Sunday, January 13, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly #0: Starting Simple

Before I even considered taking up the challenge, I had accomplished a minor, but fiddly, annoying, and tedious alteration.  It is also very important, because without it a significant part of my sewing plans for the year would be shelved.  I had to alter my 1860s corset!


It's very nicely made, but over the year or two I've worn it, I realized that it was not only too short on top, it was too tight. Uncomfortable and unflattering. Instead of making a new corset entirely, I decided to alter it: adding gussets at the bust for more room, and adding a strip on the top to raise it appropriately.


Somehow I got the idea to cord the new gussets and the top strip. It added to the work, but I think it was a good move.  I didn't want to extend the boning casings and add longer steel, so the cording provides stiffening and a little more support. It also adds a little to the curve of the corset, which is nice! I sewed a large hook and eye to the top to keep the edges together.


Cording is a lot less common in corsets from the 1850s onward, but it still exists. For what it's worth, I based the angle of the cording off an 1830s one from the book Corsets.


This is the only picture you get of me in it. I had it on when I was drafting a new base bodice pattern, and snapped a picture when I realized how it looked even with a cardigan and sweatpants. It's a very bad photo, but hopefully it gets the effect across.

DSC06032 cropped

The Challenge:  HSF #0, Starting Simple

Fabric:  white cotton sateen

Pattern:  None. I free-handed the gusset shape and the top strip.

Year:  Appropriate for c. 1860 onward (originally the Laughing Moon Dore corset)

Notions:  Sugar 'n' Cream cotton yarn for cording

How historically accurate is it?  Well, I can definitely believe a woman in the 1860s would have remodeled an existing corset instead of having a new one made. And while most garments with existing alterations from the period are very skillfully done, there are others very sloppy indeed! So I used period techniques and made it work.

Hours to complete:  I wasn't really keeping track, since this was before I thought of the challenge. Maybe 12.

First worn:  Officially, not yet.

Total cost:  $3.00 for the Sugar 'n' Cream, which I somehow didn't have on hand. The sateen was from the stash.

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