Made from the same blackberry cream silk I used on my 1873 ruched gown, I can now add Edwardian corset to my list of completed projects. Yay!
Last summer Heather over at Truly Victorian came out with the most delicious surprises – she had ventured over the Century mark into the Edwardian Era. Did you swoon like I did?? And not only were skirts and a blouse available, she made a corset pattern too!! I mean, the one from Past Patterns is good but how many of us know the loveliness that is TV patterns?
So here is my rendition of this fantastic new pattern.
At Costume College 2011 I was approached by CGW to present a workshop class on this corset. Great! I had a few dozen corset projects under my belt but not this new one (obviously). Autumn came and was quickly turning into the holidays and my own version of the corset was not done.
So I did what any sewing teacher would do – create a sew-along to push my own backside into moving forward and finishing. It worked, despite finishing 3 weeks late from tax season hitting my schedule.
I LOVE the final result!
The corset itself is one layer (or two if you decide to add a fashion fabric cover on top like I did) with bones encased in ¾” bone casing – two per casing so it makes for a lot of metal.
The six pieces are fairly easy to piece, but the gores at the bust and hips can make you scream & yell if you’re not careful. They go in like a true gore rather than like Regency corset gussets where you snip the edge then turn the raw edges under and top stitch.
My mockup was made from a heavy canvas and scrap coutil with my handy-dandy grommet strips for fitting. I had to be careful not to cinch too tightly during the fitting as bias is present on those curved seams. Plus there was no support of finished seams, heavy coutil or waist twill tape.
Here are the panels and gores cut out and ready to flatline and piece together.
The center edges are finished with a separate facing which is simply sewn to the edge and turned inside. The instructions say to turn under the facing raw edge and topstitch to the corset. This is how you normally finish a facing.
Apparently it didn’t like me.
That folded edge seemed too thick for my liking so I ended up just trimming off the turn under and (maybe someday) going back and whipping that raw edge down.
I’ve done a few dozen corsets. I’ve even written a workbook on how to make them. But I have to say that the bone casings on this particular corset kinda scared me. They are intimidating!
The back ones are fine. It’s those placements over the curved front seams and bust gore that just freaked me out to a point of procrastination. As I mention most often, the only way to get it done is to tackle it head on and just do it. So I forced myself to.
But it wasn’t easy. I sewed the back casings in first. Quick, not too hard. Done.
To help me understand and get the right placement of the front casings, I ended up pinning strips of casing to the right side of the corset to better see where to put them. It actually helped a lot. Then I simply transferred that placement to the inside and sewed them down.
I CAN sit down in it. Right before I finished the binding on the bottom I did a quick fit and trimmed the center front about an inch, tapering up to the thigh cutout. The long back length doesn’t affect my sitting.
Initially I cut out the high bust line. But if you look at the mockup (above) you can see the new cut line I drew in. Now that it’s done, I love the line but think that (next time) I could cut it down even lower.
Some people I’ve talked with seem to think oddly at the pads that are used for this pattern. Well, you have two bust pads, elongated-shaped-not-stuffed-full-thingies, and a rounded hip pad not unlike a Natural Form bustle pad.
The hip pad sits UNDER the corset. Oh, but I’ve found it’s easier to say this but in trying to actually get it to sit correctly, you have to fiddle with the placement as you cinch up the corset. The hip pad is to round out the slope of the back side from just below the waist down to the curve of the butt. This is what gives that CURVY, feminine S-Curve shape of the Edwardian Era.
I think to obtain a great silhouette for myself, I need another pad between my corset and petticoats as my back side is quite flat. But I would not eliminate the pad under the corset as it helps SO much with the silhouette.
The bust pads don’t increase the bust. No. They sit UNDER the curve of the bust to create a smooth, rounded line from bust apex to waist. Remember this is the early 1900s and the center front is straight with a droopy, pouch-y bust line. Then you add bust ruffles to a corset cover to help with the rest of the silhouette, like the lady below.
Overall I love this corset! I love the silhouette results. I love that it’s purple!
The pattern was fairly easy although the instructions can be weak at times or muddled. Take your time reading them over and over. I especially note the caution needed for picking out the size to cut. Read and re-read as it is SO important to start with the proper size.
And don’t overfit. Heather (at T.V.) warned those of us in the Sew Along to not fit to perfection with this particular style. It’s supposed to just hug your natural figure with the pads rounding out the shape.
The plan is to add some flossing to the bone ends, but that’s the challenge since I’ve not specifically done embroidery on a corset. And garter straps may also be added. But we’ll see with time. For now it’s lovely and wearable.