Sunday, 5 April 2020

Historical Sew Monthly - Go Green Glow-Up - part 1

I'm carrying on with two of the elements of last month's HSM contribution - working with something I have already made, and corsetry.

The next part of my 1874 ensemble is the corset, and I'm making it for the November challenge; Go Green Glow-Up. This is defined as "Be environmentally friendly and celebrate how your making skills have ‘glowed-up’ as you’ve used and practiced them by taking apart an early make of yours that no-longer represents your making skills, and re-making it so you’d be proud to use it. It can be as elaborate as a total re-make, or as simple as getting the ribbons or buttons you didn’t have time to source at first.".

I'm actually taking apart something I completed seven years ago! This corset was my contribution to the Historical Sew Fortnightly (as it was then) Lace and lacings challenge way back in June 2013, but I had actually started in in November 2009, on a short course.

The 2013 corset

This course was the first time I’d tried corset-making. We used the Laughing Moon Doré corset pattern, but adapted to make a modern overbust corset with a modesty panel.

Back view showing the modesty panel

All in all it is a strange hybrid, I suspect more intended to be worn as a fashion garment than as a historical corset. It was only years later, when I bought the pattern in an attempt to actually finish the thing, that I discovered that the version we had started on the course was missing many of boning channels. I added these, but the end result was very messy as it meant that some channels were under the waist tape, and some were over it.

Boning channel chaos

As boned bodices and pseudo-corsets are not really 'me', the end result has languished unworn in my wardrobe for almost seven years. It no longer fits me, even if I did want to wear it. My 1911 corset was made between starting and completing this project, and I did start a third one, but then Things Happened, and it was abandoned.

In the meantime, I have read so much about corsetry in other people's blogs that I feel I understand the subject much better. So when I started my 1874 project it seemed like a good opportunity to try making the Doré corset properly. And once I saw the November challenge, I decided to dismantle the unworn purple corset and reuse the busk and bones.

I had kept the pattern pieces which the course tutor had provided, and could even remember where they were! Although they were supposedly based on our measurements, when I compared them to the Doré pattern I discovered that they were exactly the same apart from extension for overbust. So I was surprised how well the original corset had fitted me, given that I have a short torso. I redrafted the pattern to my new size, took off ½" from the bodice length, and added ½" at the bottom so that the busk and bones will still fit. I have a long crotch depth anyway (basically, my waist is in the wrong place between my bust and hips!) so this won't be a problem.

I then made a mockup in calico, and even reused some of the old bone casing tape for the curved boning channels. The pattern needs a few minor tweaks, but overall I'm pretty happy with it.

The mockup worn over my chemise

Side and back views, with pinned-on lacing strips

I have ordered some coutil, and while I wait for that to arrive, I shall make a start on my April dress for the Vintage Sew A Dress A Month. It's also one of my #UseNine2020 choices.

Butterick 2535, from 1943

2 comments:

  1. Nice! I think I even vaguely remember the original from then... (Visual memory for the win - it's very helpful for costuming research. :D) The new version is looking good so far!

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