Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Civil War Corset for Caroline

So I made my little sister a pretty dress.  There was a problem.  It wouldn't meet in the waist. (arg...the problems of sewing without a pattern....)  So I had one option, and that was to make her a corset (she had been bugging me about one anyways), and so I did.  And I'm sure this is like totally not period for a 13 year old, but it's boned with steel.  I figured if I was gonna cinch, I'd better cinch, and she didn't want a corded corset and hey, the boning kit was only $28 with shipping.

I am  not an advocate for tight-lacing.  I think it's bad for you, and vain.  But, Caroline is only going to wear this dress one time, and just for one day, and if she stays inside in the air conditioning I think she'll be alright.  I am going to pack her other dress just in case I change my mind and decide that the corset should be laced looser.  She does have a little bit of a squishy middle, and with 3 inches off her waist in the mock-up she felt fine, and she could breathe easily.  I have 3 inches off my waist when I wear my corset, and it's just *slightly* uncomfortable, but it's not at all tight-laced. And I don't have a squishy middle at all.   Her waist only needs to shrink about 1 1/2" past the mock-up waist.

Bascha is making a civil war corset off of the same pattern (Simplicity 2890) and she's also making a blog post out of it. (hers really is lovely, I haven't seen the flossing yet but everything Bascha makes is really nice-not just nice looking but well constructed too.  She likes to pay attention to the details, like the lining, and the flossing, and the little things that make something truly wonderful.  You'll like her things, I promise! She really is a seamstress...I'm just a seamstress in training :P )  So I'm not going to give any details so much as to how I made this corset...just some pictures of the finished thing.

I bound the corset with white cotton bias tape, which worked better than the twill tape I bound (parts) of mine with.  (Now that I've made hers I want to go and re-do parts of mine....) The corset itself is two layers of cotton twill (very sturdy cotton twill), and the flossing is done with cotton embroidery floss.

whole corset

I did decide to add some lace at the top, it's very
feathery and feminine and she likes it
 All the bones are flossed at the top as well, but the flossing is white.  I only did colored flossing and designs at the bottom of the corset.
triangular flossing on the angled back

flossing on the bottom of the back bones (by the eyelets)

 There are no grommets yet--I don't have any grommets, much less the grommet making machiny thingy.  Bascha does though, and she lets me use hers :D  So next time I go over to her house, voila, the grommets will be there!

the bottom of the corset

the front and busk
Now I'm done with corset making for a while...on to more drab things like fixing shoes, hemming pants, making boys shirts, painting bonnets and sewing button holes. :D

Her corset has grommets now, and her corseted waist is 23 1/2 inches, so it only took 4 inches off, which isn't too bad.  Mine, I found out, only takes off two. :P  For laces, we are using the kind of ribbon that has horizontal lines on it...maybe it's called grosgrain...I"m not sure. You can't pull hard enough with the twill tape we have-it just tears into pieces.  This ribbon is very sturdy and is working quite nicely though!

I'm so happy....the gap is even all the way down! Yay! :D


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