Thursday, December 20, 2012

In which my husband helps make a corset

The goal for my Edwardian sewing is to get as much work done over Christmas break as possible done on the underpinnings. For the brassier, I'm using a free pattern by Historically dressed.

I started by making a muslin just straight from the pattern and it turned out quite big. Above is my pattern pieces after all of the changes. I did end up changing the back neckline so I have more options for evening gown styles. The original is quite high. I found a lovely extant bra from this period on pinterest that has a v neckline in the back so I felt justified in my modification.

Here is my latest muslin. I'm half way tempted to finish it and turn it into a cute retro crop top (to be worn with a regular bra underneath of course!) since the cherry plaid print is so cute! It's funny out underwear from one period is more like outerwear from another.

For the corset, I'm using a free mid 19-teens corset from Festive Attyre. (It was her pinterest board of the bras too.) The pattern is hand drawn on a grid that needs to be enlarged to 1" by 1". My husband saved the day by doing fancy graphic design magic on it to get it enlarged and to print tiled like a pdf pattern. (In his words "enlarged in photoshop, saved as a pdf, printed as a poster in adobe acrobat".) So if you don't have a talented graphic designer husband/friend/coworker/etc, you won't be able to enlarge and print the pattern on a computer. Jen of Festive Attyre said that she used a copy machine to enlarge it so you might have better luck going that route.

She also has laid out a handy dandy chart on how to grade the pattern up or down to whatever size you'd like.

I also made a set of lacing strips as suggested by Jo of Bridges on the Body in her 1911 corset sew along. Can I just say that I HATE setting grommets. For my last corset, I upgraded from whatever grommets they sell at Jo-Ann Fabrics to grommets and a grommet press (the cheap kind) from a corset website (I've forgotten which one) and it sucks. I have to hammer the dumb press until the grommet starts to bend like it needs to, then carefully remove the whole piece from the press without the back part of the grommet getting stuck on the press and the whole thing falling apart and then hammer the grommet again. Oy.

Thankfully, after the first strip (and wasting about as many grommets as I actually set in) my wonderful husband stepped in to help. It went much smoother and we only had one wonky falling apart grommet to do over on the second strip! Woot! Guess he has the magic grommet touch....or I just have the upper body strength of a small ten year old.....

Anyways, I whipped up a muslin in some red striped quilting cotton. I picked this fabric because it was an appropriate length (about 1 yd) and it was a bit thicker and so would be a bit more durable for fittings. I did not attempt any strip matching so those lovely looking chevrons are just by accident.

I used 1" seam allowance as suggested by the Bridges on the Body sew along. Now I just have to baste the lacing strips on there and wait for my bones to come in so I can use a few to fit my muslin.


  1. You're so productive! I find it interesting that you had such trouble with the better grommets. I need to upgrade, I think mine came from WalMart :/

    1. I'm going to try a different brand of grommets for my actual corset. I did use my press for some grommets that came with a belt kit and it worked like a charm so it may just be the brand that came with the press.

  2. You should definitely turn that muslin vintage-y summer crop top. It's super-duper cute!

    ♥ Jessica

  3. I am so surprised that more costumers don't use a Crop-a-Dile Big Bite for setting grommets! I have used mine so much, and while they are an expensive up front investment, it is well worth it in the end.