March 9, 2009

the plan

The turn of the century was an era of dress reform and many recommended that women stop wearing corsets.  A "light corset for sport or negligee´ wear," while still a corset, was a much less confining garment compared to what women had been wearing

illustration from La Mode Illustree´1899.

This style was often made of ribbons, like this one  
at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and was not intended for the heavier wear that standard corsets could take. Strips of strong material, broche and coutil, as mentioned in Norah Waugh's description of this corset, would make it stronger than if it were made with silk ribbon. I want my finished corset to look like a ribbon corset. My plan is to sew an interior layer from coutil, and exterior layer from satin, and anchor them together. The only satin I have in my stash is 4 inch wide, fuchsia, ribbon. 

The widest piece of this corset, the side where the boning will be, is 2 inches wide. Adding a 1/2 inch seam allowance to each side makes 3 inches, so the ribbon will work. And when I saw this corset from the V&A collection I stopped worrying that the color would be too much.

© Victoria & Albert Museum, London (museum number T.738-1974) .


  1. Maybe a silly question, but I've been looking at pictures of different corsets and noticed that many of them have that random upside down hook in the middle front. What's its purpose?

  2. to keep the skirts from causing bulk at the waist.

  3. Yep. That hook keeps the petticoat from riding up.

  4. Anyone having trouble with the link to Museum of Fine Arts, here's the updated link: