Monday, November 27, 2017

Green Corset - Part 1

Corset-making is an art of its own. One can be a fabulous costumer, and yet know nothing about crafting corsets. I am still very much a novice in this area, but I did complete a project for a friend this past year that I am pretty proud of.

This corset is loosely Victorian in design, although I'll admit to giving it plenty of modern flare in order to make finishing the project on time manageable! And, for historical accuracy's sake, I should also point out that the Victorian era was quite a long one, with the shape of the corset changing from decade to decade. I use the term "Victorian" here only to really set it apart from the Tudor corset I did previously.

I began the project by padding out one of my dress forms to my friend's measurements. Although I would do fittings in person, making the corset was helped tremendously by having a fairly close body double.

I needed this to be a time economical project, since I knew that even with time-saving methods it would still end up being fairly involved. Therefore, the corset is only three layers thick, and thin layers at that. A gold/green brocade, a thin interfacing, and a green poly-satin lining. I knew it would be easiest to fit the corset if there was one seam per section, rather than separate seams for the brocade and lining, so I stitched all the pieces together as though each brocade and satin piece were merely the front and back of the same piece. I'm really glad I did this, because it made the fitting process so much simpler.

This was my very first time inserting a closing busk! I was pretty intimidated, but it turned out that busks like this are super easy to insert and they make a beautiful finish. Before stitching the front pieces into the rest of the corset, I applied the busk. On the right side, the brocade and satin edges were stitched together, leaving sections open for the eye-prongs of the busk.

I then popped the busk in place, slipping the eyes through the spaces...

And topstitched right along the edge of the busk to hold it in place.

On the left side, I first stitched the edges right side together, then marked where each of the posts needed to come through.

I then used an awl to pierce a hole and pop the posts through.

I then topstitched the left side of the busk into place. A zipper foot was essential to get a nice tight seam.

It was tremendously satisfying to get this part of the corset finished! I felt tremendously accomplished to have added another technique to my sewing toolbox and was delighted with the neat finish.

I then stitched the front pieces in place and pinned the corset onto the dress form to get an idea of how it was all coming together. It looked pretty good, but there was still a long ways to go...

Part 2 can be read here.

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