All posts tagged: corsets

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 …

What size should your corset be, and how tightly should you lace it?

I get a lot of questions about corsets. Costumers ask what size they should make their corset.  Consumers ask what size they should buy their corset.  Those with corsets ask how tightly they should lace their corset. Finally, people ask “Isn’t that horribly painful?” The answer to that question is  an emphatic “No“: not if your corset is well made, properly fitted, and properly laced. To help with the last two, this is my rough guide to corset fit and lacing.  It’s not based on anything more scientific than things I’ve been told, things I’ve noticed in sewing and making corsets, and things I’ve noticed in fitting lots of models in corsets.  It’s going to vary depending on the corset style, and on your body.  There is no one-size-fits-all in corsets, and no one-answer-fits-all, because there is an infinite variety of bodies. These guidelines are intended to give a comfortable silhouette with a defined waist and supported bust: something that would be reasonably historically accurate for the period from 1860 to 1900.  None of the …