December 21, 2011

1911 - prep & errata

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway, you have until 11:59 pm EST tonight. The winner of the fabric and the tailor's shuriken will be announced Friday!

The shop window above was photographed by Eugene Atget in 1912 and you can see there are still plenty of curves in those corsets. I've had several questions about fitting this corset to curvy figures, the 1911 Corset and Crinolines pattern gives us 6 seams to make adjustments to, and the post edwardian I drafted has 5, so I'm confident we'll be able to accommodate curves.

With less than two weeks before the sew along officially kicks off, it's the time to make sure our tools are in order so we can stay on schedule. If you don't have already have a hip curve you may want to consider buying one. They make drafting so much easier.

Is your iron clean so when you press you don't create stains on your carefully sewn piece? How about new needles? I always start each corset with a fresh needle in the machine, it makes a difference! Is your seam ripper ready? Let's hope we don't need to pick out too many seams on the finished corsets, but we definitely will need one during fitting. If you're planning on adding flossing do you have embroidery needles? When I trace patterns onto coutil I use a pencil, but with other fabrics chalk is needed, got chalk? How about a tailor's ham? I don't know how one can sew without a tailor's ham. Anything else you can think of? Please share it in the comments so we're all prepared. Thanks!

I want to make a couple of corrections to the supply list. The first, I specified 1 inch wide bone casing but that width is not commercially available. No problem, use 3/4 inch wide casing. The casings will hold either a single 1/2 inch bone, or two 1/4 inch bones, 3/4 inch wide casing will do this. I said 1 inch because I made my own and that was how wide they were. The second, I said 1 inch wide elastic for the garters, but contemporary garter findings are not that wide. Use elastic that fits your grips, we'll cover them with wider ribbon to give the proper period look. And finally, I said 1 yard of fabric but am giving away 1/2 yard of fabric for the thank you give away. If a half yard is enough to make a corset why did I say 1 yard was needed? The ticking I used for the post edwardian was 33 inches wide, which meant a full yard was required for the corset. If you are using 54 inch wide fabric a half yard will do, depending on your size. Thanks for bringing these issues to my attention, I've updated the list. If you catch anything else let me know!


  1. For those in the UK, Vena Cava sell suspender components in 1" (28mm) width:

  2. I got the one inch wide suspenders from vena cava - in gorgeous flesh pink!

  3. I was wondering how much waist compression the early teens (decade, not adolescence) had because it seems so columnar. I found some McCall home sewing patterns online for both adult women and teenagers that indicated both the waist and hip measurements for the specific pattern:
    14 years old (24.5" waist / 35" hips)
    16 years old (24" waist / no hip meas.)
    17 years old (23" waist/ 38" hips)
    ladies (26" waist / 43" hips & 24" waist / 41" hips)

    The girls patterns were available as 13 through 18 years, then the ladies patters were available by waist measurement, 22" through 36". It appears that girls were not expected to do much waist compression, but it seems quite popular with the adult women. I have a 26" corset (to go with my 41" hips) but I don't know if I could pull off the 24" waist. I'll probably draft this corset to a 26" waist.

  4. Ooh, Vena Cava, that's good to know!

    Ryan, we'll discuss waist reduction when we start patterning. But wow, those McCall ladies measurements are something. Where did you find those?

  5. How do you make your own bone casings?

  6. For the 1" bone casing you can use twill tape or tailors tape (twill is better). This is available in 25mm widths here:

  7. Ive made a dozen or so victorian corsets and a few from other periods but reading your blog is making me realise that while self tought has given me some great and beautiful corsets, I'm doing a lot of things the hard way through lack of knowledge, I've got to make a ham, thank you for that :)
    And for those of us in the UK, I definatly agree, Vena Cava are fantastic, I've bought so many wonderful things from them.

  8. In Great Britain are a lot useful things, in Poland I have problem:( Can I use "Rigilene" Polyester Boning 8 mm?

  9. Rigilene is thin and can collapse under stress, it was never intended to be used on corsets. If you can't get your hands on flat steel then you may want to try cane. I've used it with success and there's no reason it wouldn't work on this style of corset.