The 1890s black silk corded corset – progress

I’ve been making good progress on the 1890s black silk corded corset.

I got all the evil cording done.

The back bones and back cording

I chose to use black threads for the topstitching and bobbin stitching, so there are black cording seam lines all over the pink lining.

Black stitching lines

They are a tiny bit irregular, but I’m letting go of the perfectionism and embracing the organic wobbliness and the graphic pattern they make.  It looks like art.  Perfect would just look like stitching lines.

With the cording done, I needed to make sure the pattern pieces were still accurate, and hand’t changed too much with the cording.  You can see how there is white lining fabric showing around all the black pieces: this is because of how the cording ‘shrunk’ the pieces.  I trimmed all the white away and checked each piece against the pattern piece.  It turned out a little smaller than I had planned, but still fits perfectly (yay!)

Busk in, bust pieces sewn on, all the other pieces laid out & ready to go.

With all the pieces corded & checked, I sewed them together.

The pieces get sewed wrong sides together, with the seam allowances facing out.  The seam allowances then get pressed down, topstitched down, trimmed, and then covered with bias binding.    The great thing about this corset is that you can do a fitting with it all sewn together, but before you sew on the channels.

The seam allowances facing out.

In the photo above you can see how the side-front seam has been stitched down and trimmed, and the side seam still needs topstitching and trimming.

A topstitched but untrimmed seam.

I was really worried about cutting and making the bias binding strips, and then topstitching them evenly, but it went beautifully and evenly, and they even look good from the back.

And the corset is looking amazing (if I do say so myself, and Madame Ornata agreed, so it has to be true!).  Even the whole weird bust thing has worked itself out, though I did fiddle with the pattern so much that I’m not sure if it was my fiddling that made it work, or if it actually would have worked as it was shown in the original pattern.

Ta da!

Look at the topstitched boning channels and the topstitched band beneath the bust:

I am so in love!

All I need to do to finish it is to sew a band on the inside under the bust, and bind the top and bottom.  I’m so excited!

The badly-laced back

Oh, and re-lace the back, because I laced the back pieces before I put it together, and then realised that I had got the pieces wrong-side up, so had laced them upside down, with the tightening ties halfway up the back instead of at the waist.  D’oh!

It's so pretty!

But by Saturday that will be all done, and it will look amazing on the model, and I will be very pleased with myself!

17 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Looks amazing! I love the way the cording looks, I’d have never thought of cording an Edwardian corset! Can’t wait to see it on the model. :D

    • Thank you! I’ve been looking closely at lots of 19th century corsets, and have realised how many of them have cording. I’m beginning to feel it is the lost technique of historical recreationists! Of course, when I am doing it I want to loose it too!

  2. MrsC says:

    Gosh I love the gridwork look, it makes the whole oversewing of bias channels worth it!

  3. Gillian says:

    This is beautiful, and I want it. I think I am in love. I can’t wait to see it completely finished and on the model!

  4. Em says:

    I usually don’t like corded corsets, but this is absolutely gorgeous! I’m incredibly jealous.

    Em.

  5. You should be pleased! That black silk really gives it… class.
    I still can’t completely wrap my head around that bust. But, apparently, it worked.

  6. Lindsey says:

    They’re lovely! I can’t wait to see the pictures on the model – I’m sure they’ll look stunning.

  7. Lindsey says:

    P.S. I finally got a chance to listen to your radio interview from the about me section of your page. I’ve been meaning to listen to it for so long. What a great interview! Your presentation sounds like it was very interesting! I wish that you had a recordings of your presentations – I’m sure that I could learn so much. It sounds like you did a ton of research to prepare for it – not to mention making all of those beautiful costumes! I’m so glad that you post pictures of all of your lovely creations – it’s so inspiring. ;)

  8. Stella says:

    Oh wow, just gorgeous. Definitely need to make me one of these!

  9. I love this corset, I think it is the most beautiful corset I have ever seen.
    I am astounded by your skills and would love to see it in the flesh, or should I say in the fabric.

  10. Jane says:

    holey moley that’s incredible!!

  11. Cornelia Moore says:

    what a fabulous piece of work you did. just fantastic! I haven’t the patience or nimbleness of hand a project like this requires, though I think all the women in our family are fond of fabric and sewing.

  12. Jane Marco says:

    Hi. I know it’s been a while since you’ve made this, but I hope you can fish it out of memory. I’m looiing at the pattern just now. I’ve not tried making any of the corsets from Salens book.
    You mentioned that the corset must have been made for a short busty woman. And that you had to resize the gussets.
    Trying to save myself some agony – did yoy lengthen the body? And do you have a guess as to what size bust the gussets would fit in the pattern as is.

    Than you for a great and inspirational blog.

    Jane

    • Hi Jane,

      Luckily I have good notes for that pattern! I did not lengthen the body, because both times that I made this pattern I made if for a shorter (5’4″ with a short torso), bustier ( C – DD cup) woman. It doesn’t remotely fit my 5’7″ B cup. I’d say the gussets as they are fit a D-DD cup. For gussets, they aren’t horribly tricky to baste in and re-size as you go.

      One thing that is very helpful with this pattern is pre-cording your fabric, before you cut the pieces. Otherwise the corset pieces can drastically change shape with the cording.

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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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