Monday, May 30, 2011

A proper Lady doesn't talk about this...

Hello fans ;)

I'm right back again, this time with victorian underwear (again somehow).
During the last weeks and last weekend I made an underwear corset and a set of another chemise and drawers (called unmentionables, as you wouldn't speak about it openly- which might be the cause why I'm still wondering how they tended to/managed certain "natural business" back then...-.-')

Thinking about the possible weather/temperature at Whitsun, I decided that I needed a more lightweight, comfortable "summer corset". There's no way I will be wearing the *wool* corset under the *wool* jacket and *wool* skirt... in June!
So a simple underwear corset was in order. I chose a medium weight cotton twill as fabric for both layers (to not make the mistake of getting rubbing bones again), which is not as sturdy as coutil, but it has a nice structure and is sturdy enough to hold my small form. Also I thought that the minimal stretch is working towards comfort.

I had been thinking alot about how to construct it... single layer, double layer, what kind of bone casings, cording or not, embroidery or not, etc etc.
Also I had two patterns to choose from: the Truly Victorian 110 corset, which I would have needed to shorten abit at the top to get it back to semibust or a semibust corset pattern based on the late 1880s corset from Norah Waugh's "Corsets and Crinolines", mixed with a bit of the "black with yellow flossing" corset (1890-1900) from Jill Salen's book "Corsets". The latter was neccessary as the C&C corset uses a spoon busk, while the other has a straight busk, just like I was going to use. So I adjusted the front panels a bit.
Both corset patterns had some cording at the bust and I thought a lot time about doing it, too and even made a few testers with different cords, but then decided against it. I will do it on another corset, that's for sure, but I will need to change the construction and pattern a bit for it first...

So as my new shiny sewing machine has some nice flowery decor stitches, I decided that I would "embroider" the boning channels at the seams with them, using a glossy silk thread.

Thinking about how the bones would be put in later, I had to "embroider" the panels already before topstitching, to keep them open for the bones. So I atteched the boning channel tape to the panels, as they shouldn't show on the outside, joinded the pieces, pressed and "embroidered" next to the seamlines. Then added the waist tape, put in the busk and pinned the two layers together at the seams. Only then I could topstitch the fashion layer to build the bone casings along the seams. I'm really happy it stayed also neat on the inside, even without basting the seams first.
After that, I cut the bones, put them in, and closed the top and bottom. Then I had to tea-dye the cotton bias tape and corset lace to match the off white color of the twill. Depending on the light, the color of the bias tape is very close to the twill color, maybe a bit darker (after having it in the tea only for like 5 seconds), but still lighter than a cream colored tape.

Gah, I'm rambling are the pictures:
Isn't that an awesome shape? And it's really comfortable. Back then they really knew how to shape corsets to be worn all day.
On my adjustable dress form. I set it to the smallest size possible and the corset doesn't fit perfect (dolly is not squishable), but fairly well to give a nice victorian look combined with the other garments.

Also here are some detail shots:

So in conclusion, I'm very happy with this corset. It has it's flaws but it is much better than my last one. There's still some digging in the back, but I bent the CB-bones over the edge of the table outwards a bit and it feels much better. Next time I will try and add a little room to the CB edge, so it won't be straight but going outwards abit from the waist down. That's what you would do with regular body blocks to accomodate a hollow back.
Also next time I will try less bones... this one has really many (like in C&C) and a different placement of the internal channels, as some interfered a bit with the seam lines and the boning channels there. And of course I will try the cording.
The only other thing that I'm abit unhappy about is that the, so far awesomely even, feed of my machine messed up a bit and dragged some of the flowers really long. I don't know how this happened, but it did quite a few times... I didn't pull or push the fabric, just guided it. I need to figure this out, too, as the testers went well.

Okay, I  said enough about the corset, so I will cut the other garments shorter... there's not so much to tell about them anyway.
Chemise and Drawers are both made from two old bedsheets from my grandma and I tried to keep her initials in. The patterns are from "Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol.1" both.
For the drawers I used the rest of the lace from the other undergarments, for the chemise some bobbinlace I had bought also years ago already and never used so far (I'm really bad in using/cutting up nice stuff ^^, I keep and keep it for a really good/big project and never dare to use it - stupid I know). Add some dark red poly-ribbon and you're ready to go.
This chemise has a smaller sleeve and narrow shoulders, still there's much fabric bunching under my arms when the drawstring is pulled tight. I need to cut the armcycle lower next time I think... or I need to fix the gathers in front and back and keep the shoulders/sleeve portion straight. Any advice on that matter?

Then the drawers, I made a set of pictures with the chemise tucked in and one without the chemise.

 The kneeband sits just above the knee now, it actually should sit below. I'm not sure about letting the tucks out again to lengthen it or leave it this short. It's not uncomfortable to wear like this as the kneeband can't drift upwards when moving or sitting down.
The hem is done with a scalloped machine stitch and the excess fabric cut off (what a task, to cut out those tiny curves^^)
Oh and in case you didn't notice, the drawers are open ones.
What I really like about them is that you don't have to worry about your ass looking big... it will no matter what *lol*, but you can hide it and just blame the drawers *muahaha*

Okay, so if you want to know anymore details, just ask. Also tell me how you like my "Unmentionables", constructive critique is welcome as well.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.


  1. Ganz ein wundervolles Korsett!

  2. Also das mußt ich mir echt in die Übersetzungsmaschine knallen
    die hat mir zwar immer was über Schubladen(drawers) erzählt aber im großen und ganzen habe ich verstanden:
    und es ist bequem...noch mehr Glotz...kann frau damit sitzen oder nur hübsch rumstehen???

    Also ich finds traumhaft SCHÖÖÖÖÖÖÖN und beneide dich um Deine Figur, die das noch nicht mal braucht :)
    ich bräucht ne Schnür-Mamsell :) und dann würd ich mal einen Tag das Atmen lassen - das wird sowieso überbewertet hihi

  3. ui, das Korsett ist aber wirklich fein geworden - und jepp, die Leute damals wussten wirklich was sie tun -deine Taille ist absolut topp!
    Bis Samstag ;)