Hurrah! A few days late because of an attack of chilblains which made it hard for me to hand-sew, my 1890s corset is done.
It has the flaws I always knew it would have once when I decided to try a bunch of new techniques on it, but overall, I’m quite pleased with it.
What are the flaws? I bound it in a lighter fabric bonded with interfacing to strenghten it, with a single-binding rather than a doubled quilters binding, both things that students have asked me about. The result? A much less tidy binding, that was harder to do, and won’t last as long. Not recommended. I also cut my eyelet holes, rather than using an awl to stretch them – easier to put in, but they weakened the final corset. I also tried a new way of setting the cording over the busk, which was OK, and of folding and sewing the boning channels.
Because it will never be perfect, I’m not going to bother flossing it. I’ll save that for a corset that I make properly.
I’m calling it the ‘Midnight in the Garden’ corset, because the blues and blacks of the lining remind me of a night garden, and the oblique reference to the book and, historically, black corsets being proper, and pale blue corsets being risque amuse me.
Not quite good and evil, but my corset balances naughty and nice, both in aesthetic, and in the flawed perfection of its construction!
Speaking of the lining…
Dang. All the people who commented on the lining as I made the corset, and when I posted it here, were right! It’s a pity it isn’t the outer! I mean, I enjoy it being my personal secret when I wear it, but it’s amazing as an outer!
I wish I’d bought more fabric! I want to do it again! (and get even more obsessive with the pattern matching). And yeah, I can sort-of wear it inside out, but it’s not the same!
Sigh. Good and evil. Give and take. Win some, loose some. It’s all about balance. Letting go now…
The Challenge: Lace & Lacing
Fabric: 3/4 metre antique Japanese silk satin (recycled from an obi) ($5), 1m coutil ($6), 1m blue & black quilting cotton ($8).
Pattern: My own, amalgamated from the late 1880s corset pattern in Waugh’s Corsets & Crinolines, the 1890s corset pattern in Salen’s Corsets: Historical Patterns & Techniques, and two extent corsets in private collections.
Notions: Black cotton thread, black silk thread (both inherited), busk ($32), spiral steel ($20), spring steel ($15), grommets ($10), and lacing ($15).
How historically accurate is it? The lining isn’t period accurate, and I don’t have a source for the binding method, but everything else, but in materials and techniques, is period perfect. 90%
Hours to complete: 15, plus pattern development
First worn: Unboned, and unbound, under my Polly/Oliver jacket, as a finished garment, not yet.
Total cost: $111, though everything came from my stash and had been there for at least a year.