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27 August 2011 @ 04:43 pm
Edwardian-inspired cincher pattern manipulation  
Hello corsetmakers,

You might have seen my post about this cincher and the associated charitable project (Cathy Hay's peacock dress for Hope2Haiti) a little while back. Well, the cincher is now underway! I promised a couple of posts about the creation of this piece in return for being permitted to link the auction, so today we are looking at simple patterning.

[The inspiration corset, gold silk and floss, and a drawing of a wren (I love doing little drawings of birds, it's so relaxing).]

As this is a narrow-sided cincher, one can work from a standard sized template quite easily. The overall fit of a narrow-sided cincher is simpler than, for example, a longline overbust corset, so it's a great way of playing around with quirky pattern alteration and developing your skills without worrying excessively about fit. For this piece, I had an idea of how I wanted the seams to be placed. The aim is to produce something that fits comfortably like a regular cincher, but has Edwardian-inspired style lines and nice proportions.

I began with reference to AtelierSylphe's La Spirite pattern and made a rough plan of the patterning based upon the golden embroidered corset I made a few months ago for my portfolio.

Taking my standard sized cincher pattern (a 6 piece pattern), I decided to keep panels 1 and 6 (ie: the centre-front and centre-back) pretty much as they were. (To account for the extra space created by the front lacing detail, I shaved a half-inch off panel 6 when tracing it out.)

Then it was a matter of altering the remaining 4 panels to give the lines I wanted. Panels 2 and 3 were taped together above the waist. I marked out new seamlines, creating a narrow panel 2, a gusset that starts low beneath the bust (as seen on antiques such as this and which I understand to have been so low on many Edwardian corsets as to barely reach the bust at all), a new sloping panel 3 and a corresponding front hip gusset. My hip gussets are probably more Victorian than Edwardian really, featuring a side seam rather than slotting in place between other sloping seams... but this is the look I want to create for the lovely winning bidder :-)

You can see that I've overlapped these pieces slightly. I simply made a note to add the removed fullness back into the new hip gusset.

I then mirrored this shaping at the back, breaking panels 4 and 5 up into new shapes. You can see how I've let the fullness go into the upper back gusset and then sloped the seams down to create a nice shape to frame the hip gusset (echoing the shaping at front).

Our manipulated pattern looks like this:

As this simply creates the seamlines, you can see that it isn't really necessary to cut out your new pieces where-ever they lay flat (eg: at the underbust gusset). Each piece is traced out (I've used a tracing wheel) which allows you to make a tidier pattern and add your chosen seam allowance.

I have given this pattern 1/2" seam allowances at every seam. As I am going to line the corset this will work well. The seams in Edwardian corsets, however, often have different allowances depending upon whether the piece is sitting "above" or "below" the seam. Eg: gussets and gores generally sit "below" the fold of the seam, as shown on this antique, and patterns from antiques (such as the AtelierSylphe piece that inspired this project) reinforce this idea.

When tracing the pieces, I also straightened out the edges of panels 1 and 2. As these are the edges which will feature the riding lacing, I want them to be straight for simplicity. I did think that cutting panel 2 on the fold would help with this simple construction, but now I've decided against it as it would mean the waist line was no longer perpendicular to the grain. So whilst these photos show panel 2 with no seam allowance on the front edge, I *think* I'm planning on changing that.

With each new pattern piece cut out, I can now get on with the fun bit! I hope that seeing this pattern adaptation has been useful to some people. I go back and forth between techniques all the time. This isn't the technique that I usually prefer, but it is quite a nice way of demonstrating that complex corset patterns don't have to be as terrifying as they can seem.

I'll be back with another post on this piece as soon as I can. Thanks for reading :-D
liten_sakliten_sak on August 28th, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
I can only agree with everyone else- thank you! This makes patternmaking a little bit clearer to me. :)
sparklewrensparklewren on August 28th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC)
Cool, I hope you have fun altering some patterns now :-)