March 4, 2009

the spark


My interest in corsets began about five years ago when I was thinking of making a 1950's dress pattern for a gala. That's right, a gala. I knew that era's shapely silhouette was the result of foundation garments and started researching waist cinchers, which quickly led me to corsets.

I purchased an off-the-rack Vollers corset. Right away I understood why one needs a custom fit garment. So I ordered one from Meschantes to be made to my measurements. I was disappointed when it arrived. The craftsmanship was lacking and the fit was terrible. Not good. I decided to take the plunge and sew one myself.

I should mention that at this point I had sewn only one skirt, and I had to take it to an alterations place to have the zipper put in. Undaunted, I bought Norah Waugh's book, Corsets and Crinolines, and decided the pattern on page 77 looked the easiest. I enlarged the pattern, ordered a busk and spiral steel boning, and went to work. I had no directions to follow, just a can do attitude to see me through. There were plenty of issues with that first piece, but I was determined.

That first corset was sewn not quite four years ago. I've made a few more corsets since and my skills have improved with each one.

I still haven't made the dress that sparked the quest.

7 comments:

  1. Holy cow! This is what I call determination! I will follow along to learn more about you & your projects! :-) Cheers, Julie

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  2. I'm just joining in now...and am really excited to read about your project. I love big sewing goals like this!

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  3. HELLO MY NAME IS MAURICIO BERNAL. AND I'M LOOKING AT YOUR BLOG. AND IT IS WONDERFUL. HAPPINESS IS WONDERFUL. ALL. IMAGES EXPLANATIONS. EN IMPRECIONANTE THE PLEDGE OF CORSET, I almost died SEEING THINGS AS WONDERFUL AS YOU WORK, YOU INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY BLOG. WHAT ARE NOT IN THERE, BUT HE WOULD LIKE ME TO KNOW AND LOVE YOUR OPINION AND I HAVE THINGS FOR SHARING. And I want to share with YOU, YOU SAY THAT?

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  4. Dorothy Ann AarholtNovember 2, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Wow, what a fantastic blog! You're fairly new to sewing, I read between the lines of the postings I've looked at. I sewed a lot earlier, but have been "away" for quite a few years. Now I'm back, to make a ballgown for my daughter, and I see that corsets are the big thing nowadays. Where have I been sleeping? Are they a fashion item in addition to having become a necessary part of many ballgowns? When did it all begin?
    My granny wore a corset, I remember, but there wasn't anything pretty about it!
    Can anyone cast some light on this for me? I feel really stupid!

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  5. Hi :) I've had an interest in corsets for quite a while now, and since I've been sewing for just over an year, was wanting to try making my own as well. I came across your blog and am so happy I did - this is such a wealth of information for someone like me. Thanks a million!

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  6. Hello! Making a late comment. Your blog is a true gold mine to the french beginner that I am.
    But I want to start like you did on the pattern of stays! I was wondering if you had ever put some information about it somewhere, as I can't find any, to my great distress... I suppose it was made without taking any pictures of the process?
    I hope I'll follow in your steps and become as impressively good as you are, so I'll be able to spread Norah's work to the french speaking blog world one day too! ;¬)
    Thanks for everything here and good luck for your present work at the museum!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Noemie,

      I never took notes or photographed that first corset. It was picked apart long ago so I could reuse the bust and the boning. But I've started a new version, you can find it here. http://bridgesonthebody.blogspot.com/2010/09/starting-on-1844.html
      Hopefully will be picking it back up soon!

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