November 24, 2014

The Late Victorian Corset: Part 3

I have been working diligently on the Victorian corset this week and have made a lot of progress! More progress than I have photos of actually, when you get going sometimes you forget to document these things! I have completed most of the final corset now, I just need to attach the binding and floss the boning channels. I still haven't found a good lace for the top edge, but seeing as that doesn't effect the function of the corset, I can keep looking.

I had hoped to find a herringbone twill to use for the strength layer of this corset, but I could barely find a heavy weight regular twill, let alone a herringbone one. I know I should just buy coutil (fabric specially woven for corsets) but I am impatient and cheap so I have never bothered to spring for it! I ended up going with a mauve-ish colored medium weight cotton twill. I of course didn't care what color the strength layer would be, it was all about finding something strong that wouldn't stretch much. I also bought some twill tape for making additional boning channels inside. Then of course I had to buy the steel boning itself, I ended up getting mostly spiral steel boning and some flat spring steel as they didn't have every pre-cut length I had wanted in the spiral available. I don't usually use spiral steel so I don't mind having this corset be half and half.

Putting the corset together went smoothly and I was pleasantly surprised I remembered how to insert the busk and finish the front edges from making the Edwardian corset last winter. It seems silly now I was so afraid of using busks when they are actually no trouble at all! I have my eye on a busk with gold plated hooks and pins for another corset down the line (magenta with a gold busk and gold flossing!).

As of now, I have inserted the grommets down the back and inserted all of the boning into the channels. The next step is always the most nerve wracking, trying the darn thing on! Luckily, it fits, at least it isn't too small! It isn't really too big either, I just wish I had taken off another inch all around because, drum roll please, the edges do meet in the back when laced up! I had modified the pattern, removing about a half inch, and hoped between doing that and the stiffer fabric everything would have shrunk a bit more, but alas it is still a bit too big. But other than my nit pickyness about the lacing closing, it fits rather well. I am really happy with how the bust area fits/supports the top. The shape it creates is really pretty and will be great for my bustle era projects planned for next year.

Because it is a bit bigger than I would like, I don't have as much waist reduction as I had hoped. Resting I have about a 31" waist and this corset can only take me down to a 29" at best with the back fully closed. I plan on making a second corset for "evening" wear that is smaller and can get down to a 28-27" waist. Even though my waist measurement is not greatly effected by this new corset, it does look much smaller because a corset makes your waist much more round as opposed to the more oval shape of the body naturally. So though the measurement is the same, the shape makes the waist appear smaller. So that's always a nice effect :)

I hope to finish attaching the binding and get going on the flossing this week so that I can show you all the finished corset! I'm off to the sewing room again...


  1. I look forward to seeing the finished result! I have only ever made one corset, and then got halfway through a second. They sure are a lot of work, but I would also say mine is one of the projects I am most proud of!

    1. Thanks Tanith! I also feel corsets (and stays) to be a lot of work in general, but the sense of achievement afterwords is indeed well worth the effort!


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