Somewhere in the Victorian era, people started coming up with ideas for making corsets more comfortable to wear. Gigglishiously ironical though that may sound, some great innovations came out of it. One of my favs is the single layer corset – no lining, no interlining, just a base layer of fabric and some boning. If you do outdoor events in the summer, it’s a trick worth adapting. (“It’s period! It’s just not quite your period, dear rennie…” says the voice of evil. Heh. ;) )
The first steel, front-fastening busk was invented in 1829. (Waugh, 79) They’re nifty little beasties, especially at the end of the day when you would really, sincerely like to be OUT of your ding-dang corset. I’ve hear rumors that they can be used to get into a pre-tightened corset, as well, but I’ve tried, and I’m clearly missing a clue or two there. :/ The clue I do have is in how to insert the little buggers. Interested?
Hi, there, ho, there, everybody… Gosh I love being out of bed before 7.30! It makes me feel like I can take on the world! In a championship napping contest, that is. But the interwebs was totally not cooperating last night, and I wanted to share finished pics of the regency corset before I head off to work!. :)
Regency corsets, I’ve decided, are shockingly complexticated little beasties. I mean, they look all simple and they represent a time when, officially, corsets were somewhat démodé (except for how pretty much everyone was still wearing them). The pattern is easy enough. The construction is easy enough. There’s one central wooden busk and all of 14 pieces of bone in this thing. And yet…. I do believe that this is the most subtle and sophisticated setup of light-weight stiffening techniques I’ve ever seen. I’m a little in awe….
So, I’m making up a Regency style corset and it has gussets at the bust and hip to give it shape. I’m lining the corset, but I’d like to do the gussets as single-layer pieces. If you find yourself doing something equally silly, here’s how to slam a gusset in between the two layers in one go.
Ok, so you know I’m gonzo about le moulage, right? It’s basically a princess line dress, with no ease. That makes it a pretty accurate model of a specific human’s torso. But what the heck do I do with that information? I’m working with two remote clients right now, and they’ve sent me back their moulages (with notes – nothing is perfect the first go). For Haley, I need to draft a regency style corset for her Elizabeth Bennet inspired dress. Here’s how to go from Moulage (or any other princess-line sloper you’ve got handy) to the least moulage like thing I can think of – an 1820s corset. ;)
I’ve been a huge fan of jumbo plastic cable ties as corset boning for a long time. The only real downside to them is that they can get sharp corners when you cut them, and those corners will eat through fabric over time. I used to file them down with a nail-file, but that takes time. There’s a faster, easier way….
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.
I got to spend last week working a preview show by Hubbard Street Dance at the college. It was fantastic! I was technically just there as wardrobe, but they let help with the load-in and setup, and I learned 62,458,371 new things, which is always super-great. Yesterday I slept. No, really, that’s most of what I did. But I also got a little dolly sewing done….