May 18, 2010

going back to 1650

I'm moving forward with the next corset even though I don't have final pictures of the last. I'll get them, but if I keep waiting to start the next corset until I manage to get stockings so I can photograph the last one I could be a while. So back to 1650.

Page 36 of Corsets and Crinolines has a boned lining of a bodice in silk moiré. Here it is after I've enlarged the pattern, first 200% then 207%.

The notes say it has, "large elbow length sleeves with cuffs sewn into the arm hole and fine pleating on the shoulder. It also has a basque made of twenty-eight small tassets sewn together." I happen to have a copy of Norah Waugh's The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600-1930 and the complete pattern, with sleeves, is printed there. There is a lovely painting by Gerard ter Borch at The National Gallery, London, A Young Woman Playing a Harpsichord to a Young Man, which shows what the bodice would look like. Pretty. Maybe I should go ahead and add the sleeves.

Either way I'm finishing this corset/bodice by the Fourth of July. That's six weeks. I can not stand how long the corselet took. That means no searching for special ribbons or fasteners, no getting sidetracked by travel, no dilly dallying. So while I'm patterning I ask you, To sleeve or not to sleeve? That is the question.


  1. Do you have a picture of it without the sleeves? I can't picture it as being at all complete without them.

  2. I gotta get that book too, thanks for sharing =) Good luck with this new project.

    I agree with Jane, how does it look without sleeves? How high do the fabric go up in the sides, does it cover enough so to speak? Why not make a toile without it and see how it looks, and then pin a sleeve to one side and compare?

  3. Mock it up with sleeves, but if you have enough fabric, I say go with sleeves. mostly because I think that the armsycle will be mis-shappen without the sleeve, although the pattern looks okay without it.

  4. I love your blog! I have always been fascinated by how the human body is supposed to change to shape to suite fashion. Love love love your work and explanations!

    If this were made with out sleeves, wouldn't the sleeves of the shift be what would be visible? Is that "bad"?


  5. ooh I am particularly interested in this one because I tried to make a similar one from a pattern and it was rubbish! it didn't work. On consulting Norah and my other book, I discovered that the pattern I was working from appeared to have a piece missing.. I was trying to recreate the V&A stays which have sleeves... but I actually prefer the corset without sleeves .. but sleeves would look nice too ... can you tell what a decisive person I am? I never re-attempted them but you can see what I went through here:

  6. The second silhouette from the left on the Bridges on the Body banner is what it would look like without sleeves. I didn't think about it, but it look like it will dig into the hips without the tabs. I've got more patterning to do.

  7. The tabs are very nice .. :)

  8. If it's listed as a boned lining, that's probably your answer. I'm a little more familiar with 1630, but what I've seen from those with more time to research than I is that the (inter)lining is boned and mounted into the bodice, and so the whole thing will have all the tabs and sleeves and such-like. Worn with the petticoat/skirts, it might amend the digging. Like JuliaB, my one attempt so far has been rubbish and I haven't had time to revisit. It is a fab design, but I love that time perios anyway. Good Luck!