January 3, 2012

1911 - the hips

I thought I'd share the view from across the ironing board in my sewing room, which doubles as a dining room, when I got up this morning.

Picturesque, but brrrrrr.

I had a great question yesterday about expanding the hip gores for the Corsets and Crinolines pattern. Why slash and spread those the gores when we were adding width to the waist? The answer is it's always easier to pinch away fabric when fitting than it is to break out the seam ripper. Anyone with a curvy figure will have to go back and expand the gores anyway so I figured we'd just do it right off the bat.

While we're on the subject of fitting hips; For those who would like to draft the hips take 2 inches off hip measurements you took the other day. Compare this number to the measurement of the pattern. You have a choice now, you can subtract the reduced hip from the natural hip, divide by 2 then take that amount and distribute it along the seams of your pattern pieces. Or since there will be alterations to be made after fitting you can pinch fabric or let out seams as needed then transfer those adjustments to the pattern. If this is your first corset I'd recommend the latter. Why figure everything out, draft the new lines, fit, and find out you have to make adjustments to seams anyway? Then you'll draft all those lines twice. Who wants to do that? Not me. When we break the difference up over the various seams those 1/8 inch, or even 1/2 inch additions or subtraction can be made during fitting. For those that choose to draft the alterations now I'll explain in more detail tomorrow.

I'm on the curvy side, and when I measured the hip line of my expanded pattern the numbers weren't that far off what I need, not perfect, but close enough that I'm going to deal with the hip during fitting. That, combined with the fact that I tried on the original post Edwardian corset I used for the pattern and I was actually able to get it on, says to me there is enough room in both patterns for most wearer's hips.

So tomorrow we'll finish drafting and truing the seam lines. In the meantime, how is the pattern expanding, or reducing, going? Everything making sense so far? If you have questions do post them in the comments below or at the flickr group. We'll stay on top of little things before they become big things!


  1. I'm bit apprehensive about the pattern measurements and not sure if I should reduce the pattern or not (I'm using the postedwardian). My measurements are 28.5 27 and 37.5 inches. Copared to the pattern measurements given (+2in) I should need to adjust the underbust and hips about an inch and I wouldn't mind making the waist smaller. But am I just nitpicking? If not, where should I take the extra half an inch out as it seems funny to adjust all the panels when the total is such little?

  2. You're right, it's overkill to tadjust all the panels for such a small amount. Just size the pattern to fit your reduced waist(which if I'm reading correctly should be 25 1/2 or so) and the difference in the underbust and hips can be taken care of when you fit the mock-up.

  3. Hi Jo,

    Thanks for the explanation about the hip gores; it all makes sense now.

  4. I'm using your pattern. I'm a pretty standard US size 10 and i've got a pretty good fit by just adding a 1/4 inch down the middle of each piece. I tweaked the side back seam out a little at the bottom edge and took a tiny bit off each seam at the top edge as my rib cage is narrow compared to my waist and hips.

    All this will give me a large-ish gap at the back, which is how I like to roll. :-)

  5. If you know you like a large gap by all means pattern one in!