Sarah posted a totally, fabulously, fantastically AMAZING bit of research based off Drea’s equally fabulously, fantastically AMAZING database of wardrobe warrants. (Seriously, is this the best time for a costumer to be alive or what?) Go read them both. I’ll wait till you’re done with with Sarah’s points about the “pair of busks” entries….
We all know how to make a corset, right? Take a bodice pattern that’s too small, sew a lot of boning channels in it, a little jiggery-pokery to get the boning in, seal the edges, and presto change-o, corset. And that’s great, but it’s not the only way to make a corset. Well, ok, if you want to get all technical, then that is the only way to make a corset, but it’s not the only way to make a pair of stiffened bodies capable of supporting the body and forming it onto a conical shape. Here’s another method that relies on stiff sheets of interlining, rather than multiple thin bones.
Crazy things resembling Honest Work(tm) have put me a million years behind on posting stuff from the last week. I don’t know about anyone else, but stress makes me totally ADD, and I decided that what I really need is a project to take my mind off work, websites, and that other project. I had an idea while making little chemises and corset mockups for Tyler and Piggy that it would be really adorable to do them up as the young Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor. So, I went digging through my fabric bins….
I’ve been playing a lot with the Pfalzgrafin corset lately. One of the things I said in the original post was that this type of corset is rather uncomfortably on bodies that aren’t relatively straight, and is a total failure on more extreme hourglass shapes. But I wanted to make it work on Tyler, so I started thinking about two basic assumptions we make about corsetry: that the corset supports the bust, and that the corset has negative ease which allows it to reshape the body and make it smaller. What happens with the Pfalzgrafin block if we throw those assumptions out the window?
The Conic Block is a great starting point for drafting corsets. This eBook includes instructions for the best way to reduce the Conic Block and for using that reduced block to draft versions of the Pfalzgrafin, Effigy corsets with a smooth waist arc (for comfort). It also includes directions for a Curved Front corset.
I’m a visual learner. I mean, I owned a copy of Patterns of Fashion for years before I ever looked at the words. (I’m not even kidding. Turns out the words are pretty useful too!) If you find yourself in the same boat, this might help. It’s a set of line drawings of the Pfalzgrafin and Effigy corsets, as well as my cheater curved front corset, lined up side by side for easy visual comparison.
Croquis are little pre-drawn bodies used by fashion designers to speed up the sketching and design process. I made this one with Em and a basic 1500s silhouette. A lot of people have been coming to the site lately and being really great to me, and I wanted to do something as a thank-you.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s talk about something that makes my little costumer’s heart go pitter-patter: the Effigy Corset. I’ve had a major case of corset-brain lately (I think it’s a rebellion against that darned unfitted eleventh century thing), and I’ve been doing some research. You know what’s annoying about the Effigy? I don’t have a nicely gridded version of it drawn up by Janet Arnold. She spoiled us, you know…. I’ve no idea how to think without her beautifully scaled grids and neat technical notes. I so wish that the Effigy was covered in Patterns of Fashion. But it’s not, and I needed it…
I had this horrible, recurring experience with some of my oldest costumes: I’d put a zillion hours worth of work into making something, right, and lace myself into a corset to make me skinnier, and put on enormous skirts that should have dwarfed my waistline, and the bodice and the yadda yadda, and, like, fifty pounds of tightly laced clothing later, my torso looked stumpier and my waist looked wider than it had when I started. That’s a lot of work to go through to look shlumpy, you know? Fortunately, there’s a simple little trick you can play with the waistline on an Elizabethan dress that will help…
Oh, that pesky Pfalzgrafin corset… It’s technically dated to 1598, by virtue of being found on the body of Pfalzgrafin Dorothea Sabina von Neuburg, who was buried then. It would be really-amazingly-super-conveneint if it was older, wouldn’t it? Seriously. I’ve really got an itch to do something from the middle of the 1500s. I’ve started the little chemise (I’m even trying to embroider the darn thing), and I’ve been messing around with recreating the Pfalzgrafin pattern based on the Basic Conic Block.