Friday, January 30, 2015

1890 Blue Silk Corset

As I shared in a previous post, I am participating in the Historical Sew Monthly. It's a project challenge every month, and I fully intend to participate in every challenge that I can this year! 

The first challenge is Foundations. It's the best place to start out a year, since no costume is complete without a solid foundation. In light of this, I chose to do my first corset! I have Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques and instantly loved the black and yellow corset:

After carefully drafting the pattern, I made a mockup and tried that on. It was perfectly the right size, so I set to work carefully cutting out all my fabrics: a stiff cotton inside, denim for strength, and blue 100% silk for the exterior. First I inserted the busk (the funky thing in the front that has the metal tabs on it). 

Next all the panels needed sewn together and the boning channels sewn on. This corset is a bit unusual as the bones are actually sewn onto the outside, rather than inserted inside the layers or even on the inside. Once that was done I put in the grommets on the back and laced myself into it. 
Almost a perfect fit!

See how the top is much closer together than the bottom? Yeah... that's not right.

Once it was made up here, as you can see in the pictures, the top of the lacing in the back was much closer that the bottom part. While it wasn't a massive issue, it bothered me enough to fix it. What I ended up doing was adding in a few darts on the side panels. While I doubt this is actually period, it worked to tighten up the top half so it fits a lot better now. 

Pre-darts, laid out flat! Really coming together!
Next was the flossing. Flossing in the original is the yellow embroidery. For mine, I wanted something that would really "pop" so it was highly visible. I chose an antique gold color, which looks amazing next to the navy blue silk. :) 
Such pretty flossing. :) 
On to tonight. I just finished it and tried it on!! I absolutely love it. It fits like a dream and makes me super happy!
SO pretty!!! :D

Here's the back, much better after fixing it. :) 

The Challenge: Foundations
Fabric: Cotton, Denim, and Silk
Pattern: Black and Yellow 1890s corset, from Corsets: Historical Patterns and Techniques
Year: 1890s
Notions: Grommets, flat steel boning, and 5 yards of corset lacing. 
How historically accurate is it? About 60% ish, the technique is correct I believe, but the materials aren't.
Hours to complete: (this is embarrassing) approximately 115 hours.
First worn: Just to try on, I'll be wearing it more as I can. :)
Total cost: About $40. Some of the fabric was stash, so I added in approximate cost for that too. 


  1. That's gorgeous! I want to make one too, but I'm not sure of the pattern. There are so many options and I'm a really weird size. Any hints or advice?

    1. Thanks!!

      I definitely recommend making a mock up. Plain muslin or a canvas does wonders... sew up your pattern and make adjustments on the mockup- make sure you put in your boning and lace it up like you normally would, that way you can really see how it behaves on your body. Fit like a crazy person! :) I'm a rather odd size as well, and I just love how much of a shape this one gives me. :D

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