread being carful not to show stitches on the right side. The only reason I didn’t unpick it and re sew it on again was because I didn’t want to damage my fabric too much and the bias tape looked great from the front the first time round!
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Then cut your boning to size and insert it into the channels. I found the putting heavy duty duct tape on the ends unfortunately showed through the twill tape and left weird dark patches on the channels so I didn’t do that this time and so far so good, no boning has torn through the casing.
Repeat what you did with the bias time on the top of the corset and you’re finished!
Lace yourself up or get a friend to help cinch you in and your corset is good to go!

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The corset if I’m honest is too big for me. It docent cinch my waist in at all, the bust area is too large and theres no room for me to cinch it in smaller as the eyelets meet centrally down the centre (not shown in the above picture but I have since achieved that). I fear attempting to pull the corset tighter would ruin it. I’m disappointed it doesn’t cinch me in further at best it just flattens my stomach.  It looks as though I won’t be doing a shoo for this costume until next Spring so I may make a new one in that time and possibly sell this one as its of no great use to me.
My next corset will be smaller and likely patterned from the book ‘Corsets and Crinolines’ Unless I can find my other corset book which I know covers this period exclusively.
Despite the size issue I’m still really proud of how this turned out.  I’ve had many complements on my social media on it which is always great to hear! I think it also shows how much my skill has improved over the last year too.


This corset along with my crinoline and a petticoat (post coming along soon) will be worn under an 1860’s ballgown ensemble. Unfortunately my sewing machine needs servicing and I won’t be able to make any further progress on it until the Christmas holidays. But hopefully my mother will come and visit me during term and will bring along my serviced machine so I can continue to work on things in my dorm while at Uni! I will have a fabric selection and embellishment choice post coming along soon too so thats one update on the dress at least.

I’m really enjoying the Fashion Historian pattern line and I’d love to make some more things from it. Perhaps a pair of drawers to be worn with the rest of the undergarments.

 

Thank you for reading!

-Nivera

Crinoline Construction, Let’s make Simplicity 9764

I’ve been planing to start on this costume for how long now? I’m hoping to make and shoot a 1860’s ballgown all before university starts, is it ambitious? Yes but I’ve made a start!

The pattern we’re using is Simplicity 9764 which is apart of the fashion historian collection. It’s an eleven hoop crinoline making it perfect for historical dress and cosplay!
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I believe this pattern is currently out of print (no worries as it’s frequently rebranded and sold under new names) so the best place to get one is online. Places like EBay and Amazon are great places to look. I got mine on EBay for £15, unopened. I highly suggest you try and find unopened ones as you can never fully trust how well others look after their used patterns!

Materials you’ll need.

All of this is stated on the packet but here’s a quick run down.

•4m of a medium/heavy weight material. I used bleached Calico.

•24 of twill tape. This is what will be used to create the boning channels.

•27m of 12mm wide plastic covered steel boning. (I used 10mm because I couldn’t find 12mm where the shipping wasn’t insane, it makes no difference)

•Hooks and Eyes.

•Disappearing ink pen (Also know as friction/fabric pens)

•Thread (lots of it!)

•Fabric scissors

•Top stitching thread in contrasting colour

•Top stitching thread in white

•Tape measure

•Heavy duty Duct Tape

•Wire cutters

And of course a trusty sewing machine.The crinoline is made up of five pattern pieces. The waistband and the skirt panels.
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The pattern pieces are quite large so give yourself some room and cut them out.
0ff26e1f2a60f60028a0f6f578a16dbe3bc7ebc2_hqI like to iron my pattern after cutting them out, this makes sure they’re flat with no creases.
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Then pin your patterns to the fabric and cut them out!

MAKE SURE YOU TRANSFER THE BONING CHANNEL LINES OVER TO YOUR FABRIC BEFORE CUTTING!!!
I cut my fabric out before transferring the lines over and it was a pain to re-pin them and then trace the lines out. Make sure to use your disappearing ink pen for this!

Also check out my sweet purple fabric scissors. My last pair of scissors died cutting adhesive velcro, RIP.
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373a3534e462f8bdec6340935415230f569c8b4a_hqOnce all of the pieces are cut out sew them together making sure to take notice of the seam that’s finished with a narrow hem.
It makes a hella nice cloak when all the seams are sewn.
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Back to the narrow hem! This my first time sewing one and although the sewing pattern does explain how to sew one it confused me. I decided to look up a tutorial and found This Tutorialwhich is super helpful and simplifies it down with lots of pictures!

They’re pretty simple, once you know what you’re doing!
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This will become the opening for the crinoline.
Next up is the waistband and gathering the top edge. Straight away I’m going to say cut the waistband pattern from the petticoat (apart of the same pattern pack) and double the fabric. The waistband intended for the crinoline is tiny and and just a genuine pain in the ass. I tried following the pattern using the original waistband and it was too small, came apart and didn’t even look like a waistband. I just didn’t work for me, I probably did something wrong but I found the petticoat pattern to be a great alternative.
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///Note: I changed the waistbands over after completing the crinoline///

The next step is to gather the skirt up. Now the instructions say to use a long machine stitch with a heavy thread.
Basically two lines of basting stitches using top stitching thread. Make sure to use a contrasting coloured thread.
Now when I did this and stated gathering it all up and the top stitching thread snapped. And I’d used both a bobbin and a spool of top stitching thread so it should have been secure as hell. I brushed it off and thought it just twisted it accidentally which made the thread more brittle. So I sewed the lines of stitching again and it snapped again…
So I decided it would be easier and more reliable to hand sew the gathers myself. This surprisingly wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be!
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Once all of the gathering is in place and it’s gathered to your waist band size. Sew the waist band on!
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The bottom edge is hemmed and this creates the bottom two boning channels.
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The others are created with the twill tape.
This is the time consuming part! Yay!
On the WRONG side starting from the back seam pin the twill tape centred over the lines you drew to indicate the boning channel all the way round the crinoline leaving at least an inch over lap when you get back to where you started. Make sure to leave a three inch opening so you can insert the boning later!

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I highly recommend doing one at a time it’s a lot easier to manage and if you’re like me you won’t have enough (good🙃straight🙃long) pins to do more than one at a time!
Once the twill tape is pinned in place sew it on either side of the tape as close to the edge as possible.
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Then repeat that nine times and try not to lose your mind.
But if you do, that’s okay.
We have a weekly sessions you can attended. This week we have a box of kittens to cheer everyone up after we talk about our feelings.

It took me around 11 hours to sew the boning channels in (with breaks).
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It looks so pretty and drapy ahhh. The next day I started on inserting the boning into the channels. I got my boning from Sew Curvy Sew Curvy is run by a really lovely team and I recommend buying from them!

Onto the hoops!4c9a8d4ad469e644d464316b74fec1f6ac64f3fa_hqYou’ll need your wire cutters now!
Steel boning is pretty sharp even with the plastic covering. The sharp edges are sharp enough to pierce the twill tape and your base fabric so it’s best to cover them up! This also makes inserting it a lot easier as it won’t snag on anything. You can get caps to put on the end of boning but heavy duty duct tape works just as well!

The instructions does have a chart to indicate how long each hoop should be,
f30b8b2ff35be17aa8591dc3f2099e2bb29d931b_hqBut I wanted quite a full crinoline so I just inserted the bonging while still on the roll and cut it to size once it made the full circle. Do what ever you feel most comfortable with🤷🏼‍♀

Before inserting the boning I covered the end with the duct tape. I’d cut of a section wider then the boning and tape half of it to the boning.
fed228b3dd8d98f425c2e3224a4c451c168d9a37_hqThen fold it over and press the sides where the tape meets. And then cut the excess off the sides. And it’s ready to be inserted into a channel!

It’s pretty simple to guide the boning around the channel just be carful where any seams are. When the end meets itself again leave about an inch of overlap. Then tape the end you just cut and bind the two ends together using the tape. You should have some overlapping twill tape as well so pin that over the hole you left for the boning and hand sew in place.
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Repeat this eleven times!
Once you’re finished inserting the boning and sewing the channels closed there are just a few things left to do.

You’ll need to sew sets of hook and eyes down the opening and to the waistband to create the closure.
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And three laces needed to be sewn on the inside to each of the top three hoops. This will pull the front of the crinoline towards you more and push the back outwards for the 1860’s silhouette. This is of course optional if that’s not the look you’re going for!

Here’s a picture from the instructions to explain the process better!
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And with that you’re done! You have your very own eleven hoop crinoline perfect for any princess occasion!!

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I’m making the petticoat and corset to go along with the crinoline so look out for future posts on those patterns!

This was a lot of fun to make and was very different from the regular store bought patterns I usually follow. I’m super happy with the outcome of this and I’m so excited to get a dress over it. I’ve just got this costume and my Nightingale Armour to make before I leave for University I really don’t want to be stressing myself too much before then because I’m sure I have a lot to make when course starts. I think my worst nightmare at this point will be my dress form not fitting in my room!

Thank you for reading,
-Nivera