Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Black Sateen 1880's Corset

What does every good outfit need? Good undies! And while I didn't have time to make 1880's white frillies, I did prioritize time to make a more era appropriate corset. For a long time, all I had for anything Victorian was my not-quite-1860's corset. And oh boy, looking back, the off silhouette really does show. My goal for this corset was a better shape. A rounder, lower bust. Also, better fabric.

In the interest of saving time, I went into my pattern collection and pulled out Truly Victorian's Late Victorian corset. I chose it because of the simplicity of the pattern. The two layer construction, with no gores or gussets, was sure to go together quite quickly. Also, I have always had very good luck with the fit of their patterns.

For the fabric, I was inspired by a dusty ol' antique corset I saw in a display up in Bodie, CA. It was black sateen. The decoration was inspired by a corset at the Royal Ontario Museum. I used black and white sateen from Dharma Trading. The boning is German plastic, which totally lives up to it's reputation for being awesome. This is the third or fourth garment I've used it in, instead of metal. For the back bones, though, on either side of the grommets, I used spring steel for better lacing support. I also bent in the bottom of the busk, since this shape is seen so much on originals. 

Now here's a total confession moment. Because I have had hit and miss luck with mockups for corsets in the past, I totally threw caution to the wind and just went for it. I adjusted what I could on paper (made sure there was enough room for hips/bust, etc), but completely skipped the mockup stage. Things turned out 99% ok. My only complaint is some rippling under the bust. And to be honest, I don't make enough corsets to know what exactly went wrong here. What causes the rippling? Fit? Fabric? Construction? I'm guessing it's fit, which left a hollow under the bust. The fabric appears to be loose there, and with the lack of flesh to fill it in, the fabric pulls. This was a small complaint, considering it didn't affect the support of the bust or shape under the dress. 

The most fun part of this corset was the flossing! All my other corsets are white on white. In the past I have always been motivated to floss for looks (yes, even though they were white on white!), but this is the first two layer corset I've made, and for this, the flossing was really necessary. The give in the fabric allowed extra room for the bones to want to move around. This was the first time I've ever experienced this with boning. The flossing absolutely helped keep it from migrating. I used silk twist.

I flossed both top and bottom, though the top flossing is mostly hidden beneath the lace. The lace was done with individual pieces of edging and beading, joined together, as for lace insertion. The silk ribbon and lace is from Farmhouse Fabrics. I hand stitched the lace piece on after the corset was finished.

All in all, even with the rippling, this turned out to be a win. It's a very, very comfortable corset. And I love that it's not white!