November 29, 2010

two and a half napkins

The pattern pieces are traced onto the napkins with a decadent 1 inch seam allowance.

I've laid the pieces on the cross grain because the notes about constructing early nineteenth century corsets found in Appendix I in Corsets and Crinolines read, "stays are usually cut in four pieces, all of which are generally upon the cross, as this assists materially in making them set better to the figure." I'm all for things setting better to to the figure. The instructions were taken from The Workingwoman's Guide and my favorite thing about them is the author's credit, which reads, "by a Lady, 1838." Thank you anonymous Lady for taking the time to write down how you made stays.

These pieces will use 2 1/2 of the 6 linen napkins, and will become the interior layer of the corset. That will leave plenty of fabric for the exterior, and should allow me a bit of room to do some organized placement of the jacquard pattern. Yea.

Time to mock up!

November 26, 2010

go bucks

I made this corset quite a while ago.

And a view of the front.

I thought burgundy flossing and trim would really set off the anthrazite dupioni. It did. And yes, that is the way I described the colors in my mind as I was working. But once the corset was finished all I could see was The Ohio State University's scarlet and grey. So in honor of tomorrow's football game against Michigan I present what I now always think of as the Go Bucks corset.

Go Bucks!

November 25, 2010


Wishbones are the most pleasing shape. The only thing that can improve them is glitter.

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2010

vogue patterns magazine

A friend was flipping through the October/November 2010 issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine and discovered this.

How cool is that? A big thanks to Vogue Patterns Magazine for the nice review and for bringing my project to a few more people. As it turns out the issue was totally worth buying because Claire Schaeffer, author of Couture Sewing Techniques, has written wonderfully clear and well illustrated instructions on how to sew godets. Information I can put to use when I sew the bust gores of the 1844 corset.

By the way, is there a difference between a godet and a gore? Is a gore just a godet that lays flush against the body instead flaring loosely away from it?

November 22, 2010

ready to trace & which side is up

The pattern is ready to go.

Before I trace it onto the fabric I have to decide which side will be the face. From one side the weft threads float on the surface making the flower motif recede, or appear darker on a light background.

From the other the floats create the design, bringing it forward so it appears lighter on a dark background.

I'm leaning toward the lighter flower on darker background because that means more of the longer floating threads will be on the interior and thus less prone to snagging on something. But is there a preferred side to use?

November 18, 2010

a new use for napkins

Oh my goodness. Has it really been a month since I last posted? Time for more sewing and less sleeping.

I dug through my storage bins to see what suitable fabric I had for the 1844 corset and found a roll of uncut linen napkins that will be perfect. Here is a lovely out of focus image that captures some of the design and the checkerboard cutting line.

And here a close up of the selvedge side of the roll in its piled-in-the-box, un-ironed shape.

I found this fabric at a thrift store a couple years ago on a 50% off all linens table. The safety pinned on tag read, table runner $2. I laid down my dollar and waltzed away with 6 uncut, crisp and clean, damask napkins that I knew would eventually become a corset. At 22 inches wide and 124 inches long there should be enough to get the job done.

Yea! Back to corset work.