March 5, 2009

first up

Light corset for sport or negligee wear, circa 1904, page 88.

I'm in the mood for something light and dainty, so I'll start with this corset. I enlarged the pattern on a copy machine (first at 200%, then copied those pages at 175%) until the scale measured 6 inches.

Then I cut the pieces out of heavier paper, taped them together, and held the shell to my body. The center top and bottom winged away from me, and when I pushed them flat against me the areas that fall midway between the center and the side (along the princess line if there was one) bubbled out. Here is a view of just the front half. Notice the elegant, Saarinen swoop.

In addition to this problem, the top edge cut across the bust. I cut out a second set of pieces giving myself some extra allowance to work with, rearranged them over an underbust corset (stuffed with a pillow) I'd made, and came up with a new paper mock-up. I taped the two versions together at the center front. In the following photos the Corsets and Crinolines is on the left, and mine is on the right. The two sides look similar when viewed head on.

But from another angle you can see they create very different shapes. So the next step will be to draft the pattern based on the paper drape and sew a mock-up.


  1. Good ol' Eero Saarinen... Like the swoop -- always a good thing.

  2. This is really interesting. I like the paper pattern comparisons.

  3. It's very interesting draping a new corset over an already made corset. Very beautiful blow by blow of the ribbon corset! Thanks so much.