January 4, 2012

1911 - drafting new seam lines

We've adjusted the pattern to the reduced waistline, now we need to reconnect the broken seam lines and make adjustments for the hips. We'll need our hip curves, tape measures, and pencils today. I mentioned yesterday patterning the hip alteration is optional. And I genuinely mean that. I'm not doing any hip adjustments to the pattern myself, but I will explain for those who wish to boldly go back to the drafting table.

So, reconnecting the broken seam lines. If you are using a hip curve just align it along your split seam line and draw in the new line. If you don't have a hip curve just draw a new line from one endpoint to the other, nice and smoothly.

If you have to connect a vertical curved line then blend by lining the hip curve up so it matches the already existing line, then angling it toward a point mid way between the space you're connecting. Like this.

Then do the same coming from the other side so your lines meet.

The goal is a smooth transition.

Next we need to make sure the seam line of one piece is the same length as the corresponding seam line on the next piece. Measure each seam line. Chances are there is a small difference between the two.

If the difference is small, say less than 1/8 of and inch, simply redraft one line to meet the other.

Mark out the incorrect line right away. You don't want to have to remeasure two seam lines because you forgot to cancel out the bad line and later forget which one is correct.

If the difference is say 3/16 or more then balance the difference out by adding a bit to one side and taking a bit from the other. For example one seam line measures 12 7/8 and the other 13 and 1/16. Add say 1/8 to the shorter side and remove 1/16 from the longer. I'll try to look the other way if of some of you decide this is too tedious. But not before saying patterns that work are patterns whose seams have been balanced. Every fraction of an inch adds up as patterns are traced, then cut, then sewn, so what seems at first like an inconsequential difference can have a large impact on the finished piece. There is no need to rush, we've got the time to measure those seams. Let's prevent mysterious wrinkles from appearing later because one piece was longer than the other by truing those seam line now.

Now for the hips. This can get confusing so if you punch out don't worry, just don't make these adjustments. It really will be OK. We'll sew our mock-ups with a one inch seam allowance so there will be plenty of fabric to work with if the hips are too snug. So then, subtract 2 inches from your hip measurements, divide the result in half (because the pattern is for half of the corset) then compare those numbers to the hip lines of the pattern at 6 1/2 inches below the waist and 9 inches below the waist. What is the difference? Suppose there is a 2 inch difference, that means you'll break that 2 inches up and distribute it between the pieces. There no need to add for the hip on the first seam because that crosses the belly, and who wants it larger there? But if you are using the post Edwardian pattern there are 3 seams, or 6 seam lines to add those increments to. That works out to about 5/16 inch per seam line. Mark that distance on the hip lines. You'll need to cut your pattern out and tape the pieces to a new piece of paper because the new lines may start crossing the next pattern piece if you don't.

Line your hip curve up connecting those two new hip points, angling it so it aims toward the waist, and draw a line.

Now draft a line from the waist to the line you just drew.

Your new line should look something like this.

Do that for the rest of the seam lines. Now go back and measure the seam lines and true them up. That's a fair amount of work right? Imagine you do that, sew your mock-up, and when you fit you find it works better if there is more room in some areas and less in others. You still need to pinch fabric or rip seams and pin and mark the adjustments. I have learned the hard way that you can spend a lot of time drafting only to go back and change, or even completely eliminate, your work.

Even though I'm counseling against drafting the hips at this time I feel it's important to know how to change something if you need to. Now you know. Do with this information what you will. I'll just say one more time I am not adjusting the hips on the pattern. I have complete faith in our ability to make adjustments after fitting!


  1. Just found out about the Sew-along today! Going to try and join in, even though I'm late. I've been itching to make a proper 1910s corset for ages.

  2. Now is the time then! We're just a couple days in. You can catch up over the weekend be sewing right along with us by Monday!

  3. Hallo
    eine Frage zu Edwardin Post muster wo gibt es 3 Nähte, oder 6 Nahtlinien ?
    Ich habe weniger Hüftumfang 2 inch, durch vergrößerung der Tailie,pro Panel 0,5 cm.

    Gruß Bettina

  4. Yay, my fabric arrived today, its all getting very exciting

  5. I know its hard to tell at this stage but holding the front pattern piece against me it seems a little short, both at the bottom edge and at the base of the busk, I'm rather long in the body. Will we be covering length of the corsets, where it should be coming to etc?

  6. Hi Jo and sew-alongers

    I'm finally getting a chance to go through my supplies and figure out what I need to order and some questions have come up. I have both a regular width 10" busk and also a wide 10" busk, do you have any thoughts about which would be better? Also, some of the 16 1/2" bones I have are the thick german flat steel kind and I'm wondering if these are going to be too stiff for this corset? Also, just wondering about using spring steel bones at the sides instead of flat steel? Is this a bad idea, and if so why? Also, I have plenty of the 3/8" wide bone casing which should be fine for the 1/4" bones but for the 1/2" bones is there anything else I could use for those since there are only 2 of them? Could I use coutil or twill tape for the casings for those instead? I've never used garter slides and grips before either and they don't sell them at King & Co., so where do I get these, and is there a certain size I need? (I'm in the U.S. by the way) The same goes for the garter covering. Is this something that I buy or something that we'll make later? Thanks for the help ladies and gents.

  7. Bettina, Ich mache eine zeichnung für dich und pfosten auf der flickr grüppen seite.

    Ico-Anubis, you're right, it is a bit short. We'll add length at the bottom edge on Friday. Hooray for fabric!

    Tristage, The regular width busk should be fine. This corset does not massively reduce the waist so there is not the stress on the lacing that requires the extra strength of the heavier German steels, But they are what I usually use at the center back and I used them in the post Edwardian I made and they seemed fine. The original post Edwardian corset I have was made with flat steels, and the black corset I posted the other day from the Kent State University Museum was made with flat steels too, so that's what I'd recommend for this corset. You can make casing out of coutil, I'll go over that when the time comes. I've never seen twill tape sold in the US that's strong enough for casings, but Julia at at Sew Curvy sells some that should work, but she is in the UK. Vena Cava sells garter slides and grips, but they are in the UK too. I bought a dozen years ago and the seller no longer carries them so I don't know where to send you here. I'll see if I can find a vendor stateside. And we'll make the covering for the garters, or you can leave the elastic to show if you like.

  8. Corsetmaking.com sells "detachable garters" which should be usable for this project (although they will probably end up being sewn on permanently). I expect the garters will be covered with some of the 10 yds. of bias binding.

  9. So... using the post edwardian, turns out I'm 1/4" smaller in the waist, 1/8" bigger in the 6.5, and 1/2" smaller in the 9... should I just not do anything to the pattern then?

  10. Thanks for all the info. and I'm going to check out Corsetmaking.com :)

  11. Why do you have to true the seamlines twice? Isn't it better to do all the adjustments before trueing them?

  12. Verdaera, I'd leave the pattern as is and fine tune during fitting. How fortunate!

    Jenny, you're right. It is better to true the seam lines just once. Normally everything would be drafted then trued. But I wrote that in case anyone connected the lines and trued the seams then decided to alter the hip because it would need to be done again.

  13. I'm exactly 36" at the hips. In your Post Edwardian description it said 36" Hips too. Do I need to substract 2" from that to get my final hip measurement? Thanks

  14. I wouldn't. That's a low hip 36, nearer to the bottom edge where you want some room to be able to walk. I'd pinch excess during fitting if you find it's too loose.

  15. Maybe I am missing something, but on the side back piece you slashed and spread the needed amount for the waist measurement, but didn't you just remove that extra width by drafting a new seam line that cuts off the waist line almost making it the same for that piece than it was before? Shouldn't you draw the new seam line off of the bottom and extend the upper edge of the piece by whatever width was needed when spreading?

  16. I was wondering how long it would take before someone noticed that! I realized almost as soon as I finished the piece that my slashing wasn't through the waist, but since I almost always have to expand the hips I left it instead of re-doing the piece. I'm trying to resist over patterning at the start since after fitting I must go back to the drafting table anyway. Good eye Bry!