All posts tagged: corsets

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 …

An 1890s corset

There are historical costumers who like making corsets, and there are those who don’t.  I am definitely in the ‘likes making corsets’ group. I love making corsets – I love the fitting, I love the precision, I love the scope for playing with really lux fabrics that you couldn’t afford for a full garment.  I love that they don’t have sleeves, and I love that even the fanciest corset is usually pretty minimalist – the trim on finished garments is really where I get bogged down.  Most of all, I love them for what they do to your overall look.  A corset is a foundation garment; it is the foundation to your outfit.  Without the right corset, your outfit just won’t look right. I’ve made many corsets over the years, mostly from my tried and true personal corset pattern, which does 1870s-1890s well.  However, I always love trying new patterns, and there is one pattern I’ve long meant to try.  Well, not one pattern, one specific style of corset.  There are a whole swathe of …

The ‘Madame Monet’ underbust corset

The inspiration for this corset was Claude Monet’s portrait of his wife, Camille, in a kimono against a background of Japanese fans, reflecting the mania for all things Japanese that was sweeping Europe in the wake of Japan’s opening to the West. I’ve like way the underbust corset echos both an obi and the Western fashions of the 1870s, playing on the influences in Monet’s painting.  And I love the fabric I chose and the way it also echoes the blend of East and West: using traditional Japanese motifs and weaving techniques for a fabric that was intended for the very Western practice of quilt making. I lined the corset in some fabric left over from my Ice Cream Banana blouse, and bound it with some vintage polished cotton.  I wish the front busk was gold, to match the gilding on the fabric and the gold grommets and aiglets, but gold busks are almost twice the price of silver, and take weeks to order in. For the photoshoot I pinned all of my Japanese fans to …