Sunday, 27 September 2015

Victorian corset muslin #1

Hello again!

As I mentioned in the last post, I've dived into making my first Victorian corset!
To be fair, I really should make the chemise and drawers first (the things that goes under the corset), but it turns out getting cotton batiste in my country is near impossible. I've found some cotton stuff that's fairly light weight without being a voile, but I'm still not sure it is light enough. But it will do as muslin for the chemise, I'm sure.
I am also not finding the trim I want, so for now, I am tackling the corset.

A thing of extreme beauty.
Victorian silk corset, 1876

I ordered my corset supplies from Vena Cava Designs in the UK, and it was like Christmas eve in Casa Pinhouse the day it arrived. I chose to use the Laughing Moon #100 pattern, as it comes with patterns for two different corsets and also drawers and chemise, so all in one. I've heard good things about this pattern, so hopefully it will serve me good :)


I opted for the Silverado corset (B), with bust gores. I immediately noticed how straight it looked, and after reading a few reviews I decided to add some width in the hips. I drafted the size 12 and added about 2" overall at the bottom.

It sewed up like a dream, and it was fun setting the busk and seeing it take shape. I didn't add any boning besides the busk and one straight steel bone on each back edge. I didn't set any metal eyelets either, because I knew this corset would be taken apart again. I made buttonholes instead, and it worked ok for the initial fitting. I used some polyester cord from the hardware store for lacing.
The fabric is some aweful beaver nylon I had in my stash, but it was non-stretch and heavy duty, and served the purpose like a champ :)

So this is how the first muslin came out.

It is buckling at the bust and twisting at the back, because it lacks boning, but also because it is a bit tight in the ribs, and rides down. The waist size is what I want it to be (I compared it with an underbust corset I have that has a great fit) but there's still too little room in the hips. When tightening a corset, the waist will squish, but the hips won't to that degree because of your skeletal structure, so the tighter the corset, the bigger the hips get in relation to the waist. This also applies to the ribs, so the smaller the waist, the more flare you need top and bottom in the corset itself.

The length is good, I think, and I like the shape of the edges of the corset. It is comfortable when sitting, so no need to make any changes there. I've drafted new pattern pieces now, with even more room in the hips, and some in the top too. I have been careful to add width all around, and not just in the sides on the hips, or just in the bust front, as this would throw off the front-to-back balance of the corset, and it would skew and twist when tightened. So we'll see if my reasoning on this matter is correct :)

I don't want it to lace all shut, but it may seem that it now has too big of a gap. All that will change once there is more room in top and bottom, so I am excited to try on the second mock up.

Stay tuned for more corset shenanigans, OH AND A DRESS!!! Yes :)


  1. You have a great start here! Exciting stuff!

  2. Oooh this is so exciting! Such a great project to tackle.

  3. Looking good so far! Congrats on jumping into corsetry, I actually prefer making Victorian corsets over 18th stays, less crazy binding to do and they always seem to go together much more smoothly! A good tip I saw somewhere on a blog ages ago is to make a false center back out of really sturdy fabric with all of the metal eyelets and everything and then to use it on each mock up, just removing it each time and then being able to sew it onto the next mock-up. Like a reusable center back/lacing area, if that makes any sense, though I have definitely done button holes myself like that! It sounds like you have a firm grasp on the needed alterations, I look forward to more corset shenanigans :)

    1. Yes,I saw that tip, too :) I am planning on taking the back bits from muslin #2 and keep those and use them for all future fittings. I forsee lots of corsets in my future :D

  4. I love the look of that corset! It's all very exciting, looking forward to see more! I'm happy to hear that you're feeling more inspired now! I made a "clean up" in my bloglovin feed, and somehow lost your blog too, by accident, but now I'm back as a follower again!

    1. Hi Tina, nice to have you back :) I keep losing blogs off my feed too, it is frustrating!

    2. Hi Tina, nice to have you back :) I keep losing blogs off my feed too, it is frustrating!