My corset turned out wonderfully and is by far the most comfortable corset I’ve worn. This corset was meant to be as close as possible to the original, but of course there are some compromises I had to make based on my budget and my location (where there are absolutely NO good fabric stores around)
Finding antique lace is always challenging, especially when you want to actually use the corset. I managed to pick up some pretty lace from a local vintage store called Athens Underground. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it’ll do until I find something closer.
The pieces were relatively easy to put together, the busk being the easiest part of all (I didn’t believe it would be)
|In progress pic: Busk just put in!|
Total Cost: $ 45
Cost of Materials Breakdown:
$15 Steel Boning
$ 7 Antique Lace
$ 4 Khakis
$ 3 Grommets
$ 1 Embroidery Thread
$ 0 Twine (already in my stash)
|Shown here with newly made chemise
More on that in a later post!
Measurements fully closed:
Waist: 23” (was intended to be 19-20… more on that later)
What was the hardest part of the project?
Using a pair of khakis as the only fabric proved difficult for cutting and caused a lot of stress.
I had also never put in a busk before, though it’s far easier than it looks/sounds.
|Look at dat bust curvature!|
What needs improvement?
Beings this is the first real corset I’ve made (the other ones I had another seamstress build for me) this project was a giant adventure. I knew the basic procedure but had never done it before.
Seams: Because of all the fabric, I had a hard time sewing through the layers. Next time I will probably seam it on my treadle.
Lacing: I forgot to put an extra layer of fabric in the grommeted panel, which has caused a couple of the grommets to loosen and fall out upon long-term wear. An extra strong layer of fabric would eliminate the problem.
Measurements: If you examine my version versus the original, you’ll notice the front panel is a little wider in mine. I believe that this, added with the general widging of fabrics during seaming, caused the waistline to expand from its intended measurement.
General Laments: If you looked at my version, you can see that somehow the left side (our right) of the corset’s front closure, at the busk, is longer on both the top and bottom. I have no clue how this happened. Secondly, the cups at the bust gently flare toward the top instead of cupping back in. This works fine for earlier (pre-1870s) corsets, but during this time period a very smooth, curved bustline was desired. Thirdly, I’d love to find a busk that has such wide set closures as the original. Lastly, I would probably add a lot of more cording, as in the original, than I did for my version. I stayed on the safe side instead of going with my gut.
|Complete with a proper 1880s gut!|
What do you like the most about it?
I love that it looks so close to the original. The embroidery was a stroke of luck to get it to match so well. Same with the khakis acting as the fabric. It’s also an extremely comfortable corset. I have worn it for more than 8 hours at a time, and I was just as comfortable as when I put it on. My hope is to make another one, built for hard use rather than just being pretty. I want this one to actually close at a 19” waist and have it lined in sturdy drill or coutil. I’ll probably do embroidery for my practical one, too, because… why not?!
|Close up of tambour-ish embroidery|