King Winter arrived in the wee hours this morning, and sprinkled us with glorious white snow. And that usually means light enough to get half decent photos taken! (But rather typically; by the time I was all dolled up and laced in, daylight was fading...)
My victorian chemise and drawers have been waiting for this moment for several weeks already, but my corset got it's last stitches done on Sunday. I still haven't flossed it, due to a lack of a long enough hand sewing needle and silk thread. But other than that, I think it's done!
The corset is made from three (!) layers of coutil. The fancy outer coutil seemed a bit stretchy and unstable, so I basted it together with a layer of strong white cotton coutil. I also used this as my lining. In hindsight I could have used something lighter for lining, but I didn't have anything suitable in Le Stash. I used some lighter cotton fabric for my second muslin lining, and that ended up showing the inside seam allowances which wasn't a good look. At least, this corset is very sturdy, you could probably hoist a horse with it :)
This particular corset pattern has bust gores, which means there are six layers of fabric at the seams, meeting up in the gore points. Bulk festival.
I tried to grade down the seams as much as possible, so there wouldn't be any pressure points over my ribs. I can just feel a small lump at the gore nearest the front when I wear it. I just hope it doesn't end up being painful. I wore it for a couple of hours, and it felt fine. Fingers crossed.
All the inside seam allowances are cast over by hand. It took a whole day, but it was strangely satisfying.
|Mid-construction. Hand cast seams, and in the process of putting in the waist stay.|
When I decided on my project, which dates from 1887, I did some research on what was big in the news this particular year. As it turns out, Queen Victoria herself had her Golden Jubilee this very year, so I decided to honour the dear gal with a small token inside my corset :)
The little embroidery was done on the lining fabric before assembly. I just made a quick rough sketch with a marking pen, and free-handed it. It is the same style as the monogram on the chemise. I was afraid the crown would look like a chimp doodle, but I am happy to see it actually resembles a little crown.
I just love it when the stars align like that, my corset coutil and the golden busk and grommets were all chosen before I learned about the Royal Jubilee. It would seem like some costume sewing fairy godmother is watching over this project! Oh, may it last!
Making a corset isn't difficult, but it is a lengthy process with many steps. The pattern adjusting and the fittings are the most important ones, and I think one needs to make quite a few corsets to get it right. I am pleased with my first proper corset, but I learned loads of things I will do differently on the next one. Plus, I need to get more practice with things like grommet setting and working with densly woven fabrics in multiple layers.
If I am to say anything about the Laughing Moon pattern, I highly recommend it for first time corsetiers. It has patterns for everything you see me wearing in these photos (not the silk robe), so good value for money. The instructions are very good, too. If you are looking for a big waist reduction, I find this pattern to be not very curvy. I added a lot of hip spring to the pattern pieces, and still wish I had some more. But those are fitting steps everyone need to do for themselves in the muslin stage, so totally normal.
The chemise and drawers pattern is also nice, but I don't like the rounded shapes on the chemise front yoke, just over the bust. It looks odd to me, because it doesn't mirror the shape of the corset top. Personal preference, I guess, my next one will be shaped differently. And have lots more lace!! Other than that, it has a nice close fit at the top that will not add any unnecessary bulk under bodices.
I also got a lesson today about lacing oneself into a corset when your chamber maiden has her day off. It is hard. I broke a sweat, and my arms nearly fell off. And a mirror just makes it worse! I guess it gets better with practice, but I wish I could have gotten it tighter, and a bit more even for the photos. Oh well.
If you managed to read your way down here, you are a champ!
Next up, wire bustle and heaps of petticoats!!!