Green 1860s corset

Who knew it could be so much fun sewing guesses?

When I started working on the 1860s corset from “Past Patterns”, for my sister back in January I dreaded what was to come.

All the Guesses…
4 on each side = 8 on the outer fabric
+ 8 on the lining =16

Phu…

Then of course there was the question of the Mock-up = another 8
And me, my crazy as decided that a second mock-up was needed = another 8 guesses

I must say I lost count by now, but I’m not finished yet…

For once I started on my sisters corset, I of course wanted one of my own… (but that’s for a later post)

I think the final counting (including a few that needed re-setting) lands at about 60 or so.

But lets take this from the beginning.

This winter I got an invitation to my dance groups yearly historical ball, that was to be held in May.
I immediately asked my sister if she would like to join – which of course she would.
Then we started debating what to wear.
The timespan set for this ball was 1750s-1850s, so a pretty big gap and quite an ocean of possibilities.
I decided to postpone the difficult decision for myself a few months – after all I have a wardrobe full of dresses that would do (more on my thoughts on this dilemma in a later post).
But my sister only had one or two things from previous events, which non would work for this occasion. Quickly drawn sketches of possible ways to go.

And since The time I had to spend on her dress was limited by both my family and my work, we needed to find something relatively simple to make.
So after some debating back and forth, we (despite better judgment) decided to make her a complete set of 1850-1860s evening attire.
Of course…:-0

Starting with the corset.

And here we are.

I drafted the pattern from “Past Patterns” mid 19th century stay pattern, with some alterations for my sisters and made a mock-up.

Silly me, thinking that the few bones in this corset would hold upp the cheap cotton I use for most of my toiles. No It wont do. So I made a second mock-up in a much sturdier upholstery fabric (a friend bought at IKEA and gifted to me).
Sorry no photos of the second fitting, but it looked much better.

So I cut the fabric, a beautiful light green satin I got a few years back for exactly this purpose (well, it was intended for my corset, but what do you do – sometimes sisters need pretty fabrics to ;-)).

I interlined it with a sturdy cotton in a similar color from stash, and started on the gussets.

I stitched the boning channels, set the grommets and added the busk. 

Then I did another fitting, which I usually never bother to do, but since we where to meat for a cup of coffee I figured, why not.

That was a good call, since some adjustments still needed to be made.
I took it in a few cm at the top, let out a few at the bottom, shortened the whole thing a bit and added two extra bones on each side.
Only the bone in the middle is from the pattern.

Then I wrapped it up by adding the bias binding (made from the same fabric as the corset), lace and working some flossing on the bones.

Now it fit much better! 🙂

The finished corset:

The facts:

What: a 1850-1880s corset

Pattern: “Past Pattern” nr. 708 – Mid 19th century stays

Fabric & Notions: 0,5 m green cotton sateen, o,5 m cotton interlining, 0.5 m green cotton for lining. Thread, 1 busk, boning (plastic and metal), grommets, buttonhole thread for flossing, 1 m ivory lace, 4 m of cotton cord for lacing.

Time: With the many fittings, and short work sessions late at night it took about 10 hours.

Cost: Everything came from stash (fancy that!), but bought new about 300 Sek (25 Usd).

Final thoughts: I think it came out really well, and my sister loves it. Lets just see how well it holds up on the ball room floor…

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4 thoughts on “Green 1860s corset

  1. I really like the corset color as well. The lace is really special so pretty. You are a good sister! Have fun at the ball, I look forward to seeing the whole outfit(s) you two will wear.

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