All posts tagged: Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques

The Black & White 1916 corset

On Monday I’m going to start living as close as I can to a 1916 lifestyle for two weeks. Naturally, this means I need a wardrobe.  A whole wardrobe post is coming, but for now, let’s start with the item everyone is really interested in: corsets. Based on my research, the average middle-class NZ housewife in 1916 had between 1 & 3 corsets at any given time: 1 or 2 for everyday wear, and possibly a fancier, more constricting one for dressing up.  Two corsets is ideal for everyday wear, because it means one can be airing while you wear the other. I’ve decided on two corsets for my experiment.  One, based on a slightly earlier cut, that Leimomi circa 1916 might have had in her wardrobe from before the war, and this one, reflecting the more recent mid-teens cut: Previously all of my 1910s corsets have been based on my personally fitted draft of the 1911 corset in Janet Arnold’s book.   However, very few women in NZ would have had personally fitted corsets.  The …

A ribbon corset

I took a break from serious sewing and whipped up a ribbon corset.  And I do mean whipped up – despite the very lackluster pattern and directions, and ribbon that wasn’t the same width as the original, it was super easy to do. The corset was based on a pattern from Jill Salen’s ‘Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques’.  It dates to 1900.  The original is in the Fashion Museum, Bath. The ribbon is a 3″ wide vintage ribbon from Nana’s stash. Without any planning or forethought, I managed to match the pattern perfectly across the centre front.  Whoohoo for coincidental wins! The pattern is a little busy and overwhelming, but I rather like the OTTness of it. The inside of the corset is not quite as beautiful as my corsets usually are, but it’s still pretty. I have a confession to make though.  I finished the backsides of the ribbon with iron-on interfacing, and just trimmed off the edges.  I know.  Naughty, naughty me!  Next time I’ll be good and use real fabric and sew …