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07 January 2017 @ 07:24 pm
Corsets and hip padding, minimising belly pooch question, please help me brainstorm.  
I had previously posted that I wanted to make make very short corset (similar to a waspie even) here http://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/2172309.html
I had decided on a construction method with the help of the community members and I was ready to move to the pattern phase.

The belly pooch problem;

I was planning on using the duct tape method to get a good fit for the pattern.
I had initially intended for the duct tape phase to be done before new year rolled around.
But life happened and other things took priority (new job, health issues).
So I decided to start the duct tape phase in the end of january at the earliest.

I've lost some weight since my first post, but I'm still overweight (had a weight loss plateau in october) and still have the dreaded pregnant belly look. Admittedly it's less big now, but still noticeable.

In my last post, regarding the corset and its wear, I said;
-"must be strong enough to withstand a reduction of about 4 inches maximum initially (perhaps more later)"
-"is usually worn over a liner or over shapewear (think spanx) but I would like the option of wearing it safely on the skin occasionally"
-"belly pooch isn't a problem under wide skirts, and wearing shapewear with a crotch or even legs can minimize belly pooch when worn with a corset. I would have to take both off to go to the toilet though, unless I go for a short legged panty girdle with a pee hole/open crotch.
-"I'm not planning on wearing any kind of body contouring vintage clothes any time soon, so again belly pooch is not a problem and neither is a short corset."

I've changed my mind on those things.
I don't need to have the corset reduce my waist by 4 inches, 2.5~3 is fine. I've come to see that it's more of a shaping/support job I need done (flattening the tummy, little bit of extra dip in the waist at the sides) rather than a reducing job.
I'm not going to wear something synthetic (spanx/shapewear) right onto my skin, and certainly not 3 to 4 times a week.
I thought it would be worth it, but I just hate that synthetics like that make me feel too sticky.
I've decided that belly pooch is a problem,
I'm also at the stage where I want to also be able to wear hip hugging/body contour following clothes (although not skintight) like this dress for example https://topvintage.nl/nl/vintage-retro/40s-keely-swing-dress-in-red and corset belly pooch will certainly show up in such a dress.

I've also started to think that belly pooch brought on by the corset, aside from not looking nice, might also be uncomfortable. Afterall everything is pushed down and out under pressure.
I'm also afraid of that shape sticking if I wear a corset 3 to 4 times a week.

So naturally I started to think about changing the original plan so that the corset would be long enough in the front to minimise belly pooch eliminating the need for spanx and opening up the option of dresses other than the widest.
I've seen a corset that pushes the lower belly in and up slightly, resulting in an almost flat lower tummy.
Then I read that that's an S-bend or straight front corset, along with the information that those are generally less comfortable and not so good for the back compared to "normal" corsets.

Can you minimise a full lower belly just by using a properly long normal corset?
I mean, does it have to be an S-bend?
I've heard of the trick of putting on a corset loosely first, then pulling your lower tummy up a bit and finish putting on the corset https://lucycorsetry.com/2012/11/03/preventing-your-belly-from-oozing-out-your-corset/
I don't need to have a completely flat tummy, some natural roundness is even desired but to have it to this http://foundationsrevealed.com/images/stories/2011/2-Feb/Sbend/Curved-front-corset.png extent is undesirable.
Aside from making the corset long enough, do I need to look out for anything else to reduce tummy pooch?
Will the long part downward in center front want to flap up if I ride a bicycle or walk?

The padding question;

With the duct tape phase in the near future something else came to mind when I was researching a project even further in the future.
Namely I had seen s-bend corsets with padding under the corset in the rear.
That got me thinking I wouldn't mind a bit of padding myself.
Simply for making my silhouette better for 40's 50's clothes.
I have no bum, I do have hips but they are too high up (all the volume projecting to the sides is around the top of the hip bone and just a bit lower than the waist, but at crotch height I lack volume projecting to the sides).
Simply put I have a nice hip curve but the fullest part is not in the right place.

Sadly, if I were to just put padding under the corset like some of the edwardians did I still wouldn't be able to create a nice smooth silhouette on the hip since the length of the padding needed for the silhouette extends beyond the reach of the corset.
The bottom of the padding would just be flapping around with nothing to keep it in place.
Same goes for the padding of the buttocks, it goes where the corset can't reach.

So it can't just be the rather not so smooth padding the edwardians used, it's got to be something a bit more organic looking.
Using google I came across the type of padding some crossdressers use;
http://robynwithawhy.com/diy/index.php/2015/06/14/how-to-make-your-own-hip-butt-pads/ hand carved foam (the shape of africa :)that is kept in place with multiple pairs of tights or pantyhose.
It's not an option for me with all the synthetics involved.
Then I caught a hint of someone saying he had made that shape but used towels for material instead, stacking up the layers and sewing them in place.
That sounds good, at least it's cotton.
But how do you keep them in place? He didn't mention. He probably used multiple pairs of pantyhose.

I ran across "pocket panties" on the web, those are basically panties with pockets you can slip pads into.
But those are also too short in the legs for the hip shaping I need plus all of them I have seen are synthetic.
Another option for natural fibre padding was using cotton men's shoulder pads and sewing them together.
Or using cotton batting and stacking layers of it into the shape you want

So there's plenty of ideas for natural fibre padding there, but how do I keep them in place without resorting to synthetic shapewear or multiple pantyhose?
I thought about looking for cotton underpants that are high enough to have the waistband at waist height, and long enough so that the legs end at about 15~20 cm above the knee.
I could sew a pocket onto it using a similar fabric (fine knit, cotton) and putting the pads in and tacking them into place with a few stitches in 2 or more places.
If that gives a smooth result I don't know, I could always place the natural fibre pads inside out so the layers edges don't show through.

Is there anyone who has done something remotely similar?
Can anyone point out any obvious flaws here, or add an idea or two?
Any of this would be greatly appreciated.
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 8th, 2017 12:44 am (UTC)
This is a lot of questions. I am going to tackle... not all of them. So fair warning.

First, padding: rather than trying to incorporate padding with your corset, I would recommend a support skirt (crinoline/petticoat). It doesn't have to be as full or as flared as the 1950s style - you can just take 1-2 layers of cotton, organza, or net, gathered on a yoke (to keep the volume down at the waist) and with maybe one 4-6" deep ruffle on the hem, if you want a bit of pouf there. That will create a very smooth silhouette which supports the skirt all the way down. I know this is very much the wrong period, but Jen Thompson has an amazingly helpful comparison photo of a Natural Form dress with and without skirt support - the difference is subtle but unmistakable. Women of the 40s wore full length slips, and besides - we aren't in the 40s anymore.

Wear on skin: I would recommend wearing your corset over some kind of cotton (or linen) liner, a new one every day or two - whether that's a camisole or undershirt or cotton tube with straps. It will really help keep the corset clean, if nothing else. There's no real safety issue with wearing a corset against your skin, I think nearly everyone here has done it at one point or another. (I read one account from a 24/7 tightlacer that her skin started to dry out and split without a liner - it doesn't sound like you're going to get that extreme.)

S-bend: I actually find S-bend corsets quite comfortable - as always, it's more about how the corset fits and how tightly you lace, than the exact cut or style. I have found the bottom edge is less likely to pop out on an S-bend, especially if you put garters on the front point and basically tie it down to stockings. If you aren't always willing to do that, it's fine, but it definitely helps the corset stay in the position you want.

Belly: Here's the thing. When you squish part of your body, the flesh has to go somewhere. Think about closing your thumb and forefinger around a water balloon - the top and bottom lobes get bigger because the water has to go somewhere. Humans are mostly water, and water is basically incompressible. It's gotta go somewhere. Your back is pretty firm with muscle, connective tissue, and ribs/spine/hips. Your upper torso is full of ribs and lungs and things like that (although that area will also get a little wider). Some of it will go on to your hips. Mostly, though, it's going to wind up on the belly, because that's the softest and most expandable place for it to go.
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 8th, 2017 12:44 am (UTC)
Additionally, the bottom point of a corset is the least-well-anchored of the edge. On an underbust, the top edge is usually pretty level or the upper back is higher, but there's not a lot of squish there. For the bottom edge, you have 2-3 options:
- Perfectly level: Pro: the edge has support all the way around. Con: Can't be cut very long, because it'll prevent sitting down. Looks terrible on most people, imo.
- Classic front point: Pro: looks very elegant. Point cam come down in front while leaving legroom for sitting. Con: nothing is actually holding the point in, so it can bow out rather than holding the belly in.
- Front point with long hips, S-bend/Edwardian style. Pro: Something about the cut and/or the long hips really helps support the belly. I don't think it's just the shape of the bottom edge - I think it you whacked this edge on a vertical-seam Victorian/modern style, it wouldn't give the same effect. I'm still not sure exactly why this cut produces the straight front effect, but someday I'll get there. Truly Victorian has a pattern for sale, or there's a 1908 free pattern (second-to-last on that page, the 'clean' version is missing several pieces and the original has a few small errors, as this kind of pattern often does. If you are a Foundations Revealed subscriber, there is a series (unfinished but sufficient) on this corset with corrections, clear diagrams, and fitting instructions. I have made it and really like it. I haven't made TV e01, but TV patterns in general are very high-quality.

The S-bend/straight front style gives a different shape, for sure. It may not work for you. It may also not flatten your belly as completely as you want. Honestly, what I would recommend is to just dive in and start making. Your first one will probably not be exactly what you want, but after wearing it around for a few weeks you'll have a much, much better idea what you want. Boning and busks are completely reusable, and the fabric requirements are pretty minimal. It takes a day or two to sew one up. Get a couple yards of coutil (or if you know someone who wears Carharts or other work pants, get some worn out Carharts - that's what I use for all my mockups, it works great) and a spool of boning or a selection of pre-cut lengths and just go for it.

For your first ones, don't worry too much about finish - fold the seam allowances over and stitch them down 1/4" away. Press petersham ribbon in uneven halves, put the long side to the inside of the corset, and sew the binding all at once. Make it fast, wear it, learn.

Good luck!
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 8th, 2017 02:18 pm (UTC)
I was planning on putting the padding over the corset. The padding put into "pockets" that are sewn on very long cotton underwear that ends 15-20cm above the knee.
So put corset on first, then the long underwear over that and the padding in the pockets of the underwear.
Anyway, that was the best idea I could think of that works with all styles of dress and even trousers. And it's not sweaty shapewear.
Even with something like this; https://topvintage.nl/nl/vintage-retro/50s-madison-pencil-dress-in-red and this https://topvintage.nl/nl/vintage-retro/60s-dolce-vita-sarong-pencil-dress-in-emerald
It's not skin tight but it does hug the hips.
And then there's dresses like camille wears http://thedreamstress.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Camille_Clifford_1.jpg
She did pad her hips and buttocks, but she couldn't have gotten that far with the pads like the ones in the truly victorian edwardian corset pattern. Those mainly go under the corset in the rear. That still leaves padding needed where the corset doesn't reach at the lower buttocks and the hips.
Here's another http://www.staylace.com/gallery/gallery05/camilleclifford/3.jpg
Petticoats are naturally a good choice for flared skirts, I own a petticoat. But that's not an option for the hip hugging/loose pencil dress.

I have to say the hip pad you linked to is a nifty idea for other items of clothing though.

I wasn't planning on wearing the corset on my skin, just not over a synthetic shapewear piece. I was thinking of using a natural fibre thin stretchy knit top to use as a liner.

I have an old custom made corset (that's currently still one size too small but I can get it on for, won't wear it though) that squishes my belly in enough. I'm going to have to emulate that bottom shape and the shape of the panels.
If the front point still flaps up too much I'll try an s-bend.

"Something about the cut and/or the long hips really helps support the belly. I don't think it's just the shape of the bottom edge - I think it you whacked this edge on a vertical-seam Victorian/modern style, it wouldn't give the same effect. I'm still not sure exactly why this cut produces the straight front effect, but someday I'll get there."
I had previously planned on asking "what makes the s-bend different from other corsets aside from having the front straight?".
It's weird, although I have seen the same trend of swooping diagonal panels in most s bend corsets I have also seen ones with vertical panels. Some with gores/gussets and some without.

I've been considering purchasing the truly victorian edwardian corset pattern or another edwardian corset pattern that comes with instructions, if only for the construction information. They say you're supposed to pick the size according to the waist size you want, and then pad the bottom/hips/bust.
I would prefer making an s bend pattern by drawing the shapes over my duct taped torso, but I'm not sure that will work in the way that it will produce an actual straight front.
After all I don't need the rest of the edwardian silhouette, just the flat front.

So the plan for now;
1-end of january do duct tape over torso thing to make normal front vertical panel corset
2-if that doesn't work buy edwardian corset pattern and use the information to draw a pattern using the duct tape method
3-if that doesn't work just use the pattern as is and get a better shape with a mock up.
4-make padded underwear to go over the corset
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 9th, 2017 05:59 am (UTC)
Camille Clifford would have been wearing 1-3 layers of petticoats. Her skirts only cling to her legs because she has twisted them around. Look up Cathy Hay's Worth reproductions from around the same era, I know she posted her underwear at some point or other (LJ peackockdress). The undies would have been similar to the Festive Attyre ones I linked, without the concentrated fullness in the back or the hoop/bustle - you'll notice FA took the hip pad shape from a turn of the century source.

Because of the curious shape of s-bend slanted pieces, I think you are going to have trouble tracing them off a duck tape mold. The issue is that the mold is precisely you-shaped, but a corset needs to be narrower. It's easy to see how to modify vertical seams to give the right shape, but harder to modify slanted seams. Like I said, I used the marquise.de pattern and found it pretty straightforward. The top edge flared too much, especially in back, and I had to make the hips a bit fuller at the top by curving the seam between the two gores. The error in the pattern is really obvious - one of the top corner points is some half an inch out of place (can't remember which point, sorry), and of course you don't get a specifically marked waistline, but that was easy to discover once I taped it together and then taped the front and back edges down parallel to a table.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 9th, 2017 03:24 pm (UTC)
You make a good point about the festive attire hippad.

Taking the slanted pieces of the s bend in at the waist is fiddly but doable.
I've had to do far worse pattern alterations in fashion school.
Naturally I might just decide to start from a purchased pattern anyway, if I am lazy.

Would you mind sharing pictures of the finished marquis.de corset?
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 9th, 2017 05:18 pm (UTC)
I don't have a photo of the final version, sorry. I did find my notes about the pattern, though.

I also was reminded of Atelier Sylphe, which pulls patterns from antique corsets. She's got several S-bend styles.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 9th, 2017 07:01 pm (UTC)
I saw that post you made when I searched "s bend", I had a similar question myself about the grainline and waist tape. I have since figured it out.

Thank you for your lj link, and atelier sylphe makes the edwardian pattern I think is the best of all of them I have seen so far (both ref W).
I mainly liked this pattern http://www.handmaidstrade.com/2016/01/an-edwardian-slip.html

From the corsets I have seen made from the truly victorian pattern I only really like this one

The sylphe pattern is more expensive, but I think it's worth it. I will probably buy it next month.
Duct taping for a non s bend is scheduled on february 4th.
Can't wait to start.

Thanks for everything so far :)
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 10th, 2017 05:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, you want the waist to be on-grain.

That's a lovely pattern. I have a different one of hers. Haven't tried making it up yet, but the pattern is very clean and you get a huge number of photos of the original - it's totally worth the price.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 10th, 2017 05:43 pm (UTC)
I can't get my hands on carharts (had to google, it's a kind of work pants right?), I plan to use coutil for the actual corsets although I would probably need to order from england.
I live in the netherlands and had found a (yes only one) website that sold coutil in my country, but it seems to have gone.
Also fabric stores have never heard of it. I spared myself the trip to amsterdam by googling and calling the best fabric store.
I'm going to play it safe and order it in england.
As for mock up fabric, do you think pillow ticking is suitable?
Or any old style tightly woven sheets? I might have some that are pretty warp resistant.
I hope I can use that in one layer, with a waist tape, as a mock up.
What do you think?
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 11th, 2017 05:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, carharts are heavy work pants. I bike and wear through them pretty regularly, so it's a constant supply of mockup fabric.

The really important thing is that it be very firm. If you pull it on the bias, does it stay flat and stretch smoothly (bad, too stretchy) or wrinkle up in those little bias stretch wrinkles (sorry, that is not the clearest description - but this is what you want)? Ticking is probably a good option, as long as it isn't too thick. Bridges on the Body used ticking in a teens corset as the final fabric and she didn't mention any issues with stretching.

Denim and duck canvas are usually too heavy and not firm enough. Sheets are likely to be too soft - they will wrinkle at the waist in ways that coutil could not do.

In England, Vena Cava Design is probably the best known supplier, although I'm sure there are others. I've ordered from them and I like their fabric - the spotted and satin coutils.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 12th, 2017 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the bias wrinkle tip.

The problem with a lot of the names of fabrics that are recommended for corset making is most of the names don't really translate into dutch or have dutch equivalents at all.
I'm just going to have to get up close to some fabrics and subject them to the pull test.
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 16th, 2017 01:00 am (UTC)
Denim is your typical blue jeans fabric - white weft, blue warp, twill, starts out stiff but wears soft pretty fast.

Duck is a kind of canvas where the warp threads are paired. It's a common artist's canvas. Like denim, it often starts out very stiff but because the threads are bulky, as they wear they create a lot of space in the fabric and it softens.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 21st, 2017 06:30 pm (UTC)
I hadn't seen that you replied. Sorry for that.
I read that denim isn't a good choice for corsets in "the basics of corset making".

Twill translates to a type of fabric with particular weave (slanted, not crossed at right angles) in dutch, but the quality of that weave differs widely. Some are thin and fine, others are thick and sturdy. None that I have seen would be as stable against warping as pillow ticking though.

Canvas translates directly to canvas in dutch, but the fabric as it is used here is only used for sails, tents and painting on. Ask for canvas in a fabric store and you'll get weird looks.

Do you buy artist canvas on the roll at art stores and use it for mock ups then?
Annarabid_bookwyrm on January 21st, 2017 08:03 pm (UTC)
You can get twill coutil, either in a straight twill or herringbone.

In the US, you can buy canvas at a fabric store, especially one that sells upholstery fabrics. I've never particularly gone looking for it, because it's not actually useful. If you go back through the mockups here, you'll see that a fair number of them use or ask about using canvas, though.

Pillow ticking is a good option.
Yvonne De RooijYvonne De Rooij on January 21st, 2017 08:26 pm (UTC)
I meant clothing fabric stores. I've never actually come across an upholstery fabric store.
But no matter.
I won't make the same mistake I once made with a dress long ago when I was in my first year of fashion school.
I had a dress pattern with very slanted side front panels to accommodate a large difference between shoulder, bust and waist.
I made a mockup of the bodice out of plain white sheets which had always worked for me.
I made the necessary adjustments and moved on to actually making the dress itself.
The armseye turnout out too tight. The problem was that that part of the mock up had stretched over the bias making the armseye larger.
The actual dress didn't stretch much there since it was reinforced with iron on interfacing and with fabric interfacing.
I ended up giving the dress to a friend who it did fit without being uncomfortable.

I have since adopted the practise of ironing old scraps of interfacing onto the inside of mock ups with slanted panels to prevent stretching in the bias where I don't want it to stretch.
Takes barely any time and is a good use of scraps.

I would hate for my mock up fabric to stretch and ruin the finished corset, so I think pillow ticking is a good option indeed.

I'm still very happy a mother of a friend gave me 64 kilograms of sheets once.
They were the kind of industrial sheets used in old people's homes. Sounds gross but they had been boiled so I wasn't worried about any nasties.