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!


  1. Hi Jo!
    I will never get bored or tired following your blog! Whatever you do - draftings, patterns, measurments, fittings, seams - are so neat and made with such amazing love and attention! I admire your work! I wanna be your student - may be your New Year elf to help you with some simple stuff just to watch you working )))
    Keep on! You're doing great!

  2. Thanks Max! You are too kind!

  3. Way too late to be of any use (and you may have figured this out on your own) but the terminology the The Workwoman's Guide, in its infinite weirdness, uses the term "cut on the cross" or mean cut on the bias, as do some other sources of the period.

    And of course, cutting a corset on the bias sounds like just about the most ridiculous idea ever....but it works! I'm working on an 1830s corset that's cut mostly on a bias and, while it doesn't do much for waist reduction, that wasn't really the point of the period. By the 1840s it's more transitional, and I'm not at all sure what grain-lines were typical then - but doesn't Waugh indicate the grain-lines on her patterns?

    Oh, corsetry. Such crazy stuff. But so fascinating! :D