Monday, February 1, 2016

Corset Pattern Review: Laughing Moon 100 - Ladies Victorian Underwear - Dore and Silverado Corsets

The Laughing Moon Merchantile Pattern #100 is a lot of pattern for your money.  It includes two entirely separate Victorian corset patterns, plus a chemise and drawers.  So it's a good pattern for people looking to build a reenactment wardrobe since it is complete and period accurate.

For a long time, this was THE Victorian corset pattern of choice.  It was for that reason that it was the first corset pattern I ever made, and I've made both corsets included in the package.  The corsets are both taken from historical patterns and are meant as underwear.

The Dore corset is called a "straight seam" corset, meaning there are no gores or gussets. It's got a pretty standard hourglass shape and sits high on the hips.

The Silverado is a bust gore pattern, which means there are two gores for each breast.  This makes it more complicated to construct for a beginning corset maker or anyone without experience fitting gores.

This pattern is shaped differently overall and doesn't seem quite as curvy as the Dore.  It has a lower hip line with a gentle hip and stomach curve.  The bust gores mean you can adapt the pattern for a range of cup sizes by using different size gores so it might be a good choice for someone with proportionate bust measurements.

One thing you have to keep in mind when using any Victorian era corset pattern is that it will be a mid-bust, meaning the top of the corset will sit right around the nipple line.  This is proper fitting for wearing a corset under Victorian clothing, since any higher edge would show through the dress.  But if you intend to make a corset for modern wear as outerwear, you probably will need to raise the top edge to get better bust coverage.  I added 2-4 inches to both my versions of these corsets and even then was uncomfortable wearing the Silverado version without some kind of other covering for my bust because I felt I was about to fall out of it.

My version of the Dore, my first ever corset.
The instructions given with the pattern are fairly detailed and superior to corset pattern instructions you get from mainstream pattern companies.  They use the sandwich method of corset construction, in which you assemble each layer of the corset entirely and then line those layers up and baste along the seam lines.  I personally am not much of a fan of this method because it requires very precise sewing in order to have all your layers match up perfectly.  I did use this method on my Silverado corset, due to the difficulty of fitting the bust gores.  My sewing ultimately wasn't very precise and it caused some annoying wrinkling in the finished corset, especially about the bust and gores.  I struggled with the gores, and found the pattern instructions lacking in telling you how to insert them.

My Silverado.
So, while this pattern gives you more guidance than many, I think it's still a good idea to do outside research on corset construction and use whatever method you are comfortable with for assembly. The Dore corset, which I made as my first ever corset, was constructed with the Folded Seam or Welt Seam method and was super successful, especially for a first corset.   I made quite a few changes to the pattern through several mock-ups, most significantly using a waist a few sizes smaller than the hips and bust, and adding several inches to the top edge for coverage.

The Silverado I made was never quite as comfortable to me as the Dore.  I think ultimately I got a decent fit out of it, but I had to modify it more.  It would probably work better for someone less curvy, at least in the hips.  And even though it's several inches higher on the bust than the pattern, I still never felt secure with this much cleavage.

One final thing to know about this pattern is that there is also a supplement for the Dore for sizes 26-40.  So plus sized ladies, this may be the best choice of corset pattern, as it goes larger than almost all others.

I have also made the chemise from this pattern, but I really didn't like the way it fit.  The yoke is fairly tight across the chest and I wasn't happy with it.  But that's a personal opinion.  The pattern went together fine.

So ultimately, this is a nice, useful pattern.  It's especially good for historical use and can be a very attractive modern corset as well, with some modifications.  It also has a wide range of sizing to fit a variety of figures.  You can definitely do a lot worse than using this pattern as a starting point for a corset project.

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