The 1911 corset sew along starts today! Eight weeks from now we'll have the perfect foundation garment for those most elegant Titanic era dresses and gowns. Your comments and suggestions have always been a great help to me while patterning, fitting, and constructing corsets and I'm thrilled there is a group of us working on the same corset together. It's motivating! I look forward to seeing everyone's work at the flickr group. If you haven't joined yet please do. Not only can you post images of your progress, you can ask questions and give feedback to other sew alongers. We have all levels of experience from novice to expert and I'm counting on your enthusiastic participation to make this sew along a success!
Today, in addition to our patterns, we'll need extra paper, a ruler, tape, scissors or and x-acto knife, and a pencil. Before we start slashing and spreading the corset pattern pieces we need to figure out the waist reduction. Subtract 2 to 3 inches from your natural waist measurement. I wouldn't deduct more than that though, the silhouette of this era is moving away from the small waist/full hip of the S bend corset to a longer, slimmer line, so a tiny waist is not really the goal.
Divide your reduced waist measurement by 2, since the pattern is for half of the corset. Now measure the waistline of your pattern. Chances are the reduced waist is larger than the pattern. You'll need to add to each panel to reach the desired number. If you are using the post Edwardian pattern divide the difference by 5, because that is how many pieces you have to distribute the difference between, if your are using the Corsets and Crinolines pattern divide it by 4. The resulting number is how much you'll add to each piece. For example, say your natural waist is 30 inches and your reduced waist is 27 inches and you're using the post Edwardian pattern. Divide 27 in half, you get 13 1/2 inches. Compare it the waist of the pattern, which is 11 1/2 inches, so a 2 inch difference. That means you'll distribute those 2 inches between all 5 pieces, so divide 2 inches by 5. That's roughly 3/8 per pattern piece. Make sense? Here's a formula for you to plug you own numbers into.
reduced waist ÷ 2 = x
x - waistline measurement on pattern = y
y ÷ number of pattern pieces = z, the amount added to each piece
OK, here we go! The very first thing we'll do is number the pieces from left to right. If this is your first corset the pieces can look similar, marking them now will help eliminate confusion later. Next, mark a point on the center front 6 1/2 inches below the waist, and 9 inches below the waist. Draw a line straight across to the center back of the pattern.
If your using the Corsets and Crinolines pattern you'll need to draw a straight line across starting at the center front waist too. Don't worry that the actual waistline on the pattern doesn't not run straight across. These lines will help us keep the pieces oriented as we split them apart. Double check that both the center front and center back are perpendicular to those lines we just drew across the hips and waist. Sometimes through enlarging and taping pages together those lines can go a bit off so just straighten them now if they did.
Line your ruler up so it crosses these two lines and draw a line through the center of each piece.
We've just drawn in the grain line. We'll use this line when we're placing the pattern pieces on the fabric, and also as a straight line for slashing the pattern pieces. Now cut the first piece on that line.
Slide a piece of paper under one side of your pattern piece and spread the other side apart using the z amount you arrived at in your calculation. To make certain the two halves are aligned extend those horizontal lines you drew at the waist and hips. Then you can just line the piece up.
Slash and spread one piece at a time and tape it in place before continuing with the next piece. If you're using the Corsets and Crinolines pattern go ahead and slash and spread the two hips gores too. When you're done you should have something that looks like this.
Suppose your waist is smaller than the pattern, then your formula will be this,
reduced waist ÷ 2 = x
waistline measurement on pattern - x = y
y ÷ number of pattern pieces = z, the amount subtracted from each piece
Instead of spreading the pieces apart, you'll overlap them.
Whew. That's all we need to worry about for today. We'll finish drafting the seam lines Wednesday. For those of you patterning for the first time, congratulations! You've delved into the world of drafting. Hooray!