Friday, 25 May 2012

Scaling an antique corset pattern

I realise I haven't posted much about making stuff for a while, so here's a little report on my other latest work, the Edwardian corset pattern which is in a book called Corsets and Crinolines by Norah Waugh. This book is a pretty standard text for corstieres and the patterns in it are easily scaled up and adapted for modern use.

The pattern in the book looks like this...

Which translates into this diagram ...

I used Ralph Pink's amazing photoshop tutorial to scale the pattern - so easy!  See HERE.  I then made the pattern up just as it was - no measuring as I only wanted to learn about the construction - how to use silk with this type of pattern and how to hide the bone channels thereby keeping the swooping lines at the front 'clean'.  So that's what I did .. and then I tried it on and by weird co-incidence,  it fit me!  The hips have a little extra space, and the bust is a teensy weensy bit small .. but to the untrained eye, I could get away with wearing this 'out'.

I adapted the pattern a little by adding some 'fins' over the hip panels to accentuate the hips but they didn't really work how I wanted them too - should have padded or stuffed them.  

So the outer layer of the corset  is double sided silk which is a bit heavier than dupion type silk - it's like the silk they make mens ties with - fused to a cotton woven fusible interfacing, and stitched together with lapped seams.

The inside is coutil stitched together the same way, and the bone channels which are cotton twill tape, are attached to the coutil layer on the inside.  The channels are placed as per the diagram above, which was pretty easy.   The boning is all 7mm flat steel with extra tough flats on the edges at the centre back.

I joined the two layers together via the front and back panels, and the binding at the top and bottom.  Also, there are three diagonal bone channels sewn through all layers at the back.

The binding and fins are made from ribbed dupion silk, inspired by ladybirds undersides.

All in all a very fascinating and insightful project.  I shall most certainly be customising this pattern in the future.

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