Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Petticoats and Corsets

I didn't think to be posting again so soon, but I am just so over the moon about the progress I have made. My neck is aching and my fingers are sore, but everything has been going so well.

First up, I finished my second 1900s petticoat. It is made from the same pattern as the previous one, just trimmed in a way that made use of the fabric and lace in my stash that I wanted to use. It is made out of white swiss cotton voile and trimmed with a white net lace. It has two ruffles on top, both stitched on with three rows of rouching. I then added some in set lace using a period correct method that I read about in the book "Victorian Sewing Techniques" where you stitch on the lace, then slip scissors in behind the lace and cut the fabric. You then fold each side back and stitch down. Quite simple really - easier than the way I was doing it before (cut then sew). I also added three rows of tucks above the lace to take up some length and add a little detail. The petticoat also has a short kick ruffle underneath made out of a slightly heavier cotton (last photo).
I love how frilly and feminine this petticoat has turned out. It's just like I pictured. I would have liked more lace on it, but as I am trying to use my stash only, I was limited to what I had - enough only for one row around.

The other thing that I managed to finish today was my 1900s s-bend corset. I have made this one before, so I kinda knew what I was doing going in. But then again, it was about 5 years ago that I made it, so I did learn a few bits and pieces this time. The pattern is drafted and sized up from Corsets and Crinolines. But I feel that the next time I make this one, it could do with a couple more changes - for one, it could be a bit longer in the front for me. And it is probably a bit too small (though it could just be that I have eaten too much today), however as I am currently loosing weight - this should not be a problem.

Anyway, I really like how it turned out. I made it out of two pieces of silk. The embroidered stuff comes from a garment that friend gave me to cut up - she had only worn it once to a wedding and saw no reason to keep it. While the pink comes from my stash. I knew that I would need to use a different colour for the binding on the corset, so I decided to add a little in to make it match a bit better - on the bust gusset and hip shape pieces.

As you might see from the photos it really does give a mono-bosom shape just from the cut. It also has a very definite waist to hip ratio - making my waist appear smaller than it is. It probably does help that I have quite a bit of squish in me to move about. All in all though, I really like the shape it has come out as.
My tips if you are making this corset:
  • make up three separate layers: the outermost layer, the lining layer and the middle layer. Because the boning does not follow the seams, you actually need to have two layers to sew together so that you get channels. I got around this by using strips of fabric on the inside of each channel. The only problem with my technique is that it can get terribly messy and probably adds bulk. 
  • you will most likely need to do a few full mock ups to get the pattern to your shape. Mine still isn't there. 
  • closer spaced eyelets. Mine are too far apart. I normally go closer together, but had a limited number in my stash, and didn't want to wait for my order to arrive. 
  • consider a thick busk for the centre front. I think it would really help you get that straight front that the corset should have. Next time I put it together, I will definitely be buying a wider one busk. 
  • waist tape - I have finally learnt how invaluable a waist tape is. It's especially important here as there is quite a bit of stress on the waist just from the cut of the corset. I just use inch wide cotton twill tape and sew it in after my boning channels are done.


  1. love the petticoat, you're right about it being so feminine.

    Sighing over the corset. so pretty

    1. I have always wanted prettier historical undergarments. A lot of mine were made quickly to be functional, but since I have been browsing through museum sites, and keep seeing such pretties, I wanted them for myself. :P

  2. I love your petticoat, so pretty.

    1. Thanks. I love having such an overdone and pretty petticoat.

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