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19 December 2005 @ 11:50 pm
1884 Corset  

This is My Corset Journal of the recreation of a 1884 Corset

This is My Corset Journal of the recreation of a 1884 Corset

After being on various corsetry forums on LiveJournal for a while and admiring all the beautiful work by the people there I have finally mustered up enough courage to try to recreate a historical corset myself. I am very much a beginner when it comes to making corsets only having made 3 so far based on the same simplicity pattern and those were in my opinion a breeze and very basic (even though i messed up a lot). I do however whole heartedly recommend the pattern to beginners or if you are looking for a basic corset style.

I searched high and low for an interesting looking 19th century corset and through the communities I came across this site: http://haabet.dk/patent/index.html. I felt as if i had hit the jackpot while surfing around on this site and then I saw it, the corset that would haunt my mind for a few months before I found the determination to finally create it. And here it is along with my journey of completing it.

This corset patent can be found at: http://haabet.dk/patent/294620/index.html

I started by taking the large version of this image found at the haabet site and put it into Photoshop to do a crude measuring so I could determine if I needed to alter the pattern significantly or not. It turned out to my surprise that the pattern is very close to my size only a smidge too big. How lucky is that? The measurements I came up with in Photoshop were:
Bust: 34 3/8"
Hips: 35 1/4"
Front Length: 15 3/16"
Back Length: 15 5/8"
The waist couldn't be easily measured this way so I pushed on while crossing my fingers that it wouldn't be too small for me.

After printing out the pattern on several pieces of paper and then taping them together I was ready to try a quick mockup to see if it my crazy idea would actually work and if the Photoshop measurements were correct.

I found some scrap fabric and cut out the pieces. In my excitement and need to hurry I only did the one side of the corset and pinned them together. I put it on my lovely tape dummy of myself (I need to redo that so badly with better tape and stuffing). I was glad to see that it would actually work and that once again Photoshop proves to be my favorite program I have ever used :)

Pressing on I realized: Oh shit, this corset needs cording! I had never done cording before and figured that while it might not be hard I might as well ask around on the forum a bit to see what tips I could pick up. That thread is here: http://www.livejournal.com/community/corsetmakers/555262.html
Man I love you people on corsetmakers, not only are you so incredibly talented you are so nice and helpful too. Wow I learned everything I ever wanted to know about cording. I decided that I wanted to use hemp cord although when I went to the fabric store they didn't have any. I found this synthetic cord instead. It has a very stiff feel too it and i think there is a core of plastic in it or something. Thinking to myself, eh what the hell I might as well try it since i am not going on historical accuracy here (I hope to make this corset again and that time i will try to recreate it as accurately as supplies are available)

Here are the first three front pieces done with the cording. They are a bit wrinkly due to the slinkiness of the material and me trying to pull it tight for the cording.

Close-up of the cording, wow that left piece looks perfect... I give myself a pat on the back for that one :) Also note that i actually cut out the pieces of satin and muslin the same size and I didn't get much shrinkage of the satin when I did the cording.

Both of the front pieces are now corded and assembled. Yuck, look at that unevenness of the diagonal. In order to fix this I compared the two pieces to each other and trimmed it off (the bottom part of the right piece was accidentally folded up it is actually exactly as long as the left piece).

TaaDaa... After tidying up the pieces I cut out he busk part and then assembled it all together, hmmm looks kind of like a heart. Yet again due to the material being so slinky there are a lot of wrinkles but I am hoping that once the corset is fully assembled and cinched the wrinkles will minimize.

The inside of the corset, a layer of muslin.

Here is the front piece done except for grommets and top and bottom binding.

Yay almost done here only need to finish the binding. although my glee didn't last very long since this was the first time i could really do a fitting I realized that is was actually WAY!!! too big in the bust region. I ended up taking it apart twice and cut strips off to make it smaller. I guess i should've done a full mockup from the beginning, oh well.

Here is the inside view, All the white lines are my boning channels. A total of 22 bones all 1/4" steel.

ALL DONE YAY!!!! Here is a front and side view of me wearing the corset. As you can see it's not the best fitting corset amd i know that is partially due to not making a complete mockup when i started but also because to me this was a very difficult pattern to figure out how it would actually fit so i couldn't take it in to make it more of an hourglass shape. Also my busk is too short, i ran out of time and only had this size busk available, i am thinking of either putting in some small hooks or do a couple of small lacing holes. Althougn I don't know if i will actually ever wear this corset again since i am not compleatly happy with the fit I might not bother to fix the closing issue.

I swear this corset was laced evenly earlier in the night, I was very drunk at this point in the party as you can tell from my stupid grin in the next picture.

Here is a full body shot of me where you can see the patching bloomers i made too.

All in all i thought this was a very interesting looking corset but it is very hard to get a right fit out of it. I am proud of it yet i am unhappy with how it came out, i guess my expectations were too high is all. I learned alot about period patterns and new techniques like cording because of this project. Hopefully my corset journal will help some of you guys out if you ever attempt this or similar corsets.

PS thanks lilkender for the last four pictures

Warning lot's of pictures!

Crossposted to my journal, corsetmakers, and corsetry 

Current Mood: artisticartistic
Weyakin Windweyakin on December 20th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
That was brave of you! I am just beginning corset making, so looking at this just boggled my mind! Despite the flukes, I think it was a good effort and I'm sure it will come out perfect next time around. :-)
rosegoddesss on December 20th, 2005 05:26 am (UTC)
whoa Vicki, you're here too!
(no subject) - weyakin on December 20th, 2005 05:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rosegoddesss on December 20th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - medavia on December 20th, 2005 06:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rosegoddesss on December 20th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rosegoddesss on December 20th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
ex_aria_sta on December 20th, 2005 05:34 am (UTC)
It's still beautiful! You should be proud! i'd suggest lacing holes and putting it on eBay rather than taking it apart or doing nothing. It's too lovely to destroy or store away.

Oh, and I did that with my first corset, not making both sides. I ought to take pics and post sometime.
edith_mfedith_mf on December 20th, 2005 06:25 am (UTC)
That's a good idea to put it on eBay. It will be perfect for some other person's body. It is so painstakingly reproduced from an interesting pattern. I also think it is a bit short for you especially in front waist to bust.

Very brave of you to take on that pattern, and it made a corset. That's pretty incredible of you.
(no subject) - pippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - solan_t on December 20th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Life, sewing, and theoretical physicsenigmania on December 20th, 2005 05:48 am (UTC)
I love the diagonal side lacing on that pattern. nice job!
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
thank you yeah that's what drew me to make this corset too i wanted to see how the diagonal lacing would work.
electradesignselectradesigns on December 20th, 2005 07:53 am (UTC)
it's beautiful. i have never seen one like that made up.
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
thank you, yeah i hadn't seen anyone else here do this perticular corset in the communities either so that's another reason why i wanted to make it. I loved the drawing of it and wanted to see it in real life :)
anidananidan on December 20th, 2005 12:00 pm (UTC)
That's a bloody complex pattern to figure out and make, well done! How did you decide on bone placement? The pattern doesn't show them and the text only refers vaguely to them being placed diagonally. It's good to see someone making the more interesting designs. How did it feel different to others you've worn (aside from general fit, of course) did the diagonal lacing etc make a difference?
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
I just basically guessed and put the boning on the seams like i usually do with vertical boning. The only place i had a problem with was at the bust area where the boning would make it too flat. I basically had no shape in the front of the corset. Earlier in the night i had been wearing a dress over it and i looked completly flat, no cleavage no bulging in the right places (which is my maiun gripe regarding the fit of the corset) although the corset was actually really comfortable and i could've worn it for an extended persiod of time without discomfort from it being tight. I think the diagonal lacing might have had a play in that part since it did aleviate the stress of the fabric and it didn't cut into my sides like some straight corsets do. And the theory that it could be a pregnancy corset stand true in my oppinion since not much stress was carried across the belly.
J.H.Holliday, DDS: the crowdoc__holliday on December 20th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, that's amazing!!
I've also been looking at reproducing one of those patents, and I have to say, I'm floored by your attempt. That pattern looked extremely tough.
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
thank you, if you do attempt one of the patents, do a mock up. I wish i did but i had time constraints to deal with. As you probably know the sillouette of a woman back in those days was very different than today so the importance to go through all the necessary fitting steps is vital. Also the lack of instructions of assembly that come with the patents make it so you have to figure out alot on your own. Don't let all that deter you though, i mean heck if i could do it anyone can :)
don't forget to post your results if you do make one of the old corsets
(no subject) - doc__holliday on December 21st, 2005 02:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
justtobeme2justtobeme2 on December 20th, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
I think you did an awesome job and what bravery to attempt such a complex pattern! I looked at that pattern before, myself, and thought "NOPE"..lol I don't even want to attempt it. You did great. Do you think if you had had stiffer bones in back by the lacing it would have made the lacing panels straight? Again I must say KUDOS to you!!! And you looked so cute with your bloomers..
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for you comment (you're the first one to say anything about the bloomers :) granted this is about the corsetry)
I don't know about the bones in the back, yeah maybe but they were 1/4" steel and i haven't had a problem with those bones being around the back lacing before, i think it was mostly due to my boyfriend (who is still in training when it comes to lacing) not doing it right and when i took off the dress i was wearing over it i didn't pay attention to how the corset had shifted during the night, oh and yeah i was drunk hehe
shaerie raulli meadlc_corsetry on December 20th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
this community can only benefit from brave souls such as yourself. excellent job for a beginner on such an involved pattern! and you picked a difficult (slippery) fabric as well. pictures are really helpful to those of us who are reading-directions impaired. thank you for taking this on and sharing the results!
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
I am always so grateful when other people post their experiences along with tips and tricks. I learn so much from everyone here that i am happy to be able to give a little back to you all. Thank you for you kind words
corsetracorsetra on December 20th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC)
I have that pattern pretty much sized up, was going to be my next attemps but got pregnant so it will be some time before I get to it, you did a wonderful job and now you know where to make the adjustments. I think some more cording or posibly some boning could help smooth out the wrinkles?

It is absolutly lovely.
Pippipippilongstokin on December 20th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Wonderful
Really? that's cool I would love to see your results when you are done with yours. How did you size yours by the way? did you do a mockup? how did you determine where to modify the pattern to fit? Congratualations on being pregnant too :) This pattern is suitable to be a pregnancy corset but thankfully we live in a society now that we don't have to wear corsets to be proper ladies, now we mostly wear them to be improper hehehe...

Re: Wonderful - corsetra on December 20th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Wonderful - justtobeme2 on December 20th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Wonderful - corsetra on December 20th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Wonderful - eggiebert on December 22nd, 2005 12:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Wonderful - corsetra on December 22nd, 2005 05:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
eggiebert on December 22nd, 2005 12:47 am (UTC)
This is a very complicated design! YOu did a lovely job. I especially enjoy the effect of the two front pannels next to one annother. This is appears to be a difficult fabric, and by and large you suceeded at smooth transitions over the curves. Bravo!