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