Spellbound by the corset

I have always been fascinated by Victorian fashions. They seemed very glamorous, delicate and feminine to me. The hourglass figures also intrigued me. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens that I realized that it was the undergarment that helped the ladies of the day retain the desired shape. I remember watching Gone with the Wind, and seeing Vivien Leigh being laced into her corset. I especially remember the scene, after Scarlet had Bonny Blue, where she insisted that Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) lace her corset tighter, because she had to get back to a meager 18″ waist from the 20″ it had become after childbirth, saying that she had become “as fat as Aunt Pitty“. This must have imprinted on me in a negative light, as I didn’t have the urge to wear a corset, until about 10 years go, and only because I had started making historical costumes. Due to the finanically lean years of being a single mother, I never really had the chance to delve into the eras of the corset. Many things have changed over the past 10 years.  For one, I am no longer a single mother, I now have the support of my loving husband. Secondly, my sewing skills have improved vastly over the years. I have gone from making basic Ren Fest wenches outfits to full on historical costumes. Which brings me to the next reason for making a Victorian era corset, The Emerald Parlor’s 2nd Annual Ladies Tipsy Tea. This year’s theme is Victorian. As I have posted about previously, I have my costume planned out, and just about all of the materials purchased. I am down to the beginning phase, the foundation, of the costume. It’s time to start the corset.

In my costuming adventures, I have made other styles of stays, but this will be my first foray into actual corsetry. I am very excited. For my pattern, I have purchased the Laughing Moon #100 Ladies Victorian Undergarments. The Laughing Moon pattern appealed to me on many levels. One of these was on the level of my wallet. As far as patterns for Victorian corsets go, this pattern offers more bang for your buck. It comes with two different corset patterns, as well as patterns for drawers and a chemise. As with any pattern I am thinking of using, I started doing my research on pattern reviews. I wanted to see if anyone has had any issues with the pattern, if there were any modifications that needed to be made, or any general observations on the pattern that I may want to be aware of.

Being that I am of a “fluffy” nature, I was leaning toward making the Silverado corset, as it offers bust gussets. Going by my measurements, I traced out a size 24 with a D cup gusset. After reading some of the pattern reveiws on several web sites and a large number of blogs, I am thinking that I have picked the wrong corset, that I may want to make the Dore corset instead, and in a size 22. A lot of the reviews I have read say that the patterns are great, but run large. The reviews also say that both corsets go together easily. Okay. I can handle that. Now that I know what I’m walking into, I can re-trace the Silverado in a size 22 and a C cup gusset, as well as the Dore in a 22. Since I will be making a mock up before cutting any of my corset fabric (I will be using a white and silver brodace satin for the cover fabric, pictured above on the left), I can quickly sew both together and decide which I like better. So, this evening I will be in my sewing room, re-tracing the Silverado pattern, and tracing out the Dore pattern. Good thing I stocked up on the wax paper that I use for these. 🙂

ETA: For more on this project, you can visit my journal page here.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. misselma says:

    Aaaah see, I am making my corset a “reward”, if you will. Once I get my other underpinnings complete – and ONLY then – am I allowing myself to start my corset! Otherwise, I know me; I will put a ton of time into the corset and rush through the others. ^_^ I am foregoing the brocades this corset around and going with a simple white eyelet as my outer-layer.

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