Remedial Corsetology II

Victorian Underoos

Victorian Underoos

I probably don’t need to say a lot here.

Back, with lacing.

First try-on.

I got lacing. (poly cord from Fabricland. Historically accurate? no. Functional? Absolutely.)

As Laurianna noticed in my last post, I forgot to allow space for boning outside of the back grommets. This is what I get for leapfrogging between different instructions, and not paying attention to details. I added some cording to the area for a bit of reinforcement (better than nothing?), but there is definitely some buckling along the lacing that could have been avoided. Lesson learned, hopefully to be applied next time. (Honestly, this is the kind of lesson I learn best from making mistakes. >_<)

Lacing grommets, cording, and bottom binding.

Lacing grommets, cording, and bottom binding.

I added self-bias binding along top and bottom, pulling it fairly tight to bring in the looseness along the bottom. I was a little worried halfway through that this would backfire and just look bunchy or lumpy, but it seems to be fine.

Lace flowers.

Lace flowers.

Since I had exactly five little lace flowers left over, I opted to add them to the front of the corset. I just cut them apart and Β hand-tacked them down. I think they’re cute (though maybe not very Victorian with that random asymmetrical design. Ah, well. At this point I’m going for impression, not detail.)

Corset back. Lace job by the fourteen-year-old.

Corset back. Lace job by the fourteen-year-old.

The corset is, technically, a little bit big. The two-inch lacing gap I used in my try-ons disappears pretty much entirely without too much difficulty, and I think I could stand tighter lacing at the waist. (Despite the above photo. However, if I wait to take new photos with the lacing done a bit better, you may never get this post, so, wonky lacing it is.)Β I love how it flares out over my hips, though, and I love the shape it has around the bottom, even though it isn’t, strictly speaking, really long enough over the hips.

The bust isn’t exactly too small, but I think if it were a bit larger, and shaped a bit differently (i.e. more defined), it would look better. It is technically alterable, should I choose to unpick and re-stitch the seams and boning-channels, but I’m going to leave it for the moment, partly because I hate alteration and partly because I want to test how it feels when worn for more than a few minutes of trying-on.

Full view

Full view

I haven’t really talked much about the chemise, have I? (I covered the drawers here.)

Closeup, with chemise.

Closeup, with chemise.

I used the yoke piece from Simplicity 9769 (If I’d had this pattern when I first started the corset-testing I would probably have used it rather than Butterick 4254, as it seems to have somewhat better reviews, but anyway….) This is more of an 1860s pattern than 1880s but, well, I like it , so there. πŸ˜‰ The rest I kinda offroaded, based on the instructions in The Home Needle and a fair bit of poetic license. I sewed up the yoke, with lace, fairly conventionally, but then I wound up taking the project with me to my mom’s family farm for a few family events over the winter, and while I can’t really run off to play with a sewing machine while I’m out there, I can definitely sit in the kitchen and hand-stitch and visit while everyone else around me cooks and cleans and does actual useful work. So the flat-felled seams of the main garment were all done by hand, as were the teeny little pin-tucks (facilitated by the woven-in stripe of the fabric, though they still aren’t perfect, which is fairly unforgivable given the stripe) and the lace-insertion.

A photo posted by Tanit-Isis (@tanitisis) on Dec 27, 2014 at 5:31pm PST

(Hmm. This attempt to embed from Instagram does not seem to be displaying on my browser. I will attempt to fix it when I get home. Sorry all!)

Full back.

Full back.

Then I got home and impatiently finished the hems using the teeniest rolled hem foot on my Pfaff. I love the teensyness of it, but kinda wish I’d stuck with the hand stitching just for, oh, I dunno, excessive old-fashioned-y-ness.

I think it's cute, anyway.

I think it’s cute, anyway.

I was pretty pleasantly surprised by how the look works all together. (OK, I think it’s cute, anyway.) I like the three together better than any of the individual pieces (well, except maybe the corset.)

Next up: the petticoat(s)! (OMG I might actually have to start thinking about the actual dress. (But not before I tackle bustles. Ooooh, scary!)



Filed under Sewing

8 responses to “Remedial Corsetology II

  1. This is very lovely; such good work!
    And now the question that your photo reveals: what do you do with the yards of cord that you have hanging off when you tighten it up? This is the first time I believe I have seen this in a photo. And for the life of me, I can’t figure why I haven’t before. Of course you’re going to have that; you’re not rethreading that cord to lace yourself in each time you wear it. Maybe not yards, but certainly twice the length of what’s in the grommets. Yes, you have hooks in the front, you’re not pulling it over your head, but you need slack somewhere.

    • With some fancy corsets, I’ve seen ribbon ties made up into big puffy bows off the back, which look really cute. My fourteen-year-old did the tightening this time, though, and she could probably have handled it a bit better. πŸ˜‰ And sometimes they are pulled around and tucked underneath or held out of the way by other means. Since I’m not planning on wearing these as outerwear, I’m not too worried about hiding them. πŸ˜‰

  2. trumbelinasews

    Looks great! I saw you at work on the weekend. I was going to say hi, but you looked a little swamped. Next time!

  3. Oh wow, this is coming together really well! Your corset is stunning and so damn pretty, I can’t even! I’m going to be bookmarking these posts, because I hope to get some historic garments finished for Rendezvous next year, which celebrates the gold rush and getting out and having fun in the dead of winter! I’m looking into doing a corset with the full underoos and overdress for the day, plus (hopefully) a sexier version for the nighttime parties! So obviously I’ll be back to stalk all of these posts when I start. πŸ˜€

  4. Wow! It looks great. I love the self fabric binding and the lace trim.
    Simplicity 9769 is the pattern I used for my very first corset and I don’t recommend it. First of all, that is a ‘half bust’ style so it really can’t be worn on its own and it gives no bust definition at all. And it has about the same length over the hips as this one which, for me, caused the biggest problem: If I lace that corset up properly those flat steel bones (again, I don’t recommend using flat steel throughout a corset) dig deep into the flesh just above my hipbones.
    I think the lack of bust definition is historically accurate. Showing two breasts in one’s silhouette was about as shocking as showing one’s calves. At least, that’s what it looks like in historical paintings, photographs and fashion plates.
    To me, it looks like your corset is a bit wide over the hips but that actually helps to achieve that great silhouette (would do so even more with the addition of a petticoat) and prevents the issues I had.
    If I were you, I’d keep this corset as it is and get in some practice wearing it. That will tell you what, if anything, to do different when you are going to make one from that coutil.

  5. Fantastic!!! I love it. Thanks for sharing. Now where did I put my unfinished pieces…..

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