Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowstorms and Corsets

Thanks to a snow storm that seemed to shut down all of Kentucky and Tennessee for the last week, I've had some surprise free time to put to some good use. I was working on a set of 18th century stays in order to finish the robe a la francaise I started a few years ago. I made a new pattern based on an old unfinished set of stays. I lovingly cut it out of linen buckram from Wm. Booth, Draper and some gorgeous yellow silk brocade I bought at Mood a few years ago.

See? Really pretty.
I carefully drew all the boning channels and then stitched them (by machine because I am not a patient woman). I got really excited because it was looking so very pretty.

And then discovered that despite all my careful measuring, the bones would not go in. I'm using German plastic boning because I have a distrust of reed and it seems logical to me that it best mimics whalebone. And I like it. I have both the 1/4" width and the 3/8" and neither size will go in easily. I suspect it has something to do with how stiff the linen buckram is - it doesn't have that little bit of stretch the linen and cotton canvas I've used before have, so I can't force the boning in. The solution is probably to either cut down my boning or switch types of boning to something that is already narrower.

But instead I threw the whole project into the Naughty Corner and decided to work on something else entirely. I'll get back to it some day. *shrug*

I really need a cutting table at home. This is not super fun to do on the floor.
I have some 1890s projects in mind, so I scaled up the Black-and-Yellow Flossed Corset (1890-1900) from Jill Salen's Corsets and made a mock up. I guess I went a little over-board sizing the corset up because the mock-up was too big. I didn't take any pictures because there was nothing exciting to see. The length of the corset was about perfect, I just need to take the whole thing in by 2 or 3 inches and then start tweaking. It's got those nice long lines that seem to be favored in 1890s and I think fitted properly I'll get some decent waist reduction.

I've never actually made a Victorian corset for myself before (though I made one for a production of Sweeney Todd a few years ago). I'm really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.