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02 July 2017 @ 06:45 pm
Bust Support, back fat, and waist tape help  
Hello,
I'm having trouble with making corsets that support the bust. I have no photos to show, so I tried to illustrate what I think is happening. As the corset cinches in the waist, fat and flesh are displaced upwards to the underbust. This roll of fat pushes the corset away from the body, leaving a gap between the underbust and the corset and resulting in no support for the bust. My friend's corset I made for her wedding had that problem, and we found that lacing the corset tighter allowed for the support, but resulted in a lot of back-fat. This is all from self-drafted patterns, as I am not at a place where I can purchase any. Being male, I have limited knowledge of bust support and cannot practice/test on myself as I lack endowment in the bust area, so any insight and/or recommendations are very greatly appreciated!



Another issue I have is the waist tape. Even when I use coutil (purchased from Britex in San Francisco, if that matters) I can see the waist tape indentations on the outside of the corset. It seems as though the fabric is trying to stretch at the waist but the waist tape is not allowing it to at that area, so you see the indentation. Granted, I've only ever tried making single-layered corsets, or double layer (fashion + strength fabric). Is there any way to combat this as well?

Thank you very much.
 
 
 
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on August 15th, 2017 11:56 pm (UTC)
It's not additional ease which changes a conical "paire of bodyes" [payre of bodies and other various spellings but we're talking here about 16thC/1500's "corsets".) Those conical corsets were meant in the 1500s and early 1600s to create a look very much like a man's torso: flattened breasts and, in cross-section, an oblong waist which was not much compressed, the entire paire of bodyes being only snug enough to keep everything in place and not intended to compress anything either abnormally or painfully tightly.
I know you're not talking about creating a conical set of stays, here, but just so you know, as a general rule the "stayed" part of that undergarment comes only to the waistline (the natural waistline) except in the very front if the stays have that pointed dropped waistline in front. The tabs you see do no functional shaping: they're there to keep the stays in place (you put the waistband of your petticoat or verdugarde/farthingale) under them at the natural waistline if there's that front point/dip or at the sides and around the tabs to the back if there isn't or if the front dip isn't very pronounced or isn't sufficiently pronounced. This is for stability and comfort, so the stays don't shift and don't dig.
Originally, these stays or "paires of bodies" were stiffened with "bents," a type of sea grass found on sand dunes, or with "lady's bedstraw" or something called "cleavers" which was also sometimes used to stuff mattresses,or other vegetative matter, but understand: "other" doesn't mean "any."

Fast-forward to the mid-1800's until the end of that century: The hourglass corset is cut differently, without seams at the waist---as a rule, and it is boned or "stayed" differently, too. It is meant to make the waistline of the body smaller which in turn is meant to make the hips and the breasts or bustline appear larger (according to social anthropologist Desmond Morris, this among non-human primates signals readiness for breeding. According to other historians and anthropologists and probably psychologists, too, the cage crinoline of the 1850's/1860's in conjunction with the waist-reducing corset was a way of making the waist look small and the breasts larger and the hips, although artificially so, enormous, and was signaling, "Ready and able, so come hither---but don't touch until given permission" because the crinoline kept a man at some relative distance.)
That hourglass corset has fewer bones, but they were stiffer whalebone or in some instances steel. The cut of the corset did the work of reducing, constraining, and supporting, with the steels or bones preventing the garment from buckling and wrinkling, which fabric under strain is almost bound to do.

I'm not sure what you mean by "cupped rib." Are you talking about a corset with demi-cups to hold the breasts?

Now about the ease. This is my personal take on it, but you are going to have to do a bit of experimenting. Understand that "ease" isn't like dressmaking ease or design ease (even though you'll design it in) with a certain amount of unoccupied space between the garment and the body. All of an hourglass corset must hug your body snugly, but while you may be tight-lacing at the waist, if you make the fit at the hips and the bust less snug but still firm enough to prevent both corset and body parts from moving around, you should be all right.

Are you familiar with this website:
http://bridgesonthebody.blogspot.com
...or the book on which it is based, Norah Waugh's "Corsets and Crinolines?" If you're going to be making corsets, even just one and for only one period, this is a book I think you'll want to read. It's full of the author's observations, will show you the evolution of the "stayed" or "corseted" waist, and it's also loaded with contemporary commentary from various personages throughout the centuries it represents.

Hope this has been some small help.

Please let us know how you get on! :^)