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24 May 2018 @ 12:22 pm
Two really silly questions  
I am familiar with 17th and 18th century stays, but Victorian era is new to me. I have two quick questions:

1. Why do Victorian corsets have external boning channels rather than inner ones like stays? for me, internal boning is really easy and my preferred method.

2. Laughing Moon's Dore vs Silverado: what are the differences other than the bust gussets? at some point I'm going to attempt a Victorian ensemble using some TV patterns in my stash but not really sure which corset to go with.
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on May 24th, 2018 08:32 pm (UTC)
There are no silly questions.

I'm a bit...confused, I think is the word I want. Why do you think that Victorian corsets have "external boning channels?"

It's true that some Victorian corsets do employ "laid on" boning channels, usually those of single layer construction, such as summer corsets or mesh corsets, but others...have the channels sandwiched in the layers, such as between the fashion fabric layer and the strength layer, or the strength layer and the lining. However, on a single layer corset such as one might wear for summer, if you are going to use bones, they had to have a channel "laid on," or added on.

If you're judging by appearances, it might be that it is an appearance of an external channel: it was observed about 18th century (not 1800s, but 18th century) stays that half-boned stays look awkward with the stitching of the boning channels on display, unless the maker did the channels' stitching on the strength layer and lining layer to make the channels.
When 18th century stays are fully boned, even if the stitching shows to the "fashion fabric" layer (the outermost layer) the stays look just fine and as if this is perfectly correct and normal.

But Victoiran corsets are made differently, with only enough boning to prevent the fabric from buckling under tension, and with lots of "unboned" surface area, especially compared to stays of the 17th and 18th centuries.

If you look at images of other Victorian patterns for corsets, such as those at the "Ageless Patterns" website, "Corsets," you'll find, I think, that you're seeing stitching where the channels are, but those won't be "external," i.e., not built in, channels.
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page, where the various sections can be clicked on.)

In this one, (below), you can see where the seam allowance of the corset has been folded back where the gussets are inserted; bones may or may not be in those seam allowances.

But, truly, there are more ways that just external boning channels to make a Victorian corset and its boning channels.

Hope this helps a bit.
Opheliastarrynight on May 24th, 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
I thought that victorian corsets used bone casings that were sewn then the bone was inserted, vs the sandwich method like with stays, maybe I am wrong, if that's then case then it's somewhat of a relief. This should be an interesting endeavor as I am naturally hourglass shape.
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on May 24th, 2018 09:58 pm (UTC)
They can use casings, but they don't seem to have to use casings. Remember, the Victorian era was a relatively long period; fashions changed and so did shapes.
And as already noted, if you were making a single=layer corset, you'd have to use applied casings, or rely upon the seam allowances getting sewn down far enough from the seam to allow the insertion of the bone/s.

Remember, too, that if the bone were baleen, whalebone, it had (according to some sources) a more pronounced thickness, a more noticeable ridge when in the corset channel, requiring it to be placed on the wearer's side of the corset if it was not to be seen "telegraphing" through the wearer's clothing.

I looked through "Corsets and Crinolines" by Nora Waugh, and noted that she talks about making a modern-day repro corset (Victorian) and does not refer to casings but she does speak of the corset lining, so that's at least two layers of fabric.
Opheliastarrynight on May 24th, 2018 10:23 pm (UTC)
I suppose a corset cover would also help hide the ridge, but I do appreciate the enlightenment. I have a few books like patterns of fashion 1, costume close up, the tudor tailor, creating historical costumes by elizabeth friendship, and I just bought the costumer technican's handbook 3rd edition. I don't think none of them really cover the victorian period so it's quite new to me :)
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on May 24th, 2018 10:58 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you're right about the corset cover further softening any "lines" of the corset bones or corset top edge.

Desmond Morris, zoologist, anthropologist, ethologist, and surrealist painter, observed in one of his books ("The Human Ape," maybe?) that in other ape species the females, when they're ready to mate, develop overt signals, such as reddened, swollen buttocks, or changes in the facial skin (color wise), which can be read by prospective mates. He suggests that the human male focuses on breasts and hips, proportionately larger than the waist, because the proportionate difference "signals" mate-ability, sexual receptivity (even if that's not the case.)

And that, he says, is why by the Victorian age, the tiny waist was revered: it made the breasts and hips or buttocks seem proportionately larger, "signaling" mate suitability of the female of the species. He further states that the enormous skirts of the mid-1800s also made the waist seem even tinier than it had been laced in a corset, which made the "hips" (crinoline or cage crinoline) seem larger and made the breasts seem larger.
A young lady or a woman to whom Mother Nature had been generous, didn't actually need to reduce her waist in order to be deemed mate-suitable, not from an anthropological standpoint.

In other words, that tiny waist business, according to Dr. Morris, was an illusion. (Margaret Mitchell, in "Gone With The Wind," mentions Scarlett's disdain for girls who resorted to sewing rows and rows of tiny, tiny ruffles into the breast areas of the bodices of their dresses, to make the breasts appear fuller; Scarlett herself had, apparently, very nice breasts without having to resort to that particular subterfuge.)

I'm mentioning this only because we're talking about Victorian corsets, and one of the desired traits of the age was tiny waists (and "..broad shoulders and even broader hips"), but those tiny waists were desired to make the hips, buttocks and breasts seem larger, and to be signaling readiness for mating.
Also, if you viewed "The 1900 House," the wife-mother in that program talked about how the women of 1900---she herself had to wear an historical corset actually from 1900---evidently had smaller breasts [than she or other "averagely built ladies.")

About the two Victorian era patterns you're looking at....
I haven't worked with either of these corset patterns, but from the envelope illustrations, it appears to me:
Bust gores
Silverado is longer over the belly
Dore has a slight upward arc over the hip
Dore also has a slight dip in the top line, center front
Silverado corset appears to have a strictly straight (horizontal) top line
To my eye, the Silverado looks as if it is meant to provide a later-in-period (Victorian period) silhouette; the Dore, an earlier one than the Silverado, but also more what I think of as "basic:" one worn by a less fashionable lady who couldn't afford to indulge in tight-lacing (truly tight lacing was kind of unusual, anyway, until the 1870s)

Once again, hope some of this will help.
Opheliastarrynight on May 24th, 2018 11:04 pm (UTC)
it does help, thank you.
virginiadear: LaBellavirginiadear on May 24th, 2018 11:11 pm (UTC)
You got your reply posted just seconds before I could edit my comment.
Well, that isn't important.

This link was found via Pinterest. If you can't click on it and land directly at that page, then perhaps if you copy and paste it into a new browser window...

Good success to you!