Back when I was young and skinny, I didn’t give corsets much thought. I had a few stretchy “corset-tops” that I thought (at the time) were very much the sexy. Back in those halcyon days of the high firm boobs and tiny waist, there was nothing to hold in, or shape for that matter, so the idea of owning a “real” corset was never much on my mind.
How times change. Now that I’m old and zaftig enough to have to coax my figure into shape, I value a good foundation garment. I have two Rago waist cinchers that I wear pretty much all the time. Well, any time I’m not wearing jeans, that is. I love how they make me a little narrower where it counts and give me a bit more posture. I love the way I look when I’m all nipped in under a 50’s style dress or even a pencil skirt and blouse.
Lately, I’ve been looking at Victorian/Edwardian styles and thinking about the GBACG/PEERS 19th century costume events that pop up from time to time. I am by no means a “costumer” I haven’t the patience or the inclination to painstakingly re-create exact period replica gowns. I am more of a “thrift, stitch, and make it work” kind of person when it comes to costumes. But still, if I can build my half-ass costumes around the proper underpinnings, it might increase my odds of blending in at (and therefore attending) these events.
And also I love corsets.
If I had a zillion dollars, I would just waltz into Dark Garden and have them set me up. I’d get two Sweetheart Victorians: one in crème damask and the other in black silk brocade. I’d also get two Under-bust Edwardians: one in the palest possible pink satin and the other in a deep rich eggplant. If all went well, (and I neither gained nor lost more than 5 lbs. Ever.) I’d never need a new corset again… But I gots no money for such things.
SO! Thanks to the positive reviews on GBACG’s Great Pattern Review, I’ve bought myself two corset patterns.
I’ve found a site online that has all the supplies I could ever hope for plus how-to books and videos. They even sell a kit containing everything I need depending on which pattern I’m using. That brings me one step closer to actually doing this.
I’m undecided as to what fabrics to use. It seems that the “proper” fabric (per the costuming sites I’ve read) is expensive. Very expensive. As usual I’m tempted to not bother with a test muslin and instead just build one as a wearable muslin, with cheaper fabric in case I screw up.
But then what if the pattern works out just fine except the fabric I’ve chosen is too light and it tears apart? Ugh. The suggested fabrics listed on the pattern package (the usual cottons and what-not) sound reasonable, but what if that’s just so lazy people (like me) don’t get intimated when the read the pattern sleeve and run screaming from the fabric store?
The trials of the lazy sewist are never ending. Something tells me I should do this right or not at all. Of course, that makes me lean towards not at all.
But I love corsets. And it would be cool to wear one I made myself.
Questions for you dear readers:
If you have used either of these patterns, what did you find most challenging?
Can I use heavy 100% cotton (like duck or twill) inside and regular satin brocade on the outside? Or do I have to buy the $25/yard coutil?
Do I have to use steel boning or can I really just buy cable ties at the home improvement store?
What is your preferred way of installing grommets? Machine or mallet?
Of course, ANY advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Y'all know SO much more about these things than I!