December 28, 2011

1911 - taking measurements

The 1912 Spirella catalog says "the waist line is the base from which all longitudinal measurements will be taken." So we'll start there.

Years ago I was told that to locate your waist for measuring stand straight, then bend bend to the side. The point where your body bends is where you place your tape measure. Works for me. Make certain the tape measure is snug, but not pulling, against your body, and is level all the way around. It helps to have a friend since just bending over to look at the tape when you do it yourself can change the number. But I do all my measurements myself so don't sweat it if you are wielding the tape measure yourself. There are two other measurements we need to be concerned with, the hip line 6 1/2 inches below the waist, line mm on the diagram above, and 9 inches below the waist, line nn on the diagram. Once you have those measurements that's it, we're done for now!

Since this corset is an underbust cut we're not going to concern ourselves with the bust or underbust measurements. If you want to add bust support to your corset you will need to take those two measurements and extend the top edge of the pattern, but I won't be covering how to pattern or fit the bust during this sew along. We'll save that for another one!

It sounds obvious, but is worth mentioning, be honest with your measurements. I know, it hurts sometimes to acknowledge an extra inch, but it hurts more when you have to pick out seams when something fits horribly because it was patterned too small. Plus, since it is a corset we're making we will be chiseling away a few inches so you'll end up with that smaller number anyway.

In the next few days before we start patterning let's make sure our drafting supplies are in order. We'll need paper, (it doesn't need to be special paper, I usually recycle misprints from the copier or just use paper from a sketchpad) tape, scissors or an exacto knife and cutting mat, a sharp pencil, a ruler, and a tape measure. A C-Thru ruler is a real help, but not a necessity. Is everyone ready to start patterning next Monday? Any last minute questions I can help with? Don't forget the flickr group is there, do drop by and share your images with the group!


  1. Presumably mm and nn are the whole circumference rather than literally from m to m?

  2. Is anyone else having the problem of determindly deciding on a new years resolution to loose weight and wondering if the corset will no longer fit after its made? :-S

  3. Neh, but i know myself and my resolutions....
    Another question, though. What would theotetically be the amount of reduction this sew-along-c&c pattern could create/provide/takemein/youknowwhatImean? Or is that really up to the maker? As I could imagine some warping would occur when you'd take it in too crazy much...
    Not that I have a Cathy Jung kinda crazy amount of reduction :D just curious....

  4. Are the 6.5" and 9" below the waist meant to be measured down from the center (over the belly) or along the side at the hip? I'm super curvy and short-waisted, so there's a big difference in where those lines end up.

  5. You've got it Crescentwench, Measure down from the center front, not the side, to find the 6 1/2 and 9 inch measuring points.

    Marjorane, There is some leeway in how much reduction is patterned into the corset. I'll have a post next week that goes into more detail about calculating reduction that hopefully will help!