Monday, October 20, 2014

My current project: 18th century stays

With a little break between commissions, and Texas Renaissance Festival going on, I decided to see if I could quickly put together some 18th century stays for myself.

I've had a "RenPunk" outfit planned for well over a year, but haven't had time to work on it.  This style of corset is part of it, so maybe I will eventually get an outfit together a piece at a time.

I had planned to draft a pattern out of Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines, but with time of the essence I decided to use Butterick 4254 as a starting point, since I had it and it was already full-sized.  Knowing that all mainstream corset patterns run at least 2 sizes large, I started with a size 16 pattern, although my measurements put me more in the range of their size 22.  (I measured the 16 and it was about right for my waist.)

I also measured the length of the pattern and knew it was short so I slashed at the waist and added two inches.  This is pretty common for me, because I'm so tall.

So this was the size 16 in a really quickly thrown together mock-up of one layer of fabric and very minimal boning.

There are obvious problems in the bust region.  I've since learned that this pattern has this as a known flaw.  The bust is way too low and the stays too short.   My first instinct was to add not only to the height of the front but quite a bit of width in the bust, but advice from other corsetmakers led me to just raise the front and add a bunch more boning.  I slashed the pattern right under the bust (ish) and added 2.5 inches.  I also added a bunch of boning to the front panel, but I used the same side and back panels.

Much better.  It's now a bit too big and closes fully in the back without being as tight as it needs to be.  And the front point is a but too low, I want the whole front panel to sit a bit higher.  So I took some off the sides of the front panel and the rear panel, added boning to the entire corset, and tried again. (Using the same front panel due to laziness even though I made minor adjustments to the pattern piece.)

From the front and sides, it's looking pretty good.  Except that it appears to be crooked on my body.  I'm fairly sure that's due to my own body asymmetry and the fact that one breast is a whole cup size larger than the other.  I'm going to have to figure out what to do about that.  I may simple adjust the edge of the neckline to make it look straight.

And then there's the back view, where it's clear that I removed too much from the pattern.  Also because it's now almost fully boned,that took up more room than I accounted for.  So more adjustments to make before I taken the final one.  

So that's 3 mockups in 3 days.  Don't fear the mock-up.  It's important!

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your blog! I'm nearly done with my first corset, and it's going so much better than I could have ever hoped. Reading your posts gave me confidence and someplace to go in a panic when things weren't going as I expected. I'd have never done a mock up at all if I hadn't read your tutorials first, and if I hadn't I would have messed up all my pretty fabric, instead of some muslin and cheap canvas. Thank you, thank you!!

    I want to try for an over bust corset like this one next. I may pick up this same pattern and try it out for myself.I hope you post the finished version once you have all the kinks worked out!