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24 August 2014 @ 11:51 pm
Corset mannequin  
Greeting community! I've been wanting a corset-specific dressform/mannequin for displaying/photographing my corsets for a little bit now, ever since I realized that my dressform, fabulous and drapable though she is, just doesn't have the proper shape to really show off the curves and cinch of a corset. However, given that I am not a professional corsetiere and don't plan on making this my business any time soon, I am more interested in something affordable and that won't take up too much space (I'm also in a phase in my life where I don't want to accrue any more "stuff," to the point where I'm even paring down my vintage sewing machine collection). So, after some waffling over purchasing the Atelier Sylphe Edwardian mannequin pattern or scaling up a vintage pattern from books I have and modifying it to become a mannequin, I stumbled upon and downloaded the pdf here and built the mannequin. I had some fun teaching myself how to scale up the pattern (I used GIMP, as I have no need to invest in PhotoShop or Corel Draw or any other program. I continue to fight the good fight against technology, lol!), and finally got the scale within a quarter of an inch or so and called it good enough. I built it out of muslin from my stash and stuffed it with a mix of plastic grocery bags and pillow stuffing. I installed a zipper along the bottom for ease of stuffing. I thought about putting the zipper in one of the other seams, like center back or side, but figured I could get a more even stuff if I packed it from the bottom.

I do like the way it came out in general, but there are a few tweaks I’d like to make if/when I build it again. I want to re-pattern the center front panel so that the poor girl is not so flat-chested, and I think she would benefit from being constructed out of something heavier-duty than muslin, like maybe twill or canvas. I think it would be good if I flatlined the canvas to a sheet of batting, or at least fleece, for a smoother look, as well. I might also add a little more curve to the hips, or move some of the fullness from the butt to the side seam, since the rear end does look a little bit overstuffed to me, especially since I personally am so flat there. (sigh)

Hmm. Now that I’m looking at these pics, I think I need to make her bigger all the way around, just for me.

2014-08-23 photo 2014-08-14_00-35-52_85_zpsjag8mvh6.jpg

2014-08-23 photo 2014-08-23_23-18-29_320_zps6cb2d4b4.jpg

2014-08-23 photo 2014-08-23_23-23-25_866_zpscd7e664d.jpg

Dressed in my wedding corset. See how she just doesn’t fill out the top? (And I’m kind of small up there myself, so I don’t want to add in a lot, just a little curve).
 photo 2014-08-14_00-50-56_197_zps59ac7d8e.jpg

Do y’all have any tips or tricks for this pattern and build?
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on August 25th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)

To get the bust both as full as I needed it, and to get it placed where I prefer it, I'd make and fit a muslin of the pattern over my own torso, either naked if the "height" of the bustline as determined by unsupported breasts was the look I wanted; or in modern undies; or in my favorite/best/most accurate corset.

Then I'd use that for my pattern. I'd make a trial (probably out of muslin or out of jean or something similarly firm) and if necessary I'd make adjustments or alterations to the trial cover before working up the final one.
But by fitting it over my own body, first, I'd be sure of the breast or bust volume and the bust position.

I did go to Atelier Sylphe's Etsy site, and found a Victorian pattern for a mannequin, rather than an Edwardian one. That pattern shows two darts on each side of the bodice front, and if your Edwardian pattern shows two, too, I'd recommend you use both. It'll give you a more accurate three-dimensional representation of the female torso, regardless the breasts' volume. (A fuller-busted figure might require even more seams to follow the curves accurately.)

The female Edwardian silhouette has a full, low bust ("low" refers to the distance of the fullest measurement of the bust line from the body's waistline) and a full and rather high butt. (Disney portrayed an Edwardian era lady in a cartoon---oops, animated film, even though this was 'back in the day'---with her kangaroo pouch bust in front almost level with what would have been her belt line had she worn a belt, and her posterior almost as high as her belt line, had she worn a belt, in the back.)
It wasn't unheard of for ladies to put padding into their corsets to get that prominent-looking backside/posterior/rump/cul/whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it, because if you try to assume that posture without some kind of artificial padding, you'll find it hurts.
All of this is to say, if you are making your mannequin from an Edwardian mannequin pattern, I'm not surprised that your corset on this mannequin is a less than ideal fit.

Hope something here proves helpful.

Annarabid_bookwyrm on August 25th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
I would pick up a remnant of upholstery fabric or something sturdy, which will help with the lumps, and I like the idea of flatlining to batting (or felt is another option). One way to draft a mannequin is to build the cover on yourself, but you can only really do that if you've got a fit buddy. That would give you a perfectly you-shaped form, which is fine if you're not going into business and needing to make displays or fit others on your form.
Charlene TherienCharlene Therien on August 26th, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
Just wondering, but....

What about making a sloper and then filling that out with your combo grocery bags/pillow stuffing?