October 15, 2009

corset? corselet.

Page 90 of Corsets and Crinolines. "Corselet in thin pink cotton broché, with elastic inserts. It fastens down the left side with hooks and eyes. (c. 1925)"

This one concerns me. The slim twenties silhouette is far from my natural shape. I'm worried I'll look like I'm wearing a sausage casing. There. Now that I've put all my fears out there let's get on to the fun things about this corset. Excuse me, corselet. 

Garters! Garters are not just to hold stockings up. They are needed to anchor the corselet down so it doesn't ride up and break the smooth, slim line. Since garters are pointless without stockings I'll have to find a pretty pair. Also, no grommets. After my recent grommet setting issues I'm looking forward to a grommet break.

I'm thinking of not reducing the waist on this pattern. The waist line dropped during the 1920's, and the line from bust to hips was less curvy. Look at these two 1925 dresses from The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dress, 1925 Paul Poiret (French, 1879-1944) Designer 
wool, silk: Length at CB: 45 in. (114.3 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Alfred Rheinstein, 1950 (C.I. 50.117)

Evening Dress, 1925 House of Worth (French, 1858-1956) 
 silk, glass, metallic threads 
Gift of Mrs. Harrison Williams, Lady Mendl and Mrs. Ector Munn, 1946 (C.I.46.20a-c)

I'd wear either of these dresses today. But not without the proper foundation. The difference between my waist and hips is 13 inches without a corset. If I reduce the bust and the hip measurements, but keep my natural waist measurement I may have a shot at the garçonne silhouette. If anyone has made this pattern I'd love to hear your experiences. Did you reduce the waist, or not? One row of hooks for the eyes, or two? What fabric did you use? I can use your help!


  1. The word corselet, which my friendly neighbourhood medievalists tell me used to mean a kind of breastplate, reminds me of the silly version of Byron's 'The Destruction of Sennacherib' I learnt at school:
    "The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold,
    His corsets all gleaming in purple and gold!"
    I think it was supposed to be 'cohorts', but I prefer the image of warrior tribesmen in elaborate foundation garments.

  2. OMG 13 inches. I have a similar waist/hips measurement at the moment, and when I slim down to a size 10 (Australian, size 6 US I believe, size 8 UK), the difference is only 2-3 inches. You can have my sillouette to try out this corselet if you like ;)

  3. I wish I could take you up on that!