Effigy Style Corset

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Yeah yeah yeah, so *everybody* is making an effigy corset
these days. I actually made this months ago, and the mockup a few weeks before
that, but I’ve only just gotten around to an entire faire season’s worth of
picts, costume updates, and what have you. Update: I’ve added pictures of my
newest effigy, which is stiffened entirely with hemp cording. I think it worked
out rather well.

If you’re looking for information on how the effigy corset is
*supposed* to be made, I’d advise reading drea’s article
or sarah’s article.
They’ve both got excellent articles and pictures and information an all that
jazz. If I’m not internationally notorious for failing to do things “the right
way” by now, I should be. I took the liberty of altering the pattern when I
made mine to make the corset easier to make via machine. If you’re not familiar
with the actual article, the effigy corset has a pair of side back seams (which
may offer some shaping, but I believe are mostly there to prevent any part of
the corset from being cut on a true bias). These seams mean that boning channels
exist with, well, a seam through them. Getting boning past a seam allowance
is not this little sempstress’s idea of a good time. What I have done is to
extend the line from the center dip of the corset all the way to the back of
armscye and separate the pieces/make the seam along that line. That’s where
a piece of boning falls anyway, so it was convenient. The two front pieces together
look rather like a shield. The rather alternative piecing style makes it possible
for the corset pieces to be sewn together into layers, then joined to form the
corset and then have the boning channels put in. The original piecing of the
effigy requires the pieces to be made up and boned separately, then joined together
by hand into a corset. I’m not convinced I trust my hand stitching to hold pieces
of a corset together. Images of (literally) bursting at the seams run through
my head and make me shudder. Maybe it’s just me…. Anyway, in this case, the
interlining and lining are made from medium weight cotton, made up, joined,
channeled, and boned, then the facing of teal silk is made up, and joined wrong-side
to wrong-side to the boned piece (yeas, that the opposite of how you normally
do things, and yes, it’s a real pain the the patoot to convince that to go smoothly
through a sewing machine). The reason that I joined it WS to WS is because I
didn’t want to try and turn the silk tabs against the boned tabs, because I
was afraid that either a) it just wouldn’t run, or b) the silk would fray and
the corners would pop in the process. The raw edges are trimmed, then the whole
thing got bound with soft leather (chamois, which has the tremendous advantage
of being a cheap leather that actually likes moisture – sarah beat me to posting
this little tip ;) If you noticed that it’s a little uneven when closed, you’re
on to something. Being a bear of very little brain, I forgot that I planned
to spiral lace, or maybe I just wasn’t thinking about the full implications
of spiral lacing, but one way or another I made all the grommets line up when
they should have been offset. I spiral lace it anyway because it’s the most
expedient way of lacing anything. :) For incredibly concise, helpful information
on how it’s supposed to be done, check out jennifer’s article
on A Festival Attyre.

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